He is also the founder and spiritual director of Rigpa—an international network of over 100 Buddhist centres and groups in 23 countries around the world—and the author of the best-selling book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, which has been printed in 30 languages and 56 countries.
See also: Rigpa organization
Dudjom Rinpoche also asked Sogyal Rinpoche to take care of his centre in Rue Burq, Paris, which opened in 1978. In 1979, Sogyal Rinpoche chose the name Rigpa—the innermost, essential nature of mind—for his work.
The first winter event at Kirchheim in Germany took place in December 1986, annual retreats in Tiona Park in Australia began in 1989, and the first Thanksgiving retreat in the US was in Oakland in 1988.
The first three-month retreat was held there in 1992.
See also: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
In 1983, Rinpoche met Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, Kenneth Ring and other figures in the caring professions and near-death research, and they encouraged him to develop his work in opening up the Tibetan teachings on death and helping the dying.
To date, more than two million copies have been printed in 30 languages and 56 countries.
Conferences and events
In 2004, he served as a keynote speaker at the Parliament of the World's Religions, where over 8,000 religious leaders and lay people gathered in Barcelona in Spain to discuss the issues of religious violence,
In August 2008 he joined Robert Thurman at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado, to speak about "Tibet’s Unique Buddhist Heritage" as part of a symposium called "His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Aspen:
A Celebration of Tibetan Culture", organized jointly with the Conservancy for Tibetan Art and Culture. In October 2010 he gave a keynote speech on "Tibetan Buddhism in Modern Western Culture" at the International Conference on Tibetan Buddhism held at Emory University.
In 2011, he was a keynote speaker and participant in the Global Buddhist Congregation in Delhi which brought together “religious, spiritual and world leaders, as well as 800 scholars, delegates and observers from 32 countries.”
In the East
Rinpoche teaches regularly in India, especially in Delhi at the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
He also said that “today’s younger generation in the Himalayan region needed to understand the Dharma in a practical way” and that “understanding the Dharma in a real way is an important and integral part of the development of Bhutan.”
In his teachings, he often focuses on the Buddhist understanding of the mind, and what is known in the Tibetan tradition as the nature of mind, pristine awareness or rigpa, along with meditation as a means for ultimately realizing the nature of mind.
In what he sees as a continuation of the non-sectarian Rimé (Tib. ris med) movement, which rose to prominence in eastern Tibet in the nineteenth century, he frequently refers to teachings of all Tibetan traditions,
- I feel there is an intriguing parallel between the extraordinary richness of the spiritual culture of Tibet at the time of the great pioneers of this Rimé movement,
Still, according to Charles Tart, he "encourages his students to direct their devotion toward his teachers rather than toward him personally, even though most of Tibetan Buddhism puts tremendous emphasis on devotion towards one's teacher.
In 1994, a $10 million civil lawsuit was filed against Sogyal Rinpoche.
The lawsuit was settled out of court.
Related allegations were later introduced by journalist Mary Finnigan, who was also the main author of the original article in 1995.
Films and documentaries
It was shown at the International Buddhist Film Festival in London in 1999 and in other film festivals around the world. He is also featured in Sasha Meyerowitz's 2008 documentary Teachings on Milarepa.
- Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
- Sogyal Rinpoche, Dzogchen and Padmasambhava, Rigpa Publications, 1990
- Sogyal Rinpoche, Glimpse After Glimpse
- Sogyal Rinpoche, The Future of Buddhism, Rider & Co, 2002
Articles and contributions
- Himalaya: Personal Stories of Grandeur, Challenge and Hope, National Geographic Books, 2006
- Rosalind Bradley (ed.), A World of Prayer—Spiritual Leaders, Activists, and Humanitarians Share their Favorite Prayers, Orbis Books, 2012, pages 150-151
- Jonathon Cott, On the Sea of Memory: A Journey from Forgetting to Remembering, Random House, 2005, Ch. 12, 'The Remembrance of Past Lives from the Tibetan Buddhist Perspective'
- Kathryn Goldman Schuyler, Inner Peace—Global Impact, Information Age Publishing, 2012, Ch. 14 'Tibetan Buddhism in Modern Western Culture'
- Reginald A. Ray (ed.), The Pocket Tibetan Buddhist Reader, Shambhala Publications, Boston, Mass. 2004
- Kathryn Meeske (Author), Sandra Scales (Photographer), Sacred Voices of the Nyingma Masters, Padma Publishing, California, 2004
- Charles A. Tart, Living a Mindful Life, A Handbook for Living in the Present Moment, Shambhala Publications, Boston, Mass. 1994
Forewords and introductions
- Dilgo Khyentse; Ani Jinpa Palmo (trans), 2008. Brilliant Moon: The Autobiography of Dilgo Khyentse. Shambhala.
- the Dalai Lama, Mind in Comfort and Ease, Wisdom Publications, 2007
- Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Blazing Splendor: The Memoirs of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, North Atlantic Books, 2005,
- Don Farber, Portraits of Tibetan Buddhist Masters, University of California Press 2005,
- Nyoshul Khenpo Jamyang Dorje (translated by Richard Barron), A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage (A Spiritual History of the Teachings on Natural Great Perfection), Padma Publications, 2005,
- Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Fearless Simplicity: The Dzogchen Way of Living Freely in a Complex World, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, Nepal, 2003,
- the Dalai Lama, Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection, Snow Lion Publications, 2000,
- Khenpo Namdrol The Practice of Vajrakilaya, Snow Lion Publications, 1999,
- Christine Longaker, Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying, Arrow Books, 1998,