The Dzogchen Community is made up of those who are interested in following and practicing the Dzogchen teachings. It was founded by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in Italy in the second half of the seventies and rapidly developed in various countries around the world, taking on a completely international dimension. Today the Dzogchen Community has thousands of members in more than 40 countries.
The Community's organization is also the result of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu's vision: the Gars ("gathering places" - the larger centers) and the Lings ("islands/places" - the smaller centers) form a great Mandala ("circle") which unites the different geographical areas of the world. Symbolically the Mandala represents the universe as it is perceived by the individual and, in this particular case, the places where the teaching is practiced. Within the vision of the Mandala there are no hierarchical relationships among the various Gars or Lings, or between Gars and Lings, but only a relationship of collaboration and cooperation.
The Gars are Merigar for Europe (Merigar West in Italy and Merigar East in Romania); Tsegyalgar for North America (Tsegyalgar East in Massachusetts, USA and Tsegyalgar West in Baja, Mexico); Tashigar for South America (Tashigar North in Venezuela and Tashigar South in Argentina); and Namgyalgar for Oceania (New South Wales, Australia). The Gars are linked to the Lings, which represent the fundamental core of the Community. Many of the Lings are located in large cities (such as Rome, Berkeley, New York and Moscow).