Rigpa is an international network of centres and groups offering the Buddha’s teachings in a way that is both authentic and beneficial for people in the modern world. Rigpa offers courses and seminars in meditation and compassion, as well as a complete path of study and practice that follows every stage of the Buddha’s teachings.
Who are we?
Rigpa was founded in 1979 by Sogyal Rinpoche, a world-renowned Buddhist teacher from Tibet, who is also the author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Rigpa has the gracious patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and each national Rigpa association has charitable and non-profit status.
Our courses and programmes are designed to help people face the challenges of everyday life. We introduce thousands of people every year to simple meditation techniques and methods for training in compassion, which have been developed over centuries and are easy to apply. Rigpa also offers an authentic programme of study and practice in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition of Tibet.
As well as bringing peace of mind, these methods have been shown to be beneficial in many different ways, including tackling stress, depression and other mental health problems. They can also help us to develop more kindness and warm-heartedness for ourselves, our families and those around us.
As well as courses, Rigpa offers all traditional aspects of the Buddhist path, including a well-established traditional study college (shedra) and practice retreats (drubdra).
Authentic Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism
Maintaining the rimé (non-partisan) tradition
While offering the Buddhist teachings in a way that is relevant to people in today's lifestyle, Rigpa also actively sustains the culture of rimé or ‘non-partisan’ encouragement of different Tibetan Buddhist traditions that recognizes the excellence and integrity of each one.
Sogyal Rinpoche's master Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö was an incarnation of the great 19th century master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, who was one of the initiators of the Rimé movement.
In this spirit, since the 1970s Rigpa has invited teachers from all schools of Tibetan Buddhism to teach at Rigpa centres around the world—most notably His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, who was head of the Kagyu school; His Holiness Sakya Trizin, the head of the Sakya school; Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, who was head of the Nyingma school; and the previous Ling Rinpoche, who was head of the Gelugpa school. Moreover, Rigpa has invited other Buddhist masters, from the Theravada and Zen traditions for example, and teachers from different spiritual traditions such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Venerable Ananda Maitreya, Seung Sahn, and the Benedictine monk Father Laurence Freeman, who is the director of the World Community for Christian Meditation, as well as numerous contemporary Tibetan Buddhist teachers (both Tibetan and western teachers).
Buddhism and western science: In more recent years this open spirit of enquiry of the rimé tradition has also resulted in an active and mutually illuminating dialogue with experts from other disciplines, both spiritual and scientific, that continues to develop Tibetan Buddhism, in particular through Rigpa's conference programme.