Dear Noble Sangha of Rigpa,
Though it is not traditional to mourn the passing of a teacher in an ordinary way, I cannot help but feel the magnitude of the loss of Sogyal Rinpoche leaving this planet today. He was a great pioneer in bringing Buddhadharma to thousands in the new world after Tibet lost its independence and many masters had to flee into exile. Ironically, one consequence of this tragedy was the possibility for the Tibetan lineage of Buddhadharma to spread outside of Tibet. Many great teachers like His Holiness Dalai Lama, my own root teacher Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, his teacher Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, Dudjom Rinpoche, and many others, all went into exile and spread the dharma widely. But the generation of teachers like Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Sogyal Rinpoche, and several others, came to the West. They resided here, formed communities, taught tirelessly, and thus changed the landscape of Tibetan Buddhism in the world.
The loss of Sogyal Rinpoche is the end of an era. Rinpoche had a magnetic persona which inspired great commitment and dedication in his disciples to build communities around the world. These were places where thousands could come together and not only dip their toes in the water of holy Dharma but become truly committed to the practice lineage of Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhism.
I therefore can’t help but mourn the loss of Sogyal Rinpoche and feel deeply for his disciples everywhere, especially at this time. I can only encourage you to carry on with courage and solidarity, to stay on course in the path of Dharma, and to keep serving the vision of Rigpa with dedication. You have all shown yourselves to be great examples for others to follow in generations to come. I now pray for Rinpoche to be reunited with his own masters, and with the Master of Masters, the Lotus-Born, in the Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain, in one mandala.
I send my thoughts and prayers for the Rigpa Sangha and my deepest condolences.
With Immense Warmth of Tsewa—Love—for You All,
Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche