What is Rigpa?
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.
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).
Rigpa in Ireland
Here in Ireland, Rigpa has four city centres and a number of study groups, as well as being home to Dzogchen Beara, Rigpa’s retreat centre in West Cork. We offer a place where everyone, regardless of age, background, of all faiths or none, is welcome to come and explore the methods and techniques that come from the Buddhist tradition.
Rigpa Ireland is a non-profit organization (CHY 19478; Charity Number 2007645). Its work is supported entirely by contributions and donations from students and friends of Rigpa. The overwhelming majority of people who work for Rigpa are volunteers.
Rigpa Ireland is registered with the Charities Regulatory Authority, and our audited accounts are available:
Rigpa Ireland is on the journey to adoption of the Governance Code, a code of practice for good governance of community, voluntary and charitable organizations in Ireland.
In August 2017 a number of allegations were brought against Sogyal Rinpoche, which were widely shared in the media and on the internet. Following this, Rinpoche decided to retire as spiritual director from all the organizations that bear the name of Rigpa in different countries around the world.
In January 2018 a Vision Board was appointed to guide Rigpa into the future. The Vision Board is made up of seven of Sogyal Rinpoche’s long-standing students who share a deep understanding of the vision of Rigpa.
To maintain the authenticity of Rigpa’s work, the Vision Board is advised by a number of Tibetan Buddhist lamas including Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and Mindrolling Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche (both key figures in interpreting Tibetan Buddhism in the modern world) and Khenchen Namdrol (a great scholar and lineage holder of the Ngagyur Nyingma tradition). Other Tibetan Buddhist lamas will be invited to advise in the future.
Rigpa Code of Conduct & the Shared Values and Guidelines of the Rigpa Community
Everyone who participates in Rigpa has a responsibility to conduct themselves in accordance with the laws of the land and the values outlined in the Rigpa Code of Conduct.
Extensive advice about ethical conduct already exists within the teaching of Buddha – the Code of Conduct, summarises key features while providing practical guidelines to clarify what is expected of all who participate in Rigpa events and activities.
Over several months in 2017/8, the international Rigpa community took part in a series of workshops and discussions, and had opportunities to submit feedback on these issues. Their combined input was also distilled into a broad set of Shared Values and Guidelines of the Rigpa Community, which are rooted in the wisdom and compassion of the Buddhist path, and complement the Code of Conduct for Rigpa members and anyone with a role in the activities associated with Rigpa.
The Code of Conduct and the Values and Guidelines are intended to serve as a basis for education and training, and to inspire individuals to reflect on their own behaviour, in the light of contemporary secular and Buddhist ethical standards, and provide a clear basis to report breaches of conduct and resolve grievances.