Discover/Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, one of the world's few living Dzogchen masters, was born in Derge, eastern Tibet, in 1938. At the age of two he was recognised as the reincarnation of the Dzogchen master Adzom Drugpa by Palyul Karma Yangsid and Shechen Rabjam. When he was three years old, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa recognised him as the mind reincarnation of Ngawang Namgyal.
In his early years Chögyal Namkhai Norbu studied at Derge Gonchen monastery, and at the age of nine entered a Sakya college where he studied Buddhist philosophy for many years with Khyenrab Chökyi Wözer. He received numerous Vajrayana and Dzogchen transmissions and teachings from important masters including his paternal uncle Togden Ugyen Tenzin (who achieved the rainbow body), his maternal uncle Khyentse Rinpoche Chökyi Wangchug, Drubwang Rinpoche Kunga Palden, Negyab Chogtrul Rinpoche, Drugse Gyurmed Dorje and Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö. In 1951, he also received teachings from Ayu Khandro Dorje Paldrön, a highly accomplished yogini who spent over fifty years in dark retreat and was a disciple of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.
Rinpoche met his root teacher, Rigdzin Changchub Dorje, in 1955 and stayed at his residence in Khamdogar for six months. From Changchub Dorje he received the authentic transmission of Dzogchen and realised the essence of the teaching as one state of knowledge beyond all limitations. This realisation has remained a characteristic feature of his way of teaching throughout his life.
After spending several years in Sikkim working as an author and chief editor of Tibetan textbooks for the Development Office of the local government, in 1959 he accepted an invitation to work with noted Tibetologist Giuseppe Tucci, co-founder of the Italian Institute for the Middle and Extreme Orient, ISMEO, in Rome, Italy. In 1962 he took a post in Naples at the Istituto Universitario Orientale, where he taught Tibetan language and literature until 1992.
From the time of his arrival in Italy, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu focused his research mainly on the ancient history of Tibet, investigating thoroughly the indigenous Bön tradition. His books, which include works on Dzogchen, history, medicine, astrology, Bön and folk traditions, are evidence of his profound knowledge of Tibetan culture and his commitment to preserve this ancient cultural heritage. They have been acclaimed and appreciated by scholars and general readers all over the world.
In 1971 Chögyal Namkhai Norbu began to teach Yantra Yoga, an ancient form of Tibetan Yoga combining movement, breathing and visualisation. A few years later he started to give Dzogchen teachings to a small group of Italian students with whom he founded the Dzogchen Community. At that time Dzogchen was hardly known in the West and he was the first to transmit this teaching in a way that made it accessible to Western students according to the condition of modern society.
As interest in his teachings grew, Rinpoche dedicated himself to spreading the Dzogchen teachings and establishing Gars, seats of the Dzogchen Community, throughout the world. Today there are Gars on almost every continent.