Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
The International Shang Shung Institute was founded in 1989 by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and inaugurated in 1990 by H.H. the Dalai Lama. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, Professor of Tibetan and Mongolian Language and Literature at the University of Naples L’Orientale from 1962 to 1992, has dedicated his academic career to research into Tibetan culture. He has published numerous works, particularly on the origins of Tibetan culture and the ancient kingdom of Shang Shung. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is 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) at an early age, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is 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 many Tantric and Dzogchen transmissions and teachings from many of 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), one of the major Institutes 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 has also founded a non-profit organization called A.S.I.A. (Association for International Solidarity in Asia), which operates in Tibet and China and is dedicated to serving the Tibetan people in the areas of education, health, training, disaster relief and sustainable economic development.