The Ripa lay Sangha are organized on a national level, for the most part, as registered charities in their host countries. Physical centers may be organized in another manner, according to the laws of the host country. The umbrella organization for the lay Sanghas and Centers globally is the executive coordinating body known as The Ripa Council. Some countries may have charities set up a the city level, for example Padma Ling Paris and Padma Ling Marseille, both of which are in France. Informally, there may also be practice groups in countries that do not yet have sufficient size and maturity to be ready to register their legal status, and thus these practice groups meet informally, but do have an individual that one may contact in order to be able to support one’s practice and also to rely on local resources, for assistance, questions, and community support.
Formal Sangha organizations are organized according to set structures that combine consistency in organizational matters according to Ripa requirements, but that also respect the laws of the local countries and certain cultural proclivities (federalist approach or more centrist / dirigiste). The leadership of all organizations, organizational responsibles and processes, and contact information, is available centrally through the Ripa Council Secretary. For details on organizational structures at the Ripa Council level, or local organization level, please feel free to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our organizations are structured according to hierarchy, jurisdiction, and activity, as follows:
As a community we are dedicated to the path of individual enlightenment and the creation and support of an enlightened society. This vision of enlightened intent is carried forward foremost by the head of the Ripa lineage: His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, and the Ripa teachers and family. His Eminence, followed by his three sons, who are all recognized tulkus (re-incarnate masters) and Rinpoches in their own right, bring forth this enlightened intent through: Dharma teachings, empowerments, and group practice, such as Drupchos. Following the Ripa teachers and teachings, are individuals who have been mandated to carry forward designated activities within the organization at the Ripa Council level, the national levels, and the Center levels. At the individual level, this vision is made manifest through: personal ethics, generosity, volunteer work, study, meditation, and practice.
Our communities practice both collectively – during retreats with our teachers, and on regular practice days with our local Sanghas or Practice Groups – as well as individually, at home, or in retreat. The Ripa program structure, Levels I-III, supports program events starting at the base level, Level I, which is primarily secular, even as it is informed by the vajrayana perspective, and includes programs oriented equally for the general public, on topics such as Health (diet and exercise), Well Being (relationships), Eco-Dharma (environment and sustainability), Socially Engaged Buddhism (humanitarian projects), and Abundance (success in everyday life). Level II supports the development and understanding of Buddhist ethics and philosophy, and Shine level meditation. Level III supports the more advanced Buddhist practices, including Vajrayana liturgies, extended practices or Drupchos, Tsa Lung, Dzogchen retreats and long retreats.
Our governance structure follows the lead of the vision set forth by the Ripa teachers, and putting that vision into practice is done in several ways: consultation and collaboration above and below, according to hierarchical level and jurisdiction (defined by general organizational or locational sphere, and according to portfolio of responsibility), as well as democratic process.
Our infrastructures exist as physical places, such as centers; as legal entities, such as national registered charities; as online entities, such as our website and news reporting distribution service; and most preeminently, as our practice protocols.
Our activities exist on an organizational level according to pillars, or portfolio of responsibilities: Dharmaseva, which is the bringing forth of Dharma activities, including translation at events, chupin activities (ritual arts), translation of Dharma liturgical texts and other Dharma teachings (via the Blue Dot imprint), arrangement of practice spaces, teaching of some activities (Shine meditation, Ngondro instruction, Tsa Lung), and shepherds, for individual practice support; Lamaseva, which supports the Ripa teachers through arranging for travel, accommodation, linen service, and food during teaching tours and retreats; Karmachakra, which organizes programs and events for the general public and Sangha; Communications, which organizes print and online content, advertising and publicity, event communications, news, blogs, press relations, and social media – together with the Karmachakra team, they manage recorded and archived content; Finance, which organizes and reports on budgets and financial accounting, including overseeing fundraising activity; Legal, which ensures legal questions are correctly addressed; Membership, which looks after membership, including membership activities and support, including liaising with Karmachakra for volunteer activities; and Humanitarian, which looks after Humanitarian activities.