NOTE BIOGRAFICHE DEL PROF. NAMKHAI NORBU (1938-2018)
Sua Eminenza Choying Namgyal, Longchen Rolpai Dorje, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, Re del Dharma, Emanazione della Mente di Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Detentore del Supremo Lignaggio dello Dzogchen, Manifestazione Illuminata della Compassione [1,2], uno dei principali maestri spirituali viventi e massimo rappresentante contemporaneo della Tradizione Dzogchen, nasce a Derge, nel Tibet Orientale, nel 1938.
Da bambino viene riconosciuto come reincarnazione del grande Maestro di Dzogchen Adzom Drugpa (1842-1924) e successivamente S.S. il XVI Karmapa, lo riconosce come la reincarnazione di Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (1594-1651), primo Dharmaraja del Bhutan.
Ancora adolescente completa il rigoroso percorso di studi tradizionale, ricevendo insegnamenti da alcuni dei più grandi maestri spirituali dell’epoca. Mostra straordinarie capacità di apprendimento e completa velocemente gli studi adeguati al suo status.
Nel 1955 incontra Changchub Dorje (1826-1961), il suo principale Maestro di Dzogchen, il cui stile di vita e modo di insegnare lo ispireranno profondamente per sempre.
Dopo avere conseguito due diplomi di laurea in Scienze Filosofiche e Letterarie e in Medicina Tradizionale Tibetana, la sua carriera accademica inizia nel 1955 all’Università per le Minoranze di Chengdu nella Repubblica Popolare Cinese.
Nel 1960, in seguito alla drammatica situazione sociale e politica in Tibet, riesce a trasferirsi in Italia su invito del grande orientalista prof. Giuseppe Tucci, fondatore nel 1933 dell’Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (IsMEO), poi Istituto per l’Africa e l’Oriente (IsIAO), contribuendo a dare un impulso concreto alla diffusione della Cultura Tibetana in Occidente.
In seguito, fino al 1992, insegna Lingua e Letteratura Tibetana e Mongola all’Università di Napoli “L’Orientale”.
I suoi lavori accademici denotano una profonda conoscenza della civiltà tibetana, e una tenace volontà di mantenere vivo e facilmente accessibile lo straordinario patrimonio culturale del Tibet.
Nel 1981 sul Monte Amiata (Arcidosso, GR) fonda Meri-Gar la prima sede della Comunità Dzogchen Internazionale. Sorgono poi centri negli Stati Uniti, in varie parti d’Europa, in America Latina, in Russia e in Australia. Nel 1988 Chögyal Namkhai Norbu fonda l’Associazione per la Solidarietà Internazionale in Asia Onlus (ASIA Onlus), un’organizzazione non governativa impegnata soprattutto in progetti educativi e medico-sanitari rivolti alla popolazione tibetana.
Nel 1989 Chögyal Namkhai Norbu fonda l’Istituto Internazionale Shang Shung per gli Studi Tibetani con il compito di salvaguardare la cultura tibetana promuovendone la conoscenza e la diffusione.
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu ha viaggiato in tutto il mondo tenendo conferenze e ritiri cui partecipano migliaia di persone, insegnando lo Dzogchen e “Armonia nello Spazio”, un particolare metodo di rilassamento attraverso musica e danze da lui stesso studiate e selezionate.
Nel corso degli anni ha curato personalmente la formazione di istruttori di Dzogchen, di Yantra Yoga, di Danza del Vajra e traduttori specializzati.
Glottologo, ricercatore di fama mondiale della Civiltà dello Shang Shung e della Tradizione Tibetana, profondo conoscitore della Medicina Tibetana, il prof. Namkhai Norbu ha scritto centinaia di testi.
Quale ideale seguito della straordinaria Lezione Magistrale “La Medicina Tibetana patrimonio dell’Umanità”, che tenne all’Ateneo Bolognese nel 2010, il prof. Namkhai Norbu l’11 giugno 2014 è stato di nuovo ospite dell’Università di Bologna per illustrare la più importante opera architettonica-iconografica tibetana in Italia e una delle principali in Europa: il “Tempio della Grande Contemplazione di Meri-Gar”, da lui ideato e progettato, ed eretto ad Arcidosso, alle falde del Monte Amiata e inaugurato nel 1990 da S.S. il Dalai Lama.
Il prof. Namkhai Norbu è cittadino italiano dal 1968.
 Roberti di Sarsina P, Colitto A, Risolo FM. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. The Master Who Revealed Dzogchen to the Western World. Religions 2013;4(2):230-239. http://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/4/2/230
 Roberti di Sarsina P. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche: Dzogchen and Tibetan Tradition. From Shang Shung to the West. Religions 2012;3(2):163-182.
H.E. Choying Namgyal, Longchen Rolpai Dorje, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
Transmissions, Lineages, Initiations received
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu from the day of his birth was believed by the local people to be the reincarnation of Adzom Drugpa Drodul Pawo Dorje (1842–1924).
The first one to recognize him as the reincarnation of Adzom Drugpa was his paternal uncle Togden Ugyen Tendzin.
In 1940 at the age of two the reincarnation was officially confirmed by the VI Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche and the Palyul Karma Yangsid Rinpoche.
Reincarnation of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal
In 1941 His Holiness the XVI Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924–1981), His Eminence the XI Tai Situpa Rinpoche Pema Wangchuk Gyalpo (1886–1952) and other lamas, recognized Chögyal Namkhai Norbu as the Mind Reincarnation of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (1594-1651), the first Dharmaraja of Bhutan.
Chögyal means “Dharma Raja” or “Religious King” is a title conferred upon a special class of temporal and spiritual rulers. Master Namkhai Norbu holds this title as an acknowledged reincarnation of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
As Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal was the 18th Abbott of Ralung Monastery, the traditional Seat of the Drukpa Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, thus Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is linked to Ralung Monastery, built in 1180 as the residence of Drogon Tsangpa Gyare Gyalwang Drukpa (1161–1211), the founder of the Drugpa Kagyu Lineage.
Rinpoche (rin po che) means “Precious”, it is used to address or describe Tibetan lamas and other high-ranking or high-respected Masters. This honor is generally bestowed on reincarnated lama (sprul sku tulku), by protocol.
Reincarnation of Jamyang Loter Wangpo
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu at the end of 1945 was recognized as the reincarnation of Jamyang Loter Wangpo by the Sakyapa head-lama Ngagwang Thutob Wangchug.
Trasmissions, Lineages and Initiations received
In his early years Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche was sent by his family to study at important Buddhist monasteries and colleges (Gonchen Monastery, Ohon tyo, Ku Ser Serjong and Zongsar Khamchen in Derghe) where he spent twelve years studying the Five Major Arts or Fields of Knowledge or Five Sciences (Art, Medicine, Grammar, Logic, Inner Meaning) and the Five Minor Arts (Rhetoric, Poetry, Syntax, Drama, Astrology) acquiring a vast and profound knowledge of all of them and excelling in the philosophical, medical, and religious fields.
From Gonchen Monastery of the Sakyapa Lineage, where he studied Buddhist philosophy for many years with Khyenrab Chökyi Odzer, he received a degree.
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in autumn of 1945 went back to his family house, where he received the initiation and instructions of the Longchen Nyingthig from his uncle Togden Ugyen Tendzin who attained the Rainbow Body (1888–1962).
Chögyal Namkhai Norbui in 1947 went to Galenting where he received teachings from both Khyentse Chökyi Wangchug and Drubwang Rinpoche Kunga Palden (1878–1950).
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu did his first dark retreat in 1947.
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in 1948 went to Negyab to receive initiations and Dzogchen teachings from Negyab Rinpoche.
He also did a retreat of the Ngöndzog Gyalpo practice, he passed an exam at the college and he received the Ngöndro of the Longchen Nyingthig.
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in 1949 completed the Ngöndro’s five Bums.
During the summer 1949 he went to Dzogchen Monastery to receive from the Khenpo of that monastery the initiations of the Guhyagarbha Tantra and of the Chöd Dzinpa Randrol.
At the end of the summer he caught an illness, reputedly due to a provocation by a hostile deity called Gyalpo Shugden, and he developed a limp in his left leg.
He then went back to Wontod, where he received the initiation of the Gyudde Kuntu, the Collection of Sadhanas of the Sakyapas.
In 1950 his maternal uncle Khyentse Chökyi Wangchug Rinpoche transmitted to Chögyal Namkhai Norbu an initiation of Guru Tragpo, and after practising his leg healed totally.
Then he went to Gakhog with his uncle and he received various initiations and teachings from Khangsar Khen Rinpoche.
After that, he and his uncle Khyentse Chökyi Wangchug went together to visit the Mahasiddha of Nalung, the Siddha of Chamten and other masters.
From his uncle Khyentse Rinpoche he received also the Konchog Chidu and Guru Tragphur initiations, respectively in Lhadrong monastery and Derge Gonchen.
In the autumn of that year he received the initiation of the Drubthab Kuntu from the college Khenpo.
In 1951 he received from the college Khenpo the initiation of the Ati Sabdon and several other teachings and initiations, thereby beginning the study of the Four Tantras of Medicine and of the Elemental and Zodiacal Astrology according to the Kalachakra System.
In autumn 1951 he received teachings and initiations on the Khadro Sangdu, the Khadro Nyingthig, the Yantig Nagpo and others from the yogini Master Ayu Khandro Dorje Paldrön (1838–1953), a disciple of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Nyala Pema Dündul.
She spent over fifty years in dark retreat and manifested the Rainbow Body.
In the summer of 1952 he received the Lamdre from Khyentse Chökyi Lodro.
In autumn 1952 he started a six-month retreat at Sengchen Namdrag.
In 1953, he received teachings and initiations from Gyurmed Dorje Rinpoche, Adzom Drugpa’s son.
Then he went to see his uncle Khyentse in his retreat cave, where, together with thirty or so other people, all packed in that small cave, he received the Nyingthig Yabzhi.
In the same year he met Kangkar Rinpoche from whom he received instructions on the Six Yogas of Naropa and other Teachings.
From 1954-55 he received from his uncle Khyentse Rinpoche the teachings of Thangyal Nyenchod (a Chod practice linked to the great Shangpa Master Thangtong Gyalpo’s oral transmission) and Lhalung Chagdor (Vajrapani).
Also, with his sister Jamcho, he went to the Dzogchen Monastery to receive the initiation of Tsogchen Dupa and others from Yabghen Ngawang Norbu.
In 1955 he met Rigdzin Changchub Dorje (1826–1961), his main Dzogchen Master, or Root Master, who was also a Tibetan doctor, and stayed at his residence in Khamdogar for six months.
From Changchub Dorje he received the authentic transmission and esperiential knowledge of Dzogchen, of which Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is Lineage Holder.
In 1956 he received initiations from Gala Khenpo, Khen Gonpo and Dzogchen Rinpoche.
In 1956 Chögyal Namkhai Norbu went in pilgrimage to sacred places in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
In 1957 he received teachings on the Chod of Surmang Tradition from Khyache Chodgen.
In autumn 1957, at Tsurphu Monastery, he received teachings and initiations from H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa.
He also received teachings from Dzogchen Ponlob and Polu Khenpo.
In 1958 he received teachings from H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche Yeshe Dorje.
He did a personal retreat at Pema Yangtse Monastery.
At the end of autumn 1958 he went in pilgrimage to India.
In 1959 Chögyal Namkhai Norbu continued to receive teachings and initiations from H.H. the XVI Gyalwa Karmapa.
- Roberti di Sarsina P. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche: Dzogchen and Tibetan Tradition. From Shang Shung to the West. Religions 2012;3(2):163-182.
- Roberti di Sarsina P, Colitto A, Risolo FM. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. The Master Who Revealed Dzogchen to the Western World. Religions 2013;4(2):230-239.
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu received the initiation of Zhang Zhung Menri and other special instructions of Zhang Zhung Nyengyud from the great Master Bonpo Lineage Holder H.H. Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche
- Foreword page 9 of “Insegnamenti Dzogchen Bonpo dallo Yetri Thasel”, Teachings given by Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche in Merigar, 1997. Italian Edition, Editions Le Loup des Steppes, 2021.
As a child he was taught the Dzogchen Sangwa Nyingthig and Longchen Yabshi by Dzogchen Khen Rinpoche and two of his uncles.
From Negyab Chotrul Rinpoche he received the transmissions of the Nyingma Kama, Longsal Dorje Nyingpo and Migyur Dorje’s Namcho.
From Khen Palden Tsultrim Rinpoche he received the transmission of the Sakya Gyude Kundu.
From the ages eight to twelve he studied at the Wonton college of Derge Gonchen monastery under Khyenrab Chokyi Ozer Rinpoche, studying eight texts by Indian masters and the five texts of Maitreya, various tantras and commentaries including the four medical tantras, the Sakya Drubtab Kundu, and astrology.
At the same time, until the age of fourteen, at Kuse Serjong college he studied the Prajnaparamita sutras, Abhisamayalamkara and various tantric texts.
Under the guidance of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche at the Dzongsar monastery he studied the
Sakya Zabcho Lamdre and various tantric texts.
At the Khamdre college he studied logic and Sakya Pandita’s Tsema Rigter with Khen Minyag Damcho.
At Sengchen Namdrag he performed a retreat with his uncle Togdan Urgyen Tenzin, and at that time was able to receive the cycles of Dorje Drolo and Gongpa Zangtal and the Longchen Nyingthig from the son of his former incarnation.
In 1951, he visited the solitary hermit Ayo Khadro Dorje Paldon, said to be a living embodiment of Vajrayogini and 113 years old, and received from her the Khadro Sangdu terma of Jamyang
Khyentse Wangpo, the Khadro Yangthig and Longchen Nyingthig, and also some mind-Termas of her own.
In 1954, as the Chinese occupation of Eastern Tibet was accelerating he was invited to China as a representative of Tibetan youth. He briefly taught Tibetan language at the Southwestern University of Minor Nationalities in Szechuan.
In China he met the lama Gankar Rinpoche from whom he received instruction on the Six Yogas of Naropa, Mahamudra, Konchog Chidu and Tibetan medicine.
He also learnt to speak Chinese and Mongolian.
When he was seventeen he met his root lama, Nyala Rinpoche Rigzin Jangchub Dorje, who lived in the Khadro Gar valley to the east of Derge.
From him he received initiation and transmission of the Semde, Longde and Mengagde teaching of Dzogchen.
After a year he set out on a pilgrimage to Central Tibet, Nepal, India and Bhutan. On his return he decided to leave Tibet for exile, due to the Chinese occupation, and from 1958 to 1960 he was in Gangtok, Sikkim working as author and editor of Tibetan textbooks for the government.
In 1960 he was invited to Italy by Prof G. Tucci and became a research associate at the Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente.
From 1964 he has been a full professor at the Istituto Orientale, University of Naples, teaching Tibetan language and history and Mongolian language. Amongst his research projects has been an investigation of Bonpo literature.
He has guided retreats on Dzogchen in Italy, England, various other European countries and the USA, also teaching Yantra Yoga, medicine and astrology. His students form various ‘Dzogchen Communities’ to help consolidate his teaching. He has published several books in Tibetan, Italian and English.
- A Handbook of Tibetan Culture. A Guide to Tibetan Centres and Resources throught the World. By The Orient Foundation. Edited by Graham Coleman. First published in 1993 by Rider. pages 216-217.