When Rigdzin Shikpo met his principal teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1965, he had already been training in Buddhist meditation for a number of years, and was closely associated with the Buddhist Society in London.
As his root teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche gave him extensive and detailed teaching on all the practices of the Nyingma Dzogchen tradition. Trungpa Rinpoche later left for America and Rigdzin Shikpo continued to study and practise under his direction, visiting him in America from time to time. Trungpa Rinpoche also encouraged him to take teachings and guidance from his own teacher HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. In 1975 Trungpa Rinpoche established the Longchen Foundation in consultation with HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, appointing Rigdzin Shikpo as spiritual director. Khyentse Rinpoche told him to take further Dzogchen instruction from Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, an eminent yogin and scholar who was also a student of HH Khyentse Rinpoche. Since the deaths of Trungpa Rinpoche and Khyentse Rinpoche, Khenpo Rinpoche has been Rigdzin Shikpo’s main source of guidance.
In 1993 Rigdzin Shikpo completed a three year solitary retreat in Oxford under the direction of Khenpo Rinpoche. One unusual feature of this retreat was that it took place in an otherwise ordinary semi-detached house, in an urban setting. Following this retreat and in recognition of his realisation, Khenpo Rinpoche gave him the title the Rigdzin Shikpo. Rigdzin means Knowledge Holder (vidyadhara in sanskrit) and Shikpo means beyond concepts. Rigdzin Shikpo teaches his students the whole of the path according to the lineage transmissions he received from his own teachers. They encouraged him to transmit the teachings according to his inspiration in response to the needs of his students.
Khenpo Rinpoche emphasises that the Longchen Foundation lineage is more than simply an organisation—it is a Buddhist school in its own right. It is the living embodiment of the Mahayana and Maha Ati (Dzogchen) teachings and as such has a particular significance for the expression of the Buddha’s teachings in the West.