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Home » Religion » Dalai Lama Speaks Out about Sogyal Rinpoche



His Holiness the Dalai Lama calls Sogyal Rinpoche “disgraced” and stresses that nobody should follow the teachings of any lama without question – not even from himself – stressing that they must live up to the teachings of Buddha and what society expects. He also reiterates his advice from 1993 that lamas who behave badly should be exposed in the media.

Recorded at the inauguration of the seminar “Buddhism in Ladakh” @ Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS) in Leh, Ladakh, India on 1st August 2017.

For more information on the allegations against Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa, see:


(With all due respect to the Dalai Lama’s English skills, I have attempted to correct his grammar, without changing the meaning)

“I feel some of these lama institutions have some sort of influence of the feudal system. That is outdated and must end – that feudal influence. Then eventually a lama institution creates lama politics [DL laughs heartily]. That’s very bad.

An individual lama’s disgrace doesn’t matter, but it gives a very bad impression about a monastery or a monk. Very bad. So we must pay more attention.

You should not say, “This is my guru. What guru says I must follow.” That’s totally wrong! Buddha himself mentioned, “You must examine my teaching”. Similarly if one particular lama says something, you examine whether this goes well according to Buddhaʻs teaching or according to the circumstances in society. Then you must follow. If the lama says something; if you investigate and it’s not proper, then you should not follow the lama’s teaching. Even Dalai Lama’s teaching; if you find some contradiction you should not follow my teaching.

As far as Gelugpa is concerned, Lama Tsonghkapa clearly mentioned; if a lama teaches something that is against the dharma it should be avoided and opposed. If the lama’s teaching is in accord with the dharma it should be followed, if it is in discord with the Dharma it should not be followed.

Many years ago in Dharmasala at a Western Teachers Conference, some Western Buddhist teachers mentioned some Zen masters and Tibetan Buddhist Masters had created a very bad impression among people. Then I told them them; these people do not follow Buddhaʻs advice, Buddhaʻs teaching. We cannot do. So, the only thing is to make it public, through newspapers, through the radio. Make it public!

These lamas, although they don’t care about Buddha’s teaching, they may care about their face [points at his face, indicating shame]. I told them at that conference, almost 15 years ago I think. Now, recently Sogyal Rinpoche; my very good friend, but he’s disgraced. So some of his own students have now made public their criticism.”

Full video of event here:

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