Safeguarding & Governance Report

1. Initial response to whistleblowing letter of 14 July 2017

Three years ago, in July 2017, a letter from eight students of Sogyal Rinpoche was published which made serious allegations of physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, and ethical and financial misconduct. Five of the complainants were from the USA, two from Australia and one from the UK.

Sogyal Rinpoche retired as Spiritual Director from all Rigpa entities with effect from 11 August 2017. The governing boards and management teams of all Rigpa entities considered how to protect the welfare of the eight complainants and all members of the Rigpa community and how to respond in the most open and transparent way. As a result Rigpa resolved to set up an independent investigation by a neutral third party. An international consultation process was also launched to establish a shared code of conduct and grievance process for Rigpa. A new spiritual advisory group to guide Rigpa was also established.

From July 2017 to December 2017, the eight complainants were contacted individually by members of Rigpa’s national and/or international teams.

During this period the draft Code of Conduct was also distributed to the worldwide community of students for feedback and was finalised before the Lewis Silkin Report was subsequently published in September 2018 and was not a response to the report.