The Archive, the Library and Shang Shung Publications

Three Precious Assets of the Dzogchen Community to Manage and Enhance

In recent months, many people have asked us for information about three important assets of the Dzogchen Community: the Archive, the Library and the publishing house. We are happy to update all those who are interested on what has been done and of the guidelines established in 2019-2020, a fairly complex period both for the passing of our Master and for the effects of the Covid pandemic.

The Archive of the Dzogchen Community: a huge collection of important and precious documents and data, mainly digital (87 TB), to be reorganized and enhanced.

In 2019 we set up a small working group (with Mirella D., Carla G., Giorgio D., Gianni T.) to clarify the composition of the contents of the Archive and make a general plan for its reorganization. In particular, with the few resources available in 2019, in about six months the most important thing was done: identifying and separating all the precious teachings of the Master.

archive library publicationsSubsequently there were meetings with the heirs of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu who very kindly gave us some suggestions and, above all, important and necessary information and authorization on how to make the Archive usable and managed in the future.

In the coming weeks, the Archive will be handed over to Merigar, which, in the meantime, has already prepared a plan to carry out important reorganization and management interventions in 2021. Obviously we hope that all of us in the Community will support Merigar in this important and delicate task that the Gar has agreed to carry on. In fact, the Archive, as requested by many, will also have to be strengthened from the hardware point of view. The Archive will therefore be available for use as soon as possible for those who request it. In particular, the Archive of the teachings transmitted by Master Namkhai Norbu is going to be organized for use, study, and research and not for profit.

Pending the implementation of the reorganization plan, the Archive up to now has been made available for Gars, Lings and those practitioners who have requested it for particular reasons, thanks to the use of small resources from SSF/SSP. In recent months and until January 2021, this has been made possible also thanks to financial support received from the International Dzogchen Community (IDC).

 Library: an important collection of rare texts, one of a kind.

The management of the library of the Dzogchen Community was entrusted to Merigar as early as the end of 2018. Thanks to initiatives wisely planned by Merigar in that area and to the dedication of the librarian, the Library is now visited every year by hundreds of people from outside the Community.

Both of these documentary heritages (with the exception of the teachings of the Master) are part of the Archive declared of particular historical interest by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage.

archive library publicationsThe Archive and Library together consist of: 64 manuscripts, 2,361 Tibetan dpe-cha, 2,220 audio and 4,000 video recordings on physical support, 5,411 b/w and color negatives, 1072 color slides, 8,223 color and b/w prints, 1,107 photos on several formats, 153 postcards, 82 drawings, 289 b/w gelatin silver prints, 408 contact sheets and a Server memory containing 40,740 image files, 13,361 audio files and 4,804 video files.

The Superintendency of Tuscany has already been informed that these assets will pass from Shang Shung Foundation to Merigar West by the end of this year.

Shang Shung Publications (SSP): the Dzogchen Community publishing house that wants to make the Master’s texts known even outside the Community

The Shang Shung publishing house was founded in 1983 at the request of the Master.

Its original aims were similar to those it pursues today: translation, compilation and publication of texts related to the teachings of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu with topics ranging from Dzogchen to Buddhism, Yantra Yoga, spiritual and traditional dances, Tibetan culture and traditional medicine, in the form of translations, commentaries, practice texts, teaching transcriptions, as well as study materials in audio and video format. The publications are enriched with books and multimedia products on similar subjects also by other authors.

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was the first master that transmitted the Dzogchen teaching in the West in its original form comprising Semde, Longde and Upadesha, gaining a first-hand experience and knowledge that he developed during more than 40 years of activity. For this reason his pure Dzogchen teaching should be preserved precisely through accurate translations and transcriptions that reflect his real unique knowledge and realization. From 1983 until today the Shang Shung publishing house has developed the capacity to produce faithful translations of the writings of our Master, including his Longsal Cycle, and original Dzogchen texts, thanks above all to the tireless work of Adriano Clemente and Elio Guarisco, strongly supported by the Ka-Ter project managed by Oliver Leick, but also thanks to the activity of the many transcribers, editors, graphic designers, layout people, staff, managers and collaborators who, in the course of time, have offered their work, very often for free.

Of course this great achievement has been possible only through the permanent encouragement of Rinpoche and the generous support of the readers who have bought our products and offered precious donations. A publishing house that is based mainly on restricted products for practitioners cannot survive only on sales. The huge work backing our books can be guaranteed only through the active participation and collaboration of all Dzogchen Community members.

Shang Shung Publications is an essential asset and heritage of the Dzogchen Community that is carrying out an indispensable service for all those who are seriously interested in the teaching transmitted by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Today we have the important task to make his wisdom more known to the general public by increasing open publications through modern media such as ebooks, audio/video tutorials, social networks presentations and so on.

We are very grateful to all readers who are aware of the demanding purpose of our activity and sustain it with their trust and appreciation.

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In the last period (2019-2020) Shang Shung  activities have been reorganized. In 2019 particular attention was paid to cost control and creating more effective internal organization. In fact, until January 2020, sales were quite good and costs were sustainable. Unfortunately, following the spread of Covid, things have changed. In particular, the reduced possibility for people to move and participate in retreats and courses has enormously influenced substantial direct sales that used to normally take place during these events.

However, we are moving forward with the reorganization plan and the publishing house, as expected, will remain in the non-profit sector, but will also take on some aspects of commercial enterprises, so as to be able to operate more effectively on the market. This type of enterprise is called a limited liability non-profit social enterprise. This is possible because we carry out a social task. We are preparing an action plan for 2021 that will be presented in January 2021.

In any case, we can confirm that we will continue to guarantee as always our commitment in the translation, publication and distribution of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu’s important texts restricted to members of the Dzogchen Community but, at the same time, we will try to launch projects for an appropriate divulgation of non-restricted Dzogchen and open texts to the public outside the Community.

In particular we are trying to develop a working scheme on social networks in order to be able to correctly give information about the heritage of the existing texts of Namkhai Norbu, Dzogchen Master and Professor.

We hope this will be possible in collaboration with all the departments of the Atiyoga Foundation so as to put into operation all the existing but still unexpressed synergies between the editorial function of Shang Shung and all the multiple disciplines and activities of the Dzogchen Community: Yantra Yoga, Dance, Khaita, Medicine, Astrology, Art, Teachings, Archive, Museum, Asia.

archive library publications

Information about Shang Shung Foundation

We also want to inform you that in these days we have arranged for the dissolution of the Shang Shung Foundation. This has been possible thanks to the fact that in recent years most of the functions and coordination of the multiple activities of the Community have now been positively assumed by the Atiyoga Foundation (ATIF), the umbrella strongly desired by our Master for the Dzogchen Community. In addition, the passage of the Archive and Library to Merigar has been implemented and finally, in these days, the publishing house has been established in the form of a non-profit social enterprise.

For more information please write to:

The Shang Shung Publications Team


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