Chögyal Namkhai Norbu (1938-2018)
An eminent scholar of Tibetan culture and a master of life, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was a unique figure in the contemporary spiritual world
Born in Ge'u, in Derge County in 1938, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the great Dzogchen master Adzom Drugpa (1842-1924). As such, he underwent a rigorous traditional education, successfully completing his studies in philosophy and letters at an early age. In 1955 he met and received teachings from his principal master, Changchub Dorje (1863-1961), whose way of life and method of transmitting the knowledge of Dzogchen became an enduring source of profound inspiration for him.
In 1959, when he was invited to Italy by the renowned Italian Tibetologist and Orientalist Giuseppe Tucci, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was already noted as a scholar and spiritual master. He had taught the Tibetan language in Chengdu, China, and for a year had been living in Sikkim, India, where he worked as a writer of essays in Tibetan. Among other offers, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu chose to live in Italy, in particular due to his interest in the important library of Tibetan texts that the Italian scholar had collected over the years.
Thus, barely twenty, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu collaborated with Prof. Giuseppe Tucci on the catalogue of Tibetan texts of the ISMEO (Institute for the Middle and Far East) in Rome, and in 1962 became professor of Tibetan language and literature at the University of Naples “l’Orientale,” where he continued teaching until 1992.
This is how Chögyal Namkhai Norbu came to live in Italy. In 1971 he began teaching Yantra Yoga, and in 1976, on the request of students of various backgrounds and origins, he gave the first teachings on Dzogchen Atiyoga.
For more than 50 years he dedicated his life to introducing this ancient teaching, an authentic heritage of humanity, to thousands of people all over the world.
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 Norbu passed away peacefully in his residence at Gadeling, Arcidosso, Grosseto, Italy, on September 27, 2018.