A Letter to Rigpa International Regarding Allegations of Abuse

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Dear Vinciane, Sophie, Alex, Eric, Gill, and Catherine,

Thank you for your recent ‘reaching out to each other email’ (to view the email, scroll down to the second entry), which asked us to share our thoughts and suggestions about the letter sent to Sogyal Rinpoche from 8 students alleging abuse, and his response.

Please let me introduce myself for those of you who don’t know me. I have been a student of Sogyal Rinpoche for thirty years, attended the 3-year retreat, and am currently a member of the Dzogchen Mandala. I was a Rigpa Director for 13 years and an instructor for 7 years.

I completely understand how difficult all this must be for you, as I was in a leadership position during the 1994-95 lawsuit against Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa. My heart is with you as you navigate these troubled waters, just as it is with those who have suffered.

Before I can share my thoughts and suggestions about the letter sent to Sogyal Rinpoche and his response, I feel I need to share concerns about your email communication to the sangha.

I’m deeply grateful you have reached out to open up dialogue concerning the allegations of abuse. I trust you have the best of intentions so please do not take my remarks as personal criticism. But I think you need to take these thoughts into consideration if you want to establish a forum for honest and full communication.

Here are my thoughts and suggestions, a bit of what I’ve heard from others, about your email:

1. As the small group of Australian students who wrote to Sogyal Rinpoche expressed so clearly: “Our trust in those who run the [Rigpa] organization has been shattered. It is difficult to trust anything that comes from those closest to [Sogyal] Rinpoche because they have allowed the [alleged] abuse to go on, their ethical standards to be compromised, and have not given support to those who felt abused.”

I know it’s not as simple as that as not every senior student has been privy to the whole picture, but these concerns about trust need to be taken into consideration to establish truly honest and open dialogue.

Your motivation may be very good, but due to the circumstances there’s been a serious breach of trust. A number of people have told me they don’t feel safe to respond to your e-mail or trust that anything will come from responding. They don’t know who you are or why you’re collecting the information. Most people have never heard of the Rigpa International Holding Group before, including myself, and probably don’t know most of you personally.

Some suspect there’s a hidden agenda behind Rigpa International collecting  information. Others feel  you’re making a gesture to open dialogue to create the appearance of openness, but that nothing will come from it. Or it might be that you want to identify the troublesome people.

I’m sorry it’s this way, but this is what happens when people feel trust had been breached.

I know that not everyone feels this way, and some are eager to respond to you. But enough people do feel this way that it needs to be addressed in your communications if you want to get the complete picture that includes responses from even the suspicious. Why should anyone trust you? It’s an important question to address.

At the same time, please seriously consider that you may not be the right people to effect an open and honest sangha-wide and beyond dialogue. Many people feel that a neutral third-party like An Olive Branch, who has helped Buddhist communities addressing issues like abuse, is needed.

2. You cannot get a complete picture without including people who have felt harmed and people who have left Rigpa. It’s important to communicate how you plan to reach this wider group, bearing in mind that most people who feel abused will not feel comfortable sending an email with their experience to an unknown group of people who head up the organization. In fact, some feel so ashamed they haven’t been able to share their story yet.

3. People are concerned there’s no admission of responsibility in your email or in Sogyal Rinpoche’s letter to the sangha. I understand the legal ramifications, but for transparency sake, it seems best to at least acknowledge if there have been sexual relationships with students and the use of unconventional teaching methods. The veil of secrecy needs to be broken, as it’s a major factor in how dysfunctional the organization has become. What does it really mean when you say there’s “no room for abuse” in Rigpa? That’s been said for years, but allegations of abuse continue to surface so it’s hard to trust a statement like that.

4. Your email is vague. People need to hear more specifics about the “change” you’re working on.

While it’s wonderful that you are looking at how we can better take care of each other, as Rigpa is in the middle of a crisis related to allegations of abuse, people need to hear specifics about how you plan to address these issues. You say you’re taking professional and spiritual advice, but with whom specifically are you in contact?

I think people would feel a lot better if they heard some specifics.

A few concrete steps would be, just as an example:

  • Exploring a neutral-third party investigation of the abuse allegations.
  • Establishing a code of ethics for teacher-student relationships, like other Buddhist organizations have done.

They also need to know there’s going to be a regular schedule of honest communication, like once a week, rather than that you’ll be in touch “soon.” It’s disempowering to be on the waiting and wondering side of things. A commitment to a regular schedule of communication could help alleviate this to some degree.

5. It’s confusing to people when you say that Sogyal Rinpoche “is in a period of retreat and reflection” when they know he recently traveled to Thailand, presented at a Buddhist conference there, and could be seen on a Facebook Live.

How can they trust him or you if you aren’t transparent about his movements? Knowing how fragile trust is at this time, it would have been best to explain his travel to Thailand in your e-mail.

6. There is a subtle minimization when you use phrases like “by a small group of students,” which diminishes your credibility. Likewise, by referring to Sogyal Rinpoche’s letter as “poignant” you’re subtly discounting the fact that there are others who decidedly see it otherwise — for example, as an empty statement penned by a PR firm or a refusal to take responsibility.

7. By placing a photo of Lerab Ling as the header on your letter, you give the feeling you don’t understand how estranged some people feel from Rigpa and sadly the Dharma as well.

Some no longer see Lerab Ling as a place of refuge and others may feel triggered if this was a place they feel they experienced abuse. Some people feel the allegations of abuse that they’ve seen online for years have destroyed their ability to practice and some feel a complete aversion to Buddhism now.

These are precisely the people you need to hear from.

I hope that your e-mail communication has been successful and that people are reaching out to you with honest responses. I apologize if my suggestions seem overly critical or nit-picky. I’m only offering them because I would like to see honest and caring dialogue take place and deep healing as well. Unfortunately, because of what is perceived as previous breaches of trust, the burden is upon all of you to create the safest possible environment of communication. I hope my message will somehow help you do so.

I don’t feel ready at this time to share more. I would like to see you reach out to the sangha with clarifications of some of these points, first.

Thank you for your service during this challenging time. Please take care of yourselves and get some rest too.

-o-

We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.  How do you feel about the letter from the Rigpa International Holding Company in response to allegations of abuse?  Have you responded yourself or do you feel hesitant to respond?


If you have felt harmed, confused, or conflicted ab, the links on our resources page and the sangha care resources page may be of help.

More personal and private support for current and previous students of Rigpa can be found in the What Now? Facebook group. Please contact us via the contact page and ask for an invite. Include a link to your Facebook profile or the email address you use on Facebook.

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29 thoughts on “A Letter to Rigpa International Regarding Allegations of Abuse

  1. Thank you. Both for writing this thoughtful letter that may help reconcile things, and for sharing it. Many people only get their news on the situation from reading this blog.

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  2. Is it really true that Rinpoche has been attending a conference in Thailand while pledging being on retreat? If this is the case, why should I trust him and all he has been saying in his personal letter to me and every other sangha member as a reaction to the letter of the 8.
    This makes it much easier leaving Rigpa.
    Best wishes
    Jan

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    1. Yes, it is true, Jan. You can see for yourself by scrolling down to photos on July 30 and 31 and the FB live video on Khenpo Sodargye’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/Sodargye/

      I don’t have a problem that Sogyal Rinpoche kept a previously made commitment, but I think it should have been more transparent in the communications we’ve received from him and the Rigpa International Holding Group. The lack of transparency makes it harder to trust. Wishing you the best, whatever you decide.

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  3. Thanks for your response to the Rigpa International letter. Well said. Can this dialogue continue to develop?

    I’ve been a student of Sogyal Rinpoche since 1984.

    Without minimizing the issues many, many students have encountered with Sogyal Rinpoche, my sense is the root of the problem lies with us, the Sangha.

    If we don’t feel as much veneration and respect toward each other as we do toward Rinpoche, our capacity to find our way together seems it may be blocked.

    When we only see each other through the eyes of how Rinpoche treats us, how can we come together?

    The energy of the Buddha, Dharma & Sangha may require keen attention to balance. When all the energy goes toward the Buddha, it doesn’t seem possible to move together in coherence. This was also a problem in Tibet as acknowledged by HHDL.

    The (deep) democratic spirit (such as in Bohm Dialogue) has a lot to offer Buddhism. How we develop, seems up to us.

    If, at this crucial juncture we stay focussed too heavily on the teacher (positively or negatively) might we miss a profound opportunity to change together?

    We attempted something similar with a small group in the Seattle Sangha, and while ‘success’ was somewhat limited, we continued dialogue for about 3 years, meeting once a month. Just remaining in each others focus had a positive effect and gave us a sense of confidence in each other as well.

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    1. That seems like a worthwhile discussion, Rick. Thanks for sharing your suggestions. I’m feeling support from the sangha, so I feel that’s there for me.

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      1. Thanks, Serenity. I’m glad to hear that support is there for you. It means a lot.

        I can hear from you and others the sense that things are changing, which is good for many. However, right now the support seems based on overcoming the difficulty. I’m not saying that is bad, but when the difficulty (as out there) seems to go away, and since the original difficulty isn’t seen, it just goes dormant for a little while then reemerges.

        Think of the previous cycles, why will this one be different?

        This could be seen as a stronger crack in the construct, a potential opening that could be used to see something beyond the currently issue, something closer to the source that the Sangha can discover together.

        Its an opening, I’m using it to put this out there, not really anticipating anything will come of it, but some may hear something that resonates. I think there is enormous potential in this moment.

        Many regards and warmest wishes to all.

        Rick

        D. Bohm wrote:
        “The collective dimension of the human being, where we have a considerable number of people, has a qualitatively new feature: it has great power – potentially, or even actually. And in dialogue we discuss how to bring that to some sort of coherence and order. The question is really: do you see the necessity of this process? That’s the key question. If you see that it is absolutely necessary, then you have to do something.”

        PDF
        http://www.cds.hawaii.edu/sites/default/files/downloads/resources/diversity/OnDialogue.pdf

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    2. I think so too Rick. I think that if we manage to keep it together and not harden up in positions and opinions, but actually keep listening, this may lead to some deep and crucial changes into how we work as a sangha. It is actually what SR and P had been saying to us, isn’t it? We must see each other with devotion, we need to become real friends to each other, get to know each other, see each other, hear each other, care for each other. Because, individualists as we are, we all tend to focus foremost on our own spiritual path and the ones closest to us and what we ourselves need most. But we need to start really seeing each other, each and every one of us. That’s the one good thing that is already emerging from this: new connections are made, we are reaching out to each other!

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  4. Another well constructed, clear and concise response. I strongly feel that we need a neutral third party to engage with us and help steer R through this situation. I can’t really understand why they haven’t already taken this path given the different opinions and the depth of feeling and unease within the Sangha. Personally I have lost faith with those in the inner circle and I don’t feel that they really understand the feelings of those of us at the periphery.

    The points in your letter represent my feelings too. I really hope that R take them on board and start taking some more proactive action. Their stalling and the vague mentions of ‘change’ within the limited communications that we have received (to date), do little to encourage me to stay…

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Watching and Waiting. I hope they take all this onboard too so we can have a more honest dialogue that will provide the foundation for real change.

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    2. Just hang in there, Waiting and Waiting. There are many committed to change, there just isn’t an easy solution… Unfortunately! Many are waiting with you!

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  5. The letter below explains 1) What is the international Holding Group and 2) Why O.T.R blamed R-students about their samaya.

    Hocus Pocus ….Pats :

    Hello sangha friends,
    LETTER TO THE SANGHA 11TH NOVEMBER 2016
    We are writing to you with some news about what has been taking place at Lerab Ling over the last two weeks. Sogyal Rinpoche has been here, teaching, practising and participating in several meetings with the International Holding Group1.
    At the same time, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche has also been at Lerab Ling, completing a number of special practices for Sogyal Rinpoche’s long life, including the wonderful tenshyuk ceremony on November 9th.
    The signs that have been observed as part of these longevity practices have all been extremely auspicious and promising.
    For some time, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche has believed that the next few years represent a critical period in Rinpoche’s life, and he asked a unique clairvoyant master in Tibet what should be done to avert any obstacles to Rinpoche’s life, health and work.
    This master, who himself has undergone a delok experience, dying and returning to life after visiting the bardos and other realms, has an extraordinary reputation for the accuracy of his divinations, and has earned the complete trust of lamas and others in Tibet. He made a very important prediction concerning Rinpoche’s life and work.
    He has recommended a number of different practices and actions to be taken, but by far the most important is for the Sangha to take care to repair any impairments of the samaya, that heart connection we have with our own buddha nature, with our teacher and with all the members of the Sangha.
    “This is why”, he said, “as much as possible, people should recite the 100-syllable mantra of Vajrasattva, individually as well as in groups.”
    He went on to explain that normally to predict a person’s life-span is straightforward enough, as it is based on their karma, but for beings of high realization it is more diffcult, since it depends on the samaya of their students, and whether the master can be of beneft to beings.
    1. The International Holding Group―which includes members of Rigpa International, national Rigpas and retreat centres―is a group that was formed in September 2016. It has been set up to oversee all of Rigpa’s activity, so as to ensure our work is in line with Rigpa’s vision by identifying gaps and facilitating collaboration between teams.
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    The clairvoyant lama clarifed that Rinpoche will face certain obstacles in the next three Tibetan years, but if the practices he recommends are done, then there is every chance that Rinpoche will live until at least the age of eighty fve.
    Accumulating the 100 Syllable Mantra
    Reciting the 100 syllable mantra therefore will become one of the main focuses of our practice, both individually and as a group, over the next three years.
    Here at Lerab Ling a number of students have already hit on the idea of taking a pledge to recite 108 mantras every day. The masters advise that it is best to accumulate the mantras in proper sessions, however brief, but undistracted and without interrupting the recitation with ordinary speech.
    Our goal is to accumulate 100 million 100 syllable mantras every year.
    This is actually quite attainable, for if 3,000 students recite 108 mantras a day, we can easily accumulate 100 million mantras every year, for each of the next three years.
    Of course, those who are enthusiastic and diligent can recite more every day, and this will be greatly appreciated, as it will help the whole Sangha accomplish our annual target.
    So we will all need to keep count of our accumulations, and we will collect the totals, nationally and internationally. Of course, if you have already accumulated 100 thousand mantras, you are welcome to continue. As Rinpoche observes, “you can never have enough of Vajrasattva”!
    Anyway, for a Vajrayana practitioner, it is extremely benefcial to recite a hundred and eight 100 syllable mantras each day, as this is said to purify the results of negative thoughts, harmful actions and obscurations, and to keep our samaya pure and intact. If we cannot manage one hundred and eight, then reciting the mantra twenty-one times a day is said to keep our negative karma from increasing or multiplying.
    As we know, there is no method more powerful or profound than Vajrasattva practice for healing ourselves, purifying our own karma, processing ourselves emotionally, enhancing our own longevity and attaining realization on our spiritual path—at the same time as we are ensuring Rinpoche’s long life.
    As Rinpoche remarked, “Accumulating the mantra will do wonders for you!” We can direct our practice towards others too. At the point in the
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    practice where we become Vajrasattva, sending rays of light to purify the environment and beings into the nature of Vajrasattva, we can direct the practice toward healing people who are ill or who have died. Vajrasattva is the best practice we can offer as well for the long life of all the masters, and when lamas have passed away, as recently in the case of Yangthang Rinpoche. And in the long term, the future of the lineage, the teachings and everything that we are trying to accomplish depends primarily on our merit, and for accumulating merit, there is nothing better than the practice of Vajrasattva.
    What’s Happening
    So feel free to begin accumulating the 100 syllable mantra right now, and there will be a variety of things happening to help support our Vajrasattva practice and mantra recitation.
    For example:
    —Rinpoche’s best teachings on Vajrasattva will be compiled, including those from this November, and the existing Vajrasattva Practice Pack will be updated.
    —Dudjom Rinpoche’s beautiful handwriting of the 100 syllable mantra will be made available, and
    —to those who take a pledge to recite 108 mantras every day, a special collection of short inspiring texts describing ‘The Benefts of Reciting the 100 Syllable Mantra’ will be offered for their personal use.
    A number of events will also be planned in Rigpa over this period: guided retreats on Vajrasattva, gatherings to recite the mantra, and during Losar an intensive Vajrasattva mantra accumulation with teachings and practice.
    Meanwhile, we will help sponsor the forthcoming Vajrasattva drupchen (Minling Dorsem) at Shechen monastery in Bodhgaya arranged by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, which Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche and Orgyen Topgyal Rinpoche will attend. We will also sponsor the recitation of the 100 syllable mantra in the main monasteries in India and Tibet over this coming three year period.
    There is a possibility of arranging a prayer meeting in Bodhgaya to accumulate 100 million 100 syllable mantras all at one time.
    It was also indicated in the initial divination that we ought to hoist prayer fags and create prayer wheels with the 100 syllable mantra.
    So we are creating white prayer fags with Dudjom Rinpoche’s calligraphy of the 100 syllable mantra, and hundreds will be hoisted at Lerab Ling. We will also raise prayer fags in the holy places of Guru Rinpoche, such as Tashi Ding in Sikkim, Yangleshö in Nepal, and power
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    places in Bhutan. The construction of large prayer wheels for Lerab Ling containing 100 million mantras of Vajrasattva has begun.
    Practice of White Tara: Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik
    Alongside the practice of Vajrasattva for purifying the samaya, the other very important practice for long life recommended by the lama in Tibet is to continue with the practice of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik: both the practice of ‘approach’ and tsok offering.
    We will maintain the series of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik drupchens, both in Asia and the West, and dates will be announced for these when they are confrmed. Also, students are warmly encouraged to do Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik retreats for the long life of both Mayum la Tsering Wangmo and for Sogyal Rinpoche.
    Simultaneously, we will be sponsoring other practices of White Tara, for instance the very special White Tara practice at HH Sakya Trizin’s monastery, we will be making light offerings to the extraordinary White Tara image that was the practice support of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and we are arranging for 100,000 tsatsas of the Three Deities of Long Life to be made each year for three years.
    Practice of Vajrakilaya
    Orgyen Topgyal Rinpoche feels, as do other masters, that it will be essential to perform Vajrakilaya practice in order to eliminate obstacles to Sogyal Rinpoche’s life and work.
    Vajrakilaya, as the wrathful aspect of Vajrasattva, is also very powerful for purifying the samaya, and obstacles arising from samaya impairment.
    The Rigpa Sangha will therefore begin to emphasize Vajrakilaya practice. Experienced practitioners who have done a signifcant amount of Vajrakliaya practice will be invited to do one or three month retreats dedicated to protecting Rinpoche’s long life and work.
    Over the Losar period there will be a continuous Yang Nying Pudri drupchö for two weeks, culminating on Gütor day, to which all Vajrakilaya practitioners will be invited.
    Vajrakilaya practices will be encouraged in other centres like London, Berlin and Paris, and we will be informing everyone soon about these opportunities.
    Apart from this, we will be sponsoring Vajrakilaya drupchens, tsok offerings and fre pujas in Asia, and in monasteries in Tibet.
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    Sogyal Rinpoche has also requested Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche to lead a Vajrakilaya drupchen at Yangleshö Asura Cave (Pharping) in Nepal where Guru Rinpoche attained enlightenment through the aid of Vajrakilaya. Rigpa students will be invited to take part.
    Other Practices
    Along with these practices, for the sake of Rinpoche’s long life we were also encouraged to make offerings of food and robes to the Sangha, which we will do in Burma or Thailand and other places during one of the Buddhist festivals such as Saga Dawa.
    And it was recommended that we sponsor a recitation of Kangyur, which will be carried out at Riwoche monastery in Tibet.
    During the tenshyuk on November 9th at Lerab Ling, Rinpoche appealed to the whole Sangha, saying that he wanted to live as long as possible so that he could accomplish all the things he envisioned, including the training of the Sangha. In a few poignant words, he summed it up, “I’d love to live long and beneft beings.” He made a plea that we all persevere with reciting the 100 syllable mantra and purifying the samaya, and that we intensify our practice of Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik and Vajrakilaya, so that this can happen.
    Everyone there could not help recognize that there is in fact something we can do if we wish Rinpoche to live long.
    A very clear picture is forming of the focus for our practice for the next three years. How inspiring, how enheartening it is to know that through doing this practice—as well as safeguarding Rinpoche’s long life and health and protecting the future of Rigpa and all its activities—we will be accumulating great merit, that we can also dedicate to ourselves, our loved ones, our vajra brothers and sisters, those we know who have died, and people who are vulnerable, suffering or in need all over the world.
    Love & warmest wishes,
    Patrick Gaffney
    V6 5

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    1. Thank you, Franz. Yes, most of us received this letter previously and have indeed been practicing the 100 syllable mantra and many of us continue to do so. Interestingly, this situation has unfolded as we’ve practiced the mantra. I didn’t remember the RI Holding Group being introduced in this letter, so thanks for that. I don’t see that the letter explains why OTR blamed students about their samaya. Other teachers, including the HHDL, says it does not automatically break samaya with your teacher to speak out about actions that are not in alignment with the Buddhist teachings.

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    2. Thank you, Franz. I have 1 question, and it’s a long one.

      Will this All-Out Purification Campaign be deemed a success when everyone around Sogyal L. is dropping like flies and he remains the Last Man Standing wearing a t-shirt that says, “Vidyadhara Guru” and playing a recording of the Vajrasattva Mantra on a loop while OTR hides in the Long Life Cave sending smoke signals to this famous Clairvoyant in Tibet? I pray the Protectors of the Dharma see through this smoke screen!

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  6. Serenity, You are right, I mixed up with another statement of O.T.R. (not one realised R student , so = not enough devotion ). So this explaines why still an obstacle has occured to S.L. I admit it’s somehow a tricky reasoning.
    I’am impressed about the post here and hope that the International Holding Group are too.

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  7. Whoever wrote today’s What Now post with the suggestions for more honesty and transparency from the International Group, thank you. These suggestions are just what are needed now–I have talked with a few former Rigpa students, like myself, who voiced the same concerns. My only question is, why is the post not signed? Is there a reason for the writer not to be transparent as well?

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    1. Thanks for your feedback! Not all authors wish to share their name and we respect their privacy. We know they are trustworthy people.

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  8. I appreciate this deep feedback but I would have preferred to see the signature. Thank you anyway for the endeavour.

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  9. Dear all,
    Thanks for your initiative after this terrible news that has been devastating for the whole R sangha.
    A lot of us feel lost after such a terrible news. After trying to think about all the impacts amid such a turmoil, here are a few thoughts :

    1) Who is really SR, Is he finally a genuine Master :

    First I, as all of us, recognize the benefit and contribution of SR in making the teachings available in the West and R is definetely one of the best for this using the latest technologies.

    Besides the shock of the detailed allegations of the July 14th letter, I have been even more devastated after reading the ‘behind the tanka’ document that you seem to adknowledge as referred to in your letter. This document seems to show :
    – That SR erudition was not as developped as the legend say especially regarding the Dzogchen teachings
    – That he would have built a business on conferences with high masters and then started to teach based on what he had heard from them.
    – That his lifestyle involving sex and luxury goods was already known in the late 70’s by Dudjom Rimpoche himself.

    One can wonder then, why the rest of the Buddhist community seems to discover it now and why a community with the highest masters (some of them are believed to be omniscient…) could not see that SR had not the 4 qualities of a genuine master especially due to his lifestyle and behaviour… either through their Master mind or simply through the gossip in the bouddhist community (as obviously there have been many stories of sexual abuse within the last 30 years…)

    And whether we like it or not, this sheds a bad light on the whole teachings we have received : can we consider that these teachings are 100% genuine while delivered by SR who was not embodying them in his behind the scene life. I am personnaly very puzzled by this. Can I keep the same teaching base (given by SR) ? How about my experiences with SR ? Does he have all the power of a high master but simply not applying/living theses principles in his day to day life ?

    2) How R is managing the crisis and what possible way forward :

    Let us recognize that SR through and with R have developed an unmatched vehicle to promote the buddhist teaching and make them available to a very large number of people.

    Question is how to enable this wonderful achievement to go on its action while ensuring restoring trust with all students.

    I fully agree with your ‘Letter to Rigpa International Regarding Allegations of Abuse’ posted on August 7th. It is worth being noted that some suggestions included in this letter about independent investigation and code of conduct seem to have been taken on board by R in their recent letter to the Sangha

    May I add a few suggestions:
    1) Part of the situation is linked to opacity in R Management : Full transparency is also needed on the financial flows of the R Empire and actual use of funds. The 3rd party investigation should include a financial audit by an independant internationally recognized audit firm (as for any company : Ernst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte,…) to show how the funds have been used in the past and would be used in the future.
    2) R should open a transparent forum (even on a closed base as you are doing on FB) where all its current members (and also as suggested former) could express their point of view in an open and transparent manner with a moderator process (not a censorship…) so that there is a sense of transparency of what’s going on and the feeling that we are all trying to rebuild R together and that the point of view of the majority are actually taken on board. This forum could build some key proposals for R future and R sangha would vote electronically for them under the control of a third party
    3) R could Seek spiritual guidance from highest buddhist authority (HHDL) => ask for somebody appointed by him who has the 4 qualities of a teacher to take over spiritual directorship and restore trust on the teachings and the organization of R Sangha.
    4) Set up a new management team with a number of new people including some that previously left and would like to come back with an official organigram (and why not an electronic vote… ?)

    The PG video adress to the Sangha yesterday on August 13th was another shock to me : not a word of compassion to the victims and the Rigpa members, not even a word saying that these illegations if proved true are simply unacceptable to all R Management team and if proved true some drastic measures would have to be taken…
    In summary, what’s been said : « there will be an investigation, an ethic code, we need time, SR is in a retreat, he is OK, he will keep following us, give us some teachings (incidentally not a single word about the disgrace of SR pronouned by HHDL…)… Let us practice on the current situation… ! »
    I hope not but It could pretty much look like : …. Let’s buy time during this crisis, let the pressure come down and little by little and we will come back to the situation as it was during the good old days…

    As pointed out in your letter, One could wonder wether the current R top management team, who has been at diverse degree, exposed to R abuse along the past 30 years, has the necessary credibility in front of the community to lead the necessary change during this period if they do not do it in a complete transparency… ?

    3) Conclusion :

    R is currently walking on a high wire. It can turn into a disaster if trust in its organisation and management is not restored and this requires courage, spaciousness to admit and face past errors.
    It could also turn ‘suffering into enlightment’ provided the management team and us altogether have the courage to work hard hand in hand in full transparency adknowledging past mistakes to be able to forgive them and build a new even brighter future for R.
    This is what has happened in some countries after civil wars : the more open, deep and transparent the process, the better is the reconciliation and the stronger is the country after the crisis…

    Let’s hope and pray that R will find among its sangha the strength to get out stronger from all this !!
    Hope this can contribute
    Wishing All the best to all of you

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