Prof. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
Scholar—expert in Tibetan culture Prof. em. Namkhai Norbu, the founder of the International Shang Shung Institute and one of the foremost living Dzogchen masters, was born in Derge, eastern Tibet in 1938. Besides having studied Buddhist philosophy for many years he also received numerous Tantric and Dzogchen transmissions and teachings from many masters.
In the late 1950s, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu made a pilgrimage to Tibet, India, and Nepal. While he was residing in Sikkim in 1959, the Chinese occupied Tibet and as he was unable to return to his homeland to join his family, he remained and worked as an author and editor for the Government of Sikkim.
Due to his fame in India and in Tibet, in 1960 Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was invited to Rome, to collaborate in research, by Prof. Giuseppe Tucci, an eminent scholar and founder of the ISMEO (Instituto per l'Africa e l'Oriente, one of the major institutes of Asian Studies in Italy). In 1962 he started to teach Tibetan language and literature in Naples at the Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli, where he worked until 1992. For the first fifteen years in Italy Chögyal Namkhai Norbu concentrated on the ancient history of Tibet and has done extensive research into the historical origins of Tibetan culture.
While residing in Italy, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu primarily focused his research on the ancient history of Tibet, thoroughly investigating the autochthonous Bon tradition. His books, which include works on history, medicine, astrology, Bon and folk traditions, are evidence of his profound knowledge of Tibetan culture and his commitment to preserve this ancient cultural heritage. These works have been appreciated by native Tibetans and utilized by scholars throughout the world. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is author of many influential and profound works on Tibetan history and culture books, several of which have been translated into English: Necklace of Gzi, Journey Among the Tibetan Nomads and Drung Deu Bon.
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu founded the International Shang Shung Institute to preserve the cultural traditions of Tibet. He also founded a non-profit organization called A.S.I.A. (Association for International Solidarity in Asia), which operates in Tibet and is dedicated to serving the Tibetan people in the sectors of education, health, training, disaster relief and sustainable economic development. www.asia-onlus.org
Namkhai Norbu was recognized at birth as a Tulku, a realized master who
is born again of his own free will for the benefit of all beings. Due
to this recognition, he received years of particularly extensive and in
depth traditional instruction. He revealed such extraordinary learning
ability that he was considered a scholar even though he was very young.
Notwithstanding his youth, he was already well known by the end of the
1950s as a person with a profound knowledge of the Tibetan culture and
also as a great spiritual teacher.
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is one of the primary living masters of Dzogchen. He is among the last generation of Tibetans to have been fully educated in Tibet. When he was eighteen years old he met his main master, Changchub Dorje, who aroused in him the complete awakening of his spiritual knowledge. In the mid 1970s, for the first time in the Western world, he was requested to give teachings. Thanks to his deep understanding of the essence of Dzogchen and his natural ability to transmit its meaning, a vast number of disciples of all nationalities have had the opportunity to experience the value of his teachings, and to understand and practice them. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is the founder of the Dzogchen Community, whose centers of study and practice are found all over the world. He has been traveling extensively around the world to spread the Dzogchen teaching, as well as dedicating himself to safeguarding Tibetan culture.