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Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 04, 2015 10:38PM

Read down this list and look for items that reference Kalu Rinpoche.


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Re: Sogyal Lakar aka Rinpoche
Posted by: Otto Wagner ()
Date: March 06, 2015 02:39AM

Hi Corboy,

Thanks for your lead.

Does anyone have any information on what exactly Kalu Rinpoche was telling the women that they were going to obtain as spiritual reward? Usually, knowing and debunking the harmful ideology presented by a spiritual wolf is the way to protect ourselves. He is obviously a wolf, but to be able to recognize others down the road like him, it is helpful to know what specific methods he uses...

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Re: Sogyal Lakar aka Rinpoche
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 18, 2016 12:30AM

A discussion that started some years ago but continues up to this year.

In the discussion thread a number of people describe having left Rigpa.


Often, Vajrayana loyalists (including the Dalai Lama) tell us
to observe a teacher for many years, 10 to 12 years, before deciding
whether the teacher has the character and wisdom needed to be one's
yoga/tantra guru.

The problem with this seeming reasonable advice is -- one must immerse oneself
in the ongoing life at dharma centers in order to conduct this years long
examination of one's prospective teacher.

During that time, you will most likely lose your objectivity, peer influence
and participation in rituals, classes and meditations will blunt your
critical thinking.

Other factors: Suppose this teacher is living a hidden life of debauchery?

Suppose that teacher is surrounded by a cadre of senior students who
stage manage appearances and hide the teacher's tantrums? This is
exactly the thing that goes on in families which hide the behavior
of someone who is alcoholic or addicted -- family secret stuff. Dharma
centers in which senior students cover for a tottering teacher, exert
peer pressure on the students to keep mum; this is devotional
codependance. Just like a secret ridden dysfunctional family.


Unless you know the teacher's native language, you will be unable to
make sense of what the teacher actually says. Time spent learning that
language will immerse you further in the culture surrounding the teacher
and compromise your objectivity.

Many Tibetan teachers travel, and they often return to their native countries
in Asia. You have no way to learn how they behave when back home unless you
have the time and resources to travel there.

This advice to watch your teacher for several years before deciding
he is a true guru is, IMO, misleading at best, disingenuous at worst.

You'll spend those 12 years in the cultural and social milieu surrounding
your teacher.

You'll have to be polite and bow to the teacher, perhaps prostrate yourself.

Do enough prostrations, do enough chanting, while the teacher is high up on
a throne and while you are surrounded by scores of people doing the same
thing; you'll most likely lose your objectivity and lose ability
to assess your teacher with a discerning eye.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2016 12:44AM by corboy.

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Re: Sogyal Lakar aka Rinpoche
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: June 30, 2016 03:26AM

On the Buddhist forum where I participate, I recommend to newbies asking how to choose a sangha to try the various ones in their area, and to pay attention to the general vibe. Observe how the members interact. Over time, does there seem to be pressure to adhere to certain beliefs or behaviors, signs of cult-like dynamics? Is the teacher a little to "close" or "friendly" with one or more of the opposite-sex students, or flirtatious in general?

I think that evaluating the teacher involves more than literally just the teacher. It's about evaluating the whole environment the teacher helps create. Does there seem to be a cult of personality about the teacher? Does the teacher make an effort to be charismatic, engendering undue loyalty or devotion on the part of the students?

If we observe with a critical eye, we can often spot subtle or not-so-subtle red flags. IMO the best sanghas are the ones where the teacher doesn't claim to be anything special, nor does he demand that students accept him as a representative of the Buddha, and follow his every advice unquestioningly--a sure sign of a charlatan, no matter how high in the hierarchy of his lineage he may be.

It's always good to discuss these basics. Thanks for renewing this thread, corboy.

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Re: Sogyal Lakar aka Rinpoche
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 30, 2016 09:27AM

Mysstyk has the best and simplest advice.

Examine not just the teacher, examine the environment that has formed around the teacher.

A teacher occupies a role and that role does not exist in vacuum, it exists
in context.

I would add another thing to examine when sussing out dharma centers and ashrams.

What kinds of stories are told about the teacher or guru?

Beware if tales are told which hint that the teacher is beyond normal

Beware if stories circulate about people meeting bad ends if they dissented
or disobeyed the teacher.

Stories of visions and magical events occurring around the teacher - that's
another read light. Stories of the teacher supposedly rejecting large donations
-- yeah suuure. Somehow the money was found to pay for the brocades, the incense, and keeping the lights on at the dharma center.

Mythologizing a teacher demonstrates egotism amongst the students; by extolling
the amazing virtues of the teacher, the story tellers give themselves derivative prestige.

These ego driven fairy tales could be considered a violation of right speech; they could also be construed as peddling intoxicants.

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"Indispensible to Tibetan Buddhism"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 13, 2016 04:25AM


Interview by Élodie Emery
English translation and edited in March 2016


Many people left. Rigpa paid a very expensive professional agency in Paris, specialising in crisis communication, to train a few spokesmen, including myself, to respond to the allegations of sexual harassment and financial abuse. We were advised not to answer questions, but rather to endlessly repeat certain key phrases – and to quote the Dalai Lama as much as possible for moral support.

Q: The Dalai Lama clearly says (in “Ethics in the Teacher-Student Relationship” , 1993; Healing Anger, Snow Lion, 1997 pp. 83-85) that the abusive behaviour of masters must be exposed publicly and explicitly. Why has he not reacted himself?

My hypothesis is that he cannot discredit Sogyal publicly, because it would undermine Tibetan Buddhism. Sogyal Rinpoche has managed to make himself indispensable in the Tibetan community.


I stayed all these years despite my reservations, because I hoped Rigpa would be able to share profound wisdom with the greatest number of people, which would benefit society as a whole. But it became more and more difficult to invite people to his teachings, because his behaviour became impossible at times — pretentious, even in public. I had begun to write my first book, to illustrate how authentic Buddhist wisdom can be open to the world, adapted to the west, and conforming to humanist ideals.
Beginning with the article in “Marianne,” I felt the tension ratchet up a notch within the Rigpa leadership. All the secrecy and manipulation of information weighed heavily on me. I had come for teachings on humility, love, truth, and trust, and I found myself in a quasi-Stalinist environment and permanent double-talk. His dictatorial side and anger worsened and I was increasingly disturbed by it. He did not hesitate to brutally silence and ridicule people in meetings. Critical thinking is prohibited around him — the door is locked. Negative feedback never reaches him — only praise is reported because people in the close circle are afraid of him. It can make him angry or he would humiliate those close to him. He can also be friendly and full of humour if everything conforms to his wishes.
In the summer of 2014, during a retreat for the older students I made my decision to leave because I saw through him clearly — I saw his falsity. He demanded abundant offerings, specifically in cash, in front of 800 students. Each had to write their name on the envelope, so that he could check the amount.
There is also increasing control over regular students. They are made to feel guilty if they do not come to retreats. There is a lot of pressure — the Rigpa computer database identifies participants in retreats, practices, past meetings, etc. If a student does not attend, it must be justified – if a student leaves in the middle of a teaching, someone has to find them and ask why. This has driven a lot of people away.

A comment that followed this article:


MS says:
March 14, 2016 at 2:29 pm
I was a member of Rigpa. I left because when I asked questions about the allegations that Sogyal Rinpoche abused women students, I never received an answer and the way I was dealt with made me feel more and more uncomfortable. I began to feel I was in a cult. One of the most cultish things was when they got me to have a one to one with an instructor who thanked my for sharing my perspective and then tried to make me look at why I was asking the questions instead of providing answers. She said she didn’t know anything about Sogyal Rinpoche’s private life. It felt like I was the one who was doing something wrong. I didn’t think so. If you can go on YouTube and see a young woman say to camera that Sogyal Rinpoche unexpectedly ordered her to undress and she felt she had to do it to prove her devotion, I think any reasonable person will have questions about that and that’s just one of the questionable things out there.

What was a revelation to me, reading Olivier Raurich’s account, is the training he he describes being given in how to deal with questions about sexual harassment. He says he and others were trained by a very expensive expensive crisis communication agency not to answer the questions, but just to keep repeating key phrases and using the Dalai Lama’s name as much as possible. I was in Rigpa in a different country, but I totally recognise this approach having seen it in operation during my last period in Rigpa. I was told on several occasions that the Dalai Lama supports Sogyal Rinpoche and it was clear that I was supposed to conclude from this that all the allegations are false. Does the Dalai Lama know that this is how he is being used?

I knew I was being deceived, I could feel the manipulation and the attempt to control me, but I had no idea that behind this there was a public relations strategy devised by highly paid consultants which was specifically devised to deflect questions and prevent anyone finding the truth. I think this is a disgrace. The conclusion I came to, even before reading Olivier Raurich’s account, is that something rotten is being hidden. We deserve better than this.



MS says:
March 15, 2016 at 10:26 am
I don’t know why it took Olivier Raurich nearly 30 years to leave, but I do understand how this can happen. Olivier is not the only long-term student who eventually left.

This is what I saw happening over 10 years. The authoritarianism was slowly ratcheted up. There was no critical discussion at all, so problems festered under the surface. Secrets were well kept, even from long-term members. Demands for money increased. Teachings on Guru Yoga got more extreme. We were monitored as part of ’sangha care’ with information kept in a database, but some of the information could only be entered by instructors who had interviewed us or administrators. I can understand how a long-term student might begin to feel trapped, but by then many years have gone by. What to do then?

All long term students belong to something called the Dzogchen Mandala. This is what Rigpa currently says to those joining the Dzogchen Mandala, “The key essential point is this: by becoming a member of the Dzogchen Mandala, you pledge to follow all of Rinpoche’s instructions, to the best of your ability, for the rest of your life.”

The problem is that this is a pledge made by people who don’t know what is going to be asked of them, or what is going on behind the scenes, because so much is kept secret. At least now there’s the internet, although the strong culture in Rigpa is to ignore or dismiss anything negative found there. We now know from Olivier that Rigpa spent a lot of money trying to deflect attention from the negative information on the internet. How can the student check the teacher out when the teacher’s organisation is actively hiding and distorting information?

We can learn a lot from trying to understand how someone could leave after twenty eight years. We should also try to understand those who stay. Some can’t find a way out, but others want to stay. In my experience many are only managing to survive by practising “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” and are are happy to be reassured by the Dalai Lama support soundbites we now know were written by an expensive crisis communication agency.


tenpel says:
March 16, 2016 at 2:50 am
BTW, having layers closer to the leader like in this case opens up the potential for various kinds of abuse – with those on the outer edges of the group having very little knowledge or experience of what it is like to be part of the privileged ‘inner circle’. Those on the outer edge perhaps envying those with access to the leader.

Some of those on the outer edge could also long for to be part of the ‘inner circle’ and this longing can give rise to all types of (unhealthy) promises or commitments just for the sake to become a member of the ‘inner circle’ and to be closer to the leader. Once committed to (unhealthy) promises or to an (unhealthy) ‘inner circle’, it will be very hard to cultivate the clarity and bravery to admit that you corrupted your own moral compass and that you made wrong decisions.

An academic wrote once that an example of multiple levels of groups that is well documented in the public domain is Ananda Marga. This person recommended a well researched article in the South China Morning Post: []


MS says:
March 15, 2016 at 1:56 pm
In my opinion, the authoritarianism goes through the whole organisation, from Sogyal Rinpoche’s household right down to the person cleaning the center. You just do not say ‘no’ to Sogyal Rinpoche if you want to be any part of his organisation and that includes people who have only signed up for an open retreat. It includes, to give just a few examples, the young woman who feels she can’t say no to sex, down through the worker who accepts a public telling off to the student who cooperates with ever more intrusive organisational monitoring and demands for money.

dharmaanarchist, you must have seen the public humiliations. These have not stopped or reduced in recent years. New people are not immune from public humiliation if they express doubts or try to ask a question during the teachings. As successive scandals hit the organisation in recent years the Dzogchen Mandala has been increasingly tightened to try and ensure that every member follows Sogyal Rinpoche’s instructions and maintains a pure view of him. All the members had to reapply in 2014. For me, this was one of the clear signs of increased authoritarianism.

I understand that you have seen a more relaxed leadership style over the last five years or so dharmaanarchist. I honestly did not.


Yangchen says:
March 16, 2016 at 4:17 am
Dear MS and Tenpel-la

I absolutely agree with your point of view.

Knowing SR for 30 years, it has been my experience, that the public humiliations have even become worse. I have witnessed “training sessions” of students in front of hundreds of people, which have really broken my heart. If he were a responsible teacher, he would not give his students such a hard time. Life is hard enough, why make it even harder for the students? It is really unbelievable. It is as Dharma became tainted with delusion, injustice, lack of heart, competition, fear and all the rest. What a disgrace for the Buddha Dharma.

However, being aware of interdependence, SR is not the only one to be blamed. An insatiable need for love, gratification and belonging on the part of the student has to be considered. BUT SR is supposed to be the teacher, the refuge, the guide to Enlightenment. In the case of the Dzogchen Mandala, he is demanding life long devotion. His behaviour makes it hard for the students to fulfil this commitment.

Having left SR and Rigpa I have learned to be happy in the Dharma again………..But honestly speaking, there is still a nagging feeling of unease in my heart, because after all, I have promised and somehow broken the promise. It is really hard to get rid of this feeling. However, I always remember the Dalai Lamas words regarding the teacher/student relationship. This gives me a lot of comfort and confidence.

Actually we should have compassion for sentient beings and devotion to the teacher. In this case having compassion for the teacher protects my heart.


enpel says:
March 16, 2016 at 7:42 am
In this case having compassion for the teacher protects my heart.

Thank you for your comment, Yangchen la.

Not cultivating compassion for my abusive teachers over years was the worst thing I did. The Tibetan texts encourage not to train in compassion towards one’s teacher but in “faith and respect” (in the Theravada, your teacher is recommended as the object of metta). This Tibetan approach not to cultivate compassion and love to my (abusive) teachers didn’t help me at all. But to cultivate love and compassion to them (after I had left them) really helped me and it protects my heart too – until today. I can only agree with you.

I think, I know this feeling you describe “I have promised and somehow broken the promise. It is really hard to get rid of this feeling”. I had a deep doubt or uncertainty or feeling of guilt or so in my heart if I did right or wrong by leaving my teachers. Though I had enough reasons and knew intellectually it was right, my heart couldn’t feel it and doubted somewhat this decision deeply. It needed a really good Dzogchen master, Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche, to get rid of this feeling. When Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche taught Patrul Rinpoche’s “Words of My Perfect Teacher” in Berlin 2003, he came to the point where the wrong teachers were explained and when he taught about “Like the frog in the well”-teacher, it was as if he told what I had experienced and then he summed the whole (some people said he looked all of the time at me when he explained it while I was busy to make notes while carefully listening): “These teachers must be abandoned because they lead students onto wrong paths.” When he said this, my feeling of unease or guilt or doubt (whatever it was) was totally released at once, and I felt like a big burden has gone from my heart. This release was thorough and prevailing. The feeling of doubt or uncertainty or guilt – what ever it was – came never back because I deeply realised (though his blessing or power of speech or so), I did the right thing. It was the right decision I made when I left my abusive teachers. Though I knew it intellectually until this point my heart could not see or feel it, it was blocked due to all of this “brainwashing” and poisoned Dharma that had only been used to bind people to unhealthy teachers and their unhealthy organisations.

tenpel says:
March 16, 2016 at 5:05 pm
Later the day it came to my mind what important teaching I received too from the Dzogchen master, HE Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche. I thought it might be good to share it because it really teaches something.

I went to Hamburg to receive Dzogchen teachings from him. Having made a certain experience in the break of the course, I approached Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche and asked him about it. He explained it and gave me an instruction what to do next time. Then I said to him: “I think I experienced this due to your blessings?” He replied: “No. This has nothing to do with me but your faith in the teachings and the lineage.” This was the first time a teacher didn’t ascribe good experiences I made to himself, he even rejected immediately the trial from my side to do so.

My misleading teachers and their followers incorrectly ascribed all the good experiences to the teacher and all bad experiences to the student’s negativity / negative Karma.

PP says:
March 17, 2016 at 8:31 pm

SR whatever he did and is doing wrong seems to be protected and supported by almost the entire tibetan supposed elite and by political leaders…as Trungpa and his regent were.

Dear Tenpel, don’t give any importance to your experience in meditation , it takes years of deep guided practice to gain real experience and understanding of the true nature of mind, and years to be more and more ignorant playing a kind of realisation. I have no confidence in all the masters who teach in SR presence, or Trungpa before. There are still some few lineages who are not connected with what few people may think corrupted and decadent since decades. Good luck!!!

Read :

PP says:
March 18, 2016 at 8:44 am
Tenpel,i want to thank you for for this very interesting answer.
You insist on the cultural habits of tibeto-tibetans relations, and what i see from my westener side is quite different. The mutual tolerance in the tibetan “Elite” for the obvious misbehaviour of some of it’s members is schoking to me. I will give you a short example that you can find on your blog too:
In the name of crazy wisdom so many abuses were obviously sadly accepted…as “wisdom” proofs.

Poor westeners with two karamapas but one SR ;-)
I wont dicuss about HH Dalai Lama way of life, his visit to SR, Sakyong, and so on, because i really don’t know him and i’m not interested and a little bit disgussed by mundane-political-financial activity of tibetan monks in general
.The chapter of Falk book speaks from other funny cases like Jetsnuma and others…
I wish you the best.



Joanneclark7 says:
April 5, 2016 at 8:37 pm
PP I agree with you that the problems with Sogyal cannot be addressed without addressing the culture of loyalty and silence that continues to support him. I am many years out from my last teaching with him– and I only stayed with him for a year or so– but even today, I wish from my heart that I had never walked into a Rigpa event. Part of my problems came from Sogyal himself and his emphasis on complete guru devotion, as well as his horrid habit of abusing students in public– and part of my problems came from my own excessive need to be completely devoted and “born again.” So I do acknowledge my own culpability, my own part. But there’s little help from the Tibetan establishment regarding Sogyal’s part.

The Kagyu teacher that I turned to after leaving Rigpa said, “Sogyal Rinpoche is a great teacher– but if you want to practice here, you can do that.” And I slaved and I prostrated and I put everything I had into following this lama’s advice, but I never progressed with him– or with any of the others at that monastery. I only became more confused and more troubled. This is because I really had gone a little mad during my time with Rigpa– and they simply saw me as a mad student and they treated me very strangely, never looking me in the eyes, giving me odd, cryptic answers to all my questions etc. If they had looked closer they might have seen that I had simply been led astray by Sogyal. And that a sane, stable, straightforward, honest and authentic approach to Dharma, such as that provided by HH Dalai Lama, was all that I needed to get back on my feet, find trust and recover from Rigpa madness.

So for me, the failure of other Tibetan lamas to acknowledge the real harm caused by Sogyal’s approach to Dharma meant that they could not help me recover. They saw my problems as all my own doing. And I think the same thing happened with NKT survivors in the early years. Until other Tibetan lamas could acknowledge the harm, they couldn’t help ex-NKT.

Right now, even HH Karmapa praises Sogyal. I don’t think such staunch loyalty is helpful at this stage. At the same time, I agree with Dharmaanarchist that Sogyal does help some students. I think Kelsang Gyatso has helped students as well. And probably that is why HH Karmapa praises Sogyal. But surely at some point, harm needs to be acknowledged so that the burden is not carried alone by the survivors. We can say that a good cook helps nourish people– but if he has a bad habit of adding poison to some dishes, then we simply can’t keep giving compliments and standing loyally by his dishes. People have to be warned and supported.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2016 04:40AM by corboy.

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Re: "Indispensible to Tibetan Buddhism"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 13, 2016 05:01AM



MS says:
September 6, 2016 at 9:29 am
Sogyal Rinpoche is being advertised as one of the main speakers at this conference taking place at the University of Potsdam 16-18 September. Is there no interest in Sogyal Rinpoche’s background from the German press?


Events like this give him a big credibility. I think it is wrong that Sogyal Rinpoche can get away with using events like this to maintain his position as a respectable religious leader.

One of the other main speakers, Kirsten DeLeo, is described as having “under the guidance of Tibetan meditation master Sogyal Rinpoche, completed a three-year meditation retreat.”

Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa are positioning themselves as leaders in the care of the dying without properly answering questions about the widespread concerns in the Buddhist community and beyond about the behaviour of Sogyal Rinpoche and the way Rigpa operates. The press should not just report what the press releases tell them.

Thanks to Oliver Raurich, we now know how the press is manipulated by Rigpa. Olivier wrote, “Rigpa paid a very expensive professional agency in Paris, specialising in crisis communication, to train a few spokesmen, including myself, to respond to the allegations of sexual harassment and financial abuse. We were advised not to answer questions, but rather to endlessly repeat certain key phrases – and to quote the Dalai Lama as much as possible for moral support.”

Good journalists would look behind the professionally constructed sound bites to get to the truth.


joanneclark7 says:
April 11, 2016 at 11:32 pm
Good grief, Dharmaanarchist, calm down. This is the sort of marginalization people with issues of mental illness experience all the time and it’s very sad. I actually have a valid point of view you know– and I am quite stable now, without ever needing a social worker or psychotherapist. How can you know what I need or what I experienced? In fact, the Dharma was all I needed. That was my point. If Rigpa had simply provided me with Dharma– and left out all the guru hype and the trauma of watching public humiliations, then I wouldn’t have run into trouble. I know that now, I know that Rigpa is not a particularly healthy Dharma environment. In fact, I watched other people in much worse shape than myself.

As a Dharma practitioner and as a counselor myself, I believe that it’s important to treat everyone with respect and to validate their points of view. The attitude that you just exhibited is precisely why I stay away from Dharma centers.

MS says:
April 12, 2016 at 9:26 am
I agree with you Joanne. The Guru hype and public humiliations create a completely unhealthy environment. Then when the constant demands for complete guru devotion begin to collide with the allegations that Sogyal Rinpoche sexually abuses young women students, it get’s worse. I don’t know how I kept my sanity and I know other students and ex-students who describe themselves as going though hell. In my experience a year is plenty of time to lose your reference points and experience severe mental distress. I admire your recognition, Joanne, that part of you problems came from your “excessive need to be completely devoted and “born again.”” A healthy sangha and teacher would recognise this possibility, which many are susceptible to including me, and wouldn’t do things to exacerbate it.

There is a terrible tendency in Rigpa to blame others and take no responsibility themselves. From my experience I can say that this comes from the top, from Sogyal Rinpoche himself. So I am not surprised to see your experience being blamed on your so called “mental illness.” Going a “little mad” in an insane situation is not madness in my view, although the suffering is still terrible. I also think Sogyal Rinpoche has done good things, so you, me and dharmaanarchist can all agree on that, but I find the total refusal in Rigpa and apparently in the whole Tibetan Buddhist establishment to recognise that he has done harm scandalous.


MS says:
April 11, 2016 at 7:39 am
One of the most disgusting aspects of the reaction I got when I asked questions in Rigpa about Sogyal Rinpoche’s alleged abuse of young women students was exactly this ad hominem approach. They won’t answer any questions, but they will tell you bad things about everyone who has said anything critical of Sogyal Rinpoche. They seem to know lots about everyone who has complained, but nothing about what actually happened. Sogyal Rinpoche himself seems to take no responsibility at all for the situation.


MS says:
May 10, 2016 at 7:02 pm
There is a hospice project in Germany called Sukhavati which appears to be one of Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa’s projects, but this is not not made clear on the project’s web-site.

On this page [] there are the biographies of nine people who form the team running the project. Sogyal Rinpoche’s name does not appear anywhere on the page, but from researching the information that is there it appears that at least six of the nine are Sogyal Rinpoche’s students. There are references to a three year retreat at Lerab Ling, or in one case simply to a three year retreat in the South of France, which is certainly also Lerab Ling, as well as references to the Spiritual Care programme and to Dharma Mati. This retreat and these projects are all Sogyal Rinpoche led. Philip Philippou makes no mention of the fact that he is one of the main leaders in Rigpa and has been so for decades. None of these team members mention Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa. WHY NOT? I think the public should be clearly told who is behind the project

What follows is one person's description of gaslighting.


Melodious says:
May 15, 2016 at 7:05 am
I only found out about the scandal involving Sogyal Rinpoche a few days ago. I’ve been transfixed because it explains a lot to me about my experience with Rigpa. My Buddhist path started with Rigpa around 2003 and I stayed until early 2005.

I actually left because I was disliked by the cliche of students who ran the centre. The first year was fine but in the second year there was a growing sense of animosity towards me. The main instructor had told a story about how Sogyal Rinpoche received letters from his students in various Dharma centres outlining the conflicts they were experiencing in the centres.

His remedy was to get the students to watch endless Laurel and Hardy shows as a way to demonstrate how we all have difficult behaviours that set each other off. People just had to not behave in a difficult way or react to difficult behaviour and that would calm the friction down.

I tried in vain to work out what I was doing ‘wrong’ to explain why one instructor rolled his eyes when I asked questions, I got screamed on a number of occasions by one student in the core group, got told to shut-up by a young lady who ended up being an instructor the next year, had an empty water bottle thrown at me in anger that hit me in the head. There was just a negative sentiment toward me by the core group.

Two years after I started at Rigpa I realised that I had a problem with binge drinking and it was getting worse. As a result I went to Alcoholics Anonymous and started with their 12 step program. I started to find it very difficult to do all the work set up by Rigpa and learn the AA program and do the 12 steps. At that point Rigpa had their students doing a modules of study each ‘semester’ and another study pack we did in our own time that consisted of listening to SR’s teachings many times over to absorb them, and the Nongdro practise (which included the tantric Vajrasattva practice).

Luckily for me I had also been doing workshops at the local FPMT centres and decided to stop going to Rigpa and go to the FPMT centres instead. That way I could pick and choose the topics that fitted into my AA program. I felt too intimidated to go to Rigpa anyway and the FPMT centres were so much more welcoming.

I found that the FPMT centres tend to do a lot of workshops on relationships, controlling emotions, making yourself a socially acceptable person to be around (my words not theirs), applying virtues to your everyday life etc., so while there still is friction in these centres it is a not like the animosity I experienced at Rigpa; meaning people may get cranky but not to the point they throw things at someone else.

When I look back at Rigpa there was not the same emphasis on how to develop healthy relationships with people in the Sangha. I was too green to question why Rigpa taught the tantric Vajrasattva practice (the one with the consort) and the FPMT only did the practise without the consort and forbids people to view the certain tantric images unless they are initiated into that practise.

At one point two of the core students asked me if I would like to learn the skills to volunteer in a hospice for the dying, they made a snarky comment about how it would teach me to ‘get out of myself a bit’ as in I thought of only myself. I was totally shocked at their suggestion and attitude because I wasn’t in a great place emotionally and would’ve been the type of person to sit beside a dying person and complain about all my problems. I had no mental stability to comfort a dying person or their family or to be in a hospice environment.

Looking back, the weirdest thing happened at the retreat at Myall Lakes (Australia). Every year SR holds retreat around January. The full retreat lasts for ten days but the short one only goes for four (at that time anyway); I went for the four day retreat. The last session I attended was a discussion group. I had planned to leave shortly after it ended because I had to catch a bus back to QLD.

After the discussion group I was approached by a lady who was part of Rigpa. She explained that concerns had been raised for my welfare due to some comments I made during the discussion group. I can’t remember how she expressed it but she was basically saying there were concerns that I was suicidal or going to ‘self-harm’. I became really confused because I couldn’t remember what I’d said during the discussion group and hadn’t felt any strong emotion.

When I asked her for clarification about what I said (because I was so confused) she was very vague but insisted that from what I said there were concerns about my welfare. Dumbfounded I pleaded ignorance and apologised if I’d made a throwaway comment that had caused concerned. At this point I had to collect my bags from the campsite office and get a cab to the town so I could get my bus so I managed to get away from this upsetting and confusing interaction.

Now after finding our SR is a sexual predator I am wondering if I had become a target at that event. I am counting my lucky stars that I could only afford to stay at the retreat for four days. I would’ve found it a distressing and overbearing situation to have been preyed on by SR’s enablers. That was the first and only time in my life I’ve had someone say that concerns were raised for my welfare that I was going to self-harm or was suicidal.

It would be interesting to find out if SR has his enablers procure young women for him. Hopefully more women will find the courage to speak out about how they were procured for SR because I believe he must’ve had enablers procuring women for him somehow.


MS says:
May 18, 2016 at 9:50 am
I don’t think Sogyal Rinpoche only chooses girls/young women who are introduced to him by someone in his inner circle. There is an account on this blog [] which describes how a new young women student without connections was singled out for sex.

This has been going on for a very long time. Before the Telegraph in the UK had a web-site there was a long article in 1995 about Sogyal Rinpoche’s sexual relationships with his students. I found a pdf of it here []. The woman known as Janice Doe was a new student. There are also accounts from two other women in that article.

I am sure you are right dharmaanarchist that Sogyal Rinpoche often finds young women to have sex with through their connections with people already in his inner circle, but it seems clear to me from the ‘ex-dakini’ account and those in the Telegraph that there are many other routes for new students without connections to be propositioned for sex with Sogyal Rinpoche if they attract his attention


Adamo says:
July 19, 2016 at 4:59 am
I agree with Dharmaanarchist.

But I want to add: Part of the lifestyle of S is, to have permanently between 3-20 people available as personal “assistents” for whatssoever commands,24hours7daystheweekallyearlong, giving them a hard time, called “crazy wisdom teaching”.
As a example: the car in Lerab Ling he uses, has to washed 3Xdaily inside and outside, when enough staff is available.
Whereever he is, he want all people focusing only at him, watching carefully that he is the only number one around.
His wishes, as there might be countless wishes on a long day, has to be fulfilled on the spot, even 5 or 10 times, if he dislikes the attitude or manner of the person.
He acts like the star of all stars, what I believe, he really would like to be.

This is to be continued endless…….

So not particular the material lifestyle is exclusice, but the “psychological”livestyle.

As I feel, most people who underwent such a treating, has not changed much, but even remain more confused.


tenpel says:
July 19, 2016 at 5:01 pm
The women who told to me their stories and observations said that SR is highly demanding and gets very angry if his demands are not fulfilled. His rude and uncontrolled behaviour creates an atmosphere of fear and insecurity and a high pressure to please him in any way. When I remember correctly, its well described also in this post: One Year With Rigpa – A Testimony.


I don’t think what you describe has anything to do with what’s called “crazy wisdom” as I have heard that very conservative Tibetan teachers can be very demanding and give their personal students a hard time. That appears to be more of a common vajra master style of educating students.

No, it has nothing to do with crazy wisdom, rather with craziness.

One of the women who told me her story cooked for him (for sure she gave her best). Sogyal being displease with the food took the whole plate together with the food and threw it violently with insulting words on her. The women was utterly shocked and could not find peace for a long time. She finally had to find another teacher who consoled her from the deep inner conflicts and shock that blocked her mind and inner peace.

Sorry, what you do is, that you try to whitewash such rude and inappropriate – violent – behaviour as normal. Can you tell me what is the education in that context? No Vajra-master has any permission to harm sentient beings, and Soogyal has harmed women. This fact is not even denied by Rigpa. So please stop to declare such rude, insulting and harming behaviour as “a common vajra master style of educating students.” BTW, I have different Vajra-masters and none of them acts like this in any way.

You also downplay the sexual harassment by Sogyal when you describe his actions as “quite humorous, playful, hilarious, anarchistically outlandish, destroying conceptual thinking…” To give a clean clear example: Sogyal has abused his power to manipulate women who did a retreat in Lerab Ling to have sex with him. What is “quite humorous, playful, hilarious, anarchistically outlandish, destroying conceptual thinking” in that context? Its not funny either.


Adamo says:
July 17, 2016 at 4:02 pm
I can say from my experiences, that I do not consider the lifestyle of S as exclusive in terms of material matters.
I would not say he indulges in expensive material goods.

Compared with the Rinpoches I know a little bit, he lives a expensive style, but compared with western standards, the lifestyle (material) is not such big deal.

So far, I confirms dharmaanarchists statement, as S luxury lifestyle is discussed.

His way of treating his students, and teaching and so can be considered extremely wasteful.

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Re: Sogyal Lakar aka Rinpoche
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: September 15, 2016 04:42AM

One typical m.o. is to tell women that the Lama is a representative of the Buddha and the Holy Dharma, and only has the students' best interests at heart. So they should trust him completely, and follow his word.

I think part of the hook for June Campbell, after she recovered from the shock of what he was proposing, was the sense that it was an honor to be chosen as a consort. In Tibetan Buddhist culture, the girls and their parents are told that the girl has been chosen as a "Buddha mother", or a goddess. I don't know that he told June outright that it was an honor to be chosen for this role. She does discuss in her book how it all came about, and her reactions.

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Re: Sogyal Lakar aka Rinpoche
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: September 15, 2016 05:00AM

Well, we now know from Melodius' testimony above, that Rigpa/Sogyal's teachings involve sexual practice. My observation after posting on a number of Buddhist forums over the years, about clergy abuse of students, is that the people who protest the most vehemently are the people involved in charlatan-run Tibetan Buddhist movements that include sexual tantra, and that introduce students to that fairly early on. After doing Google searches on people who were the most angry and vociferous regarding exploitation of women students, I discovered that in ALL cases, it was either someone from Ole Nydahl's Diamond Way, or from Rigpa, or from the Dorje Shugden group, whatever it's officially called. That last one introduces sexual practice within the first two years of study, and no matter the age of the student--including teenagers.

Traditionally, tantric teachings are offered only to advanced students, and it takes many years to get to that stage. So you know something's off when a sangha introduces that in what is supposed to the beginning stage of TB instruction, namely--the "Hinayana" teachings phase. Tibetan protocol is to begin with the beginning of Buddhism, which would be the Buddha's early teachings, nowadays referred to as the Theravada school. Then after a few years at that stage, the Mahayana teachings are covered. After a few years of that, the first phase of the Vajrayana teachings are introduced. At that point, students are learning transformational visualizations; they meditate on themselves as the Buddha of Compassion, or other images. They're introduced to the Medicine Buddha, and may choose to attend an empowerment for self-healing. Only later would sexual imagery be introduced, and in the Gelug sect, the practice would by only symbolic, only using imagery, not actual consort practice.

These days, however, this strict structure isn't always followed, even in the most benign of sanghas. There isn't always this clear, delineated, progression.

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Talking and thinking badly of your teacher - go to vajra hell
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 26, 2017 02:05AM


The allegations of abuse by Sogyal Rinpoche have been around for a long time and every now and again, they re-surface in the media and a whole new generation of Rigpa students become aware that all is not as it seems.

For my first few years in Rigpa, I was not aware of these issues at all and when I did become aware in some way, my mind compartamentalised these issues. I was so confused, I tried to rationalise it – so many people benefit from the teachings, this surely can’t be true and so on but there was always a niggling doubt. Then people that I trusted in the Dharma assured me that this was all fine, it was allegations, it was crazy wisdom, this was my ego reacting and so on.

However, this doubt got bigger and bigger and when I discussed the issues with senior students, some of whom were in blank denial and issued a party line, some of whom admitted the truth of the allegations but justified it by “crazy wisdom” approach. Both reactions only made my doubts bigger, I read as much as could, watched interviews and soon found myself connecting with other students who had left or were leaving. We were all fearful as this was a taboo subject and had been taught that to speak or think badly about the master would be a terrible corruption of samaya and would send you to the vajra hells.

These teachings in recent years in Rigpa on devotion and samaya have become more numerous and explicit – I believe this is deliberate.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/26/2017 02:26AM by corboy.

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