ABOUT LERAB LING
Lerab Ling is one of the main centres preserving the authentic study and practice of Tibetan of Buddhism in Europe and is under the patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Lerab Ling was founded in 1991 by Sogyal Rinpoche together with a first generation of Western Buddhists students. Since then, and up until today, many great masters visit Lerab Ling, giving profound teachings and bestowing their blessings, in particular His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2000 and 2008.
Located in the lush green setting of the Natural Regional Park of the Haut-Languedoc, Lerab Ling preserves a natural and calm environment that is beneficial for developing inner tranquillity. At the same time Lerab Ling is a place of activity, hosting a community of monastic and lay members whose main vocation is to support everyone to discover, study, and practice Buddhism. Lerab Ling is a member of the French Buddhist Union (UBF) and the European Buddhist Union (UBE), and a founding member of the Tibetan Buddhist Federation (FBT).
LERAB LING'S VISION
Founded by the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche, Lerab Ling is a sanctuary of meditation and enlightened activity, where the Buddha’s teachings and blessings are shared with those who seek a complete path to enlightenment and a refuge from the busyness of everyday life.
> LERAB LING'S MISSION
A Spiritual Community of monastics and lay people who study, contemplate and apply the teachings of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism1; they seek to understand, experience and realise the innermost essence of the nature of mind, leading to immediate benefit and lasting happiness for themselves and others.
An International Retreat Centre at the heart of the international Rigpa community2 where students can be supported at every stage of their study and practice; a centre of excellence for training teachers and practitioners to bring the practical wisdom and compassion of the Buddha’s teachings to the world; a place of pilgrimage blessed by renowned masters from many Buddhist traditions3.
A public place that is an expression of Tibetan sacred culture, where anyone can make a connection with the wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings through courses, retreats, outreach, conferences and inter-faith gatherings; a place to relax, reflect and find peace.
1 The Nyingma ‘ancient’ lineage dates back to the eighth century when Guru Padmasambhava established Buddhism in Tibet. At the heart of the Nyingma tradition are the teachings on the innermost nature of the mind of the Great Perfection, or Dzogpachenpo.
Within the Nyingma lineage, Rigpa practises the Longchen Nyingtik cycle, as well as certain terma treasures of Lerab Lingpa, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, the Dudjom Tersar and others.
2 Rigpa is a worldwide community of practitioners that was founded by Sogyal Rinpoche to uphold the Buddhist tradition of Tibet. It is an international network of centres and groups offering a complete and authentic path of Buddhist study and practice.
3 Rigpa has always cultivated the unbiased spirit of Rimé, the approach that emphasizes respect for all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and indeed other spiritual traditions, whilst acknowledging the need for each tradition to embody its own unique style and methods.
> OUR ACTIVITIES
Events and courses
Throughout the year, Lerab Ling offers retreats for one day, a week-end or for longer periods of time. Being in retreat gives the opportunity to explore how meditation and the Buddhist wisdom teachings can help us transform our thoughts and emotions, open our hearts and calm our minds in order to deal with life’s challenges. Check our programme.
One Saturday a month, a team of senior instructors offers a course on meditation and one on compassion. The team also holds workshops on ‘Discovering Buddhism’ at different Sundays and on Open Days. Check our courses.
Institute of Wisdom and compassion - International Conferences and Forums
Lerab Ling is also known as the Institute of Wisdom and Compassion that organizes large public conferences and forums bringing together internationally renowned Buddhists and non-Buddhist specialists in order to discuss how meditation and Buddhists values may contribute to a more human society. Read more.
Throughout the year, with the exception of certain periods, Lerab Ling offers personal retreats where we welcome people of all religions or none. Personal retreatants can choose to concentrate on their own spiritual practice or simply take a break and revitalize themselves in our peaceful environment. Upon request, Lerab Ling offers daily sessions on guided meditation sessions to personal retreatants. Check the dates for the Personal Retreats.
Inviting Teachers of all Traditions
A unique feature of Lerab Ling's event programme is that it regularly hosts teachers of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions who give teachings and empowerments, as well as Buddhist masters of other lineages, and teachers from different spiritual traditions.
For Buddhist Students
Lerab Ling also offers a full and more in-depth course of study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism, open to students from all over the world, according to their level of experience. Check our programme.
> OUR POLICIES
> ANNUAL AUDITOR'S REPORTS
In accordance with French law, our accounts are audited each year, meaning a very thorough examination of all financial movements. Our external auditor is RSM Rhône-Alpes (Lyon), the auditor is M.Gaël Dhalluin.
The auditor’s reports are available on the website of the Journal Officiel of the French government.
You can read our 2016 Annual Auditor’s Reports here
You can read our 2017 Annual Report here
> LERAB LING IN NUMBERS
A RELIGIOUS CONGREGATION
Lerab Ling was recognised as a religious congregation by the French Ministry of Interior in 2002. A religious congregation is a French legal form inherited from a long tradition of abbeys and catholic monasteries. Under French law, even though there is no legal definition, a congregation could be defined as a community complying with all the following conditions:
- The commitment and activities of members inspired by a religious faith
- The presence of vows, community life under a same rule
- The authority of a ‘superior’ entrusted with specific powers under the supervision of a hierarchy specific to the religion to which he/she claims to belong.
For spiritual matters, a religious congregation is also required to have a spiritual director.
> SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR
In March 2019, Her Eminence Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche accepted to take on the role of acting Spiritual Director of the Rigpa Lerab Ling Congregation for an interim period, a role which has been vacant since the retirement of Sogyal Rinpoche in August 2017. Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche is one of the most renowned teachers of the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions of Tibetan Buddhism currently teaching in the West. She is an ordained nun and has a longstanding connection to Rigpa students and communities worldwide. Read more about Khandro Rinpoche.
The spiritual director is entirely dedicated to spiritual matters and can hold this position until they appoint a successor. The Spiritual Director doesn’t have an executive role or any legal, financial or administrative responsibilities or duties. These are carried out by the Congregation governance teams.
In practice, the spiritual director will provide spiritual guidance to the Lerab Ling Congregation of monastic and lay practitioners in order to ensure that it acts in accordance with the lineage and tradition of Tibetan Buddhism upon which it was founded. Under the guidance of Khandro Rinpoche and other lamas, the Lerab Ling Congregation will continue to offer Buddhist teachings and programmes according to the Rigpa tradition established over the last 40 years.
Rigpa as an international organization is guided by its Vision Board and spiritual advisors, of which Khandro Rinpoche is one. Khandro Rinpoche was requested to take on this role by the Lerab Ling Congregation governance teams who were also advised by the Vision Board and other spiritual advisors. Read more about the Rigpa Teams.
Lerab Ling also has a superior, Ngawang Chözom Lhamo, elected for a renewable term of 6 years by the conventual chapter. This conventual chapter is made up of six members elected by all the members of the community, and chosen from among its members, for a renewable period of 3 years. The last elections were held in December 2021. The Superior acts in agreement with the Vision Board of Rigpa.
The superior and the chapter's role is to guarantee the vision and the spiritual integrity of Lerab Ling.
In December 2021 a new chapter was elected and is composed of:
Photos (from left to right and top to bottom)
Members of the chapter: Ane Lhamo (Superior), Ane Sonam, Petra Brandl, Pascal Rey, Markus Schöb, Jeremy Tatersall, Javier Torales.
> CONGREGATION CORE COORDINATION TEAM
The Lerab Ling Core Coordination team, in collaboration with all the team coordinators holds the overview and the responsibility for all areas of Lerab Ling congregation.
It is responsible for holding the activity and the sustainability of the center and for enacting the chapter’s decisions for Lerab Ling. In particular it takes care of ensuring we have a balanced and sustainable programme, support for other Rigpa countries, a complete programme of spiritual practice in the temple, internal and external communication, hospitality service, and care for the community.
It meets regularly with the aim of making sure we are on track with everything, sharing information and checking interdependencies.
Photos (from left to right)
Mauro De March, Seth Dye, Helen Cargill, Brian Corr, Dani Landa
> ADVISORY GROUP
In 2021 Lerab Ling created an Advisory Group with representatives of different countries, entities and skills bringing a worldly view to the operations of Lerab Ling.
Photos (from left to right)
Michele Phamtan, Alain Beauregard, Gilles Maniglier, Anneke Hakman, Malcolm MacClancy, Sam Truscott, Ane Lhamo, Jean-Christophe Mielnik, Mauro De March, Seth Dye, Pedro Beroy
These are entities related to and based in Lerab Ling.
> LA SOURCE
La Source is a limited company which is responsible for the commercial activities in Lerab Ling. It takes care of the food, accommodation and transport services as well as the Zam online shop, and the Windhorse boutique and café.
> RIGPA EUROPE
Rigpa Europe is an ‘association loi 1901’ which owns the land and the buildings. Rigpa Europe is responsible for the maintenance of the buildings, the temple and its sacred decorations, as well as the temple visits for the public.
> RIGPÉ YESHÉ
Rigpé Yeshé is an ‘association 1901’ which develops and holds programmes in Lerab Ling, for children and teenagers to help them cultivate universal human values and explore questions about the world including interdependence and interconnectedness. It offer tools for cultivating mindfulness, meditation, awareness and compassion.
The Association Rigpé Yeshé is inspired by the universal and ethical values of the Buddhist tradition. Rigpé Yeshé is recognized and registered by the French Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Daniela Dalal (president)
> CENTRE SANGHA RIGPA FRANCE
Rigpa France is an ‘association loi 1901’ based in Paris with a number of branches in different parts of France. One of its branches is based in Lerab Ling. Rigpa France aims to present the Tibetan Buddhist tradition in a way that’s both authentic and best adapted to the life of contemporary men and women.
Rigpa France offers in Lerab ling a number of courses on themes such as meditation or compassion, and organizes gatherings for Rigpa students in the region. It is a volunteer based organization.