Born in Kham in Eastern Tibet, Sogyal Rinpoche was recognized at an early age as the incarnation of a great master and visionary saint of the nineteenth century, Tertön Sogyal Lerab Lingpa (1856-1926), a teacher to the thirteenth Dalai Lama.

He received the traditional training of a Tibetan lama under the close supervision of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, one of the most outstanding spiritual masters of the twentieth century, who raised Rinpoche like his own son. He went on to study with many other great masters, of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, especially Kyabjé Dudjom Rinpoche and Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

In 1971, Rinpoche went to England, where he studied Comparative Religion at Cambridge University. First as a translator and aide to his revered masters, and then teaching in his own right, Rinpoche traveled to many countries, observing the reality of people’s lives, and searching how to translate the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism so as to make them relevant to modern men and women of all faiths, by drawing out their universal message while losing none of their authenticity, purity and power.

Out of this was born his unique style of teaching, and his ability to attune these teachings to modern life, demonstrated so vividly in his ground-breaking book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. More than 2.8 million copies have been printed, in 34 languages and the book is available in 80 countries.

Rinpoche is also the founder and spiritual director of Rigpa, an international network of over 130 Buddhist centres and groups in 40 countries around the world. He has been teaching for over 30 years and continues to travel widely in Europe, America, Australia and Asia.

We’ve Got It All Completely Wrong

Sogyal Rinpoche

Everyone wants to be happy. But why do our constant struggles to make ourselves happy so often lead to frustration, or even depression? In seeking happiness for ourselves alone we become self-centred, caught up in a claustrophobic state of mind, where we not only end up not being happy but there’s no end to problems, we shirk our responsibilities and blame others. Cherishing ourselves is supposed to make us happy, but it actually makes things worse. On the other hand, by thinking of others, cherishing others and working for the benefit of others, our own welfare is taken care of as a matter of course.

Cherishing others doesn’t mean that we should care for others at the exclusion of ourselves. We also need to love ourselves. This is very important. The Buddha said, ‘Whoever loves himself will never harm another.’ It is when we don’t love ourselves that we harm others. By moving beyond self-cherishing we can begin to truly love ourselves, in an enlightened way, and bring benefit to the world.

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