Sogyal Rinpoche Dies; Tibetan Buddhist Lama Felled by Abuse Accusations

The New York Times

September 1, 2019

By Richard Sandomir

A friend of the Dalai Lama’s, he wrote a popular book about life, death and the afterlife that updated “The Tibetan Book of the Dead.”

Sogyal Rinpoche, a charismatic Tibetan Buddhist teacher and best-selling author who abruptly retired after several of his students accused him of multiple acts of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, died on Aug. 28 in a hospital in Thailand. He was in his early 70s.

The cause was a pulmonary embolism, his care team announced. He had received a diagnosis of colon cancer in September 2017.

Two months earlier, his reputation as a popular teacher of Buddhism and longtime friend of the Dalai Lama’s unraveled when eight students wrote a damning, heart-rending letter that outlined allegations of years of abuse by Sogyal Rinpoche against them.

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