He was a Tibetan man who found his way into a decent education.
He used his power and influence to learn some things about Buddhism and gain a following.
He used his position as a Buddhist teacher to subject students to “serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse.” (see below)
There are varying degrees of closeness to Sogyal Lakar, with the closest relationships regularly referred to as the “inner circle”. The experiences of some of the members of the inner circle are very different from the experiences of many of those who are less close.
Not all of the allegations against Sogyal Lakar are upheld . . . but based on the evidence available to me, I am satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities:a. some students of Sogyal Lakar . . . have been subjected to serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse by him; and
b. there were senior individuals within Rigpa who were aware of at least some of these issues and failed to address them, leaving others at risk.
We wish him well through the ripening of his karma and hope that his life, especially these last few years, serve as a good example for others who may wish to follow in his footsteps.
May his victims and all others harmed find peace in this news and beyond.
Little more need be said.
Two recent books published on Sogyal Lakhar and his organization, Rigpa, are:
Fallout: Recovering from Abuse in Tibetan Buddhism by Tahlia Newland, 2019.
Sex and Violence in Tibetan Buddhism: The Rise and Fall of Sogyal Rinpoche by Mary Finnigan and Rob Hoogendoorn, 2019.
(11:06 am EDT, minor edits made to clarify his position and to give note to the victims, who deserve greater credit and voice than they have received thus far. 11:44am edit to add books.)