Commenting Guidelines and Moderation

Why we’re here

This is a place for discussion on the matter of abuse in the Rigpa sangha. We follow the guidance of the Dalai Lama on making such issues public while still honoring the good we have received from our teacher.
It is our sincere wish for the harm to stop and for those who enter Rigpa to be aware of what they might encounter within that organisation. There is no intention to ruin Sogyal Rinpoche or Rigpa, only to hold him and the organisation accountable for any questionable actions. Although we oppose abuse, we still deeply appreciate all that we have received from Sogyal Rinpoche through his teachings, and we don’t deny that he is a brilliant teacher.
Posts are not intended to be scolarly, we are more interested in providing information and reflections that encourage deep reflection in students as they process the allegations of abuse in Rigpa and what it means for them.

Who we are

This blog has been set up by a group of past and present students of Sogyal Rinpoche. Moonfire is not one person, but many voices. We do not use our own names because some malign us for supporting those who spoke out about the abuse.

Commenting Guidelines & Moderation

This is a private blog, the owners have a right to maintain a positive atmosphere and remove people who don’t abide by the guidelines.
Please avoid:

  • harsh speech
  • personal criticism or attacks
  • aggression
  • sensationalism
  • inflammatory speech
  • spreading rumors
  • pushing an agendaThough we prefer not to have to moderate this conversation, individuals who engage in these forms of communication may have their comments removed without discussion – we don’t have time for arguments – and could be blocked from commenting on the blog.If you come across comments that don’t follow these guidelines, please use the comment form to let us know. In particular, attacks on Tibetan Buddhism are considered a breach of the guidelines. This is because, despite any limitations we see in any particular organization,  the majority of readers here have deep respect for Buddhism, and we wish to honour that point of view.  That does not mean that you can’t discuss its defects, but it does mean that in respect for the aim of this site which is to support Tibetan Buddhist practictioners, the positive aspects should be honoured as well as the negative. It’s all about tone; avoid agression and pushing an agenda.

We offer our support with the best of intentions. May you receive them in the same spirit.


The opinons expressed on this blog and in the comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of those who set up or administer the blog, therefore liability for opinons expressed falls on the person who expressed their opinion.

Be sure to check out the What Now? References page for links to a wealth of articles in the topics related to abuse in Buddhist communities. For links to places to assist in healing from abuse see the sangha care resources page.
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. Please use the email address you use on Facebook.

Rigpa Announces Plans for Independent Investigation of Abuse Allegations

Note:  We are publishing this letter from Sogyal Rinpoche to the worldwide sangha especially for the benefit of those students who have been impacted by the allegations of abuse in Rigpa but are not currently on the Rigpa mailing list.
11 August 2017
Dear Sangha Friends,
The past few weeks have been a very distressing time for our whole Sangha. The allegations that have been made against Sogyal Rinpoche by members of our own community, and which have spread widely in the media and on the internet, are of extreme concern to us all.
By now, you will have received the letter from Sogyal Rinpoche in which he announces his formal retirement from Rigpa as spiritual director. His decision comes as a shock to many of us, and its magnitude cannot be overstated. Rinpoche has made it clear that this decision has only been made after deep personal reflection, seeking the advice of many of his masters, and with the best intention for the future of our community.
For those of us who hold roles of responsibility within Rigpa, this has been and continues to be a challenging time. Not only have we been digesting the shock and emotion of the current situation for ourselves; we have recognized our immediate responsibility to reach out to as many people as possible and offer our support. Over the past weeks, many of us have been trying our best to listen to everyone in our diverse community, and to take on board the wide-ranging impact of these allegations as well as Rinpoche’s decision to enter retreat and step back from Rigpa’s work.

Continue reading “Rigpa Announces Plans for Independent Investigation of Abuse Allegations”

Sogyal Rinpoche Retires As Spiritual Director of Rigpa

Note:  We are publishing this letter from Sogyal Rinpoche to the worldwide sangha especially for the benefit of those students who have been impacted by the allegations of abuse in Rigpa but are not currently on the Rigpa mailing list.
11 August 2017

Dear Rigpa Sangha,
I address this letter to all my students and especially to those who hold positions of responsibility on the board of directors of the different Rigpa organizations worldwide.
You are of course aware of the allegations that have been brought against me which have now been made widely public on the internet. This has brought shock and consternation not only to me, but also to a great many of you who are my students and who serve Rigpa and its vision.
I have already communicated to you my decision to enter retreat and step back from the work of Rigpa, in view of the turbulence that these accusations have caused. This instinct has been confirmed to me by many of the masters whom I turn to for spiritual advice and by my most trusted students. I feel that in so doing, space will be created for the right kind of clarity to be brought to bear.
Furthermore, given my deep concern for you all and the work of Rigpa, which you have all contributed towards immensely, I feel the best course of action for me now is to formally announce my retirement as spiritual director of Rigpa. I do not wish the criticism that has been brought against me to jeopardise all that.

Continue reading “Sogyal Rinpoche Retires As Spiritual Director of Rigpa”

A Message for Rigpa International and National Rigpa Organizations on Handling Allegations of Abuse

Dear Senior Students, Instructors and Administrators,
What you say and do right now is of upmost importance, given the current crisis surrounding allegations of abuse.  Many people are waiting and watching to see how Sogyal Rinpoche, Rigpa International and National Rigpa organizations respond after SR’s initial letter to the sangha, to decide whether to remain a Rigpa student or to leave.
Silence, denial, and exclusion of certain voices may very well tip people further and further away from Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa or cause them to leave entirely.
For example, here’s feedback offered by one student after the first delayed stream of the Ngondro Retreat in Lerab Ling:

“Not once in recent weeks had I lost interest in being a part of the Rigpa Sangha. I consistently felt optimism about the possibility for connection and renewal offered by the cracking-open that is underway.

That came crashing down when I saw ‘The Important Message Regarding the Delayed Streaming’ at the outset of the delayed streaming of the Ngondro Retreat.

Continue reading “A Message for Rigpa International and National Rigpa Organizations on Handling Allegations of Abuse”

Response to Sogyal Lakar (Sogyal Rinpoche)

Sogyal Lakar,
Thank you for your response to our letter of July 14. We have since met and are of one mind in what follows.
We are encouraged by your willingness to engage in a dialogue with us and that you are taking very seriously the harm your actions have caused. We agree with you that you should seek advice and guidance from the masters who have a genuine care and concern for R, such as DKR and MR. We too have confidence in a number of well respected lamas, whose support and concern have been extended to us.
We are confused that you did not mention that you will seek advice from HHDL, your eldest and senior most teacher. You have always spoken of him with such deep devotion. Certainly at this critical moment his guidance would be precious. Will you seek counsel from His Holiness the Dalai Lama?
As you know, it was out of deep concern for our companions on the path, and the Buddha Dharma in general, that we felt compelled to write to you. Over the last two decades many close students have voiced their concerns to you about your behavior, but their efforts have been to no avail. Continue reading “Response to Sogyal Lakar (Sogyal Rinpoche)”

Confessions of a Devoted Student – Part 2

Part 2 – Why I didn’t see.

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Why didn’t I see the truth that students were hurting? Because I saw the teacher in person only once a year, and only during a teaching, and because senior students told me those close to him had asked for this ‘special training’, and because I didn’t see anything that clearly stepped over a line: I didn’t see him punching someone hard, several times, in obvious anger while telling them they were useless, as one member of the Australian team recently told me that he observed in the last tour.
Surely, I thought, if they don’t see it as a problem, then who am I to judge? But clearly it was, or became, a problem for some, so much so that they eventually came to see it as abuse. And what happened to them is a great deal more damaging than anything I saw. And they struggled for years before they found a way to get out. Only when reading about trauma bonding and brainwashing techniques did I realise just how badly they had been trapped in a cycle of abuse that was enabled by a system of beliefs that supported it as not only acceptable, but also normal. A belief system adhered to so blindly by those around this teacher that those who recognised the abuse for what it was had no support, but were made to feel that their perception was not pure enough and their devotion was not strong enough. They were made to feel that it was their fault!
Continue reading “Confessions of a Devoted Student – Part 2”

Feedback and Constructive Suggestions from a Group of Concerned Students

A small group of Australian students is attempting to get this letter, which expresses their concerns, requests, and constructive suggestions, to SL.  22 more student voices from the What Now? Facebook Group agree with the sentiments expressed in this letter.
This group of 13 Australian Dz and Ng mandala students had 2 weeks warning of the contents of the recent email from long term students on the issue of abuse in our sangha. We have met twice in this period to process our mutual pain and concerns, and to begin a dialogue on what this means for the sangha.
In the first meeting we shared feelings of shock, confusion, anger, betrayal of trust, bitter disappointment and sadness.  All stated vehemently their continuing faith in the teachings, love for R, and gratitude for all he has done for us, but made a clear distinction between the teacher and the behaviour. We feel strongly that no one is above the law.
What follows are notes from the second meeting of the points that we all agreed on. As a small group, we were able to mobilise quickly, and we hope that the results of our discussion will help in the process of healing for all concerned:
Continue reading “Feedback and Constructive Suggestions from a Group of Concerned Students”


The letter was written to Sogyal Lakar. A copy of the letter was shared with longterm Rigpa students, and some senior Tibetan Buddhist lamas. We have not shared it publicly or with the media.  Sharing the letter publicly is a violation of the wishes of the signers.