Rigpa is an international network of centres and groups offering the Buddha’s teachings in a way that is based on an authentic tradition, yet also relevant 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 for every stage of the Buddha’s teachings.
Who are we?
Rigpa was founded in 1979 by Sogyal Rinpoche, a 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.
Meditation and Compassion through to traditional Buddhist studies
Our courses and programmes share simple meditation techniques and methods for training in compassion, which have been developed over centuries, yet help us deal with the challenges of everyday life. Meditation and compassion have been shown to be beneficial in many different ways, including bringing peace of mind, 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.
For those who wish to go deeper into studying and practising Buddhism, Rigpa also offers study and practice programs including courses in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition of Tibet, a traditional study college (shedra) and short and long practice retreats (drupdra).
Inviting teachers of all traditions
A unique feature of Rigpa’s event programme is that it regularly hosts teachers of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions who give teachings and empowerments, as well as Buddhist masters of other lineages, and teachers from different spiritual traditions.
Such diversity is a continuation of the rimé or ‘non-sectarian’ approach, advocated by Sogyal Rinpoche's master Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö who was an incarnation of one of the initiators of the rimé movement—the great 19th century master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.
Buddhism and western science: In more recent years this open spirit of enquiry has also resulted in an active and a mutually illuminating dialogue with experts from other disciplines, both spiritual and scientific, that continues to develop Tibetan Buddhism, in particular including through Rigpa's conference programme.
In July 2017 a number of allegations of misconduct were brought against Rigpa's founder, Sogyal Rinpoche. Following this, Rinpoche decided to retire as Spiritual Director and now has no organisational role in Rigpa.
Rigpa also undertook a number of significant actions:
—A new Vision Board was appointed, guided by spiritual advisors, and Rigpa boards agreed a new decision-making and governance structure;
—Rigpa's community has taken part in an international process to put in place a strong Code of Conduct which was published in June 2018, and has completed a grievance procedure, that includes an independent grievance council of senior western Buddhist teachers that will receive complaints brought by Rigpa members and the public;
—Rigpa commissioned an independent investigation for witnesses to come forward and be listened to in an open, impartial and sensitive way.
Following the release of the report of the independent investigation in September 2018, Rigpa is committed to continuing the process of healing, reconciliation and change. To acknowledge the importance of this process of healing and change, senior members of management are stepping down from all their positions of governance.
Throughout this period of change, Rigpa continues to focus on its vision to offer the Buddhist teachings of meditation, compassion and wisdom to the modern world. Its centres around the world continue to offer courses, programmes, seminars and retreats led by Rigpa teachers and instructors, as well as and visiting teachers and lamas, especially from the 'ancient' Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.