Statement about the Rigpa Lerab Ling Religious Congregation Regarding the Defamation Court Case –
17 July 2019 .
We are deeply concerned that the judges of the Montpellier criminal court have discharged the accused despite what the Lerab Ling Congregation believes to be highly defamatory statements published in Midi Libre in December 2017. The statements were false, hurtful and damaging. As a religious congregation and a community of lay and monastic members, registered with the French Ministry of the Interior, member of the French and European Buddhist Union, the Lerab Ling Congregation is appealing and trust that the Cour d’appel de Montpellier will recognise the responsibility of the authors of the article in gravely damaging the reputation of our congregation.
The Defamation Case
In December 2017, after a number of articles targeting Lerab Ling, the Midi Libre newspaper published an interview with a lawyer who characterized Lerab Ling and the people who took part in the life of the Temple with statements such as “Life carries on in Lerab Ling, should the centre be closed down? No because it would force those who take part in the life of the temple to reintegrate a society in which they have lost all their bearings, as in all cult like movements people are deprived from their identity and are cut off from their families ... “. The Lerab Ling Congregation and 133 members of the community and friends took action as they felt that this simply wasn’t true and that their reputation had been injured.
Lerab Ling and Rigpa’s response to July 2017 allegations
In July 2017, a letter was released with allegations against the international Buddhist network Rigpa, the Congregation Rigpa Lerab Ling and their founder Sogyal Rinpoche. The Lerab Ling Congregation notified the relevant Procureur de la République (Public Prosecutor) in Montpellier and made itself available to the French justice system.
In the face of the allegations, Sogyal Rinpoche retired as Spiritual Director of Rigpa in August 2017, and now has no organisational role in Rigpa. The woman master Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche is now the spiritual director of the Lerab Ling Congregation, and Rigpa is led by a Vision Board advised by several leading Tibetan Buddhist teachers.
The governing boards and management teams of Rigpa, including Lerab Ling, commissioned an internal investigation report and undertook a change programme to bring clarity and move forward. More infos Rigpa Moving Forward...
Lerab Ling as a Religious Congregation
Lerab Ling is a religious congregation registered with the French Ministry of the Interior and under the patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Its community includes 13 monastic members, of which some have been ordained by HHDL in person, and 32 lay members affiliated to the CAVIMAC, the French social security for religious members. Lerab Ling is run by a representative assembly that has an elected chapter and a superior, works with 200 suppliers and institutional partners, including with local tourist offices for our temple visits. More info about Lerab Ling...
Lerab Ling and Rigpa in the Buddhist World
Rigpa was founded in 1979 and since that time over 80 renowned teachers from all schools of Tibetan Buddhism and other Buddhist traditions, have been teaching in Rigpa and guiding the study and practice of Rigpa students, at the invitation of Sogyal Rinpoche,
In 2019 alone Rigpa and Lerab Ling are welcoming over 20 teachers. We uphold in particular the Nyingma tradition, the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism, and offer the Buddhist teachings of meditation, compassion and wisdom to the modern world.