About Rigpa

Rigpa is a Tibetan word, which in general means ‘intelligence’ or ‘awareness’. In Dzogchen, however, the highest teachings in the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, rigpa has a deeper connotation, ‘the innermost nature of the mind’. The whole of the teaching of Buddha is directed towards realizing this, our ultimate nature, the state of omniscience or enlightenment – a truth so universal, so primordial that it goes beyond all limits, and beyond even religion itself

Sogyal Rinpoche

Open to all schools and traditions of Buddhist wisdom, and with the guidance and gracious patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Rigpa offers those following the Buddhist teachings a complete path of study and practice, along with the environment they need to experience the teachings fully.

At the same time, Rigpa seeks to explore how the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha’s teachings can benefit many different areas of life in today’s world.

Inspired by the meaning of the word rigpa, Sogyal Rinpoche gave this as the name for his work and to the vehicle he was developing to serve the Buddha’s teaching in the West. Today, Rigpa has more than 130 centres in 41 countries around the world.

Rigpa is an international network of Buddhist centres and groups, which offer meditation courses and Tibetan Buddhist studies. Rinpoche and Rigpa’s main focus is to make the Buddha’s teachings available as widely as possible, in a way that is authentic, accessible and beneficial for people of all ages, and from all walks of life. With this in mind, all Australian Rigpa centres offer a broad programme of courses, retreats, workshops and meditation evenings as well as a range of projects that aim to show how the teachings can be applied in different areas of society.

For those who are new to Buddhism, there is the introductory What Meditation Really Is course, which explains how to meditate and gives a general introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Rigpa’s education programme offers a complete and graduated training in the Buddhist teachings and practice, with further courses designed to suit students of all levels.

Rinpoche regularly invites visiting teachers from different Buddhist schools and traditions to visit and to teach at Rigpa centres in Australia and around the world.

For students who do not have a centre near where they live, Rigpa Australia offers a distance learning programme, the Bush Telegraph. The Bush Telegraph connects students and provides instructor-led courses throughout regional Australia, New Zealand, Asia and beyond using web resources, online forums and conference calls.

Rigpa Australia offers a programme specifically tailored to meet the needs of children, teenagers, families and parents. Rigpé Yeshé is an association of parents and educators, who, inspired by Sogyal Rinpoche’s vision, are creating a culture where children, teenagers and families can experience a joyful and authentic spiritual path. It has two main areas of activity:

  • offering programmes for children and teenagers during Australian retreats;
  • supporting parents and families in integrating Buddhist values in the upbringing of their children.

In the programmes, children learn about meditation and the benefits of cultivating inner peace and empathy. They are encouraged to develop a sense of responsibility and confidence in their fundamental goodness, and they participate in different workshops and meditative arts like calligraphy, tea offering and film-making, as well as outdoor co-operative games and nature hikes.

Rigpa’s Spiritual Care Programme offers practical ways in which the wisdom and compassion of the Buddhist teachings can benefit those facing illness or death, and help support their families and care-givers.

In particular, our Australian Spiritual Care educators conduct Compassion and Presence seminars. This training focuses on cultivating presence and mindfulness, and deepening the capacity for compassion, so that you can remain present, spacious and loving in the face of suffering. The Compassion and Presence seminar has been endorsed by Royal College of Nursing, Australia and the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Rigpa Australia is a non-profit organization. Its work is supported entirely by contributions and donations from students and friends of Rigpa. The overwhelming majority of people who work for Rigpa are volunteers, and there are just a handful of salaried positions.

If you would like to support our work visit our donations page.