Shock at Lama Sogyal Rinpoche’s past

Rigpa 5th July 09 Sunday Times PDF

From The Sunday Times – Irish Edition

July 5, 2009

President McAleese distances herself from spiritual leader accused of abuse

Rinpoche and McAleese meet

Richard Oakley

When President Mary McAleese visited Dzogchen Beara, a spectacular Buddhist retreat perched high above the Atlantic Ocean on the rugged west Cork peninsula in September 2007, she was full of praise for Sogyal Rinpoche, its Tibetan-born spiritual director.

It was, the president said, “a particular joy” to be in the company of a lama and bestselling author whose “wonderful work” is “known to many people right around the world”.

The president’s remarks about the spiritual leader, whose name means Precious One, along with photographs of her visit now feature prominently on the centre’s website, which advertises courses on bereavement and meditation.

Last April the president’s office also sent “warmest good wishes” to a conference on spiritual care hosted in Killarney by Rigpa, an international Buddhist organisation that Rinpoche leads.

It has now emerged that Rinpoche has a controversial past and was once accused in a $10m (€7.16m) American lawsuit of “physical, mental and sexual abuse”.

Last week The Sunday Times supplied Aras an Uachtarain with details of the case taken against Rinpoche in California in 1994, and a description of Rigpa and its leader provided by Inform, a religious information body funded by the British government and based in the London School of Economics.

Asked to comment on the president’s connections to both, her office declined to mention the spiritual guru by name. “President McAleese visited Dzogchen Beara Tibetan Buddhist Retreat & Spiritual Care Centre on September 12, 2007 at the invitation of centre director, Matt Padwick,” a spokeswoman said.

The subsequent message of support was “provided to Rigpa Spiritual Care Education Programme at Dzogchen Beara for the purposes of its international spiritual care conference”.

The spokeswoman added: “President McAleese often sends welcome messages to international conferences taking place in Ireland on a wide range of themes.”

Rinpoche, who was born in the 1940s and educated at Cambridge University, is author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, which has sold more than 2m copies. It was described by the actor John Cleese as “one of the most helpful I have ever read”. Rinpoche appeared in the 1993 film, Little Buddha.

Rigpa has 182 centres worldwide and groups in 23 countries. Its premises in Beara, a gift from Harriet Cornish, an Englishwoman who came to west Cork in the 1970s, is regularly visited by Rinpoche, who is there this weekend leading a retreat.

Controversy has surrounded the leader ever since the 1990s lawsuit was setted with no details of the terms. In the case, an anonymous woman claimed that she was “coerced into an intimate relationship” having visited Rinpoche on a Connecticut retreat following the death of her father.

The suit accused him of fraud, assault and battery, infliction of emotional distress and breach of fiduciary duty. It also charged that he “seduced many other female students for his own sexual gratification”.

The case was settled privately and no details were made public. A spokesman for the Rigpa organisation said it was precluded from speaking about the matter although he confirmed it was settled.

Since that case, further concerns have been expressed about Rinpoche. In 1995, The Daily Telegraph detailed incidents in which students claimed that they had felt obliged to have a sexual relationship with their teacher. There have been other similar allegations, including anonymous postings online, which have been described by Rigpa as “uncorroborated and without evidence”.

Critics of the Buddhist leader argue that although he is not a celibate religious leader and is entitled to a private life, there are legitimate fears that he may use his guru/pupil relationship for sexual gain. Rigpa denies this, saying that Rinpoche has “helped many thousands of people to transform their lives in a positive way” and is an “authentic master”.

“All these allegations floating around the internet are untrue and the organisation is considering what action to take,” the Rigpa spokesman said.

Mike Garde, director of Dialogue Ireland, has now posted publicly available information about Rinpoche, including the details of the lawsuit, on the organisation’s website. “We’ve put it up so people can access details of the case and decide for themselves,” Garde said.

Anyone seeking information from Inform is told it has had 38 inquiries about Rigpa. “The majority have been simply for more information, however, they include inquiries from two former members who both alleged that there was sexual abuse within the organisation,” it said. “A further two were from people concerned about female relatives who were members.”

A number of prominent Irish people, including Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, have spoken at conferences on death organised by Rinpoche. The centre is hosting a mini-festival this weekend featuring Luka Bloom and John Spillane, both singer-songwriters.

Calls to the management of the Dzogchen Beara centre were not returned.

92 Responses

  1. Well, I have nothing against Rigpa or Sogyal Lama, but to someone above who said “He can’t drink, in his own words, I saw a video where he was drinking beer, and another video where he was dancing in the monastery with young western women. Sogyal Lama I really dont care if you dance in a disco or your bedroom or your bathroom but for Gawd Sake, please forsake the monastery, please. As an Indian Buddhist we respect our temples and monasteries and it is sacred to us so keep the sacred place aside for the dancing sessions and carry it somewhere else. please .. Sogyal Lama if you read this, please, please, dont dance in holy places. Respect, respect, respect.. Love and Peace… Maya Ray


  2. I am not commenting to any person in particular, so if this seems to you an attack on your person then my friend the force of the ego is large with you and here lies the need for self scrutiny. Why is my ego large, why do I see it as me? Why am I so threatened? What is there to gain or lose?

    There seems to be a trend around spiritual teachers; they all seems to have been given a flaw or the other especially in the western world, may be because we are so intelligent or maybe because we are so threatened? But , the most common is to slander their names with sexual assaults, mostly the male ones anyway. I am not saying these masters are saint or gods, that is for whom ever they believe in to determine nor am I saying that they are evil. You and I will never know the truth about these stories because frankly we were not there.

    That said; look around and within, be sincere with yourself, does the world seem right, balanced and appropriate to you? If your answer is yes, then blessed are you for you have transcended both good and bad. I do not care much for institutions but I care for truth and sincerity. I shall broach to mention a great teacher here, Christ, it is said that he said, he who has not sinned cast the first stone, I know I have sinned, so I try to teach myself everyday to not judge the masters but to get their wisdom in my heart. So I beg of you, judge not the person but the truth of his message, do not look for flattering words that will please your ego for that may not be truth rather look for truth that if applied today will make these words real; our father who art in heaven, praise be thy name, thy kingdom comes “when” thy will is done on earth as it is in heaven. I have emphasized and added when to this prayer because it creates clarity for me. So again I beg you to seek teachings that can guide you individually to deliver the supreme’s will here on earth.

    I feel gone should be the time of letting ignorance run our minds, use your discerning mind, try to establish how one who teaches practical techniques for learning compassion, renunciation and selfless existence could be the opposite of his teachings. If you can get an answer to how this can be, then you have found the truth for only yourself.

    I can only speak from my truth, since I started practising meditation techniques for the last 1 year (daily) my sexual desires have reduced, I am more in control of this basic instinct. Mediation allows you to bring your thoughts home, Lol; calm abiding! What are desires and emotions if not just thoughts that are on steroids? So imagine a person who has been doing this for 30, 60 or every day of their rational life. All this reminds me of when Tiger Woods had is extra marital issues, in his statement to the press he said something along the lines of “I shall return to my Buddhist teaching or training or ways”. So there might be something within these techniques that help us to collect ourselves into beings that are not just controlled by our emotions and desires.

    The point I am trying to make is, do not be afraid. Trust your discerning mind to tell you your truth. Do not be afraid to accept that the west may not have all the answers, be open to the messages from the east and make your own truth. Like Bob Marley said; none but ourselves can free our minds!

    With that I offer you whatever peace I may have in my heart, may love, peace and truth be with you always.


  3. lets face it rinpoche is just a human being. he is not a god or an icon. it will then be impossible for him to not succum to human frailities and temptations. we should trust in ourselves firstly and not bow down to anyone who proports to be higher than anyone else. , in any way , shape or form


  4. An investigative documentary on Sogyal will be aired on Vision TV in Canada on 23 May. It will also be on Bold TV in Canada. Deals with broadcasters in the USA, France and Australia are pending. The programme will be on a web site which for legal reasons is only accessible in Canada.


  5. But HH Dalai Lama teaches his personal students in a completely different way than his western ‘students’ (I don’t know exactly how, but I’ve heard that he is very strict, which doesn’t ever show in the teachings in the West). These teachings in the West are sort of public talks and general teachings, but if he is a lama to somebody I think there are other elements in the interaction.

    But: I believe there are many teachers to choose from: Tibetans have many different teachers. Some are wrathful throwing things at the students, some very gentle.

    If you choose somebody very gentle, then it’s your choice. I am drawn in by another kind of teacher, who is not so gentle. I have loads of strong emotions, perhaps passion, anger and the other poisons. I think SR is a good bouncing ground for me, my emotions get contained and transformed in the retreats. I must say that I don’t have so many strong emotions anymore as the years have gone by, so something has worked. He is greater than my anger, my passion… I don’t need to block emotions – and strong emotions don’t make me afraid.

    It’s a question of a personal preference. If you don’t like him, it’s okay. I don’t like some people in my surroundings – just because they are too loud for me or for some other reason. I respect your preference, but please consider also, that perhaps I have made my own choice from the same reasons as you.

    For me SR is a great teacher. Strong emotions that he provokes are worked with in the teachings, in the practice. One just has to give them time to be worked through. Those strong emotions and reactions are anyway in you: they are not sent there by someone else. Once some of them cease to exist, you have overcome them – isn’t it so?

    The handicapped man, if he is the one I think he is, is a devoted student. There is plenty of trust. If SR places his hand with the relics on his head for an eon while doing other things at the same time, it doesn’t really matter – does it? For me it doesn’t make a difference. Sometimes he jokes around a lot too.

    During some retreats there are other Tibetan lamas visiting. Maybe someone from India, Nepal or elsewhere is calling during a teaching in order to organize the visit. Sometimes SR calls his assistants if he needs something for the teachings. Many times we are not just attending a teaching but being part of an organization where the head lama is trying to pull all the strings together in front of our eyes. It’s just life.

    Other lamas also do say ‘politically incorrect’ things about their students in front of other people. But there’s already trust between that student and him, so the experience for the student is completely different than for someone who has stumbled across the site for a visit.

    Patrul Rinpoche said that the ancient Mahasiddhas are very unclean, like some men from the streets that we normally wouldn’t even let in to our house – nor would consider them as great teachers. In modern Western world, he said, one has to act in a polite and nice way. Dzongsar Khyentse said that he would be pleased if he lost his reputation in the West and then couldn’t be bothered about it at all. That would be some accomplishment. I just want to say that the Western ideas and Christian background do cause a lot of waves in the interaction. I don’t think we should expect Christian priest behavior from them, nor expect sainthood to show itself in an angelic form or in some repeatedly pictured iconic images of the Christian art.

    But again, I want to emphasize that I don’t accept harm caused to other people – emotional turbulence is another matter, if it helps. I also don’t believe SR would harm somebody intentionally. I haven’t seen such things happen, ever. Somebody just told me that once a woman and the opponents of the Buddha did accuse Buddha (monk) for making the woman pregnant, but it was shown to be a false accusation.

    We can disagree about events and how we react to them. It’s fine.


  6. Whit all due respect, beginning your answer with “I did smile many times reading this post” is a quite poor and transparent attempt at getting “the upper hand” in the discussion. I am not that easily patronized.

    How do you know we are talking about the same handicapped man for starters?

    I find it hard to gather the energy to reply to this. No offense, but the answers you have given me are just like the ones I wrote about above. In my opinion, they do not excuse or explain anything. Example below where you write:

    “Maybe SR played a game with you? Maybe he was – in fact – giving him a great blessing, but you failed to know that because you think it all happens in some conceptual way?”

    Maybe he played a game with me???? Right… What possible purpose would that serve?
    And I failed to see it all because of my conceptual mind frame… Of course, this is one of the usual responses as I said.

    I have seen His Holiness the Dalai Lama teach many times as well as other tibetan lamas. There is a vast difference between them and their approach and Sogyal and his approach.

    I would like to work with ego through true wisdom and compassion with a teacher who is able to set a good example of that, who shows his students by example how to be humble, compassionate and respectful.

    I have shared my experience. Your answer Bellab, has, in my opinion, not explained anything in even remotely close to a sufficient way.

    I have said what I wish to and you, Bellab, are of course entitled to your viewpoint and opinion, as is everyone else on this thread.


  7. I did smile many times reading this post. I’m sorry for you disturbed experience. If you had spent a little longer than just one retreat you might learn to know SR better.

    You know: the handicapped man has been a follower of SR for over 10 years, maybe much longer. I’ve seen him on many retreats. Why don’t you ask him, what he thinks? What was his true experience? Maybe SR played a game with you? Maybe he was – in fact – giving him a great blessing, but you failed to know that because you think it all happens in some conceptual way? Looking deeply in the eyes and smiling? :)

    I’ve seen SR putting on his own shoes. People might bring them for him from the back… I’ve never seen someone else taking his shoes off for him. If that happened once, OMG.

    If you knew how teachers are really in the East, you woudn’t be too shocked. I’ve heard HHDL is quite a hard teacher. Do you think they all tap the students on the head? Perhaps they hit them on the head with a stick! Maybe in the West they try to act in some politically correct way, because they are guests. SR is no longer a guest. He lives here. He doesn’t have many chances to see all his students all the time, since he travels a lot. If he hits someone on the head with some comments, I think it’s ok. You cannot know what meaning each thing has for the students. If you knew him for years, he might start hitting you on the head. Maybe you would THEN have enough confidence in him, so you wouldn’t be too alarmed.

    How would you like your ego to be worked with? Please, explain? How do you understand ego? Self-cherishing? Self-protective? Not open? Trying to hide vulnerability? Defense-mechanism?

    How do you think that ego should be challenged? Tap on the head? Another on the cheek? SR is able to do that too, but it doesn’t help ALL the beings, all the time. Did Jesus do that? Tap people on the head?


  8. I came across this discussion and find it a very important subject.

    First of all, Rudy, I’ve found massive amounts of information on abusive behavior by Sogyal Rinpoche, I don’t understand how you have managed to find none. And the links posted on the web site do work, only that one of them is in French(which I understand is a problem if you do not comprehend the language). The first three words that automatically come up when you start typing Sogyal Rinpoches name on GOOGLE are: 1. SCANDAL 2. CONTROVERSY. 3. ABUSE. Only as nr. 4. comes RIGPA followed by QUOTES as nr. 5.

    I have personal experience of Rigpa(having attended a center for app 4 years) and Sogyal Rinpoche(in the sense that I have seen him teach and been to one of his retreats).

    The 10 day retreat I went to with him was a chocking and disturbing experience that I still reflect on and struggle to comprehend.

    Most prolific was the way Sogyal was treated by his students. He is surrounded by an entourage of predominantly young, attractive people who are constantly waiting attentively by his side to provide him with whatever he demands the second he demands it. If they fail in their task, in however small or insignificant way, he will, if he is in the mood, easily tell them off for an hour or so in front of everyone who has come to see him teach(in this case it was around 400 people). This is meant to be a valuable teaching for everyone witnessing and of course especially for the person he is telling off. He is “working with their ego” and they do themselves testify how absolutely amazing it is to be “worked with” in this manner.

    Sogyal had a couple of young women who would put his shoes and socks on and off in front of the 400 participants before and after he thought.

    When Sogyal asked for something that was not in the room during a teaching someone would get up and run, and I mean run as in “as fast as you can, there’s been a serious accident, someone is dying” kind of run to get it.

    One incident I remember was, during a lunch break, seeing the three men who were working behind the lighting desk come running in this “a bomb is just about to explode” kind of speed. I was with a friend who was helping out at the retreat, hence he had a walkie talkie, and was that way informed that the reason they were running was that Sogyal was hanging out by himself in the shrine room and wanted a spotlight moved slightly.

    Sogyal would not turn off his mobile phone while he was teaching and if somebody would text or call him(his ring tone being his own long life prayer) whilst he was teaching he would stop teaching and quite happily chit chat on the phone or send text messages.

    The worst thing I experienced in relation to his mobile phone was when he was doing blessings at the end of the retreat. Everyone is in a long line and goes up one after the other. One man on the retreat was in a wheel chair. Because of this he was obviously lower down than everyone else, (and you also bow your head and look down when you receive a blessing whilst Rinpoche held a small sack containing Buddhist holy objects on your head). Whilst Rinpoche was “blessing” this man he simultaneously started writing a text message on his phone. So one hand on the mans head… and the other busy writing a text obviously looking at the phone rather than the man. This was very disturbing to witness because the man didn’t know since he was looking down, he probably thought he was getting an extra long blessing whilst the rest of the 400 people knew that that was not the case.

    At the retreat we had discussion groups every day. The groups were divided by your experience. Since I was fairly new to Rigpa I was in a group with mainly other new student which resulted in a lot of upset feelings and questions about the way things were conducted.

    I never felt that these questions, my own or those posted by others, were answered properly.

    In my experience, the answers I have got, with regards to the above and other similar scenarios are:

    Sogyal is a “crazy wisdom teacher”. This basically means that what he does is “wisdom” on such a profound level that to us mere western, unenlightened ego infested beings it may come across as crazy but we just don’t understand it. I suppose it could slightly perhaps translate into “God works in mysterious ways” in Christian terminology. My opinion is that this term, in the context discussed is being gravely misused as well as abused and it allows Sogyal to get away with absolutely anything.

    Another explanation is that some people claim that he is or may be something they call a turton. A turton is, if I understand it correctly, a lama in or through whom new teachings or teachings that have been dead for many years resurface and manifest. This speculation is based on, as I got it explained to me, the fact that Sogyal sometimes says “I’ve never said this before” whilst he is teaching.
    I am not quite sure how but this is also supposed to excuse Sogyals behavior.

    Yet another answer you can get when questioning Sogyals manners is “this is your own ego reacting”. With this kind of argumentation it is needless to say that there is no point in having the discussion or questioning at all. If anything I question or criticize will be met with the answer that I have an ego, this is my ego speaking and I can not see clearly because of my ego… then hey, where do we go from there?
    I interpret this as you should just accept that you don’t understand, do as you’re told and follow and trust blindly. (Even though the teachings time and again clearly tell us NOT to have blind faith and to question and examine your teacher thoroughly).

    You are also encouraged to ask the students who are subject to his harsh words or who for example put his socks on what they think. Since they are doing it they will obviously tell you that it’s great, they want it etc. Despite this I am not reassured. I do not know these people, their lives and history. I do not know if they are strong, balanced, happy or unhappy… If they have self esteem and a sense of self worth or not… And I do not know the nature of their relationship to Sogyal and how it is built. There are many forms of psychological dependency that can develop over time and that are not healthy. How do I know that this is not the case here?

    People within the Rigpa Sangha are keen to often point out the importance of separating the teachings from the teacher and I can most definitely see why it would be in their interest to do so.

    In my view, you lead by example and no one is exempt from this code of conduct. This is what HH Dalai Lama does and surely Sogyal should follow his example.

    I have seen HH Dalai Lama teach on several occasions, as well as other Tibetan Lamas, I have perceived them to be humble, genuine and wise. The difference from seeing Sogyal teach is like night and day to me and I do not understand why some people fail to see this.

    When I was at the retreat I remember thinking “Am I the only one who can see the absurdity of this?” I felt like I was in a sect where everyone but me was brainwashed and I wished I had had a hidden camera, thinking what a chocking documentary it would make.

    Why is then Rigpa, with Sogyal as it’s leader, such a huge organization?

    My personal view would be that Rigpa is very well organized and it does make Buddhist teachings and practices easily available. (And, the Buddhist philosophy/teachings are beautiful, wise and therapeutic whoever they come from). Many of the wonderful Tibetan lamas are not as easily accessible so sometimes people do not have a choice. I actually think this is a big reason. I personally know people who have had big doubts regarding Sogyal but since they are by the time they see or hear something concerning used to regularly going to Rigpa and having the people and community they have encountered there in their lives they rather not give that up and turn a blind eye to their own doubt.

    We must also remember that it is often troubled and vulnerable people or people at vulnerable troubled times of their lives who turn to religion.
    Richard Gere said it well in the documentary “When the Iron Bird flies” when he said that we did not seek out Buddhism because we wanted to save the world we sought it out because we just had enough of suffering.

    Life is hard and some people seam to struggle and suffer more than others. We need something to take comfort in. Religion can be great for this. But this equation comes with many other factors such as power, dependency and attachment. It is a huge responsibility to have this power and it can be detrimental when in the wrong hands.

    There seam to be religious leaders within every religion who abuse their power. This is very sad since it can give the religion as a whole a bad name. And a religion, used in a positive, loving and compassionate way can enhance life quality as well as humanity on a whole.

    The Catholic Church has in recent years, after decades, probably centuries of denial, had to finally admit, face up to and deal with the issue of abuse. It is time for the leaders of Tibetan Buddhism to do the same. I understand the reluctance since there is a risk of this reflecting badly on the religion as a whole, and Tibetan Buddhism is, in contrary to Catholicism, a young religion in the west. I understand the wish not to have it judged before it is known. In the long run however, I believe that it will be beneficial. People will trust leaders who have the courage to speak up against wrong actions and protect its students and followers. It is high time for action to be taken and the longer the wait the longer the healing process.


  9. I dont mean to be insulting to Ms Finnegan myself just feel slightly obliged to stick up for bellaB as some of the the things said here I find really too much.

    I think bellaB is able to take care of herself, and has slung plenty of mud into the bargain too. The problem with trying to moderate this stuff is in trying to get consistency. Maybe I just have a very high tolerance?

    Your slagging of SR for improper behavior…

    I could be wrong here, but you seem to be equating ‘slagging’ with ‘criticising’ with this comment.


  10. I must say some of you people are rather insulting. – I also read some stuff from our Mary from a few years back when she came at me ‘full on’ attacking the good guru LSR. After a while I came to the conclusion she indeed didn’t really have much depth of understanding through some of the questions she was asking one time about Trulshik Rinpoche and how she couldn’t understand what he was doing teaching at Rigpa. I dont mean to be insulting to Ms Finnegan myself just feel slightly obliged to stick up for bellaB as some of the the things said here I find really too much. Cant you people discuss in a civilized polite manner? Your slagging of SR for improper behavior… cant you show some decency yourselves and refrain from insulting people?


  11. Cuckoo!


  12. From your previous comments I already guessed that.


  13. CUCKOO! ;)


  14. Cuckoo yourself!

    I’m kind of tired to conversate with strangers here in the internet.

    Your remark will not affect me. You know it’s best to define your opinions with details: someone might even get a hint of what you mean behind your ‘sign’ language.

    BTW: don’t you think all beings in samsara are object of compassion, even SR, even YOU? Is a sutrayana person looking somehow from above feeling superior and feeling pity towards ‘cucoos’ etc? (I think you lack understanding, if that’s your opinion).

    Show me a Great Dzogchenpa (NOT an arrogant self-righteouss one, the ones you know, please!), then we’ll see what that person will say. I doubt you have the qualifications either.

    Good luck – and don’t be so ARrOgant!


  15. Cuckoo!


  16. Are you describing yourself, eh?


  17. Quite mad and therefore, for a Sutrayanist, an object of compassion, and for the great Dzogchenpa, light-Cuckoo!


  18. “In my comment did I once mention you ‘dialogueireland’ as a person, whose writings I was commenting on?”

    I meant my comments on another thread:


  19. In my comment did I once mention you ‘dialogueireland’ as a person, whose writings I was commenting on?

    Is it impossible for this page to have multisided conversation on the issue?

    I just said my opinion and corrected a FEW non-facts.

    I’m also criticising MF and her over all comments: it’s a complete slander – and as such it must be her own ‘puke’, especially when the facts don’t hold.

    Or is it so that it’s actually YOU who criticise Rigpa for secrecy and silence, that whenever someone corrects slightest mistake or ‘puke’ with slander, then THAT person must be SILENCED? Think again your own attitudes.

    Try to correct my factual faults, if you can.

    I am entitled to feel what ever I FEEL about the writings or stories. If I think descriptions that sound real to me, feel real to me – but cold slander simply doesn’t feel like anything but a cold slander.


  20. Bella went to the birthplace of the Buddha and was totally fascinated by the Monkey god and he became a devotee.
    I repeat we have reports of abuse…
    I repeat we have reports of abuse…
    I repeat we have reports of abuse…
    Repeat after me bellum latin for war


  21. To discriminate the teacher and the teacher. Yes, I can also do that.

    Just read a couple of times ‘the messengers’ (MF) pretty words about Sogyal Rinpoche as a person and as a teacher: that is a complete package of slander on all levels. If she would like to publish any book, I suggest to do a language and fact check a few times more.


  22. There is a clear need for westerners in general :) to discriminate between the teachings and the teacher. The teachings conveyed by Sogyal have never been attacked, solely his recognised immoral behaviour. Shoot the messenger!


  23. Thanks for your link and good night! I’m sorry I didn’t get to the point earlier!


  24. I’m very relieved to hear you’ve come to a decision. Well done. I’m sure we’ll all rest easier in our beds tonight. ;)


  25. I made some comments on the thread

    I still think I can really relate to people who speak about their good experiences with Rigpa. Why those people talk with their hearts open? I get that feeling from their descriptions. Why the critics speak in very short sentences without detailed descriptions? It just doesn’t convince me. I’m, sorry. I have really similar experiences with Rigpa as Survivor and Fairplay expresses. I also think that those descriptions have more depth than the ‘abused ones’. I can’t say nobody has ever been abused by SR but I can’t say that I would believe Mary Finnigan. She just seems too much of a gossip journalist to me.


  26. About the Cult-issue: Rigpa is not an isolated cult – or if you say so, then you’ll say the whole Tibetan Buddhism is a cult.

    Most of the Tibetan Buddhist teachings are very relevant, many people teach them. If you look for cults, better to look at those with one single teacher.

    I’ll read the thread kapasi mentioned. I hadn’t seen that (the 2nd page) yet.



    Inform is part-financed by the British Home Office. The
    Cult Information Centre is an independent charitable trust.
    Both groups provide information on religious groups active in the UK and overseas. Inform is an academic, research oriented group. CIC is of the Anti Cult Movement. Academics consider the former to be more dispassionate though both are aware of Sogyal’s activities. Contact details are on the websites.


  28. Hi Bella,

    You’ve asked for more info on womens testimony. This link will show you all that has been written on this site.

    As you can see there are 2 pages worth of different threads and comments. On the 2nd page there is a thread with 142 comments -it is entitled something like Abuse of Women. I think if you read that it will give you a fuller picture.

    At some point you have to come to terms with the fact that you have to make up your own mind, as others have done, about where you stand. You can’t control what others think, nor can you protect others from what is being said on the internet about Rinpoche. Good luck and hope that you read that thread. People close to Rinpoche will not talk about it. End of.


  29. One thing I would also like to say:

    These gossips have been around almost 20 years.

    A person who would be in position to have ‘private moments’ with SR, would be somebody working in Rigpa. I bet all workers and most students in Rigpa know about the gossips.

    Therefore I think a woman who allows herself a sexual relationship with SR is very responsible for her own actions and should not complain about being ‘ used’. Where’s the responsability of an adult woman?

    Like Dzongsar Khyentse in his very well written article analyses the situation between a woman and a lama. One simply cannot expect a normal Christian-culture based relationship with a Buddhist Master.

    We should really analyse and make a detailed study about sexual relationships in different cultures. Find out the nature and the experiences in them. Therefore we might not simply project our hopes and wishes as the ‘norm’.

    Sidetrack: I might as a woman feel like being ‘used’ with many men in bed, since I learnt as a young woman that many men are – by nature? – selfish and cannot relate to sexual needs of a woman. Our whole culture is held by pornographic representations of sex, which is very alien for a woman and even sadistic at many points. Young boys (and girls) receive their sexual education from the porn. I feel pity for young girls of today.


  30. “You have asked questioned here and, when answered, have repeatedly refused to accept the response. Why bother?”

    I’m asking the next quetsions that come after the answer which didn’t satisfy me for the amount of information is provided.


    I wouldn’t trust anything what the editor of this DI has to say. I’ve discussed with him earlier in another thread and don’t like his style one bit. He doesn’t know anything.

    CIC – my English is not good enough to guess what that is.

    Inform ?


  31. “I personally think you need help-either you are totally deluded or have one of the worst cases of spritual hubris I have seen in years-or mabe youre German?”

    A Buddhist? And a very kind one, indeed. Thank you for your psychiatric analysis. I will count on it!

    Deluded? It’s easy to say stuff in the internet, isn’t it?

    You analysed my faith as the lowest (thanks again!), so I asked about your own faith?

    All my experinces are transitory, of which I’m very aware, I’m a beginner. I’m not telling them in detail here. But I’m wondering how a Christian or a memeber of other faiths explains the conviction of one’s faith.

    I’m not German, although it doesn’t matter.

    And why wouldn’t I post a piece of scripture? It’s widely known , no secret at all. Basic things in Buddhism. It was thought to me by many masters including Sogyal Rinpoche. He himself has repeated it many times. It was the response to you wondering if he would sue papers. As much as I have learnt from him, he wouldn’t do it. He doesn’t defend himself, although some students might feel the need to do it.

    If you haven’t even met SR nor victims, I think many writings here in the internet sound self-righteous and arrogant in how people are saying they surely KNOW all that has happened and the details and the reasons why. How much of this ‘information’ is one’s own fantacy, that is what I’m also questioning.

    Yes, I’m stubborn and I make you angry. But if it was in question your own teacher, to whom you feel very strong connection (did you ever feel that connection to your own teacher?) then of course one doesn’t give up on a basis of gossip. That should be clear to you, if you ever felt any connection to any master. But since I don’t feel the need to make you angry, we might just stop ‘discussion’.


  32. Actually, faith has nothing to do with it though I would give the following advice to members of all or any

    1) always question,
    2) never believe what you think to be true to be absolute truth
    3) never talk about how many spiritual ‘insights’ you have had. its usually a sign that they were transitory and not particualrly profound
    4) never quote scripture to others to justify your own deluded opinions-it only makes you look self-righteous and presumptuous as regards the IQ of your audience

    You have asked questioned here and, when answered, have repeatedly refused to accept the response. Why bother? You waste both of our times. I am not a christian and I probably found my Tibetan Buddhist faith long before you escaped suburbia.

    I will not write further, since your responses are a clear demonstration of closed minded intransigence. Do yourself a favour-contact Finnigan/DI/Inform/CIC directly and ask if they have any concerns. I personally think you need help-either you are totally deluded or have one of the worst cases of spritual hubris I have seen in years-or mabe youre German? I suspect you post here because those who know you have stopped listening long ago and at least here you are getting a response-Im afraid you wont be getting any more


  33. Actually, faith has nothign to do with it though I would give the following advice to members of all or any
    1) always question,
    2) never believe what you think to be true to be absolute truth
    3) n


  34. I don’t want to know any names of victims of anything – and I bet Finnigan is not allowed to give out, even if she had names.

    I would definitely ask myself questions about self- righteousness, if I was to write in your way.
    “I have little energy left to waste on someone thoroughly determined to bury their head in the sand to the extent to which you are.”

    Illogical: if I have asked here multiple times and TOLD multiple times that there are MANY women even here complaining – and I’m never given the commentors’ nics here. If I ask questions here, does it mean I want to bury my head?

    I’m just commenting here from ANOTHER perspective on the issue than you, therefore you are worrying my mental health? Weather the gossips hold true or not, I have my own experiences from SR as a teacher, and they are equally valid. Please, don’t be so black and white.

    I wonder what is your faith? Christianity? How do you prove that you are right? Just because somebody compiled a book called Bible? What are your personal experiences of your faith or any faith at all? Or is it only on a level that you wished Christianity (or whatever your faith is) was right?

    I’ve a few real experiences in the Buddhist tradition about the things that are tought. How do you prove or say to yourself God exist? Or whatever your faith is… how do you prove yourself that your faith is real?

    I’ve been pretty critical in choosing my religion. And why I chose it was because I could relate to and experience the things tought in it. It’s not distant nor abstract, it’s not in any ‘book only’. It’s neither just projected ideals or wishes, dreams.


  35. Sorry but I wont be watching the film. If you wish to know the names of the victims contact M Finnigan. if you do not believe her, contact Dialogue Ireland or Inform or the CIC orwait for the publication of the work presently in progress in France (give it 18 months for publication) I have little energy left to waste on someone thoroughly determined to bury their head in the sand to the extent to which you are. You clearly would not know truth if it stood naked before you. I would express admiration for your faith but it is of the lowest kind, more appropriate for the witless ie 100% blind. I worry for your mental health.


  36. “it is clear that you will NEVER believe anything anyone says until Sogyal takes out the time to abuse you personally.”

    I would believe if I met the person.

    And I know SR would never abuse me. I know it for certain. While on a retreat one processes many things, very deep stuff. I have thought about these things also, my own past and these gossips, and seen strong dreams about SR (I always see them on retreats) that indicate to me personally, what his actions and attitudes are. That is no proof, of course, but I’ve also spoken to him, looked into his eyes in public spaces, infront of people – and nothing ever indicates me anything else but being treated with good intentions in guiding me. I also LISTEN to his words in the teachings and they also convince me that he would not harm people. He is pretty awake.

    Maybe you could watch a film called “Holy Smoke” by Jane Campion. Might make you look at things a bit differently.


  37. “Do you really think the Golden Child is practising patience? Come on-you are totally fooling yourself.”

    No, I really think he does practice patience. He wouldn’t sue the papers. His students might, but I don’t think he would. He has better things to do.

    8 Verses on Training the mind:

    Whenever others, because of their jealousy, treat me badly
    With abuse, insult, slander, or in other unjust ways,
    May I accept this defeat myself
    And offer the victory to others.

    Verse 5 – Learning to accept loss and defeat for ourselves and offering gain and victory to others is the very foundation of the bodhisattva practice. Although it may appear, at the worldly level, that we suffer loss by way of this practice, ultimately the practitioner receives the greatest benefits of spiritual wealth and virtue. In learning to accept harsh or unjust treatment, we should not allow ourselves to react with anger, behave in the same nonvirtuous ways in return, or to abandon others because of their actions toward us. This is the essence of accepting defeat and offering the victory, and the accomplishment of supreme patience and kindness. By accepting defeat and offering the victory to others, with the pure motivation of heartfelt compassion, we destroy the ignorance of our self-cherishing at its very roots.

    “You appear to be suggesting that the poor lady who spoke there (who, like several vicitms,has posted on this site if you take out the time to read the different threads) is a liar. Why no names?”

    Yeah: I still don’t know who are you talking about posting here? I have read several threads about Rigpa, I think all, and didn’t see one victim writing here. Can you please tell me the thread and the name under which the person wrote? I’m not suggesting a person with her REAL name would write here.

    And I know very well that a recovery from a abuse will take long time to recover, but once one has recovered, I think it’s not so painful to discuss it. I don’t mean to put down the experience. I have myself been attacked by a man from Cyprus and by a man from some islamic country in order to rape me, but I was physically too strong for them to succeed. I was 18-19 years old. I was traumatised by these events and many other things MEN have done – and do “on daily basis” all around the world do to women. And those men are not just one male, but violence toward women is more like an order than an exception in the world, for which I’m very sad.


  38. it is clear that you will NEVER believe anything anyone says until Sogyal takes out the time to abuse you personally. Yes, I have met the victims (plural) of Sogyal’s abuse, indeed the body sponsored by the UK Government to leep an eye on religious groups INFORM ran a conference in part dedicated to abuse at his hands. You appear to be suggesting that the poor lady who spoke there (who, like several vicitms,has posted on this site if you take out the time to read the different threads) is a liar. Why no names? How many people do you see running around in teeshirts with ‘Im an abuse victim’ written on them? Wake up-people dont like their abuse to become widespread knoweldge because it can damage their mental health as much as the actual abuse-if you havent worked that out, you really are deluding yourself. Why not contact Inform, or the Cult Information Centre or Dialogue Ireland or Rick Ross or indeed any of the groups who hold files on abusive cults et al. Or do you want Sogyal to lie down in front of you with yet another unwilling victim and abuse her? I honestly think even if the poor victim cried out for help to you, you would claim she was lying. You have obviously invested a hell of a lot in Sogyal to the point that your psychological well being depends on it. Ask yourself, why hasnt the Irish Sunday Times been sued? Or the Telegraph or Mary Finnigan? Do you really think the Golden Child is practising patience? Come on-you are totally fooling yourself.


  39. By publishing the actual stories, any reader could compare it to the reality of retreats and draw conclucions, if the story sounds authentic or not.


  40. Ok,

    so the above post was the first post about actual people. Would be nice to know why they contacted you tho, and not leave public comment for others to see? How could YOU help them?


  41. No here in DI we have received information from 1 Irish woman, (2 years ago) 1 French woman, 12 years ago at the LSE and who observed this personally
    with other women all over Europe. 1 Woman from the USA contacted us this July about abuse in London about 17 years ago.
    So it does not matter how many times and how many ways you demand people to account to you it WILL NOT HAPPEN.


  42. Dear Sigmund,

    just if you happen to believe that something severe has happened, because of an article was written 15-20 years ago, and people have edited the article and written several of their own articles based on the one original, then you may believe.

    I haven’t spoken to nor met any woman abused by SR – and people ALWAYS talk about this issue as if there was HUGE line of used women (on a daily basis) somewhere.

    Nobody seems to be able to prove the huge daily scandals happening – they simply gossip without knowing SR or having ever been on retreat to see what it’s like.

    It’s like this huge fantacy film creted by you guys. Maybe you’ll win an Oscar Price one day.

    I also wonder why all the abused women seem to be in the United States? Is it because in Europe people don’t get millions out of law suits? Why they don’t simply complain to Human Rights associations? Is it because they don’t grant huge fines?

    And for your army comment. There are thousands of people involved in Rigpa worldwide. Are they, who have MET Sogyal Rinpoche, all blind – or is it you, who reads internet gossips?

    Maybe you should get educated in learning how 99% of the so called “information” in the internet is false – even though terrible interesting and entertaining. Or is it too much asked for from a lazy cynic?


  43. You know, I remember marching when I was in the army. Everybody was out of step except me. Know what I mean?
    PS seek psychiatric help


  44. “if those rumours are false.” we know they are true

    -> Who are WE?

    Ask the victims-several have appeared on these pages

    -> Who are they? Where in these pages have they appeared? Under which ‘nic’?

    -they welcome your ridiculous comments Im sure (not)

    -> So ask them to comment, please. I don’t mind if I’m made a fool by the truth and the ‘real victims’.

    So far all has been terribly anonymous and just on a gossip-level.

    Which Buddhism do you think is ‘buddhism’?

    I’ve experinced the results of Guru Yoga. Excellent practice.


  45. “if those rumours are false.” we know they are true
    Ask the victims-several have appeared on these pages-they welcome your ridiculous comments Im sure (not)

    “I don’t belive him to be abusive.” typical moral relativism-not buddhism. If you believe its right, its right for you??? Come on, thats what paedophiles think.

    Your argument against the validity of the internet could be stated in response to the media, the tv, the press, in fact, anyone other than yourself. It didnt happen to me so i dont believe it. Search Pastor Jacob Niemoller:

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    You are truly lost sister. instead of the cult of the guru, try some buddhism


  46. Just if I don’t feel like having had enough proof, doesn’t mean any of your descriptions of me to be accurate. Remember I’m someone in the internet of who you don’t know almost anything.

    I do know what is right and wrong. I also think it’s wrong to spread gossips that hurt A LOT many people, not just SR, if those rumours are false.

    My very good friend is a true hippie. I have been myself most of my life an artsy person, who likes freedom. Just lately I have accepted finally to grow up, and hippie-style just seems a bit child-like. Never mind I do keep my inner child alive constantly by playfulness.

    I don’t mix pure vision with anything. I have many times written here that I would even accept SR having made mistakes decades ago. The Sogyal Rinpoche I know today isn’t any dummie (and I don’t believe he ever was), but someone very awake, therefore I don’t belive him to be abusive.


  47. bellaB:Nowadays Dharma attracts a lot of crazies who are so far out in their spiritual universe that the mundane no longer appears to them-how fortunate they are! How sad that the teachings on pure vision have come to be interpreted as ‘anything goes’
    -strikes me that as well as having hippies to thank for the Dharma, a fair bit of the responsibility for f**ing it up lies in their hands. I find nothing more sickening than the ‘I dont want to take sides man’ approach when people are asked to discriminate between right and wrong, for example. Buddha said the foundation of all samsaric happiness is such a tendency, discriminating between right and wrong. The tendency on display from bellaB is very much of this non-commital fence sitter-how ironic that she should condemn hippies when her attitude towards S actions is a hangover of that whole western liberal mentality.
    Tibetans trod this precocious path (sometimes stumbling) more appropropriately by following Guru Rs advice to keep actions like sand while maintaining a view like the sky-how sad to see novice ‘know alls’ who ignore the grains of sand eh?Oh bellaB, head in sky but feet on ground;dont forget


  48. I’ve nothing much to add to the discussion-if you’re interested in what I think-check the other threads relating to this topic for my thoughts.

    My facetious comment was probably lost in translation. Although, if it wasn’t for the hippies it’s unlikely you would ever have found Tibetan buddhism . Sadly, I think Rigpa has become the face of corporate buddhism. For instance, there was a time when the shrines in each centre were different, now they are all exactly the same. It is not unlike the times when shop windows used to be different in each town….then they became centralized.


  49. Yeah, that was the main point of the subject. Anything else?


  50. “Instead the students … . seemed very stable, solid people, adults without hippie-qualities.”

    Thank god for that. God forbid that any buddhists should have hippie qualities. That really would be the end of civilization as we know it.


  51. I remember another teaching from Sogyal Rinpoche. I think it was in Dzogchen Beara many years ago.

    He said that the one who abuses another person, is fundamentally abusing him/herself. One firstly abuses oneself and therefore is abusing another.

    For me it is pretty clear that SR understands very well the mechanisms of abuse – and that gives me security and trust too: he is aware. Therefore I don’t need to beware.


  52. “More power to you sister, and i mean thatmost sincerely”

    Thank you. I’ve past victim-consciousness, so I’m unlikely victim of anything. It is strange and a relief how mind can change. I hope strength for all the women in the world to become self-assertive and strong, independent, stop submitting to manipulation or violence – no matter where it comes from.


  53. More power to you sister, and i mean thatmost sincerely


  54. “As for
    ‘Don’t you think a PERSONAL apology would be enough, IF he has made a mistake?’, when does that show start? Do let us know. Is it a ‘one off’ or will it be a series?”

    – Yeah: YOU tell me, since you know the evidence, which you are anyway reluctant to share.

    “’Forgiveness’? Sorry Christian term’ youre misconstruing two faiths, we Buddhists dont ask anyone for forgiveness because we have no gods-geddit?”

    Oh, but WHAT Buddhism did you study?
    4 powers: power of regret

    “Seeds left by negative mental events and actions can be destroyed by the four opponent or antidotal powers. The most important of these four powers are regret for the negative act and a firm resolve not to act that way again in the future. Seeds left by positive mental events and actions can be destroyed by anger.”


    You don’t ask forgiveness from gods, it’s probably from other sentient beings, life in general, the buddhas – and mainly from the Buddha nature that we all have. That is how I understand it. I do believe in Guru Rinpoche in various manifestations.


  55. As for
    ‘Don’t you think a PERSONAL apology would be enough, IF he has made a mistake?’, when does that show start? Do let us know. Is it a ‘one off’ or will it be a series?


  56. I have had my fill of Tibetans believe me.’Forgiveness’? Sorry Christian term’ youre misconstruing two faiths, we Buddhists dont ask anyone for forgiveness because we have no gods-geddit?

    I can honestly say that the more of your stuff I read, the more I fear exploitation of the vulnerable. Oh for a life of sweetness and light eh?

    I guess the reality is you have a great deal of faith and a sincere unwillingness to consider your teacher could have any faults even for a moment. As a tantric disciple, all very good. keep it up and youll be enlightened very soon, Im sure.

    There is nothing that can be said to a person in your state of mind. You will always be right. You have god on your side.


  57. “But you clearly have a total blind spot with relation to his moral conduct. You seem to be mixing up your spiritual experience of S with the physical experience of others; the two are different things.”

    – Well, I never met anybody who had those experiences: so how COULD I have anything but a ‘blind spot’. I know a shrink who works in France in retreat – and even she doesn’t talk about SR like you here in the internet – and I would assume SHE, if anybody, would know stories of all kinds.

    “That S should live the life he leads, pretending nothing ever happened is a dedeption that renders him unfit to act as any sort of representative for Tibetan Buddhism in the West.”

    How do you know he pretends anything? That is not exactly his style. He is too open at times. How do you know the details of the events? Just if he doesn’t speak of something constantly, doesn’t mean he ‘pretends’. What are you expecting? “I use female students, beware!” -talk? :) Don’t you think a PERSONAL apology would be enough, IF he has made a mistake?

    He is himself teaching: “if you make a mistake, regret and ask for forgiveness – and sware not to do it again”. That is how one confesses errors according to teachings. It’s not enough to confess and then do the same thing again.

    I think you should meet many more Tibetans and learn really to know that they are human beings with their own culture. You wouldn’t perhaps then EXPECT too much.

    Think of a Christian priest who fell in love with one of his ‘lambs’, who told him about her terrible life, her marriage problems, etc. Would he deserve such ‘hount’, like you say, or should I use ‘hunt’ this time?


  58. I think you mean ‘haunt’?Your english is excused since it obviously not your native language.
    Look, nobody is denying your experience. But you clearly have a total blind spot with relation to his moral conduct. You seem to be mixing up your spiritual experience of S with the physical experience of others; the two are different things.

    One doesnt necessarily preclude the other. People, after all, can be spiritual and badly behaved.

    But to pretend it never happened and not to address the damage done is a dereliction of moral and spiritual duty. That S should live the life he leads, pretending nothing ever happened is a dedeption that renders him unfit to act as any sort of representative for Tibetan Buddhism in the West. Buddhists in the West deserve truth and honesty, not lies and deception.
    Remember, maybe he just didnt fancy you?


  59. You didn’t answer my question about Finnigan’s info?

    I have been a victim of multiple men in my life – but not Sogyal Rinpoche’s. I know exactly what being a victim means. One man made me carry drugs across the border (I didn’t know I was doing it) and what if I had been caught? I would have been 8 years in prison, lost educational possibilities, basicly my whole life (I was only 19). And that is just one little story. I was pretty blue eyed until I realized there are really people who couldn’t care less about others. Sogyal Rinpoche is NOT one of them.

    The issue was SETTLED. If an issue is settled, do you think the ‘victim’ (if there ever was one) gave up without having been apologized by SR? What is driving you? Are there your own wounds that hunt you? Mine did hunt me for a while, but – I don’t know why or how – I have gotten over them. And my issues were worse than the accusations. I’m not hurt anymore.

    One thing I also thought. I had an experience on a retreat where a man approached me, a fairly stupid man, a new student. I didn’t like it and felt bad that on a retreat where I came to be quiet and do practice, someone makes advances on me and wasn’t even serious about me. Then during the next teaching Sogyal Rinpoche said: “You are on a retreat now, respect each others space – and DO NOT try to manipulate anyone with your games.” It just hit the nerve, what he said – and I felt comforted and protected. So, I have completely different experience of SR: a protector and a defender. The man who made advances on me came to talk to me after the teaching and apologizing. He even said that he was quite good in playing games in his past, but that he realizes he should change.


  60. Uuuh, dont forget the victims???????

    You really cant see it from the outside AT ALL can you? Even if Sogyal did admit it all to himself, he still refuses to do so to others.
    Yet again, you argue that he has changed. Come on, the results of poisonous acts live on. If i kill someone then ‘change’, does that mean no crime took place or justice should not be served?
    Buddhism in the West (in which I include you) attracts some really deluded oddballs-you could be one of them!. Sure, keep your head in the sky but dont forget to keep your feet on the ground


  61. “Nobdy is attacking Sogyal or his teaching, it is his morality that is questionable.”

    So IF he did something at the time, don’t you think he is TODAY pretty much aware of your and everybody else’s opinions?

    Do you consider him as an extremely stupid person, who wouldn’t be able to change his ways, if he has been wrong at some point? Isn’t the whole path about transformation? Both for a lama and for us all? At least he doesn’t consider himself a saint. He calls his close student a Saint as a joke. And that ‘saint’ has never left him for all these decades, but remained a close student.


  62. You have seen what exactly? I’ve been also told that women were ‘constantly throwing themselves’ at him, when he was younger (I bet even still today in their fantacies: it’s the curse of the ‘alpha male’…?!). Of course that doesn’t entitle any abuse.

    But I could tell you also that a certain Tibetan young monk, who is teaching in the West and who has a reputation of very high morals, has flirted with me multiple times, told me he had a lover before (maybe hinting I could be the next..?) Tibetan culture is pretty different from West. Maybe you should travell there and see for yourself? What do you think a young Tibetan arriving in the West might think about our ‘free’ oversexualized, pornographic culture? They are only human after all, not ‘gods’. Tibetan culture is also pretty patriarchal. What can you expect other than cultural crashes?

    I can’t call anybody a liar, but so can’t you call me a liar, if I haven’t seen anything. Or if a person travelling with SR, working closely with him (for years now), tells me she hasn’t seen anything. Are we then liars?

    When I was fourteen a friend of mine told lies about me to some gang girls. The gang girls beat me up. When I told them truth about things, the gang girls turned their backs on my ‘friend’, and so did I. I’ve met more than a few liars in my life to have lost the pink glasses. People might have various reasons to lie: somebody might have lost their spouse to Buddhism, feel enraged and wanting to revenge – who knows?

    So, where’s the Finnigan stuff available for reading, if it’s not published?


  63. Nobdy is attacking Sogyal or his teaching, it is his morality that is questionable. As for whether I was there 20 years ago, the answer is yes. I have met him.I have seen this. Are you telling me Im a liar? And all the abuse victims? All liars?

    ‘I havent seen or heard anything-how do you convince me?’
    Well, if direct perception doesnt work for you, try inferential reasoning and testimony. Buddhism recognizes both as means of establishing truths where direct perception isnt working.

    If you know nothing of Finnigan’s work (despite having investigated so proficiently) you havent even scratched the surface of this issue. Ask Sogyal who she is. That will go down well!

    You keep going on about not being there twenty years ago so you cant comment-I was there so can! i wasnt around in 1946 but i know Hiroshima happened and I CAN comment on it-it was terrible (see?)

    ‘Nobody said anything to me’ Is that so big a surprise? Do you really think this is something Rigpa would want to play up?

    ‘If somebody makes a mistake once (and I couldn’t judge the mistake since I don’t know the details of any mistake), it’s human and for me forgivable. If there’s a repeating pattern of wrong doing, criminal behavior, then it’s another issue.’ Then thats what it is, another issue and indeed one of criminal behaviour (breach of fiduciary care according to American law).

    ‘No smoke without fire’? You strike me as a person who would have to have third degree burns before being forced to admit that it was a little hot!


  64. One thing I thought of: if the court issue was settled, it must mean that there was somekind of agreement between the 2 parties.

    If Sogyal Rinpoche did (and I don’t say he did) something wrong or hurtful to another being, I’m sure he would have recognized it and apologized it afterwards. He doesn’t want to hurt people – he actually wants to help people.

    Why else he would work so hard, every day? He is not young anymore, some day he too have to leave the earthly existence. What does he work for? He could retire now, but he doesn’t. He really tries to teach and help people. You should meet him: you would know.


  65. “What on earth has geographical location/race (?) to do with you or the issue?”

    I think it does. I have been on many retreats in Europe and haven’t seen ANYTHING bizarre happening there. here have you seen the stuff you talk about going on?

    “I think you will find that Finnigans book hasnt been published yet.There are several self-promoting theories as to why. (fill in form here………..State your allegiance)”

    – Yeah: why? I have never even heard of Finnigan before this article.

    I am a little concerned by some of your comments. I mean , the deliberate attempt to poratray yourself as not of the West sets of loads of alarm bells

    – Why? I have left behind Middle-age based world view that I was brought up with a few years ago. I have always felt closer to the older spiritual traditions that are based on nature relatioship, like the Am. Indians have and the shamanistic traditions all over the world (I just don’t like animal sacrifice, and that desn’t exist in Buddhism).

    but they were just over your state of mind and your politics.

    – Which is what? Politics? Buddhism is not so much of a political movement as Christian missionary work or Islamic world power politics… Buddhism is actually a personal way in, not political system to change the world. World is what world is.

    “But stuff like, people make mistakes and it was 20 years ago”

    – Yes, because I cannot KNOW what went on 20 years ago, and so you cannot either, because you were not there. If somebody makes a mistake once (and I couldn’t judge the mistake since I don’t know the details of any mistake), it’s human and for me forgivable. If there’s a repeating pattern of wrong doing, criminal behavior, then it’s another issue. I have no evidence of anything substantial. I just have my own experiences and the experiences of people I have MET (outside internet).

    “and people need to look at their own minds (and not other peoples actions)”

    – You should look your own mind. You can also look other’s actions, if you know the actions and the reasons behind the actions.

    “Try telling that to Simon Wiesenthal et al. Actions have consequences and they stay with us for more than a few minutes (ie 20 years).”

    Yes, but read back what I wrote above.

    You put it down to ‘youth’.Sogyal’s youth (physical) flew the coop decades ago despite the Grecian 2000. His infamous immoral conduct however, soldered on.

    – Oh, really? How do you convince me of that? I haven’t seen or heard anything.

    “NO, your a liberal apologist,”
    I’m not. Contact my ex-boyfriends to know it’s really not true.

    “unwilling to see faults in others,”
    Really? Contact my friends to know that I’m pretty critical and demanding person.

    “probably because youve invested so much time and money in something”
    – I didn’t invest any money. Time invested has been mostly beneficial.

    “and now your spouting all the usual things that that kind of person tells themselves when they are in the first stages of realising that, actually, there is something very, very wrong”

    – First stages happened over 5 years ago. And, like I said: I did open my eyes. I’m one those ultra-sensitive people who cannot exist in an environment with negative stuff. I’m quite sensitive to the horrors of the world. That is why I was quite shaken by the gossip and have really LOOKED around if there was something wrong. So far, I haven’t found out anything.

    Please, note that we are talking in the internet, you don’t know me and also, if you never met Sogyal Rinpoche, you don’t really know him either.


  66. What on earth has geographical location/race (?) to do with you or the issue?

    I think you will find that Finnigan’s book hasn’t been published yet. There are several self-promoting theories as to why. (fill in form here………..State your allegiance)

    I have it on relatively good authority that a certain work in preparation elsewhere will probably surface within 12-18 months, keeping in mind publisher times etc.

    I am a little concerned by some of your comments. I mean , the deliberate attempt to portray yourself as not of the West sets of loads of alarm bells but they were just over your state of mind and your politics.

    But stuff like, people make mistakes and it was 20 years ago and people need to look at their own minds (and not other peoples actions) You even go so far, early on to admit:

    “If some wrong doing has happened, that happened… 20 years ago. Unlike you, I can see Sogyal Rinpoche as a master, as a human being, who had a youth etc. That is life. I don’t mind if my lama is not ‘perfect white canvas’ or saint”

    Woah, hang on! So its cool with you because it happened a few years back? Try telling that to Simon Wiesenthal et al. Actions have consequences and they stay with us for more than a few minutes (ie 20 years).

    You put it down to ‘youth’.Sogyal’s youth (physical) flew the coop decades ago despite the Grecian 2000. His infamous immoral conduct however, soldiered on. NO, your a liberal apologist, unwilling to see faults in others, probably because you’ve invested so much time and money in something and now your spouting all the usual things that that kind of person tells themselves when they are in the first stages of realising that, actually, there is something very, very wrong


  67. I read on Finnigans page: “My name is Mary Finnigan. I am a talented and experienced journalist, writer and broadcaster. I have worked on national newspapers, magazines and in radio, television and Public Relations.

    I am versatile, fast working and sensitive to the needs of my clients. I apply my skills to make your communications effective, lively and interesting.”

    “I’m a talented…” well, I would not start my home page like that, I must say. Doesn’t really convince me of her ‘intellingence’. Her style is slanderish, but I wouldn’t wonder: journalists like to have ‘stories’ and the amount of journalist I have met, I think not many are trustworthy people. Of course I haven’t really met Finnigan, but her style doesn’t feel allright.


  68. Where is Finnigan’s book? I’ve never heard of it.

    Neither we have ever met, I suppose. In which country do you happen to reside?


  69. Seen him, met people he tricked into bed, had it confirmed elsewhere, met damaged ex-disciples, investigated ‘lies’beyond the call of duty and found lots of ‘youthful’ ‘mistakes’ I think I can speak from personal experience, or at least as much as a heterosexual man can in relation to this event-he ‘seduced’ my close friends girlfriend (they were quite OK!) After two weeks in the Dharma for the girl? Where is she now?non-Buddhist, where is he now-a mad, non buddhist heroin addict. And thats just one tiny story sister-Mary Finnigan et al have a book full. I suppose youll play the Mad Mary card but just be aware of the company you keep if you do. You need to hone your investigative skills before you start writing testimonials methinks.

    Ode to dialogueireland for your post-too right!


  70. I just simply compare the good sides of Sogyal Rinpoche which I know to the gossips of 20 years ago. For me the good side counts more.

    If the woman has suffered like there is a claim, I can very well relate to her and feel for her. The way the articles have been written, low language used, makes me think this is a gossip-slander – because it really doesn’t sound at all as a behavior of Sogyal Rinpoche I’ve met. Sloppy kisses, beer… he doesn’t drink alcohol at all, he has said: he can’t.

    Like I wrote elsewhere here as a comment to this text: “… at the hands of a very ordinary, fat and balding, middle aged man with a penchant for beer, food, praise, TV, and sleep.” I was told by Sogyal Rinpoche in a public teaching that he doesn’t need a lot of sleep, he also cannot drink alcohol, he does practice hours per day, teaches and travels, works daily as the spiritual leader and the boss of the multinational organization called Rigpa… Students can’t have private audiences with him, since he is a BUSY person. I really wonder if the author KNOWS who she/he is talking about…

    I doesn’t SOUND true. You should see Rinpoche for yourselves.


  71. In truth the Lady doth protest/protect too much. Also the sectarian attitudes and mentality shows that the harm done by/in Christianity has not yet been psychologically
    addressed. We learn more with every one of your comments about your fascination and desire to be in control and not allow people to actually say what happened to them.
    Your bottom line is if anyone remains anonymous that proves nothing ever happened. If recovery only was so easy, and I speak as a man who is a feminist.
    There will be a gradual dissolution, or to quote John Keats in his ‘Ode to the Nightingale’,
    Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
    What thou among the leaves hast never known,
    The weariness, the fever, and the fret
    Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
    Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs,
    Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies.

    Or to quote TS Elliot in ‘The Hollow Men’,
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.


  72. “Repeating boring ‘news’ that just hits peoples pain is not really wise, even if you seem to think so – but it could be also useful in ones way to open the heart from within through rage. Seeing things finally for what they are. (Happened to me that way :)”

    “The final part of your mail like a picture painting a thousand words, says much about your psychic well being or otherwise. I fear for the vulnerable.I know Sogyal”

    Could you please tell me, HOW do you know Sogyal?

    If you are a Buddhist, you might know that a Dzogchen lama can purposefully ‘press the buttons’ inside, those that really hurts, to stir the locked emotions, rage or fear (from past) come to surface so that you’ll face them – and eventually be liberated from them. When hearing bad things of a person one really appreciates and whom is very important to oneself, it creates huge disappointment, anger and rage. Once those emotions have been raging for a while, sometimes years, they suddenly calm down and one is able to let go of past experince. Forgive and let go. That is all I meant. It happens in life all the time.


  73. So,
    WHERE is YOUR proof? In internet articles? Who is talking about naivety?

    I WATCH, I see and feel in the presence of a real person – I’m not shouting my fears into empty space of the internet.

    If some wrong doing has happened, that happened… 20 years ago. Unlike you, I can see Sogyal Rinpoche as a master, as a human being, who had a youth etc. That is life. I don’t mind if my lama is not ‘perfect white canvas’ or saint. Sogyal Rinpoche has much more to give than any Christian priest I’ve ever met. Sorry. Only after I met Tibetan lamas I have understood why holy people are surrounded by a halo in ancient pictures. It is real inner energy that emanates from them – and they have opened up their energy by doing the practice of meditation etc. Didn’t see that in priests so far.

    I never worshipped rock stars. I don’t condemn critisism. I am telling that in my ten years I haven’t seen or heard of ANYTHING bizarre. What has happened 20 years ago, no one really knows. Why was the trial settled?

    2 years ago a crazy woman visited a retreat and announced that she herself is some saint and wants to marry Sogyal Rinpoche. She was around 65 years old. Strange things happen in the streets of every city every day. You never know what accusation is true. If there were a huge line of dozens of women complaining about their experiences, one would start to believe. But if they have nothing but an unknown story from 20 years ago, by an anonymous person… If Sogyal Rinpoche was a lunatic, I think it would be well known phenomena still occuring constantly. Instead the students that were there 30 years ago, happen to be there still today. For me they seemed very stable, solid people, adults without hippie-qualities. They seemed to have benefittied from the teachings.

    “At ten years you are in truth still in the beginning stages of your romance with the guru.” Am I really? My relationships to men have ended much faster if there were lies that I could proof. My ‘romance stage’ to any man usually lasts 6 months, then I start to see reality at the latest. I’m really not a person who sticks to people who are not cabable of learning from their mistakes. Once I could forgive, but not next time.

    I have gone way past the romance stage. These gossips have actually done their job already during the first 2 years. ‘Cold shower’, I would call the gossips. After that I have really watched, heard, studied the things, tried to get over my disappointments with ordinary men, which have been really worse than what SR would have ever done to any single woman, even if the accusations would hold true. And I’m a feminist too.

    Buddhist teachings are about mind, what happens in one’s mind. No wonder, if you never bothered to watch your own mind that my thoughts at the end of last pasage sound strange. Watching your own mind and what happens there are not thought in West.

    It’s part of the Middle East religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, to see the demons outside oneself: that is why all the major wars are in those areas. In Buddhism we try to look our own mind to see our own fears, emotions etc. I’m not even saying that I know know the absolute truth or that in Buddhism there’s the absolute truth. I just happen to have studied religions and noticed that Buddhism has toughts that doesn’t contradict my own values. It also offers practical methods how to improve oneself. ‘Truth’ is much more difficult question for any human being to answer.


  74. Woah ten years! Are you serious? You are still a RIGPA baby! Ive seen people been around teachers for twenty and thirty years still being duped (Think about the FWBO or NKT) so the ten years ‘evidence’ you trot out as testimonial is risible..
    Your apparaisal of Sogyal hits the nail on the head-Its the good ol’ cult of the guru. You worship him like a rockstar and condemn all criticism ourtright-He can do no wrong!. At ten years you are in truth still in the beginning stages of your romance with the guru.
    You may be old in years but naivety and an unwillingness to look at evidence even if it stares you in the face are traits that some carry for lifetimes.
    The alternative is that all those who oppose you are liars, demons, distorters of the truth conspiring in the WWWar to ‘get Sogyal’. Is that you view?
    Did people perhaps ‘misunderstand him’? Remember how the guys in the FWBO ‘misunderstood’ the Buddha’s teaching (according to Sangharakshita) and wound up dead or mad?
    No, the sad truth is, he probably just didnt fancy you. Sad, seemingly rude, but not. Just sad.
    The final part of your mail like a picture painting a thousand words, says much about your psychic well being or otherwise. I fear for the vulnerable.I know Sogyal


  75. I have read the stuff – YEARS ago. I was shocked in the beginning. And THEREFORE I did keep my eyes WIDE open. That is why I spoke to people.

    This is no news to me, this gossip. I just simply can’t see that happening in reality.

    If I read something like this of another person, whom I never knew, I would react exactly in the same way as you: would be in fear and shocked. But since I have been watching and known this master for almost a decade, I can’t relate these gossips to him.

    Sogyal Rinpoche has sense of humour, he is funny, he is powerful lama, who can stir the depths of the people whom he encounters. I’m sure he frightens people as well as make them love him deeply.

    We do project to him whatever there is in our being: hate, love – whatever. Women have tried to ‘throw themselves’ at him, more than he would probably ever wish… But he has much more to give than what our desires grave. He can really open peoples hearts, deeply. That is what lacks in our consumerist, trivial, pornographic culture. That is why people are there: he really does open our hearts. If you’ve never met him, I think you should not say a word about him, because you have no idea. Repeating boring ‘news’ that just hits peoples pain is not really wise, even if you seem to think so – but it could be also useful in ones way to open the heart from within through rage. Seeing things finally for what they are. (Happened to me that way :)


  76. I think maybe you didnt read any of the other posts? You are clealry writing as an isider who can see no wrong, as were many of the contributors above at one point in their lives. Are you really suggesting that all these people are now fantasists, liars engaged in a conspiracy to destroy Sogyal? Doesnt that set even one alarm bell ringing in your head. I suggest you read the critical perspective before condemning it. You clearly have not done so, nor have you considered the implications of several key events/articles/court cases.
    Buddhism, for some at least, seems to be more about blinding oneself to reality rather than awakening to it. May the sincere people of RIGPA always enjot genuine Dharma. May Sogyals victims reap justice if justice be ordained.


  77. I’m a female student. I have never seen anything happen. People can’t have ‘prvate audiences’ with Sogyal Rinpoche: he is too busy. I’ve spoken with many people who work and live close to him: no evidence! A female who has been abused by other (Western) men while young, works closely to Rinpoche and she would suffer terribly if there was ‘such bad behavior’ around by her lama (she has told me). She would be the one to know and see, be sensitive to such things. But she feels safe and I feel very confident and safe there.

    Sogyal Rinpoche has known about the allegations for almost 20 years now and he – as an extremely intelligent person – would know what he would be risking by being an irresponsible idiot. He is not an idiot and he definitely is not stupid. Does an idiot run a multinational organization, teach and touch deeply thousands of people?

    Who are the REAL monkeys here? The Western people, who were brought up and driven by consumerist, pornographic, over-sexualised culture – unlike any culture has ever been before? Whose mind produces this stuff, really?


  78. I am a frequent visitor to Dzogchen Beara, and have good friends there. I can recommend the Hostel, and the whole centre – which also hosts weekends by Lamas and teachers other than Sogyal Rinpoche (which I sometimes take part in). It’s a great place and does a lot of good; and the surrounding area is one of outstanding natural beauty, great for hiking, walking, swimming, etc, etc. End of plug!
    All I’m saying is: don’t let the controversy over the Rinpoche put you off a visit – or off Buddhism!
    I have my own views over this, which I have decided
    to go into in 1-to-1’s only.
    I think every prospective student of a teacher should acquaint him/herself with the history of that teacher – including allegations. That is standard advice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition anyway.
    I have found discussions on this issue with his students – all of whom are lovely people and well worth knowing – are a waste of time and not conducive even to one’s own peace of mind.


  79. Everyone who still claims that all this criticism is based on nothing but rumours has to consider that there are even people who have been really close to Sogyal Rinpoche for years. For example there`s the shocking testimony of his personal assistant who also ran one of the european Rigpa-Centers for many years!
    I also left Rigpa after a few years and I just want to say that I am shocked at how manipulative this organisation really is! The whole “educational” program is based on Guru-Devotion (or cult as it more precisely should be called) even for students who just start their practice.
    Criticism is not allowed! For them that`s just proof that your view isn`t pure enough to recognize the perfection of the master. Of course he`s making no mistakes…it`s all just his “crazy wisdom” which he`s using to help people…
    Well…I know for sure it didn`t help me and I suffer a grat deal to this day. After all I`ve seen I have no doubt everything that former assistent of Sogyal Rinpoche wrote in his testimony is absolutely true and I hope more and more people will speak out to put an end to this!!


  80. Yeah, the mentality is comparable to Bush’s ‘If you are not with us, you are against us’ mentality. DI isnt ‘with’ anyone except truth AFAICS


  81. On the issue of the neutrality of Dialogue Ireland :

    1. Dialogue Ireland was heavily critical of the Legionaries of Christ at a time when they had entrenched support in the Catholic church . This tends to discredit the argument that they are not suficiently independent of the Christian churches.

    2. On neutrality in general : there is no such thing as the view from nowhere. Anyone can only look at an issue from his/her own perspective,with his/her own biases and prejudices. To say that Dialogue Ireland cannot function legitimately because of its Christian ethos, is to deny Christians the basic right enjoyed by everyone, of free speech based on their view of the world.


  82. Conor, it’s a taboo subject that’s why. They don’t want to know…and certainly they don’t want anyone who is raising doubts to raise them within the sangha.


  83. Funny, isnt it, how sexual abuse and abuse of power and trust are not everyday conversational topics for people at Rigpa; can’t think why. I mean, of course those are the sort of things would talk about, aren’t they? Unless, of course,those that were abused haven’t stuck around. Can’t think why that might happen?
    Repeat this mantra-‘Nobody is saying Sogyal doesn’t teach Dharma. All they are saying is he uses his blessed position to procure sexual partners for personal gratification, supposedly with the promise of a ‘tantric experience’.’


  84. I have been a student in Rigpa for 12 years attending many retreats in Dzogchen Beara and elsewhere. In that time I’ve gotten to know many people in Rigpa quite well. I have only ever found Sogyal Rinpoche to act with integrity and to teach clearly, profoundly and authentically. I have found the people within Rigpa to be open, honest, caring and conscientious and have not heard of any issues of abuse or rumors of same.


  85. I was simply answering your question about how to address the neutrality of what I now see appears to be your outfit, and suggesting that neutrality means not being at the behest of one religious group, I think this is a fairly reasonable and obvious statement.

    Only superficially reasonable unfortunately. When you fail to realise that the criticisms being directed at Rigpa are not theological in nature, and are shared by some Buddhists too, then your comment regarding DI’s neutrality becomes much more obvious to recognise as a red herring.

    And for the record, this thread is ‘open dialogue’. Unless you take the phrase open dialogue to mean ‘no legitimate criticism allowed’ or some other different meaning of course. When you make comments you can expect people to question and challenge those comments. If you want to take great personal offence that people could hold not only a different view, but would also be so bold as start challenging some of the very premises on which you based your commentary, then that is your choice – but doing so is a bit pointless and completely stifling to that ’open dialogue’ you seem to want to have.

    You mistakenly believe Madhair is working for DI. You should read his/her blog-he/she obviously does not.

    This isn’t strictly true so I will clarify in the interests of that fabled ‘open dialogue’ we should apparently be striving towards.

    While I may not be a member of DI proper, I do assist Mike on various projects. One such project is this blog which I do moderating and other admin work for. The reason this blog was set up was due to the DI site getting DDoS’d to high heaven. DDoS is when a collection of computers are used to overwhelm the server hosting a particular website, causing it to be inaccessible to the public. I set this blog up for Mike so he would have a reliable backup while the main site was down. Since then this blog has become the main way for DI to post information and will be complimenting the main site for the foreseeable future. (As an aside the old DI site is getting a makeover which you can preview here – )

    At the moment myself and Mike collaborate on some projects. Back when chanology started (the anonymous campaign to expose Scientology) there was concern expressed regarding DI due to its apparent Christian-based philosophy. As pointed out with reference to my ‘blog’, I do not share the Christian philosophy in any way, shape or form. That being said, I have seen enough in the meantime to satisfy myself that is not the way DI operates, and it is for this reason that I collaborate with Mike on projects such as this blog. The reason I post on this thread under this handle is because I do not speak for DI on these issues.


  86. You are now resorting to shooting the messenger.You mistakenly believe Madhair is working for DI. You should read his/her blog-he/she obviously does not.

    There is no ‘outfit’ driven by ‘one religious group’ (now its ‘the Christians’ that are out to get you!), any more than there being a ‘racist lynch mob’. Just victims, friends, Buddhists, Christians and atheists who wont tolerate abuse any longer. The game is up and no amount of distraction tactics will work.

    Good ridance!


  87. ‘Rant’ wow that’s one!

    You obviously are not as open to questions about your own organisation as you are to scrutinising others. And for your information I have nothing to with RIGPA. I was simply answering your question about how to address the neutrality of what I now see appears to be your outfit, and suggesting that neutrality means not being at the behest of one religious group, I think this is a fairly reasonable and obvious statement.

    I thought this was meant to be open dialogue, if that’s how you react to honest contributions you will not be hearing from me again.


  88. I note that you decided to write a tirade against Dialogue Ireland rather than actually address the question I posed. You didn’t, on any meaningful level, take in on board, and I think your complete sidestep of that question has been most illuminating about why it is you are posting here.

    It must also be emphasised that any group, whether faith based or otherwise, that exhibits certain behaviour is entitled to receive fair criticism for that behaviour. This is something that even DI have recognised and acknowledged regarding Christian groups:

    But to cut to the chase – what does your rant have to do with the material presented, and the insuring that such material is presented neutrally? Absolutely nothing, that’s what.

    So, please drop the entire charade and cut to the chase – what is the real issue that is bugging you? You mentioned that you considered work done on Scientology, Nkt and Tony Quinn to be, in your own words, ‘valuable’. I am curious as to why you see a difference it that work and the work done regarding Rigpa? And I think we both know the answer to that one.


  89. Well, take a quick look at the mission statement. DI claims to be ‘Motivated by the inalienable right to religious freedom, inspired by Christian values’. If they represent one religion, it seems inappropriate they they should stand as gaurds at the doorway to what is correct or incorrect spiritual pathway. How could they not be biased to their own spiritual persuasions? Christianity began as an NRM in fact a ‘cult’, so there are fine lines as to when a spiritual movement is considered as valid or not.

    Also DI claims to ‘promote the study and understanding of World Religions as the context for understanding New Religious Movements (NRMs). To provide pastoral support to members and former members of NRMs and their families according to their needs’. I see very little inter-faith dialogue on this website and on balance I don’t think this is the real purpose of the website, rather it is there to expose movements that it ‘preceives’ to be dangerous. For example in relation to the piece above, it seems to me to that Rigpa is not an independent new religious movement it is an expression of a 2500 year old religion and involves many teachers rather than one cult’ish figure.

    Oxymoronic statements such as ‘Dialogue Ireland, though continuing to be supported by the churches, became an independent Trust, thus giving it greater freedom in carrying out its mission’ do little to suggest independence, rather it seems to operate at the behest of one religious group against other religious groups.

    I think this should be corrected if not to invalidate the contribution that it appears to be trying to make. How they go about this is not my business.


  90. I would be interested to hear how you think such information could be presented more neutrally.


  91. Just to add, I have read further material in the report now including Mick Brown’s really excellent article, and though I am still opposed to the sense of witch-hunt I find here, it is clear that there is some issue that needs to be addressed. I think Mary Finnegan needs to publish her material, and if there is real evidence, present it to the public once and for all.

    I think our difficulty is that we tend to think only in polar concepts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’; if people are ‘good’ we can let ourselves depict them as saintly, if they are ‘bad’ they must be evil and everything deception. It is possible for someone to have many incredibly positive qualities and actions and also make errors of judgment or have personal weaknesses. While in no way apologetic for actions that may have caused suffering for some young women – if these claims are substantiated – I also feel that the newspaper article in the Times is riding on the back of abuse of a very different kind in Ireland relating to the revelations of child sexual abuse in the Ryan report. I don’t think it is not correct to conflate the two as the Rigpa allegations have nothing to do with children.

    As for D.I., I fully endorse the internet as a tool for getting information out there, but I do think it would be preferable it it was a neutral body. Some of the websites work seems to be excellent, especially as regards ‘Scientology’ ‘NkT’ and the ‘Tony Quinn’ outfit, valuable work. Is there anyway you could get government funding or find ways to improve the neutrality and accountability of this organisation?


  92. Hi, I am not a student or follower of Sogyal Rinpoche, but I’d just like to say that I am worried about the use of ‘allegations as fact’ in this article and in this websites ‘report’ in general. It appears the court proceedings referenced above were based on certain claims, but we do not know whether or to what extent these claims were substantiated or not in the subsequent court case. There are many reasons why anyone could choose to settle out of court, especially public figures. The point is that we just don’t know. and therefore should be hesitant about ruining the good name of any person or organisation when we don’t have the full details.

    I am also concerned about the sense of witch-hunt that is presented by this article and indeed this website. Surely, an organisation such as this one (D.I.) should be an independent body or government funded and regulated and not represent or be supported by one religious group (i.e. Christian churches) and claim to ‘Christian values’ as its guiding principle. I fear this background makes this website biased.


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