Rigpa is an international network of centres and groups offering the Buddha’s teachings in a way that is based on an authentic tradition, yet also relevant 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 for every stage of the Buddha’s teachings.
Who are we?
Rigpa was founded in 1979 by Sogyal Rinpoche, a 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.
Meditation and Compassion through to traditional Buddhist studies
Our courses and programmes share simple meditation techniques and methods for training in compassion, which have been developed over centuries, yet help us deal with the challenges of everyday life. Meditation and compassion have been shown to be beneficial in many different ways, including bringing peace of mind, 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.
For those who wish to go deeper into studying and practising Buddhism, Rigpa also offers study and practice programs including courses in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition of Tibet, a traditional study college (shedra) and short and long practice retreats (drupdra).
Inviting teachers of all traditions
A unique feature of Rigpa’s event programme is that it regularly hosts teachers of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions who give teachings and empowerments, as well as Buddhist masters of other lineages, and teachers from different spiritual traditions.
Such diversity is a continuation of the rimé or ‘non-sectarian’ approach, advocated by Sogyal Rinpoche’s master Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö who was an incarnation of one of the initiators of the Rimé movement—the great 19th century master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.
Buddhism and western science: In more recent years this open spirit of enquiry has also resulted in an active and a mutually illuminating dialogue with experts from other disciplines, both spiritual and scientific, that continues to develop Tibetan Buddhism, in particular including through Rigpa’s conference programme.
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; Registered 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:
- 2019 Audited Accounts (PDF)
- 2018 Audited Accounts (PDF)
- 2017 Audited Accounts (PDF)
- 2016 Audited Accounts (PDF)
- 2015 Audited Accounts (PDF)
- 2014 Audited accounts (PDF)
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.
Rigpa Moving Forward
We have been through a period of challenges and change in the last three years. Following serious allegations against Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa, Rigpa commissioned an independent investigation that was published in September 2018.
We acknowledge the gravity of the independent report and have committed to act on its recommendations.
In consultation with our community we are moving forward with reforms and are specifically focusing on six areas within Rigpa’s vision and culture, care and governance:
- Clarifying and embodying Rigpa’s Vision
- Communicating the relationship between Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche
- Pledging to a safe environment in Rigpa
- Taking responsibility for healing and past hurts
- Deepening our culture of listening, non-judgement and good communication
- Strengthening our governance, transparency and financial practices
Each report recommendation will be addressed under one of these six areas. By following the link for each area you will find more detail – the website is updated regularly with on-going progress, and addresses the recommendations of the independent investigation.
UK Charity Commission inquiry: Following on from the Lewis Silkin report, the UK Charity Commission conducted a statutory inquiry into the charity. Rigpa UK worked closely with the Charity Commission to comply with their requests. On 20 November, 2020 the UK Charity Commission closed its statutory inquiry into Rigpa Fellowship (UK). More information can be found here.
Last updated: November 2020
Rigpa’s Management Teams
The new federative structure being put into place ensures that Rigpa continues to work harmoniously as one organisation internationally. It includes accountable transparent decision-making processes. The highest priorities are rigorous financial and fundraising processes and reporting.
Establishing a Federation
- The fourteen Rigpa entities are trialling a federation model, and have drafted a constitution and an affiliation agreement. They are currently trialing the federative decision-making system before adopting the constitution. The process is facilitated by a Federation Working Group and led by the Chairs of Boards of the Rigpa entities.
- The Chairs of the boards of each entity work collaboratively and meet monthly. The International Coordinating Group (the executive body) is formed of National Directors and retreat centre directors and meets fortnightly. It replaced the interim International Holding Group in September 2018.
We are also working on establishing a faculty of senior instructors and practitioners, as well as involving our members in decision-making.
Throughout this period of change, Rigpa continues to focus on its vision to offer the Buddhist teachings of meditation, compassion and wisdom to the modern world. Its centres around the world continue to offer courses, programmes, seminars and retreats led by Rigpa teachers and instructors, as well as and visiting teachers and lamas, especially from the ‘ancient’ Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
Rigpa’s Teachers and Practice Holders
A group of Senior Teachers and Practice Holders were formally introduced to the Rigpa sangha in August 2021 as those who are requested by Rigpa’s Vision Board & Spiritual Advisors to take the lead in guiding our community’s study and practice, along with the full mandala of Rigpa’s teachers, practice holders and activity holders.
Rigpa Code of Conduct
The Rigpa Code of Conduct reflects both contemporary secular and Buddhist ethical standards, seeks to identify unacceptable kinds of behaviour, and establish a straightforward pathway for reporting breaches of conduct and resolving grievances.
Rigpa Grievance Procedure
We are committed to creating a culture where every person feels confident and empowered to give feedback fearlessly, express their concerns and report unethical behaviour.
Any actions you take to resolve or raise concerns about your situation will depend on things like what the problem is, how serious it is, how urgent it feels and how satisfying you think a particular step might be.
The options outlined under the Grievance Processes in Rigpa go from the informal to the formal and can guide you in the appropriate procedures for raising concerns, resolving difficulties or grievances
Below you will find the contact information for the Rigpa Ireland national grievance Council. The main role of the Council is to confidentially receive, investigate and advise on resolving formal complaints in a compassionate, fair and impartial way. It may also act as a support body for a member to consult in deciding on what steps to take in resolving difficulties.
Contacts: Rigpa Ireland – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kieran English