Khyungpo Naljor was born in the Tiger year into the Khyungpo clan from the Eastern Tsang region.
At the time of his birth, his parents received a prophecy, revealing that he was a highly realised master who in this life would go to India to receive the profound instructions, through which he would benefit many beings.
As a boy of only five he could both clearly recount his previous lives and reveal insights regarding those lives yet to come. He also made many clear predictions about the future. By the time he was ten, he was already highly proficient not only in reading and writing but also in the topics of Indian and Chinese astrology and arithmetic. As his father was a Bön practitioner, at the age of twelve Khyungpo Naljor began to apply himself assiduously to the studies and trainings of his father’s tradition. However, it wasn’t long before he gave rise to a keen interest in the practices of Dzogchen and Mahamudra, and he left home in search of these teachings. This quest took him to India and Nepal seven times. It was during these travels that he encountered and received teachings from many accomplished masters. Despite having received so many teachings, he still felt dissatisfied and his thirst for the true meaning wasn’t fully quenched. This compelled him to find a guru who had received the most profound instructions directly from Vajradhara. It was eventually suggested that he seek out the great Yogini Niguma. Upon hearing her name, his entire being was filled with the purest devotion, and he set out at once on his journey. When he finally met her in the charnel ground of Sosaling, she first took on the form of a flesh eating dakini, surrounded by a large gathering of dakinis. Khyungpo Naljor was not deceived by this appearance, and beseeched her repeatedly to bestow upon him the transmission of her teachings. She then demanded gold which he offered immediately. Receiving it, she promptly tossed it in the air, scattering the forest with it. This act of total non-attachment to the precious gold only increased his confidence and devotion.
Niguma recognised him as a destined fortunate one, and transmitted the practice of Dream Yoga to him. Mastering it, he received the full transmission of the Six Yogas of Niguma three times in a single dream. She then repeated the transmission three times during his waking state and prophesised that, for the period of seven generations, these teachings should be transmitted only from one guru to one fortunate disciple. Having received the transmissions and attained the awakening he was looking for, Khyungpo Naljor was finally satisfied and regarded the Wisdom Yogini Niguma to be his root guru. Although he had many great masters, it was the yoginis Niguma and Sukhasiddhi whom he considered to be his main gurus.
After his travels, during which he is also said to have met Atisha, he settled and established a monastery in Shang. This lineage transmission would therefore eventually come to be named ‘Shang-pa’.
Having reached the remarkable age of one hundred and fifty, he passed away in 1139.