An eminent scholar of Tibetan culture and a master of life, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is 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.
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.
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 passed away peacefully in his residence ‘Gadeling' at Merigar in Italy on September 2018.