Mary Finnigan Publishes ‘An Open Letter to Dominique Side’

Written by Rob Hogendoorn

1 minute

Mary Finnigan is a journalist and the co-author of Sex and Violence in Tibetan Buddhism: The Rise and Fall of Sogyal Rinpoche (Jorvik Press, 2019).

She co-founded Sogyal Lakar’s first centre in London in the mid-1970s, but distanced herself soon after she discovered that he was a a sexually abusive and violent charlatan.

Mary first published about Sogyal’s decades-long abuse in The Guardian in 1995. In 2011, she contributed to the Canadian documentary ‘In the Name of Enlightenment’ and published her much-read online essay ‘Behind the Thangkas.’

In 2014, Mary began to collaborate with Dutch journalist and academic researcher Rob Hogendoorn. Their investigation into Sogyal’s past and his organisation Rigpa’s history resulted in the exposé Sex and Violence in Tibetan Buddhism: The Rise and Fall of Sogyal Rinpoche. The first edition appeared in 2019, shortly before Sogyal’s death in hiding in Thailand.

In 2021, Jorvik Press published a revised and updated version of the book, which now includes additional testimonies by people who knew Sogyal well and an extensive discussion of Sogyal’s finances.

Mary Finnigan

Mary Finnigan now publishes the heart-felt ‘An Open Letter To Dominique Side.’ She knows Dominique well: they were both members of the group that set up Sogyal’s first centre in London in the early 1970s. Mary’s open letter holds Dominique to account for her 40+ years of complicity in Sogyal’s abusive behaviour. She regards Dominique’s attempt to sanitise her past as dishonest and misleading.

According to Dominique, she became part ‘of a team of educators that are creating a new website with freely accessible materials for school teachers, students and the general public. Windows into Buddhism is a project of the European Buddhist Union.’ The project was launched in July 2022.

According to the European Buddhist Union, Dominique’s book Discovering Buddhism is a ‘key source’ of the project. The team that runs the project, consists mostly of (former) devotees of Sogyal Lakar and (former) Rigpa members.

About the author

Rob Hogendoorn

Investigative reporter and academic researcher Rob Hogendoorn (b. 1964) began researching the reception of Buddhism in Western society and culture in the early 1990s. His modus operandi remained the same ever since: independent, inquisitive and provocative.