The International Shang Shung Institute was founded in 1989 by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and inaugurated in 1990 by H.H. the Dalai Lama. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, Professor of Tibetan and Mongolian Language and Literature at the University of Naples L’Orientale from 1962 to 1992, has dedicated his academic career to research into Tibetan culture. He has published numerous works, particularly on the origins of Tibetan culture and the ancient kingdom of Shang Shung. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is also a well known teacher of Dzogchen and is the founder and head of the International Dzogchen Community.
The extraordinary culture of Tibet has been transmitted from generation to generation for more than 3000 years and is one of the great treasures of human civilisation. Today there is a real danger that this unique treasure may be lost. Therefore, the Shang Shung Institute promotes the knowledge of Tibetan culture in all of its aspects; religious, philosophical, artistic, historical and social in order to safeguard it and contribute to its preservation.
One of the main activities of the Institute is the work of translating original Tibetan texts into the major Western languages. The Institute also organises courses, study seminars, conferences and exhibitions. It coordinates the publication of numerous books and texts, maintains a modern multimedia documentation centre, and offers study grants to worthy young Tibetans.
The central office of the International Shang Shung Institute is at Merigar West in Italy, with other offices in Austria, Russia, the United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina and the United States. Over the years the Institute has collaborated with several universities, foundations and museums, and contributed to increasing people’s interest in Tibetan culture all over the world. The Institute is active in four main areas: Archives and Multimedia; Culture and Events; Traditional Tibetan Medicine; Studies and Research on Tibetan Language.
Shang Shung Publications (formerly Shang Shung Edizioni) was founded in Italy in 1983 with the mission of publishing the teachings of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and of other masters belonging to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. In 2006 the publishing house merged with the International Shang Shung Institute for Tibetan Studies.
The editorial activity covers both the translation of Tibetan texts by qualified translators, ensuring precise correspondence to the original meaning, and the transcription and translation of oral teachings given by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in the international centers of the Dzogchen Community and elsewhere. This activity produces publications of great interest for both Dharma practitioners and the general public, along with a series of texts dedicated to the specific methods of Dzogchen, meant only for practitioners.