Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: “I realised that the Dzogchen Teaching was a vast body of knowledge that could help us live our condition, as human beings, better, beyond any cultural context, allowing for a natural, spiritual and social evolution”.
Dzogchen Atiyoga Teaching (Atiyoga which means “total perfection” in Sanskrit), is aimed at the inner evolution of the individual. Entering the dimension of this teaching, individuals are encouraged to open their minds and expand within themselves a wider and more positive vision of the world. “Total perfection” is the natural condition of each of us and, if recognized naturally, leads to a compassionate and non-violent life. The natural results of the practice of this path are a spontaneous respect for others and a more generous and joyful existence.
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu understood the importance of Dzogchen teaching for the West, where the search for tools to help people live peaceful and relaxed lives is of the utmost concern. In order to maintain intact the original source of Dzogchen Ati Yoga, he did his best to preserve Tibetan language and the numerous unique aspects of Tibetan culture. For Namkhai Norbu, who studied with great masters from an early age, respecting the teaching’s transmission and lineage was always of primary importance, at the same time adapting it to today’s circumstances and ways of seeing so that it might be accessible to an ever-growing number of people. With this intention, he developed a rigorous but deeply innovative method aimed at transmitting the essential knowledge of Dzogchen in effective and useful ways for those living in the modern world, maturing a system of philosophical, ethical, and psychological knowledge which is an invaluable heritage for mankind. In the course of recent years the fruit of his vision as a master of wisdom culminated in a corpusof teachings, a work in progress with nine
volumes already published under the general title “The Longsal Cycle.” With the function of contributing to the spiritual and personal growth of each individual, these volumes are also intended concretely to help people face the particular contingencies of our world and the changes imposed by our society. As Professor of Tibetan and Mongolian language and literature at the University Institute of Oriental Studies in Naples, Italy, Namkhai Norbu carried out long and patient research into the language, culture, and civilization of Tibet, which continued after his retirement from his academic activities. He also studied the history of the Tibetan civilization previous to the spread of Buddhism in Tibet, proposing an innovative interpretation of the official history of his country which recognizes the value – for a long time virtually unknown – of pre-Buddhist religions. The results of his research have aroused much interest in national and international academic circles.
In order to make the numerous unique aspects of Tibetan culture available Master Namkhai Norbu created a school of specialised scholars and translators who contribute to the development and diffusion of studies on Tibetan culture academically. The historical importance of Master Namkhai Norbu’s commitment is to safeguard the identity of a unique and precious civilisation at risk of extinction, through preserving the paths of language, culture, and arts. The Master ensured the continuation of their historical and cultural heritage for young Tibetans. For instance, in 1988, in Beijing, at the University of National Minorities, he held a course on the ancient history of Tibet, in an effort to avoid the risk that a generation of young Tibetans might no longer be able to learn their own language and traditions.
The Master had a particular interest in safeguarding the collection of popular songs and dances, both traditional and modern, which he amassed, studied, selected and choreographed together with his students, aware that this process might contribute in keeping the love for the culture and the awareness of their own identity alive within the Tibetan people. Such songs and dances convey universal messages of joy, respect, tolerance, and peace. In 2016 they have obtained the recognition of UNESCO as a Treasure of World Heritage of Mankind.
For many years Namkhai Norbu promoted a number of humanitarian activities. He contributed to the social and cultural development of his country and of other populations, not only Asian, operating through the non-governmental organization (NGO) ASIA (Association for International Solidarity in Asia), an
association that works in collaboration with local authorities in various social contexts.
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche was president of:
1981 CAIDC (Cultural Association International Dzogchen
1988 ASIA (Association for International Solidarity in Asia – Rome,
1990 SSF ( Shang Shung Foundation – Italy, Austria, United
States, Russia, Australia)
2015 IDC (International Dzogchen Community)
Dzogchen. The Self-Perfected State, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, New York, 1989.
The Crystal and the Way of Light: Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen, Penguin Books, 1993.
The Mirror – Advice on Presence and Awareness, Shang Shung Editions, Arcidosso, 1983.
Yantra Yoga: the Tibetan Yoga of Movement, Snow Lion Publications, 2008.