Sogyal Rinpoche Resigns from Rigpa
According to a press release dated 11 August, Sogyal Rinpoche has resigned from Rigpa, an international network of Buddhist centers founded by the renowned Nyingma teacher. Sogyal Rinpoche’s resignation follows a letter, published one month prior, in which (former) Rigpa students and staff detail alleged sexual, physical, and psychological abuse inflicted upon them and other members of the Rigpa sangha by Sogyal Rinpoche.* In his initial response, Sogyal Rinpoche announced that he would follow his students suggestions by entering a perod of retreat.* In his resignation letter, also dated 11 August, Rinpoche writes:
“You are of course aware of the allegations that have been brought against me which have now been made widely public on the internet. This has brought shock and consternation not only to me, but also to a great many of you who are my students and who serve Rigpa and its vision. . . . given my deep concern for you all and the work of Rigpa, which you have all contributed towards immensely, I feel the best course of action for me now is to formally announce my retirement as spiritual director of Rigpa. I do not wish the criticism that has been brought against me to jeopardize all that. Therefore, with this letter, I state clearly that I will with immediate effect retire as spiritual director from all the organizations that bear the name of Rigpa and that have grown and developed in different countries around the world.” (Tricycle)
Management of Rigpa will be handed over to a group of senior students and lamas from the Rigpa sangha, who in a response highlight the shared responsibility for the future of Rigpa:
“In his letter, Sogyal Rinpoche has clearly stated his wish to hand over responsibility for the future of Rigpa to the Sangha. It is we, therefore, who must take charge of this situation and seek to resolve it in the best way possible for all concerned, including those who feel aggrieved. We accept this responsibility and commit to taking whatever steps are necessary. Whilst some of us may be weighed down with sadness, or feel raw or uncertain, we are confident that at a time like now this Sangha of ours can respond in a way that is truly sincere, authentic, open, resolute and brave. . . . the responsibility to navigate the way through these challenging times now lies with us—the Rigpa Sangha. Please participate as best you can, so that collectively we can bring peace, healing and resolution to our community and to all those affected. Let us be spacious and non-judgmental so that we can truly listen to each other with our whole being, and with compassion and understanding.” (Tricycle)
Rigpa also announced an independent investigation into the abuse allegations, and the creation of a new code of conduct and spiritual advisory group to guide the Rigpa organization:
“The governing boards and management teams of Rigpa, having sought professional and spiritual advice, will assure that the following steps are taken:
1. Set up an independent investigation by a neutral third party into the various allegations that have been made.
2. Launch an international consultation process to establish both a code of conduct and a grievance process for Rigpa.
3. Establish a new spiritual advisory group to guide the Rigpa organization.
These steps are being taken by the boards and management teams of Rigpa worldwide, in a true spirit of collaboration. Channels will be established so that any member of our community has the opportunity to express their wishes, views and concerns.” (Rigpa International)
Related news from Buddhistdoor Global
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Issues Public Statement on Recent Criticism of Sogyal Rinpoche
Dalai Lama Turns Spotlight on Fallibility of Buddhist Teachers in Public Address
Sogyal Rinpoche Pledges to Enter Retreat After Rigpa Members Detail Abuse Allegations
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