Founded by Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who escaped Tibet and climbed over the Himalayas into India as a young man. In 1970, at just 30, he began presenting teachings in the US and founded the Naropa Institute (now Naropa University) in 1974. It offers a contemplative education in psychology, environmental studies, music, performing arts and more. The university periodically hosts public talks and events.

Naropa is also home to the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, co-founded by his fellow Beat Allen Ginsberg, and poet Anne Waldman.