What is Rigpa?

Rigpa presents the Buddhist tradition of Tibet in a way that is both completely authentic and relevant to the lives and needs of modern society.

Open to all schools and traditions of Buddhist wisdom, and with the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Rigpa offers those following the Buddhist teachings a complete path of study and practice, along with the environment they need to experience the teachings fully.

Rigpa explores how the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha’s teachings can benefit many different areas of life in today’s world.

“Rigpa is a Tibetan word, which in general means ‘intelligence’ or ‘awareness’. In Dzogchen, however, the highest teachings in the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, rigpa has a deeper connotation, ‘the innermost nature of the mind’. The whole of the teaching of Buddha is directed towards realizing this, our ultimate nature, the state of omniscience or enlightenment – a truth so universal, so primordial that it goes beyond all limits, and beyond even religion itself.”
-Sogyal Rinpoche

Inspired by the meaning of the word rigpa, Sogyal Rinpoche gave this as the name for his work and to the vehicle he was developing to serve the Buddha’s teaching in the west. Today, Rigpa has more than 130 centers and groups in 30 countries around the world.

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Sogyal Rinpoche

A world-renowned Buddhist teacher from Tibet, Sogyal Rinpoche is also the author of the highly acclaimed The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

Born in Kham in Eastern Tibet, Sogyal Rinpoche was recognized at an early age as the incarnation of a great master and visionary saint of the nineteenth century, Tertön Sogyal Lerab Lingpa (1856-1926), a teacher to the thirteenth Dalai Lama. Sogyal Rinpoche received the traditional training of a Tibetan lama under the close supervision of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, one of the most outstanding spiritual masters of the twentieth century, who raised Rinpoche like his own son.

He went on to study with many other great masters, of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, especially Kyabjé Dudjom Rinpoche and Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.  In 1971, Rinpoche went to England, where he also studied Comparative Religion at Cambridge University.

Rinpoche traveled to many countries, observing the reality of people’s lives, and looking for ways to translate the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to make them relevant to modern men and women of all faiths, drawing out their universal message while losing none of their authenticity, purity and power.

Out of this was born his unique style of teaching, and his ability to attune these teachings to modern life, demonstrated so vividly in his ground-breaking book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Over three million copies have been printed in 34 languages, and the book is available in 80 countries.

Rinpoche is also the founder and spiritual director of Rigpa, an international network of over 130 Buddhist centers and groups in 30 countries around the world. He has been teaching for over 40 years and continues to travel widely in Europe, America, Australia and Asia.

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The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Sogyal Rinpoche’s acclaimed spiritual classic is widely regarded as one of the most complete and authoritative presentations of the Tibetan Buddhist teachings ever written.

A manual for life and death and a source of inspiration from the heart of the Tibetan tradition, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying provides a lucid and inspiring introduction to the practice of meditation, to the nature of mind, to karma and rebirth, to compassionate love and care for the dying, and to the trials and rewards of the spiritual path.

Over 3 million copies have been printed, in 34 languages, and the book is available in 80 countries. It has been adopted by colleges, groups and institutions, both medical and religious, and is used extensively by nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals.

“What is it I hope for from this book?
To inspire a quiet revolution in the whole way we look at death and care for the dying, and the whole way we look at life, and care for the living.”
–Sogyal Rinpoche

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