Controversial Tibetan monk, accused of sexual abuse, is dead

A controversial Tibetan monk whose best-selling book on Buddhist wisdom was overshadowed by multiple allegations of sexual abuse has died in Thailand, his official social media account reported.

Sogyal Rinpoche, a former close friend of the Dalai Lama, suffered a pulmonary embolism and “left this world” at around 01:00 pm on Wednesday, a post on his Facebook page said.

“The doctors did everything they could but could not restore the function of his heart… Rinpoche is now resting in meditation,” it said.

Rinpoche penned the best-selling “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” in 1992, which became a huge hit in the West with people disillusioned with their lifestyles.

It explored birth, karma, death and reincarnation, and how to train the mind through meditation.

Born in 1947 in Tibet, Sogyal Lakar Rinpoche was recognized as the reincarnation of Terton Sogyal, a teacher of the 13th Dalai Lama. In the 1970s he became more prominent internationally and founded Rigpa, a network of more than 100 spiritual centres, many of them in France.

He was pushed out of the organisation in 2017 after former students accused him of physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse. The current Dalai Lama came out against his former friend, calling him “disgraced”.

Rinpoche always denied the allegations, but an independent inquiry upheld many of the complaints.

His Facebook page was flooded Thursday with condolatory messages that touched on reincarnation. “Sogyal Rinpoche is headed for a pretty unpleasant rebirth,” a Twitter user said.