My First 100 days as Director of International Shang Shung Foundation

shang shung foundation meeting


I was quite surprised when I received a letter from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in which he asked me to become the new Principal Director of the International Shang Shung Foundation, after the very sad passing away of the former Director of the SSF, Enrico Dell’Angelo. After some days of reflecting on this request, and speaking with my family and Vajra brothers, I replied to Rinpoche saying that I felt very honored by his trust in me and that I would do my very best to fulfill the vision of our Master.

In the beginning I was somewhat overwhelmed by everything, as I actually did not know the wide field of all my responsibilities. There are several branches of the Shang Shung Institute under the umbrella of the International Shang Shung Foundation which I have been put in charge of coordinating: in Italy, in the USA, in London, in Russia, in Argentina, in Australia, in the Netherlands, and also in Austria.

As I have been the Director of the Shang Shung Institute of Austria for the last 17 years, I already knew many of the people collaborating with the various Institutes, but I did not know about the different aspects and details of all these international bodies. In the beginning I thought: “Wow, what a job, I don’t know anything … how can I manage this enormous responsibility and task?”

But then I had a dream in which I received some information about how I could do my new job. It became clear to me that my way of acting should be based on four principles:

  • on respect and trust,
  • on transparency,
  • on precise and intensive communication,
  • and on diligence.

So since then I have followed these principles in my work.

First of all, I had several Skype meetings with the Board of Directors of the International SSF, and with the specific people responsible for SSF Italy and in the USA. Then I went to Merigar in Italy for one week, where I had several meetings every day regarding the main areas of activity that take place in Italy, including Shang Shung Publications, managing the Archive & Library, IT, etc. By having many intensive discussions with all the people already collaborating with the SSF, by the end I had a good understanding of the present situation and an idea for the best way forward.

A few weeks later I went to Dzamling Gar, Tenerife. I understood that for several reasons, no legal base for the SSF had yet been established in Tenerife. So again I had many meetings, first of all with Rinpoche, but also with many of the different people who were involved in Dzamling Gar and the wider community. Together we worked on a plan regarding how to create a legal base for the SSF in Tenerife and we also worked on a plan of action for the future.

After returning to Austria, I had several Skype meetings with the International Gakyil about a good and fruitful collaboration, as well as many Skype meetings with Italy, UK and the USA.

There weeks later I returned again to Tenerife, and after having made a precise proposal for setting up a legal base for the SSF in Tenerife as well as a precise plan of activities starting in 2018, I finally met with Rinpoche and he approved all our suggestions and proposals.

So now this situation is in the hands of our lawyer, who will work out all the formal details for the new Shang Shung Foundation located in Tenerife and in the very near future Rinpoche will be able to sign all the official papers making it an official legal entity.

I am often asked “What is the relationship between the International Dzogchen Community and the Shang Shung Foundation?”. Well as you know, the founder of the IDC, of SSF as well of ASIA is Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. That mean the origin, the root, is just ONE. Each of these organizations works in different fields, but we all follow the principles of the Dzogchen Community taught by Rinpoche: all our work is based on three principles:

  • on presence & awareness, which means not creating more confusion or problems.
  • on the understanding of the Teachings and not on mere fantasies.
  • on dedication to the Master and the Teachings, rather than on egocentric desires.

We all understand our extraordinarily fortunate situation of having met our Master, who has been tirelessly transmitting the most direct and highest teachings for total realization, for many decades now. We all just follow one aim: to apply the Teachings to the best of our ability and to work together to put into action the vison of our Master.

I want to express my gratitude to the Board of Directors of the International SSF: Yuchen Namkhai, Julia Lawless and Kirill Shilov, for their wise support and excellent collaboration; to the International Gakyil: Mark Farrington, Roberto Zamparo and Libor Maly, for the collaborative meetings and talks that we have had; to Gaetano Ruvolo and Ilaria Faccioli from Merigar and Dzamling Gar respectively, for their wonderful and very fruitful collaboration; to Elio Guarisco for the many clarifying talks and discussions we had; to the four international teachers of the IDC : Adriana, Fabio, Laura, and Prima, for their support and help; and finally to all collaborators of the SSF who are working in different fields of responsibilities for their very warm welcome and for their excellent work that they are doing for the SSF and DC.

I would like to invite you all to come to Merigar at the end of June 2017.

There will be a retreat with Rinpoche from June 30th to July 4th.

On July 5th, the AGM of the DC Merigar in the presence of our Master and hopefully with many members of the IDC, will be held.

On July 6th, we will hold the first “ALL HANDS MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL SSF” again in the presence of our Master, where all information about the recent developments of the international SSF will be presented and where various teams can work on new ideas and suggestions for the future.

Please become a part of our activities and collaborate with the SSF in an active way.

Thank you for all your participation,

Best wishes,

Oliver Leick
Principal Director of the International Shang Shung Foundation
May 2017


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