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Rigpa Students, Board Member, Accuse Sogyal Lakhar ("Rinpoche") of Widespread Abuses, Crimes
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: July 26, 2017 01:51AM

A group of Rigpa members, including a Board member of US Rigpa, recently sent a letter to Rigpa headquarters in England, detailing over a decade of emotional, physical and sexual abuses of his followers on two continents. Incidents mentioned include Sogyal publicly humiliating and abusing a nun on stage at a teaching in front of over 1000 attendees, by punching her in the stomach. The letter states that Sogyal's behavior is in such flagrant violation of Dharma principles that it has disillusioned some followers with Buddhism.

The Rigpa administration has responded, saying that "Rinpoche" has gone into retreat to reflect, and that an investigation will be pursued.

Both letters were published in the Dharma magazine, "Lion's Roar".

Sad that it took decades for these concerns to finally be taken seriously. Even after a court case against Sogyal in the 90's, the abuse issue was swept under the rug, and countless additional followers, including individuals in mourning who sought counseling from Sogyal in their bereavement, fell prey to his manipulations and predatory behavior.

Buddhism is supposed to be the path to liberation from suffering, not the cause of suffering and the genesis of scandal.




Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/26/2017 01:58AM by Misstyk.

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Re: Rigpa Students, Board Member, Accuse Sogyal Lakhar ("Rinpoche") of Widespread Abuses, Crimes
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: July 27, 2017 06:15AM

I'm beginning to wonder if all these years, about 3 decades at this point, the reason Rigpa staff have so staunchly defended Sogyal is that at the very bottom line, they felt their jobs could have been at stake. Rigpa has created an international bureaucracy employing dozens, possibly 100 people or more, who would be put out of work if the whole house of cards came tumbling down.

This is the only explanation that makes sense to me, for why they would ignore very serious accusations, and even a trial of Sogyal in court. Not only that, but you'd think that the fact that Sogyal's mentor in the beginning, Dudjom Rinpoche, the head of the Nyingma sect, withdrew his sponsorship of Sogyal and Rigpa after hearing numerous reports of grave misconduct, would have caused Rigpa staff to sit up, take notice, and begin an inquiry. Perhaps at that time, some people quit, we don't know; but for a popular, trendy organization in the 80's and early 90's, there probably were eager devotees ready to take the place of anyone leaving the administrative side of it.

I suppose there's never a shortage of starry-eyed, naive believers in an exotic spiritual leader, however false the front may be, who would be ready and willing to circle the wagons against any critique of the individual in whom they'd become heavily emotionally and spiritually invested. And of course, these guru types are very good at exploiting that.

Still, one shakes one's head and wonders if it all boils down to maintaining job security, security in one's investment of time, energy and spirituality after a decade or more, and avoiding embarrassment and any sense of responsibility on the staff's part for enabling the depredations of someone who ultimately turns out to be a charlatan of the worst sort.

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Rigpa and vested interests
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 27, 2017 09:17PM

Misstyk is right. A lot of financial - and emotional-- vested interests
are at stake.

If anyone is struggling with years of misgiving about Sogyal and Rigpa, do
all you can to find your real friends.

And no, no, no, you were not stupid, you were not foolish. Rigpa is an entire
wrap-around world. You have a sense of fellowship, a shared worldview. You
have an entire social network that is worldwide.

Almost no one comes to the Dharma because they are happy and in control. People
get interested in the Dharma because they've encountered suffering and are
shaken up, disoriented, looking for guidance.

If you were told at the beginning that 'The author of this book is unable to
benefit from the teachings and his inner circle supply him with young
and lovely women to give him 'Lama Care'" --

You'd not have gotten involved. But, you were not told this about Sogyal.

You were probably told to ignore the rumors and concentrate on deepening
your practice.

And Rigpa incorporates many, many useful things you've benefited from.

What results from your honest "whole hearted practice" is real and not a

Sogyal and his publicity machine can be separated from the useful features
of the practice.

What is wrong is that Ripga's teacher and its organization are used to
funnel your loving trust and your money toward leader who is
exploitative and whose predations have gone on for years - with no
disciplinary action from the Vajrayana Buddhist establishment.

Many, many people have become involved with Vajrayana and have brought MONEY
to Vajrayana by first having read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

Does the Vajrayana Buddhist establishment have any incentive to encourage
people to examine the many years of scandal emanating from Sogyal's establishment?


If you've come to the Dharma by reading and trusting The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, this book and the bloke with his name on its cover has an important place in your life.

Some of the jobs and livelihoods affected by
any Rigpa scandal. As Deep Throat said during the Watergate scandal,

Follow the Money

* Tourist industries in areas where Sogyal holds large retreats.

* Income from Sogyal's talks (subscriptions to podcasts, purchases of tapes,

* Income from The Tibetan Book of Death and Dying

* Office staff employed part or full time by Rigpa (office support, public
relations, coordination of retreats and courses

* Rigpa centers and people who work there

* Rigpa monasteries -- where do you go if you face that Soggy is a predator and
Rigpa enabled this years long predation?

In most towns and cities housing prices have skyrocked in the past 5 years.
Facing this and digesting the disorientation and heartbreak of recognizing
a beloved teacher has been a predator is agonizing.

Find other former Rigpa members and give mutual support if you
decide to leave.

In his memoir, The Novice


Stephan Schettini gives a detailed and sensitive
description of how he struggled five years with doubt before he admitted
that he himself was being inauthentic as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. It took
him a good while to adjust to secular life but he did it. Others have done
it too.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/27/2017 09:38PM by corboy.

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Re: Rigpa Students, Board Member, Accuse Sogyal Lakhar ("Rinpoche") of Widespread Abuses, Crimes
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: July 28, 2017 12:59AM

Speaking of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, I just wanted to mention that Sogyal didn't write it. Andrew Harvey, who was a graduate student in Buddhist Studies at the time, and also a devoted follower of Sogyal's, wrote it along with a colleague, and presented it as a gift to their spiritual mentor. If you read it, you'll notice there are many references to Western cultural phenomena, quotations of Rilke, parallels with Greek mythology, and so forth, that Sogyal couldn't possibly have known about, nor had the intellectual wherewithal to put together.

Sogyal didn't understand much of the material, so when the book was published and media interview requests came in, Harvey had to accompany Sogyal to the interviews, to help him answer questions about the text. So even the very core foundation upon which Rigpa is built, which relates to hospice work and counseling the bereaved, is a sham. Their own figurehead and organization founder doesn't know anything about it, except for a few bits the actual author was able to coach him on, and whatever insights he may have gleaned over the years from Tibetan tradition, that he's come to parrot, as any given situation required.

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Re: Rigpa Students, Board Member, Accuse Sogyal Lakhar ("Rinpoche") of Widespread Abuses, Crimes
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 28, 2017 10:34AM

Andrew Harvey served hard time with a guru.


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Re: Rigpa Students, Board Member, Accuse Sogyal Lakhar ("Rinpoche") of Widespread Abuses, Crimes
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 02, 2017 08:46AM

by Mimi, former Dakini

Sogyal Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist master supported by the Dalai Lama. He is the author of the best-selling “Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.” He heads the Rigpa Association, a network of centres spreading the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism throughout the world. Mimi’s experience at his side has been partly retold in the anthropologist Marion Dapsance’s investigative book, “The Devout Buddhists” (Max Milot). In this article, Mimi complements the description contained in the book with a more personal account.


Marion Dapsance also written a chapter entitled When Fraud is Part of a Spiritual Path: A Tibetan Lama’s Plays
on Reality and Illusion

This chapter was published in a book entitled

Minority Religions and Fraud: In Good Faith

(Sample pages from Googlebooks)


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An excerpt from Marion Depsance's chapter on Sogyal
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 06, 2017 10:58PM

Dialogue Ireland does stellar work.



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Re: Rigpa Students, Board Member, Accuse Sogyal Lakhar ("Rinpoche") of Widespread Abuses, Crimes
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 07, 2017 01:12AM

The anthropologist noted how the rigpa teacher used the concept of mirror
neurons to lend seemingly scientific crediblity to devotional practice
meditating on Sogyals face.

This was based on observations of rigpa lectures in France between 2009 -2011



The student learns that, in order to attract blessings and reach enlightenment, s/he must connect with the master through devotional feelings and behaviours. To justify the need for devotion, which was not supposed to be, at the beginning of the course, part of the ‘rational spirituality’ Buddhism supposedly is, the instructors translate these devotional standards of conduct into the language of science. Indeed, they use neuroscientific theories related to ‘mirror neurons’ and apply them to the spiritual encounter between master and disciples: when two people physically meet, their respective neurons adjust to one other, so when they are confronted to Sogyal Rinpoche’s presence, students’ neurons “resonate” with his, allowing them to ‘absorb’ his ‘atmosphere’, to merge his mind with his.

Here appears a new form of guru yoga, a tantric ritual that includes prayers invoking the master’s powers and visualizations of the student becoming one with him.

Going by the anthropologists report, that rigpa instructor used a concept
derived from scientific method (mirror neurons) but drew conclusions that
went far beyond what any responsible scientist would make.

There is a difference between scientific method and something that sounds
scientific but is actually pseudoscience.



While a pseudo-science is set up to look for evidence that supports its claims, Popper says, a science is set up to challenge its claims and look for evidence that might prove it false. In other words, pseudo-science seeks confirmations and science seeks falsifications.

So, why does this difference between science and pseudo-science matter? As Popper notes, the difference is not a matter of scientific theories always being true and pseudo-scientific theories always being false. The important difference seems to be in which approach gives better logical justification for knowledge claims.

A pseudo-science may make you feel like you've got a good picture of how the world works, but you could well be wrong about it. If a scientific picture of the world is wrong, that hard-headed scientific attitude means the chances are good that we'll find out we're wrong -- one of those tests of our hypotheses will turn up the data that falsifies them -- and switch to a different picture.

Scientists obtain findings by following the rules of scientific method. Those
rules are safeguards against various forms of delusion (confirmation bias, wishful thinking, placebo effect, etc) that can distort research and generate misleading information.

Findings from research done following the rules of scientific method remains trustworthy only if it is reported by persons who also follow the rules of
scientific method.

If a person uses findings obtained via scientific method as evidence that
(say) devotion and meditation on Sogyal's portrait will bring you
blessings -- that is a non scientific use of the information.

In the hands of the rigpa instructor findings obtained via scientific method
were used non scientifically -- in this context those findings became pseudoscience.

The most trustworthy findings from scientific method are those which are
replicated by different teams of researchers over time.

If you're going to use information derived from scientific method, you have
avoid jumping to conclusions beyond what is supported by the current findings.

And see to it that you're referring to findings that are up to date.

Otherwise you create delusion rather than emancipate us from delusion.

A Calm Look at the Most Hyped Concept in Neuroscience

Christian Jarrett 12 13 2013


(small excerpt)


First, here’s some background on the hype.


(Corboy note: Ramchandran did not confine this to a peer reviewed journal article. He reports this in a book aimed at the general public.)

"Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran says these cells shaped our civilisation; in fact he says they underlie what it is to be human – being responsible for our powers of empathy, language and the emergence of human culture, including the widespread use of tools and fire. When mirror neurons don’t work properly, Ramachandran believes the result is autism.

For the record, a detailed investigation earlier this year


(Corboy note: in a peer-reviewed journal read by scientists and not the
general public)

found little evidence to support his theory about autism.


Other experts have debunked Ramachandran’s claims linking mirror neurons to the birth of human culture. The activity of mirror neurons can be altered by simple and brief training tasks showing that these cells are just as likely to have been shaped by culture as the shaper of it.

The exaggerated and oversimplified story about mirror neurons has been swallowed whole by the media and much of the public. For a blast of this neuro-bunk try searching for “mirror neurons” on the Daily Mail website.


In fact we do not yet have the research to show that mirror neurons are vital for human empathy, and there are reasons to believe that empathy is possible without them.

Corboy:The earlier research findings on mirror neurons got reported to the media, then passed on in over hyped forms to the public - and by many dharma teachers -- by far too
many religionists seeking credibility by dressing their dogma up
in fancy scientistic terminology.

Listeners tend to trust anyone sitting on a higher platform, especially
buddhist teachers.

Mirror Neurons After a Quarter Century: New light, new cracks



For nearly a decade, these neurons, termed “mirror neurons,” remained relatively unknown to the public. However, their reputation began to change in 2000, when the famous neuroscientist and popularizer of science V.S. Ramachandran wrote an article


speculating that “mirror neurons would do for psychology what DNA did for biology: they will provide a unifying framework and help explain a host of mental abilities that have hitherto remained mysterious and inaccessible to experiments.”

In a series of elegant, compelling proposals, Ramachandran theorized that mirror neurons might help explain a wide variety of human social abilities. For example, how, biologically, do people imitate the actions of others, an ability that in part enables the spread of culture?

Ramachandran proposed that mirror neurons translate an observed action into a series of commands for the muscles to execute. How do people understand the intentions behind another’s actions? Mirror neurons may run a sort of virtual reality simulation of what it would be like for oneself to perform that action. Why are autistic individuals impaired when it comes to understanding the thoughts of others? Perhaps they have deficient mirror neurons (an idea that came to be called the “broken mirror” hypothesis). Within a year, the use of the phrase “mirror neurons” more than doubled


and over the next decade, mirror neurons captured the public imagination, being touted as able to offer insight into everything from empathizing with therapy clients


to international diplomacy


how children learn music


and how people appreciate art.


Not bad for a finding that was initially rejected from the top science journal, Nature, for “lacking public interest.”


For the rest of the article, read here:


Corboy contends that because they are in a position of trust, dharma teachers
should be careful with information obtained via scientific method. Don't just
go by media reports. Be as cautious as science journalists are and avoid
drawing conclusions from research findings that go beyond what is supported
by current findings.

In Mahayana buddhism we take vows to dispel illusion not add to it by
regurgitating media reported pseudoscience.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2017 09:13PM by corboy.

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For people who have read Marion Despances Chapter
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 09, 2017 04:03AM

Here are some excerpts from Marion Dapsance's article describing
rigpa classes and retreats she witnessed in France.


IMO Soggy's behavior, as reported by anthropologist Marion Dapsance
was abusive. Not just once, not just twice, but repeatedly so. Berating
people sitting in front of the audience and doing so repeatedly -
that is abuse.

Humans are adaptable. Stay too long in an shitty situation and that
abuse becomes "normalized" and you get used to it. If you witness your
fellow students being yelled at by Soggy, you get used to witnessing
abusive - and, over time, you become complicit.

Corboy suggests (just a hunch) that all this together
undermines students' boundaries and moral standards - undermines these
in relation to Soggy.

Without all these classes and the ideology of crazy wisdom without all
the fancy ritual, people could look at Soggy and say, "What a fucking
douche, I'm outta here."

But...have people go through all the intro courses, pay the fees,
do the meditations, accept the crazy wisdom ideology, and get all tired
out waiting for Soggy to arrive, most people will become estranged
from their usual BS detectors.

Another matter not mentioned: People who have traveled through multiple
time zones to attend a Sogyal retreat will be jet lagged. They will
have an especially difficult time accessing critical thinking.

Even if rigpa is not doing this intentionally, all this together probably
sets people up to tolerate asshole behavior from Soggy that they'd never
tolerate from someone else.

First, prospective rigpa members go through introductory talks
"Sitting With Rinpoche."


Courses are taught by former students of Rigpa called ‘instructors’; in front of them sit between four and fifteen people. The course begins with an introduction of all participants, including the instructors. The latter highlight the relationship which unites them to Sogyal Rinpoche, a relationship which the newcomers do not know yet. The relationship to the master is described as both desirable and painful.


Here, is where it starts. Soggy cannot be judged by ordinary moral standards. If, later on, a student tries to report abuse, a senior ripga
instructor can reply, "You were told right at the start that this
would be painful. What are you complaining about?" Or the student
may self censor him or herself using the same rationale.


The particularity of Sogyal Rinpoche, the instructors explain, is that he teaches through his ‘being’ more than with his words. Sitting in front of him while focusing on his eyes is presented as an ‘extraordinary’ practice which accelerates the awakening process, because it puts the student’s deluded mind in contact with the master’s rigpa

(Corboy hunch: Later on, when, at a retreat, students witness Soggy, in person, scolding
other students, they will have been indoctrinated to ignore his words (
that is, ignore his trash talk) and just absorb his image. This means
ignoring any pained empathy you fell when witnessing other people being
yelled at.)

Corboy has given links to some discussion of confusion techniques
as used by other gurus. This is not to say that Soggy is deliberately
using such techniques - we need more information. (Perhaps if some
former disciples could step forward)

These URLs to material contributed by The Anticult in discussing other
gurus will, however illustrate how disorienting such behavior is.

Anyone who behaves this way is bad company. Get away ASAP or you will
get used to all this and lose access to your gut instincts - and lose
access to your conscience.

You will lose access to your all important BS detector. You will no
longer be shocked by things that used to horrify you.

Here comes the anthropolgist's description of what takes place at the beginning
of a Sogyal retreat, where Soggy appears in person. All the persons at this
retreat have been practicing meditation upon Sogyal's televised image; letting
their inner boundaries down, being told that actual relationship with such a
special being is both desirable and painful.

Now, before the students see Soggy in person, they are briefed on how
to normalize his strange behavior -- behavior that they would probably not
have tolerated anyone prior to those sessions at rigpa.


The organizers (the centre’s managers) make an inspiring speech about Sogyal Rinpoche, emphasizing his greatness, but also stressing the confusing nature of his personality. At the beginning of each retreat, they say: “You mustn’t be surprised and draw the wrong conclusions about the way Rinpoche manifests, but rather remain open and always accept what comes with an open mind”. The way the master behaves on stage, they explain, must be ‘viewed as a mere appearance’, that is to say as an illusion created by the audience’s mind.5 Everything Sogyal Rinpoche says or does, the organizers announce, is charged with meaning that lay beyond his physical manifestation. This hidden meaning must be associated with Sogyal Rinpoche’s awakened nature: what he does on stage must be ‘seen’ as an ‘expression of his compassion’, an example of his ‘unconventional way’ to teach.

Corboy calls this being trained to eat shit and insist it is sugar.


n the heat of the final preparations, the organizers announce several times the master’s arrival, before he finally comes, at a point where he is no longer expected. The room, until then happily buzzing, is now suddenly silent.

Sogyal Rinpoche’s entrance is thus dramatized in the same way as for celebrities: the instructors are no longer teachers, but presenters, who repeatedly announce the master’s imminent arrival, highlight the extraordinary nature of the event, indefinitely repeat and comment on his greatness and originality.

(Corboy: this, and all the televised "sitting with rinpoche" courses may
possibly be what experts in trance induction call a "preframe".


Even if rigpa folks dont know about trance, this suspense building, this grand entrance of the rinpoche -- all this is is good theatre arts - you get people used to
interpreting Soggy's actions in a special way, and this gets you to accept
behavior from him that you'd reject from anyone else.)

Training the audience to expect and make excuses for Sogyal's "crazy" behavior looks like another set up.


Once Sogyal Rinpoche is finally on stage (after long minutes or hours of waiting), the organizers stop talking and return to their seats at the forefront of the assembly. The lama is then at the centre of the audience’s attention. The teachings will begin. Their theme has already been advertised weeks before: they usually focus on a topic linking Buddhism to daily life, such as “how to find peace in a hectic world” or “harmonizing relationships”.
While the audience expects him to get into the heart of the subject, as they see him do on the videos they watch during the introductory sessions, Sogyal Rinpoche begins to have personal conversations with the people sitting in the first row.

Soggy's changes of topic, interspersed with verbal attacks on his senior members looks confusing This may also induce mental fatigue in his audiences.


Corboy: Anyone who is not alarmed or outraged at Soggy's nasty behavior has become willing to stay present and witness the guru trash talking their fellow seekers and in public. To witness this and accept the explanation that this is crazy wisdom and not plain cruelty makes the onlookers complicit.

If, reportedly Soggy behaves this way publicly, what happens when he's in private, eh?

Paying a large sum of money for a Soggy retreat and feeling
ripped off is a painful state of mind. It is called cognitive dissonance.

So much easier to write it off as a "practice opportunity" "education"
or "interesting experience" and not admit that Soggy and his organization processed you through a well oiled engine of abuse
--or shall we say, a theatre of cruelty.

Even if someone comes from a thousand year old lineage of
authentic teachers, this is still abuse - an entire arrangement
that would weaken boundary instincts in most of us.

Human beings are highly adaptable. It is our glory and our

Remain in an abusive environment for a long enough time and you will
become desensitized. You will adjust and come to consider this normal.
With some encouragement many will be persuaded that the ongoing abuse
is enlightened activity.

I'd rather remain unenlightened if becoming enlightened means
eating a plate of steaming dung, then saying thank you
for the blessing.

Ah, and if anyone observes that I am getting all worked up about this
-- I am worked up about this.

As described by the anthropologist's article, Soggy is abusing people, even the people he is not inviting into his
bedroom/shrine room.

Plus ripga is tax exempt, which means those of us who do pay taxes are indirectly subsidizing this.

Note: Since Soggy behaves so abusively in public - it is possible
that he may behave even worse in private.

Wonder how many of his close disciples have come down with severe
stress related conditions.

How many close disciples - the barf basins who receive Soggy's public scoldings- how many are coping by using medication and or heavy alcohol
use? Eating disorders?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2017 09:43PM by corboy.

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Tax payers indirectly subsidize this behavior
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 10, 2018 07:19AM

Rigpa is tax exempt.

Which means those of us who pay taxes indirectly subsidize this behavior.

Why Tibetan Buddhism is facing up to its own abuse scandal

Joe Shute 9 SEPTEMBER 2018 • 11:00AM


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