1983-1985

1983 Kalu Rinpoche


1984 Dudjom Rinpoche


1985 Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

1983 Sogyal Rinpoche takes part in ‘New Dimensions in Death and Dying’ conference with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Kenneth Ring; in USA, Rigpa is established as a non-profit organization. Kalu Rinpoche teaches at Paris and London centres.

1984 His Holiness the Dalai Lama is invited to give a one day Dzogchen teaching in London; Rigpa students attend Dudjom Rinpoche’s final teaching in Dordogne, France, also receiving teachings from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche.

1985 Sogyal Rinpoche is invited to teach in Australia and Germany; retreats in France and U.S. with Nyoshul Khenpo; Dzogchen Rinpoche invited to the West; Rinpoche teaches at Esalen and California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.


A ground-breaking conference in California in 1983—‘New Dimensions in Death and Dying’—brought Rinpoche in touch with the work of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Professor Kenneth Ring in the fields of hospice care and near-death research. It had two far-reaching effects. One was to inspire Rinpoche to explore further the role that the Tibetan teachings on death and helping the dying could play in transforming modern attitudes towards to death.  The other was to bring to the attention of a wider audience Rinpoche’s gift for attuning the Tibetan teachings to the modern mind. Increasingly he was to be invited to participate in interdisciplinary conferences, on death and dying, Buddhism and psychology, all over the world. Three years later he would give a keynote speech at the annual conference of America’s National Hospice Organization.

At this point there took place an event which was of the greatest importance for members of Rigpa. In 1984, Kyabjé Dudjom Rinpoche gave his last major teaching, in the Dordogne in France, and to coincide with it, Rigpa held its summer retreat close by. Those who attended also received teachings from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and, for the first time, from Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. They also met Khandro Tsering Chödrön, the spiritual consort of Jamyang Khyentse, who had made her first visit to Europe and America back in 1981. Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche became one of Sogyal Rinpoche’s most beloved teachers and from the following year he was present and taught regularly at Rigpa’s retreats and centres until his final visit to Lerab Ling in 1996.