Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is the founder of the International Dzogchen Community, which exists in more than thirty countries and comprises those people interested in following the Dzogchen teachings as taught by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. There are two main centers (or ‘Gars’) of the Dzogchen Community in North America: Tsegyal Gar East in Conway, Massachusetts and Tsegyal Gar West in Baja, Mexico. Other main ‘Gars’ (literally meaning “dwellings”) exist on five continents, and a large number of smaller centers (or ‘Lings’) exist all over the world, including Kundrolling in New York City and Dondrubling in Berkeley, California. The aim of the Gars and Lings is to serve as a focus for Community activities and to enable practitioners to deepen their knowledge of the teachings. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu has also established two other international organizations that work closely with the Dzogchen Community: A.S.I.A. and the Shang Shung Institute. A.S.I.A. (Association for International Solidarity in Asia) is an NGO that operates in Tibet and is dedicated to serving the Tibetan people in the sectors of education, health, training, disaster relief, and sustainable economic development. The International Shang Shung Institute is a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan heritage and culture. Both organizations have affiliate branches in Conway, Massachusetts.
The name of Tsegyalgar means, “Victorious Peak (of Pure and Total Presence).” It was the second of what are now eleven Dzogchen Community ‘Gars’ or centers worldwide. Tsegyalgar later came to signify the Dzogchen Community of North America; Chögyal Namkhai Norbu established Tsegyalgar West in Baja California, Mexico, and the community in Conway became Tsegyalgar East.
In the last few years, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu has dedicated a long time collecting and transcribing modern Tibetan songs, and encouraged us to learn modern Tibetan dance choreographies as well as creating new ones. Written by young Tibetan songwriters, with love for their own country, these songs and dances are a joyful way to celebrate the Tibetan cultural heritage, which is today under risk of extinction. In addition to supporting Tibetan culture, through these activities the people of the Dzogchen Community have discovered a pleasant way of spending time together, dissolving tensions and calming the mind.
Yantra Yoga, the Tibetan Yoga of Movement, is one of the oldest recorded systems of yoga in the world. Its unique series of positions and movements, combined with conscious breathing, can help coordinate and harmonize one’s energy so that the mind can relax and find its authentic balance. Yantra Yoga uses a sequence that consists of seven phases of movement connected with seven phases of breathing. Many positions used in Yantra Yoga are similar to those of Hatha Yoga, but the way to assume and apply them differs. While today’s Yantra Yoga practitioner does not necessarily need to follow a particular spiritual path, anyone can practice without limitation. This rich method is connected with the essence of the Dzogchen Teachings, and for millennia it has been taught for the purpose of finding the true natural state.
Located in Conway, Massachusetts, the Shang Shung Institute of America was founded in 1994 by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Its achievements include: an extensive library of educational resources on Tibetan culture, an onsite and online bookstore including materials on Tibetan culture and the Dzogchen Teachings of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, and many public programs and courses on Tibetan Culture & Art. The most extensive project of the American branch to date is a Tibetan Medicine School that is the first in the West to offer a four-year curriculum equivalent to traditional Tibetan medical schools in Tibet and India. http://www.shangshung.org
The International Shang Shung Institute is a non-profit, non-political heritage organization dedicated to the preservation and study of Tibetan culture with branches in Italy, Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Austria, and The Netherlands. The Institute was founded in 1989 by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and inaugurated in 1990 by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. It is active in the fields of Arts and Culture, Translation and Language Programs, Publications, Archiving, Tibetan Medicine, Buddhist Studies and Academic Research. www.shangshunginstitute.org
Founded in Italy in 1988 by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, A.S.I.A. (Association for International Solidarity in Asia), operates in Tibet and is dedicated to serving the Tibetan people in the sectors of education, health, training, disaster relief, and sustainable economic development. ASIA is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) officially recognized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It signed a partnership agreement with the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission (ECHO), and formally became a Non-profit Social Organization in 1998. A.S.IA. operates in support of the preservation of the identity and historical heritage of the peoples of Asia, with particular attention to Tibet and the Himalayan region, and promotes sustainable development processes centered on local communities with their own human, cultural, and environmental resources. www.asia-ngo.org
The Khandroling Paper Cooperative is a Dzogchen Community based project approved by our Master, Choegyal Namkahi Norbu that seeks to create handmade paper from native fibers and recycled sacred texts including The Mirror, International Newspaper of the Dzogchen Community. The purpose of the cooperative is to provide revenue to community projects such as The Mirror, Khandroling Development and low-income member practitioners who sell their handmade paper products. The cooperative also seeks to create a bridge for local people to connect to the Dzogchen teachings and Tibetan arts through public educational workshops and information about Khandroling's sustainable practices as they develop in the future.