Sogyal Rinpoche to enter “period of retreat and reflection” following allegations of abuse

Following the release of a letter recently issued by current and ex-Rigpa members, which details alleged abuses by Rigpa founder and spiritual director Sogyal Rinpoche, we have now received from Rigpa the following press release, which acknowledges the letter and indicates that Sogyal Rinpoche will “step back” as the community looks into next steps: Press…

Rod Meade Sperry
21 July 2017
Sogyal Rinpoche. Photo via Flickr, under Creative Commons.

Following the release of a letter recently issued by current and ex-Rigpa members, which details alleged abuses by Rigpa founder and spiritual director Sogyal Rinpoche, we have now received from Rigpa the following press release, which acknowledges the letter and indicates that Sogyal Rinpoche will “step back” as the community looks into next steps:

Press release
July 21, 2017

Rigpa is an international network of Buddhist centers dedicated to making the Buddhist teachings of meditation, compassion and wisdom available to the modern world. The courses and programs offered by Rigpa have helped many thousands of people around the world experience relief from suffering and find meaning in their lives.

We are deeply concerned and saddened to learn of the letter sent by a small group of students to our spiritual director, Sogyal Rinpoche. We would like to state clearly that there is no place for abuse in our community and we are conscious of our responsibility to provide a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for our members and the public.

We respect Sogyal Rinpoche’s decision to step back and to enter a period of retreat and reflection, and find it wise. During this time we will seek external professional and spiritual advice and look into whatever steps might be necessary. We have already initiated open discussion within our community about the letter and the issues it raises. We intend to bring clarity to this situation as soon as possible.

Rod Meade Sperry. Photo by Megumi Yoshida, 2024

Rod Meade Sperry

Rod Meade Sperry is the editor of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Guide (published by Lion’s Roar), and the book A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: Practical Advice and Inspiration from Contemporary Buddhist Teachers. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with his partner and their tiny pup, Sid.