Welcome!

Rigpa is an international community of students & friends under the guidance and direction of Sogyal Rinpoche, exploring together how the universal wisdom and compassion of the ancient Buddhist tradition can benefit our own lives as well as bring the maximum possible benefit to the world. 

The word “Buddhist” in Tibetan is nangpa. It means “inside-er”: someone who seeks the truth not outside, but within the nature of mind. All the teachings and training in Buddhism are aimed at that one single point: to look into the nature of the mind, and so free us from the fear of death and help us realize the truth of life. 

The process of coming to know our own mind often begins with the practice of meditation, contemplations on compassion, and reflections on death and dying. Many people of various spiritual beliefs or none, have found these practices to be incredibly beneficial.  Rigpa offers programs in each of these areas for anyone, regardless of background or belief to help uncover the truth within yourself.  

Meditation
Compassion
Death & Dying
Complete Path

Meditation

The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life. For it is only through meditation that you can undertake the journey to discover your true nature, and so find the stability and confidence you will need to live, and die, well.

Generally we waste our lives, distracted from our true selves, in endless activity; meditation, on the other hand, is the way to bring us back to ourselves, where we can really experience and taste our full being, beyond all habitual patterns.

Our lives are lived in intense and anxious struggle, in a swirl of speed and aggression, in competing, grasping, possessing, and achieving, forever burdening ourselves with extraneous activities and preoccupations.

Meditation is the exact opposite.

To meditate is to make a complete break with how we “normally” operate, for it is a state free of all cares and concerns, in which there is no competition, no desire to possess or grasp at anything, no intense and anxious struggle, and no hunger to achieve: an ambitionless state where there is neither acceptance nor rejection, neither hope nor fear, a state in which we slowly begin to release all those emotions and concepts that have imprisoned us into the space of natural simplicity.

That starts when we allow all our turbulent thoughts and emotions to settle quietly in a state of natural peace.

How do thoughts and emotions settle? If you leave a glass of muddy water quite still, without moving it, the dirt will settle to the bottom, and the clarity of the water will shine through. In the same way, in meditation we allow our thoughts and emotions to settle naturally, and in a state of natural ease.

Lean More about Meditation

Compassion

We all feel and know something of the benefits of compassion. But the particular strength of the Buddhist teaching is that it shows you clearly a “logic” of compassion. Once you have grasped it, this logic makes your practice of compassion at once more urgent and all-embracing, and more stable and grounded, because it is based on the clarity of a reasoning whose truth becomes ever more apparent as you pursue and test it.

We may say, and even half-believe, that compassion is marvelous, but in practice our actions can be deeply uncompassionate and bring us and others mostly frustration and distress, and not the happiness we seek.

To realize the wisdom of compassion is to see with complete clarity its benefits, as well as the damage that its opposite has done to us. We need to make a very clear distinction between what is in our ego’s self-interest and what is in our ultimate interest; it is from mistaking one for the other that all our suffering comes.

Lean More about Compassion

Death & Dying

Reflect on this: The realization of impermanence is paradoxically the only thing we can hold onto, perhaps our only lasting possession. It is like the sky, or the earth. No matter how much everything around us may change or collapse, they endure. Say we go through a shattering emotional crisis . . . our whole life seems to be disintegrating . . . our husband or wife suddenly leaves us without warning. The earth is still there; the sky is still there. Of course, even the earth trembles now and again, just to remind us we cannot take anything for granted. . . .

Even Buddha died. His death was a teaching, to shock the naive, the indolent, and complacent, to wake us up to the truth that everything is impermanent and death an inescapable fact of life. As he was approaching death, the Buddha said:

Of all footprints
That of the elephant is supreme;
Of all mindfulness meditations
That on death is supreme.

Whenever we lose our perspective, or fall prey to laziness, reflecting on death and impermanence shakes us back into the truth.

Explore Death & Dying from both the practical and spiritual perspective, as inspired by the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

In The Mirror of Death

Learn about non-denominational training & care for living and dying through Rigpa’s Spiritual Care Program.

Spiritual Care Program

The Complete Path

The teaching of the Buddha is vast, yet at the same time it can be essentialized in a very profound way. When Buddha himself was asked to summarize his teaching, he said,

Commit not a single unwholesome action,
Cultivate a wealth of virtue,
To tame this mind of ours,
This is the teaching of all the buddhas.

Even this can be further essentialized into the single line, “to tame this mind of ours”. Many great Buddhist Masters often say that this one line captures the essence of the teachings of the Buddha. Because if we can realize the true nature of our own mind, then this is the whole point, of both the teaching and our entire existence.

Each of us, whoever we are, can in the right circumstances and with the right training realize the nature of mind and so know in us what is deathless and eternally pure. This is the promise of all the mystical traditions of the world, and it has been fulfilled and is being fulfilled in countless thousands of human lives.

The wonder of this promise is that it is something not exotic, not fantastic, not for an elite, but for all of humanity; and when we realize it, the masters tell us, it is unexpectedly ordinary. Spiritual truth is not something elaborate and esoteric, it is in fact profound common sense. When you realize the nature of mind, layers of confusion peel away. You don’t actually “become” a buddha, you simply cease, slowly, to be deluded. And being a buddha is not being some omnipotent spiritual superman, but becoming at last a true human being.

Discover the Complete Path