With the encouragement of Chögyam Trungpa, Shenpen Hookham journeyed to India in the 1970s where she lived among the Tibetans as a nun and studied with many prominent teachers for six years. In 1978, the sixteenth Karmapa told her to return to the West to teach. There she met Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, who became her main teacher. She also met her husband, Rigdzin Shikpo, whom she taught alongside for twenty years. Shenpen Hookham is now the principal teacher of the Awakened Heart Sangha and spends most of her time in semi-retreat.