Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Sogyal Rinpoche Has Resigned from Rigpa

Sogyal Rinpoche in 2013 | Photo by Olivier Riché https://tricy.cl/2uxzrHa

The Tibetan Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche has  resigned from Rigpa, the international network of practice centers he founded.

The resignation letter, sent to Tricycle by an undisclosed source, is addressed to the sangha and dated August 11,  a month after several of the lama’s longtime students publicly accused their teacher of decades of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse. After the allegations came to light, Sogyal Rinpoche entered a “period of retreat and reflection.” He nonetheless made an appearance at the World Youth Buddhist Society in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand.  

Related: New Allegations of Sexual Abuse Raise Old Questions 

Today, in a separate letter addressed to the sangha, Rigpa’s board stated, “Rinpoche has made it clear that this decision has only been made after deep personal reflection, seeking the advice of many of his masters, and with the best intention for the future of our community.” 

UPDATE: Rigpa has confirmed that Sogyal Rinpoche has stepped down, effective immediately, in this press release. Rigpa organizers wrote that the abuse accusations will be investigated by a third party. A new code of conduct and spiritual advisory group will be established for the sangha.