Lerab Ling Congregation spiritual guidance, chapter, representative assembly and coordination team–
Lerab Ling, 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.
Lerab Ling Congregation, 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 Representative Assembly (board) and coordinators.
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 Representative Assembly (board) who were also advised by the Vision Board and other spiritual advisors. Read more about the Rigpa Teams.
The chapter and the representative assembly
In November 2018, in accord with its statutes, the religious congregation Rigpa Lerab Ling came together to elect six new members of its chapter. Then the chapter elected Dorothe Würich, a nun, named Ngawang Chözom Lhamo, to act as the superior of the Congregation.
The superior and the chapter then invited salaried staff as well as outside consultants of the congregation to come and join them to form a representative assembly which will guarantee the vision and the spiritual integrity of Lerab Ling. This assembly will give a long term perspective which will steer the actions of the Lerab Ling manager and coordination team.
The 2018 November elections offer a complete renewal of the spiritual and temporal direction of the Rigpa Lerab Ling center. They also represent a welcomed rejuvenation of the team which will be in place for the next 3 years until the next elections.
Photo: From right to left – Members of the chapter: Ane Lhamo (Superior), Gill Kainey, Jeremy Tatersall, Rainer Heinz. Permanent guests: Anneke Hakman and Samuel Truscott.
Rigpa Lerab Ling Congregation coordination team
The Lerab Ling Coordination team 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.
Photo: from left to right - Olivier Laplace (Registration), Claudia Thurn (Practice), Sébastien Reggiany (Programme), Astrid Hubert (Welcome Centre), Brian Corr (shrine and its environment), Anneke Hakman (Fundraising), Nicolas Schram (Communications and marketing), Gill Kainey (International communications), Helen Cargill (International services).
How Lerab Ling’s management is integrated with Rigpa’s management internationally
Lerab Ling is represented on, and is an active participant in the executive and board-level bodies managing Rigpa internationally - international Board and the International Coordination Group (executive). Read more about the Rigpa Teams.
The Rigpa Vision Board - Rigpa’s vision is to offer the Buddha’s teachings in a way that is based on an authentic tradition, yet also relevant and beneficial for people in the modern world. Rigpa offers courses and seminars in meditation and compassion, as well as a complete path of study and practice for every stage of the Buddha’s teachings.
The role of Rigpa’s Vision Board is to safeguard the spiritual integrity of Rigpa, helping to ensure all its activities remain true to its spiritual vision, values and culture. The Vision Board does this by listening closely to the members, working collaboratively with the rest of the organisation, and with the spiritual guidance of the lamas advising Rigpa.
The advisory lamas - To maintain the authenticity of Rigpa's work, the Vision Board is advised by a number of eminent Tibetan Buddhist lamas including Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and Mindrolling Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche (both key figures in interpreting Tibetan Buddhism in the modern world), and Khenchen Namdrol Rinpoche (a great scholar and lineage holder of the Ngagyur Nyingma tradition).