Sogyal Rinpoche is the founder and spiritual director of Rigpa, an international network of over 130 Buddhist centres and groups in 41 countries around the world.
“Rigpa is a Tibetan word, which in general means ‘intelligence’ or ‘awareness’. In Dzogchen, however, the highest teachings in the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, rigpa has a deeper connotation, ‘the innermost nature of the mind’. The whole of the teaching of Buddha is directed towards realizing this, our ultimate nature, the state of omniscience or enlightenment – a truth so universal, so primordial that it goes beyond all limits, and beyond even religion itself.”
In 1979, inspired by the meaning of the word rigpa, Sogyal Rinpoche gave this as the name for his work and to the vehicle he was developing to serve the Buddha’s teaching in the west.
Open to all schools and traditions of Buddhist wisdom, and with the guidance and gracious patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Rigpa offers those following the Buddhist teachings a complete path of study and practice, along with the environment they need to experience the teachings fully.
At the same time, Rigpa seeks to explore how the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha’s teachings can benefit many different areas of life in today’s world.
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). 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:
Sogyal Rinpoche is one of the best-known meditation teachers of our time. Born and brought up in Tibet, he has spent the past 35 years traveling widely in the West, sharing the timeless wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings and explaining how meditation can be of greatest benefit in today’s fast-paced world.
Sogyal Rinpoche has a remarkable gift for presenting meditation in a way that is authentic, accessible and relevant to modern men and women. Drawing on the profound experience of the Tibetan tradition, he offers a powerful glimpse of the transformative potential of meditation, and addresses the challenges of life with humour and insight. His groundbreaking book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, has been acclaimed as a spiritual classic.
Born in Kham in Eastern Tibet, Sogyal Rinpoche was recognized at an early age as the incarnation of a great master and visionary saint of the nineteenth century, Tertön Sogyal Lerab Lingpa (1856-1926), a teacher to the thirteenth Dalai Lama. He received the traditional training of a Tibetan lama under the close supervision of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, one of the most outstanding spiritual masters of the twentieth century, who raised Rinpoche like his own son.
He went on to study with many other great masters, of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, especially Kyabjé Dudjom Rinpoche and Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. In 1971, Rinpoche went to England, where he also studied Comparative Religion at Cambridge University.
First as a translator and aide to his revered masters, and then teaching in his own right, Rinpoche traveled to many countries, observing the reality of people’s lives, and seeking to translate the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism so as to make them relevant to modern men and women of all faiths, by drawing out their universal message while losing none of their authenticity, purity and power. Out of this was born his unique style of teaching, and his ability to attune these teachings to modern life, demonstrated so vividly in his ground-breaking book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
In Tibet, there is a tradition of recognizing incarnations of great masters who have passed away. Sogyal Rinpoche, Rigpa’s founder and spiritual director, was recognised as an incarnation of Tertön Sogyal.
Sogyal Rinpoche’s Teachers
In Tibetan Buddhism, great importance is placed on the way in which the Buddha’s teachings have been transmitted from master to student in an unbroken lineage down to the present day. Sogyal Rinpoche was raised by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, one of the most outstanding spiritual masters of the twentieth century. He then went on to study with many other great masters, of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, especially Kyabjé Dudjom Rinpoche and Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.