The International Shang Shung Institute was founded in 1989 by the late Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was Professor of Tibetan and Mongolian Language and Literature at the University of Naples L’Orientale from 1962 to 1992, and dedicated his academic career to research into Tibetan culture. He published numerous works, particularly on the origins of Tibetan culture and the ancient kingdom of Shang Shung. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was also a well known teacher of Dzogchen and is the founder and head of the International Dzogchen Community.
Born in Derge, eastern Tibet in 1938 and recognised as a Tulku (a reincarnation of an important spiritual master) at an early age, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was among the last generation of Tibetans to have been fully educated in Tibet. He spent the 1940's and 1950's at the famous Sakyapa monastic college Derge Gonchen engaged in an in-depth study of Buddhist scriptures including logic, philosophy and medicine. He also received Tantric and Dzogchen transmissions and teachings from the leading masters of the day. He completed his studies at Derge Gonchen whilst still in his teens. By the end of the 1950s he had already acquired a notable reputation for his knowledge of Tibetan culture and Buddhism.
In 1960, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was invited to do research in Italy by Professor Giuseppe Tucci. Tucci was a leading Tibetologist and founder of ISMEO (Instituto per L'Africa e L'Oriente), the major Institute of Asian Studies in Italy. Subsequently, from 1962 until 1992, as Professor of Tibetan and Mongolian Studies, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu taught and carried out research at the University of Naples L’Orientale.
Here he focused his research on the early history of Tibet and the origins of Tibetan culture. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is the author of many influential and profound works on Tibetan history and culture, a number of which have been translated into English: The Light of Kailash, Necklace of Gzi, Journey Among the Tibetan Nomads and Drung Deu Bon. These works reveal his commitment and determination to keep the extraordinary cultural heritage of Tibet alive and fully accessible. He has also written numerous works on Dzogchen.
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu also founded a non-profit organization called A.S.I.A. (Association for International Solidarity in Asia), which operates and/or has operated in Tibet, China, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Mongolia, Bhutan e Sri Lanka and is dedicated to serving the local people in the areas of education, health, training, disaster relief and sustainable economic development.
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu received many awards and honors, both in his homeland and abroad, for his vast cultural activities and his untiring social commitment. One that deserves special mention is the Commander Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy conferred on him by President Sergio Mattarella in 2018.
Chögyal Namkhai published works (several of of these publications have been translated into English, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and many other languages) :
Key for Consulting the Tibetan Calendar
The Light of Kailash (in 3 volumes)
The Necklace of Gzi
The Practice of Tibetan Massage Ku Nye
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