Shang Shung Institute UK 2023 Report

The Shang Shung Institute UK (SSI UK) is pleased to showcase its (ongoing) yearly activities report for the year 2023.

Throughout 2023 we continued to host our Shang Shung Lecture Series, which at the beginning of the year we renamed The Light of Kailash lecture series, in honour of our founder Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. The themes of our talks continue to be wide ranging and every month we have the pleasure of listening to renowned scholars and experts in their fields, including professors and Phd students from numerous universities around the globe. The lectures are offered for free, to make them accessible to students and to best disseminate this precious knowledge.

The lectures of the first part of the year focused on the lives of great masters such as Adzom Drukpa, the first two Karmapas and Tsangnyön Heruka. In the second half of the year we hosted talks on Zhang Zhung history and about the art depicted in the Merigar cinerarium.

Please note that you can access past lectures on our YouTube channel:

A fun, open activity coinciding with the lunar new year was an online drawing and painting competition: The Year of the Water Hare. We received over fifty submissions from talented artists across the globe. The idea of our yearly art competitions is to give artists a platform to showcase their talent and to introduce the work of our institute to younger generations. Artists from a variety of backgrounds used their diverse artistic skills and created beautiful images depicting hares, the astrological animal of this current year. Coinciding with the beginning of the Tibetan New Year, a lecture introducing Tibetan astrology was given by renowned astrologer Ngawang Dorjee from the Mentseekhang.

In that same period, on the occasion of the Tibetan New Year, Losar, Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche also helped empower prayer flags which then were hung in sacred places all over Nepal. We thank him profusely for his continuous active support of Shang Shung UK’s activities.

In March, we hosted two Meditation Weekend Workshops with Santi Maha Sangha instructor Julia Lawless. Tibetan language classes were given by Professor Fabian Sanders.

As is our yearly tradition, we organised an important fish release event in May 2023, thanks to the generous and kind collaboration of Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche.

Following on with the art theme, we hosted a Tibetan calligraphy workshop with Tashi Mannox in London in April.

In May a group of Khaita dancers from the Czech Republic came to Lekdanling, our center in London, and we had a Tibetan themed party and Khaita dances were performed. They were also invited by Ringu Tulku to showcase a set of Tibetan Khaita dances to him, which he throughly enjoyed, inspiring all those attending his retreat.

The next scheduled talks for this year will focus on the Bardo, the intermediate state after death. One will be about a painting from the Bardo Series by Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche, then a talk about the Bardo&Luminosity according to Naropa’s Six Yogas. December’s talk will be about Bardo and the Dream State.

In late October there was a Dzogchen Workshop by Julia Lawless, at our London venue.

In the coming year, in late February 2024, we are planning a day dedicated to Tibetan literature and poetry at our cultural center Lekdanling in London. We will also celebrate the new year of the Wooden Dragon with Tibetan food and dancing.

In the first week of September 2024, at the University of Oxford, on the occasion of the International Seminar of Young Tibetologists, we are organising an exhibition of the Bardo Series paintings of Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche and a Khaita performance, as well as an academic introduction to Khaita.

On September 7th and 8th we will have a panel discussion about the Bardo at Lekdanling and a Khaita show.

We hope that many of you will attend our upcoming events, both online and on-site.

As always our heartfelt thanks go to our founder, the late Professor Namkhai Norbu for his vision, kindness and tireless dedication to the preservation of Tibetan culture, which continues to inspire our Shang Shung UK team, whose work is invaluable and I wish to particularly thank Mandarava Bricaire, Trinley Walker and Julia Lawless.

We also express our deep gratitude to our supporters and donors who help the Shang Shung Institute UK carry on its mission to preserve, diffuse and promote Tibetan and Himalayan culture throughout the world.

The SSIUK is a non-profit organisation that relies on your support to continue existing and to increasingly develop. We hope that this report may inspire you, and if you want to actively help our work through donations, sponsorship or legacies, you can see details on how to do this on our webpage and clicking ‘Support us’

Any contribution, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated.

With All Good Wishes,

Jamyang Oliphant (Director) & the Shang Shung UK Team

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