Response to the Press campaign
You have probably heard about the recent article in the Midi Libre, whose contents unquestioningly repeat the same false allegations made elsewhere about Rigpa and the Lerab Ling centre in Herault. We would like to ask you to read this communiqué, which clarifies the position our organization takes in relation to these articles. As we have always enjoyed a warm friendship with you, the least we can do is offer you our sincerely held views of the unjust and totally false claims that are being made against us.
For several weeks, Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche have been the victims of a malicious media campaign based on the publication of a highly critical and extremely prejudiced book, claiming we are not only insane but violent. Last September we responded in a press release.
We are deeply shocked and dismayed at the way Lerab Ling and our spiritual director, Sogyal Rinpoche, have been depicted. In no way does this picture correspond to reality.
The portrayal presented in the book is unrecognizable to our members, and to the members of the public who know us and have been benefiting from our activities for many years.
The accusations being made are consistent with sensationalist stereotypes that can easily deceive people who read them without applying their own intelligence and logic to what is being said.
They have nothing to do with Rigpa’s true identity, a fact to which hundreds of people can readily attest.
We are now confronted with a real problem: how can we face these false accusations, show them to be false and reaffirm to the public who we really are and what we stand for? How should we respond to a bona fide witch hunt orchestrated by a tiny handful of people whose claims do not in any way reflect the experience of the overwhelming majority of people who actually know Sogyal Rinpoche and the work that Rigpa does?
We can only repeat even more forcefully that the names of Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche cannot possibly be associated with assertions of abuse and cult-like behaviour.
At the same time, it is important to know that for many centuries, when masters of Tibetan Buddhism like Sogyal Rinpoche have been confronted with false accusations, they make no public response. This attitude, which is uncommon in the West and is therefore open to being misunderstood, is rooted in the profound and widespread Buddhist tradition of training the mind in compassion, called lojong. The core principle of lojong has always been: “Give all profit and gain to others. Take all loss and defeat upon yourself.”
This attitude, which is quite different from today’s mainstream thinking, is practised by men and women who are seeking to develop compassion to its very fullest extent, and thereby emulate the courage, benevolence and big-heartedness of the great saints of the past. So whether they are attacked, mistreated or criticized, whatever happens to such individuals, they never lose heart, or give in to resentment or acrimony. Above all, they never respond to others or retaliate with anger or aggression, but feel only warm-heartedness, love and compassion toward them.
This principle is captured in a verse from a very popular lojong teaching:
Even when someone I have helped,
Or in whom I have placed great hopes
Mistreats me very unjustly,
I will view that person as a true spiritual teacher.
Following the advice and instructions of his own masters, Rinpoche has always held this fundamental rule and principle of lojong close to his heart. Of course, this approach may be difficult for many people in our modern day to understand. But in the face of false accusations and criticisms, Rinpoche has always said that he bears not the slightest resentment, anger or ill-will, and nor does he wish to retaliate or respond to any of these accusations, no matter how strange, shocking or untrue they may be.