Sonam Zangpo Rinpoche was a disciple of the son of Shakya Shri (the father of A’pho Rinpoche). He was the personal teacher of the royal family of Bhutan. According to *Sé Rinpoche, Sonam Zangpo Rinpoche declined to live in the palace and take the official position of Chögyal. He even moved his three-year retreat centre deeper and deeper into the jungle, so that the disciples would not suffer too many visitors. The queen herself used to drive up in a jeep to deliver offerings to her Lama. Sé Rinpoche participated in one of these retreats. Sonam Zangpo Rinpoche held strict retreats in which he signaled the change from one thun (session of practice) to the next by blowing a kangling from his hut.
* Sé Rinpoche will be the lineage holder of the Shakya Shri Lineage from his father (the late A’pho Rinpoche) when the elderly Lama Gégen Khyentsé Rinpoche (the present holder) dies.