1980-1982

1980 Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


1981 His Holiness the
Dalai Lama


1981 Tulku Urgyen


1982 Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Rabjam Rinpoche and Tenga Rinpoche

1980 Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche visit the Paris centre; Sogyal Rinpoche teaches in USA and in Holland; first residential retreat is held in Derbyshire, UK.

1981 Rigpa co-sponsors His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings on ‘Training the Mind’ in London.

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche invited to London; London centre moves to St. Paul’s Crescent.

First Easter retreat at Jouy in France, first Summer retreat at Grasse in France with Khandro Tsering Chödrön; Sogyal Rinpoche teaches in Santa Cruz, California; Serkong Rinpoche teaches at Rigpa Paris and London.

1982 Rinpoche invites Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche to Rigpa London; invites His Holiness the Dalai Lama to give an empowerment of Padmasambhava in Paris.


At this point, Sogyal Rinpoche was being invited to speak at centres belonging to many different traditions. In 1979 he chose the name ‘Rigpa’—the innermost, essential nature of mind—as a term that best expressed the ultimate aim and ongoing spirit of his work. By 1980, he was teaching in the United States, Holland and Ireland, as well as in France and the U.K. It was then that he led his first retreat in Britain, an event of particular significance, as it was the forerunner of the regular gatherings that form a central feature of Rigpa’s yearly programme—at Lerab Ling in France in the summer, in California at Thanksgiving, at Dzogchen Beara in Ireland at Christmas and the summer, in Kirchheim in Germany at the New Year, in Australia during the summer holidays, in Britain at Easter, and on the East coast of the U.S. in the spring.

This cycle of retreats began the following year with the first Easter and summer retreats at Jouy and Grasse in France, and Rinpoche teaching at Santa Cruz in California. The Rigpa centre in London moved into St. Paul’s Crescent, which was blessed by visits from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, in 1982, and (with Trulshik Rinpoche) in 1987, as well as from a large number of eminent teachers from all traditions. Gradually, centres began to open in a number of major cities, first with rue Denis Poisson in Paris, and then over the years that followed, in Dublin, Munich, Berkeley, Amsterdam, Sydney, Brussels, and San Francisco. In many places, study and practice groups evolved and in each country Rigpa was established as a non-profit organization. Among the teachers who visited Rigpa during the 1980’s were Ven. Anandamaitreya Mahathera, Maezumi Roshi and Seung Sahn Soen Sanim. Tibet’s system of natural medicine was also given prominence, with seminars by Dr. Tenzin Choedhak and Dr. Trogawa Rinpoche.

At Rigpa’s request, at the Pagode de Vincennes in Paris in 1982, His Holiness the Dalai Lama granted the empowerment of Padmasambhava and his Eight Manifestations from the pure visions of the ‘Great Fifth’ Dalai Lama. Rigpa has had the privilege of inviting His Holiness or sponsoring his teachings on a number of other occasions, notably in 1984 in London when he gave a one-day teaching on Dzogchen, in 1989 in San Jose when he gave  Dzogchen teachings for two days, and in 2000 at Lerab Ling and Lerab Gar, along with the Association Golfe du Lion. Members of Rigpa have also helped arrange his teachings in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Australia since 1981.