The Tibetan culture is a magnificent culture which started more than 4000 years ago in Shang Shung, the first kingdom of Tibet. Its deep knowledge and understanding has been kept alive through all the centuries. Knowledge in Tibetan culture is traditionally classified into five major fields: art, craft, linguistics and poetry, medicine and—most important—the so called "inner knowledge" which refers to the understanding of the relative and ultimate condition of the individual within his or her universe. It also includes a myriad of hidden and highly specialized esoteric instructions that can be considered as the real treasure of our planet. This treasure has been transmitted from generation to generation through all the centuries and is therefore still alive today. But for various reasons there really exists the great danger that this unique treasure is getting lost in our days.
The International Shang Shung Institute was founded in Italy in 1989 by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, and inaugurated in 1990 by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It's aim is to deepen the knowledge and understanding of Tibetan cultural traditions in order to ensure their survival and preservation. The International Institute currently has three main branches, located in Italy, Austria, and the USA, which work together as one to promote all initiatives to this end.
The mission of the Shang Shung Institute is to deepen the knowledge and the understanding of the Tibetan cultural traditions in its religious, historical, philosophical, artistic, medical, and social aspects in order to contribute to the survival and preservation of this culture. Its purpose is to encourage cooperation among interested groups and individuals, thus keeping alive the essential values of these traditions.