Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, leader of the International Dzogchen Community, dies at 79

Norbu was a Tibetan master of Dzogchen and taught extensively around the world.

Hal Atwood
28 September 2018
Namkhai Norbu
Namkhai Norbu in 2013. Photo by Корыгин Андрей.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, a respected Dzogchen master, Buddhist scholar, and leader of the International Dzogchen Community, died at Merigar West Buddhist Center in Arcidisso, Italy, at age 79.

The founder of Merigar West, Norbu was recently honored by Italian President Sergio Mattarella for his longstanding dedication to cultivating Buddhism in Italy. He was bestowed the title of Commander in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, the most senior of Italy’s five orders of knighthood, which honors artists, activists, philanthropists, and civil and military servants.

Born in 1938 in Tibet, as a child Norbu was recognized as an emanation of Dzogchen teacher Adzom Drugpa and Buddhist lama Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. When he was 16 years old, he met his principal Dzogchen teacher Rigdzin Changchub Dorje. Norbu taught the Tibetan Buddhist teachings of Dzogchen for more than 50 years.

A professor of Tibetan Language and Literature at the Institute Universitario Orientale in Naples from 1962 to 1992, Norbu was a leading authority on Tibetan culture. He published many books on history, Tibetan medicine, astrology, Bön, and other Tibetan folk traditions.

Norbu was one of the first teachers to bring Dzogchen to the West. Today, the International Dzogchen Community has centers around the world, including the US, Mexico, Australia, Russia, and China.

Hal Atwood

Hal Atwood

Hal is a communications and marketing strategist with a background in multimedia journalism. They have more than five years of experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors assisting with media strategy, campaign activations, sustainability initiatives and employee engagement. By day, they develop research-based purpose strategies to help organizations achieve their growth objectives while serving the needs of their stakeholders. By night, they kickbox (occasionally and badly), enjoy the great outdoors, and brew (surprisingly okay) beer. Hal holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of King’s College, where they helped over-looked voices tell their stories across more than 10 publications. They recently moved from Nova Scotia to PEI with their beautiful partner and their very shy rescue pup.