Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: Compassion, Culture and Understanding

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: “Our natural condition is self-perfected from the very beginning. What is necessary is that we reawaken and remain in our true nature”.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: Compassion, Culture and Understanding

“Someone who begins to develop an interest in the teachings can tend to distance themselves from the reality of material things, as if the teachings were something completely apart from daily life. Often, at the bottom of all this, there is an attitude of giving up and running away from one’s own problems, with the illusion that one will be able to find something that will miraculously help one to transcend all that. But the teachings are based on the principle of our actual human condition. We have a physical body with all its various limits: each day we have to eat, work, rest, and so on. This is our reality, and we can’t ignore it.

The Dzogchen teachings are neither a philosophy, nor a religious doctrine, nor a cultural tradition. Understanding the message of the teachings means discovering one’s own true condition, stripped of all the self-deceptions and falsifications which the mind creates. The very meaning of the Tibetan term Dzogchen, Great Perfection, refers to the true primordial state of every individual and not to any transcendent reality.

Many spiritual paths have as their basis the principle of compassion, of benefiting others. In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, for example, compassion is one of the fundamental points of the practice, together with the knowledge of the true nature of phenomena, or voidness. Sometimes, however, compassion can become something constructed and provisional, because we don’t understand the real principle of it. A genuine, not artificial, compassion, can only arise after we have discovered our own condition. Observing our own limits, our conditioning, our conflicts and so on, we can become truly conscious of the suffering of others, and then our own experience becomes a basis or model for being able to better understand and help those around us.

The only source of every kind of benefit for others is awareness of our own condition. When we know how to help ourselves and how to work with our situation we can really benefit others, and our feeling of compassion will arise spontaneously, without the need for us to hold ourselves to the rules of behaviour of any given religious doctrine. Continue reading »

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: The Importance of Being Present

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: “The principle of the Dzogchen teaching is, that is, being forever in the state of the contemplation, in our real nature”.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: The Importance of Being Present

After finishing Ati guruyoga what should you do? We do not have any kind of rule that says, “In the Dzogchen teaching you should do this or that”. Dzogchen teaching is beyond rules.

In the Dzogchen teaching the rule is that you are present. You are not distracted. This is what you should learn. This is the second most important thing in the Dzogchen teaching. Continue reading »

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: Santi Maha Sangha

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: Buddha taught that suffering is an effect and has its cause, if you discover the cause and work with cause, there is the possibility to overcome.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: Santi Maha Sangha 


Good evening everybody. This is the first day of the Santi Maha Sangha training, but today everybody is participating. I am only giving an introduction, not a particular teaching of Santi Maha Sangha. This is also the Day of the Dakini, so we also need to do a Ganapuja. Before we do a Ganapuja, I want to introduce what doing a retreat of Santi Maha Sangha means.

Many of you don’t know what Santi Maha Sangha is. Why do many people want to do Santi Maha Sangha? Many people say it is because they want to be a teacher. Continue reading »

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: The 27 Commitments

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: I will not only keep these commitments only for a few days, but until I have total realization relationships with people, relationships with students, will always exist, so I will keep them.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: The 27 Commitments

Namgyalgar, Third Level Training, March 31, 2000

Now I have to say something about my personal commitments. It is very important that my students, particularly in Santi Maha Sangha, know this principle. This principle is not only something I write down to say, “This is my commitment”. I apply them. I wrote these commitments when I started to teach Dzogchen. In the beginning I taught Buddhist teaching in general, also Tantrism, and information in the University. Also ISMEO (Istituto Studi Medio Estremo Oriente) sometimes organized some kind of public lectures. Those subjects were no problem.

Then, later, many people asked me to teach Dzogchen teaching. So in this case, teaching means I am showing the path, and students apply and follow, and they try to have realization. So that is not only for my students, but for myself also. I am still in the human dimension. I am in samsara just like you. There is not much difference. Maybe I have a little more experience of Dzogchen teaching and knowledge. That is true. But we are all in samsara. So we need realization. To have realization we need the path. We need to apply the path, follow the path, in the correct way. Otherwise we could not have realization. So then when I am going to teach someone, “to teach,” means I am working with transmission, working with my path, which is what I am following. Continue reading »

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: Man, Medicine, and Society

Namkha Norbu: “The best thing is for the individuals to become a little bit aware about their own existence, which includes body, speech, and mind.”

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: Man, Medicine, and Society

You may have noticed that on the poster for our conference there is a figure that may look like either a man or a woman. It depicts Yuthog Yönten Gönpo the Elder, one of the most famous and important Tibetan doctors of the past, who we think lived towards the end of the seventh century CE. Tibetans consider this doctor a Master. I have personally met many masters, spiritual masters, that is. For instance, I spent five or six years in a college where we studied mainly Buddhist philosophy, but the master of our college was a great doctor under whom I studied for the first time the famous Four Tantras of Tibetan medicine.

Later on, I was on the border between China and Eastern Tibet, where I met another teacher who was very famous as a spiritual master, and not so much as a doctor, but who was, in truth, also a great doctor. I studied under him the Four Medical Tantras again. Lastly, I met the man who was for me one of the most important spiritual teachers. Continue reading »

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: What is integration?

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: So, first of all, we need to understand the basis and work with it very well.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: What is integration?

What does ‘direct introduction’ mean? It does not mean reading a book or making a commentary on a book by Garab Dorje or a text like a Tantra. It means touching something as if you were being burnt. This must be understood. Especially people who already know and have followed the teaching may feel, “I am an old practitioner”. You really must observe a little what ‘old’ means in this case. Each of you should observe your own practice. How do you feel when you meet someone who may be unpleasant or disturbing? Do you really have the capacity to integrate this feeling? Do you feel the same when you meet a person you love very much, such as friends, and when you meet someone unpleasant? If, through distraction, you hate or get angry, but with presence are immediately able to liberate this feeling, it means that you are practitioners and that practice is something living in yourselves. It is not so difficult to understand that the function of the teaching is something concrete. Continue reading »

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: Physical Body and Mind

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: When we observe ourselves, we can discover how many limitations we have, how these limitations create many problems, and we can free ourselves from those problems.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: Relationship Between Physical Body and Mind

I am very happy to be here with all of you. This is the first time I have been in this place. In general most of the time I live in Tenerife. My origin is Tibetan and I received all my education when I was in Tibet. When I was 20 years old I came to India and two years later I was invited by the famous Tibetologist, Giuseppe Tucci, to Italy, and worked at the university in Italy for many years. As you know, for many centuries Tibet remained isolated and for that reason ancient spiritual knowledge and many ancient sciences have remained as they were up to this moment. Continue reading »

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu on Bodhicitta

His Holiness the Dalai Lama con Chögyal Namkhai Norbu: “If the teachings are being explained intellectually, that which is being communicated is not intellectual.”

No one will be realized or enlightened just by studying the concepts of the mind. One has to find oneself in the state of knowledge, and really make this knowledge concrete. Buddha said, “I have found a knowledge that is very profound and very enlightened, a very peaceful state, beyond all concepts. And when I communicate this to others they do not understand”. This is knowledge, not something that is analyzed on the level of logic. I am not saying that logical terms have no use but it depends.

From the beginning, Dzogchen teachings have been explained in many ways by the masters. There are intellectual ways and then the symbolic way, which is connected with the tantric style. There is also the direct method: from knowledge directly to knowledge. This is what is called the transmission of the knowledge of realized beings.

It is essential to understand that even if the teachings are being explained intellectually, that which is being communicated is not intellectual. And if you do not succeed in transmitting this knowledge, everything just becomes dry words. Many people have a kind of conviction that they have some kind of knowledge. When I met my Master Changchub Dorje, I was really convinced that I had a lot of knowledge, especially of the Buddhist teachings. I did not think of myself as someone who was very stupid. When I met my Master for the first time, I had a lot of pride, because when my Master was teaching he was speaking to people who were not very educated. I was a bit blown up and thought, well, I know the sutras, the tantras and Buddhist philosophy. I really believed this was the meaning of the teachings.

Many people have this kind of attitude and think that they really do know something. But you have to understand what knowledge means. A good example of this was when Manjushrimitra met Garab Dorje. Manjushrimitra was one of the greatest scholars of that period in India and the principal guide of the Yogācāra school. He was considered the supreme Pandit. Continue reading »