Jim Valby was born on 3 September 1946 and grew up in Rochester, New York, USA, where he attended Roman Catholic elementary and high schools. He graduated from Middlebury College with a Physics degree and worked as an engineer. From 1971 to 1983 he attended graduate school while driving a school bus, programming computers, teaching violin, and running a nuclear reactor. He earned Masters and Doctorate degrees in Tibetan Buddhism focusing on Shrisingha, Vimalamitra, and computers at the University of Saskatchewan under Professor Herbert Guenther. In 1982 he participated in his first retreat with Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Since 1989 he has lived in Western Massachusetts, near the Dzogchen Community’s North American base Tsegyalgar East, working on translations from Tibetan, transcripts of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu retreats, and other Dzogchen Community projects.
From 1999 to 2010 he led 121 Santi Maha Sangha (SMS) practice retreats. He is an authorized SMS instructor of the Base, First, and Second Levels. Some of his other translation work is listed in http://sites.google.com/site/jimvalbythings/. Since 2003 he has also worked for the Ka-ter Translation Project.