About Rigpa

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

Budda statue In Lerab Ling

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:

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.

Recent developments

In July 2017 a number of allegations of misconduct were brought against Rigpa’s founder, Sogyal Rinpoche. Following this, Rinpoche decided to retire as Spiritual Director and now has no organisational role in Rigpa.

Rigpa also undertook a number of significant actions:

—A new Vision Board was appointed, guided by spiritual advisors, and Rigpa boards agreed a new decision-making and governance structure;

Read about the Rigpa teams

—Rigpa’s community has taken part in an international process to put in place a strong Code of Conduct which was published in June 2018, and has completed a grievance procedure, that includes an independent grievance council of senior western Buddhist teachers that will receive complaints brought by Rigpa members and the public;

—Rigpa commissioned an independent investigation for witnesses to come forward, and be listened to in an open, impartial and sensitive way.

Following the release of the report of the independent investigation in September 2018, Rigpa is committed to continuing the process of healing, reconciliation and change. To acknowledge the importance of this process of healing and change, senior members of management are stepping down from all their positions of governance.

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.

Read press statements about these developments.

How Rigpa is Moving Forward

In September 2018, the boards of each national Rigpa and the Rigpa Vision Board committed to acting on the recommendations of the Lewis Silkin independent investigation report. The boards also committed to moving forward in consultation with our community. We are moving forward together on six areas within Rigpa’s vision and culture, care and governance:

  1. Clarifying and embodying Rigpa’s Vision
  2. Communicating the relationship between Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche
  3. Pledging to a safe environment in Rigpa
  4. Taking responsibility for healing and past hurts
  5. Deepening our culture of listening, non-judgement and good communication
  6. 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 on progress over the coming months.

Last updated: 21 May 2019

Rigpa Code of Conduct

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.

Read the Rigpa Code of Conduct

Read the Shared Values and Guidelines of the Rigpa Community

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 – grievance@rigpa.ie


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