Shangkar Rinchen Gyaltsen


shangs dkar ba rin chen rgyal mtshan

Alternative Name(s):

Shangpa Karpo (shangs pa dkar po)


Shangkarwa (shangs dkar ba)



Period: 13th–16th // Early Masters

Khedrup Rinchen Gyaltsen was born in the female water snake year to father Pönyig Zangpo Pal and mother Jösema Palchen.
When he was three both his parents passed away and he was placed under the tutelage of two monks, Shakya Sengé and his uncle Rinchen Ö, who taught him how to read and write. Shangkarwa took monks vows and at the age of eight. At the age of twelve he went to a large temple in Zamtsar and took further vows before the abbot Dzepa Gyaltsen and Shâkya Pal and received the name Rinchen Gyaltsen. He took full ordination at the age of twenty and studied extensively with several teachers.

According to his uncle’s advice he went to meet the great scholar Khyungpo Tsültrim Gönpo and received the practices of Clear Light, Dream Yoga, etc.
Shangkarwa received empowerments from Buton Rinchen Drub (bu ston rin chen grub, 1290-1364) who transmitted to him his wisdom mind stream. In all Shangkarwa received more than twenty times various tantric commentaries. From the great teacher Jangchub Tsemo he received the four complete empowerments of Guhyasamaja.

Unfortunately Lama Tsültrim Gön passed away before Shangkarwa could receive the entire Shangpa lineage teachings from him. Shangkarwa then met and received from Ritrö Rechen Sangyé Sengé the entire cycle of teachings of the Shangpa lineage and entrusted him with responsibility for the lineage. Shangkarwa mastered the Clear Light and Dream Yoga and his realizations where powerful enough to control even the external elements.

Shangkarwa passed away at the age of eighty-two with numerous auspicious signs.

He is is the fourth of the Later Seven Jewels of the Shangpa Kagyü.


Adapted from: shangs dkar ba rin chen rgyal mtshan gyi rnam thar, shangs chos, vol. 1, p. 631-639. (Translation from Tibetan by Lama Shérab Drimé).