About Elio Guarisco and Ka-Ter 2020

new publication ka-ter project

Dearest friends and supporters of the Ka-Ter Translation of the Shang Shung Institute Austria,

On the last day of this challenging year I take the opportunity to express my deepest gratitude for your continuous help and support of our activities. Without your precious help we could have never achieved what we have achieved in the last 19 years. On behalf of the translators I simply say THANK YOU.

As you all know, our dearest Elio Guarisco passed away on November 27, 2020. His passing is such a loss not only for the family of Elio, but also for the entire Dzogchen Community.

Here are some words about Elio written by Adriano Clemente:

Although I first met Elio in Merigar in 1984, I only started working closely with him around 2005, during the translation of the Marvelous Bodhicitta tantra under the auspices of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. He was already an experienced translator, having been involved in the Kongtrul’s Encyclopedia of Knowledge and other projects. He had excellent knowledge about the Anuttaratantra tradition, especially related to the Kagyudpa school. From this moment on, we collaborated on many books, and he helped me a lot with preparing draft translations of texts such as The Longsal Divination, The Namkha, Dorje Sempa Namkha Che’s commentary by Shri Simha, and so forth. He had a very humble attitude and a relaxed way of communicating, as a result of which we never had an argument or disagreement.

We were still collaborating on many projects, and planning to start the translation of the Drathal gyur’s commentary, but time got the better of him, and we must accept this as part of our condition.
While he was hospitalized because of the Covid 19, the first days he continued to work on his translation of Rigdzin Changchub Dorje’s translation, and one of the very last passages he translated tells the departure of the great master’s consort:
The Master took a breath and said, “This is a sign that the prana and mind of this departed, having absorbed into the central channel, are realized in the youthful body, the inner clarity.”
Elio’s work and capacity as a translator and meditation instructor cannot be replaced. His presence is strongly missed by everybody in the Dzogchen Community, and by the Buddhist community at large.

And here are some words that I have written in memory of Elio:

Our collaboration and especially our friendship started in 2002, when Chögyal Namkhai Norbu founded the Ka-Ter Translation Project in Tashigar North, Margarita Island.
In 2014 Elio wrote about this project, which became his main activity for the coming years:

“The main aim of the project is the translation of ancient Tibetan texts, in particular those related to the Dzogchen Teaching, into the English language. The aim is also the translation into English of especially selected works of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Another crucial aspect is to translate the original texts that Chögyal Namkhai Norbu often comments upon in his Teaching activities and to promote the knowledge of the Tibetan Language.”

Based on the inspiration of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, who entrusted me to find the necessary funds for this important project, and the generosity of the members of the International Dzogchen Community, from 2002 on Adriano Clemente and Elio could receive a monthly donation for their translations – an important factor of stability in their lives.

In all the years, Adriano, Elio and me had several meetings regarding this project with Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. I remember the following words of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu that he said during one of our meetings in Tashigar North very well, when the translators were working on the translation of the Mejung Tantra with the help of Rinpoche. As the original texts contained many grammatical mistakes, Rinpoche said:

“Oh, how I wished all the Rigdzins could come here now in order to study the Tibetan grammar with Elio!”

I have gotten to know Elio not only as an extraordinarily dedicated and qualified translator but also as a very inspiring teacher. In December 2008, Elio came to the new born Ling of the Dzogchen-Community in Austria, Yeselling, where he conducted the opening ceremony. In 2010, he came back to our Ling and gave a retreat on “The Vision of Clear Light”, and in 2011, Elio gave a public talk during the “1st Tibetan-Styrian Cultural Days” and held a retreat on “Chang Chog” in Yeselling.

In all these years, our friendship became deeper and deeper. Whenever and wherever we met, we spent wonderful moments together. In Dzamling Gar, Elio invited me so many times for home-cooked lunch or we went out together with friends for dinner.
I always respected and somehow admired Elio from the bottom of my heart for his wisdom, his kindness, his generosity, and his humor.
I also always wondered why he treated me with deep respect and open mindedness, as I consider myself as being a very simple and normal person who actually does not deserve the respect from a person with so many qualifications. But he always kept on treating me in that way. We had very intensive contact, we communicated at least three times a week by WhatsApp or by mail, sometimes also every day. When I was ill and in hospital, Elio was worried about my health and he always sent me warm-hearted wishes. When we physically met, he always smiled and gave me very useful advice for my personal practice.

In July 2017, Elio and his wife Dolma came to visit my family and me in Austria, and we spent some wonderful days together in Vienna.
In September 2018, when Chögyal Namkhai Norbu passed away, for many days we practiced side-by-side in the Gompa of Merigar and somehow shared our sadness in that way.
In August 2018, Elio gave a retreat in Merigar East on “The Stairways to Liberation” and he asked me to support him and to do some breathing exercises and movements with the participants. It was such an unforgettable retreat and he always asked me to come to his house or to go out together. In December 2019, my wife and me participated in the retreat on Amitayus that Elio held in Merigar, and again we spent some wonderful moments together.
In February 2020, we met for the last time in Dzamling Gar – of course, I could not have known that this would be the last time that we met. One morning, we went out together to have coffee and we spoke about my Tara practice and my studies on Tara. He motivated me once more to continue my studies and my practice – his words were very inspiring to me. During the Mandarava retreat, the Calima storm happened and right after that the Corona pandemic started. I could fly back home to Austria just before the airports were closed, but Elio remained there. He had to stay there until June.
In the last few months of his life, we communicated a lot about the practice and about giving retreats. I remember, in one of the very last conversations we had he said:

“Oh Oliver, it is very good that you are leading the Tara practice every day and that you are giving retreats on Tara. That is really very beneficial for many people.

I don’t do so much sitting practice. Besides my translation work I try to be present and to remain in this presence.”

When Elio was brought to hospital, he told me that he will continue his work on the translations on the biography of Changchub Dorje. And he really did as long as he could.

The life and attitude of Elio for me is an example of real humbleness, deepest devotion and dedication to the Master and to the Teachings, and of loving kindness and compassion.
Elio taught about presence and awareness and was one of the best examples of someone who lived what he taught.

Thank you, Elio, for all the precious moments that we spent together,

thank you for your deep friendship,

thank you for everything that you did for the Dzogchen Community!

Elio has had such an interesting life, has worked on the translation of so many books, and has received teachings so so many Masters.

Dear friends, the work on the Ka-Ter Translations Project will be continued also in the future.
Right in the moment we are checking all possibilities, how to continue, and the next publication of some books based on the Ka-Ter Project will be published very soon.
For more information about the KA-TER TRANSLATION PROJECT please visit our website
elio ka-ter 2020Please continue to support our various activities also in the new year, here are the bank detail for your donations:
Account holder:  Shang Shung Institute Austria
IBAN:  AT19 3815 1000 0003 0387
Address of the bank:
Hauptstr. 39, 8262 Ilz, Austria
send your donation via Paypal: just use this link:  PAYPAL
You can also contribute and send your donation on a monthly basis.

I wish you a very healthy and safe new year! May all your wishes come true and manifest in the best possible way!

Very best wishes and once more THANK YOU,

Oliver Leick
Director of the Shang Shung Institute Austria
phone: +43 664 88662660
Web: www.ssi-austria.at
Mail: office@ssi-austria.at

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