By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 1: The founder of the community of Merigar and one of Dzogchen lineage’s leading master, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, has passed away at Merigar West Buddhist Center in Arcidisso, Italy on Friday. He was 79 years old.
One of the pioneer Buddhist masters who contributed significantly to introducing the religion in the west was recently awarded Italy’s highest recognition, "Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic".
In a ceremony held at Council Chamber of the City of Acridosso on September 11, the Prefect of Grosseto, Cinzia Torraco, on behalf of the President of the Italian Republic presented Prof Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche the award.
The Buddhist master was recognised for his contribution in the field of letters, arts, economy and in the engagement of public offices and activities carried out for social, philanthropic and humanitarian purposes.
He was born in 1938 in Tibet, and was recognized as an emanation of Dzogchen teacher Adzom Drugpa and Buddhist lama Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Before coming into exile, he studied under various prominent teachers.
A professor of Tibetan Language and Literature at the Institute Universitario Orientale in Naples, he has authored many books on history, Tibetan medicine, astrology and Bon religion.
Through his dedicated pursuits in the last few decades, he established Dzogchen communities in Italy, the United States, South America, Australia and Russia as well as the International Shang-Shung Institute to preserve the cultural traditions of Tibet.
The Merigar Gakyil has requested not to disturb the Thugdam (Samadhi) state of Rinpochhe, a phase that lasts from 3 to 7 days.