Akong Rinpoche

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Chöje Akong Rinpoche
Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche.jpg
Akong Rinpoche at his 65th Birthday celebration in 2005
Religion Tibetan Buddhism
School Kagyu
Lineage Karma Kagyu
Personal
Nationality British
Born 25 December 1939
Dharak Village, Riwoche, Kham, Tibet
Died 8 October 2013
Chengdu, China
Religious career
Teacher
Reincarnation 1st Akong Rinpoche, Karma Miyo
Website http://samyeling.org
Akong Rinpoche in the Temple at Samye Ling

Chöje Akong Tulku Rinpoche (25 December 1939 – 8 October 2013) was a tulku in the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and a founder of the Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland.

Early life[edit]

He was born in 1939, near Riwoq 31°12′41.76″N 96°36′0.89″E / 31.2116000°N 96.6002472°E / 31.2116000; 96.6002472 in Kham, Eastern Tibet. At the age of two he was discovered by the search party seeking the reincarnation of the previous (1st) Akong, Abbot of Dolma Lhakang monastery 31°10′0.38″N 97°13′59.61″E / 31.1667722°N 97.2332250°E / 31.1667722; 97.2332250 near Chamdo. The search party was following instructions given by the 16th Karmapa.

At four he was taken to Dolma Lhakang to receive an education that included religion and traditional Tibetan medicine. When only a teenager he travelled, performing religious ceremonies and treating the ill. Later he went to the great monastic university of Sechen where he received transmission of the Kagyu lineage from Sechen Kongtrul Rinpoche, one of two tulkus of the first Jamgon Kongtrul. He also received instruction from the 16th Karmapa, who also certified him as a teacher of Tibetan medicine.[1]

In 1959, in the aftermath of that year's Tibetan Rebellion, he fled to India at age 20. Of the 300 in his party only 13 arrived successfully in India.[1] They were so hungry after running out of food on the journey that they had to boil leather shoes and bags to make soup.[2][3]

After spending time in refugee camps he was asked to teach at the Young Lamas Home School in Dalhousie, NW India. In 1963, a sponsor paid for Akong Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche to go to Oxford to learn English. As only Trungpa had a bursary, Akong worked as a hospital orderly in the Radcliffe Infirmary in order to support himself, Trungpa and Lama Chime Tulku Rinpoche (who had joined them at Oxford).[1]

Work and writings[edit]

He introduced Western people to Tibetan religion and culture, and in 1967 he co-founded Samyé Ling in Scotland with Trungpa Rinpoche. In addition, he helped found ROKPA International, an international humanitarian organisation that works principally in Tibet and Nepal. The charitable aims of ROKPA are: "To promote Buddhism and to foster non-sectarian inter-religious dialogue and understanding. To provide medical care and therapy. To provide education. To relieve poverty."[4]

In 1992, Akong Rinpoche was one of the main people to discover one of the two claimed reincarnations of the 16th Karmapa, Urgyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, and took him to two of the regents, Their Eminences Tai Situ Rinpoche and Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche[5] responsible for locating the reincarnation.

Akong Rinpoche has written a book (with his student Clive Holmes as editor) entitled Taming the Tiger:Tibetan Teachings for Improving Daily Life.[6] The book aims to help those seeking the truth about suffering and happiness. The first part deals with Buddhist teachings (and how they relate to life in the 'Western world'), while the second part is devoted to exercises, meditations and relaxation techniques for body and mind, and includes exercises designed to provide a base of self-knowledge, mind-therapy and self-healing which have been found beneficial in therapy workshops and in the treatment of psychological problems.[7]

In 2009, he gave a presentation on Tibetan medical treatments using mantras and prayers at the Seventh International Congress on Traditional Asian Medicine held in Bhutan. It is likely that he presented this at least partly in Tibetan, according to the Congress programme.[8][9] Akong Rinpoche's younger brother Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, has now taken over some of his duties as abbot of Samye Ling.

Subsequent visits to China[edit]

In 1992, Akong was given the opportunity to visit his native Tibet. This was largely due to Beijing implementating of an open-door policy that allowed foreign fact-finding missions and investment. This visit, and others, led to Akong launching a series of humanitarian projects in Tibet through his international charity, Rokpa.[10] Rokpa claimed to be the largest NGO preserving Tibetan language, culture and religion on the Tibetan plateau.[11][12] In order to make his Tibetan humanitarian work effective, Akong was obliged to maintain good working relationships with government officials in China.[13] In October 2006 in London, he met with Jia Qinglin, number four in the Chinese regime and Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and member of the Politburo Standing Committee.[14]

In August 2011 Akong Rinpoche was among the honored guests in Lhasa at the invitation of the Communist Chinese during the 60th Anniversary of the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet functions.[15] In a video posted to YouTube of the celebrations, Akong Rinpoche is shown together with other "Patriotic Tibetans" such as Gangchen Tulku.[16]

Death[edit]

On 8 October 2013, it was reported that Akong Tulku Rinpoche had been killed in "a dispute over money" in Chengdu, China, along with two other monks, including Rinpoche's nephew, and his driver.[17][18] The police said that three Tibetan men had been arrested and admitted carrying out the killings.[19][20] The Samye-Ling website subsequently said that the killers had intended to rob Akong Rinpoche of funds which were being distributed to various projects supported by the charity, Rokpa International, for which he was responsible. It was also announced on 11 October 2013 that his body was being taken to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, to his monastery (Dolma Lhakang), for a ceremony and cremation in accordance with his high standing.[21] On 12 October 2013 Samye-Ling released a statement confirming that one of the suspected killers had been named by Chengdu police as Tu Dan Gu Sha, also known as Thubten Kunsal, who had spent some five years in the UK and who had made religious statues at Samye Ling and an associated centre in London. In its statement, the Samye Ling centre strongly rejected claims that this individual was owed money by either Akong Rinpoche, the centre or its London centre.[22][23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. "Kagyu Teachers – Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche profile". Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Kagyu Samye Ling. "About: Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche". Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Trungpa, Chogyam (2000). Born in Tibet (4 ed.). Boston: Shambhala Publications. pp. 224–25. ISBN 1-57062-116-0. 
  4. ^ "ROKPA trust". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  5. ^ 12th Goshir Gyaltsap Rinpoche
  6. ^ Rinpoche, Akong Tulku; Clive Holmes (September 1994). Taming the Tiger:Tibetan Teachings for Improving Daily Life. Rider. ISBN 0-7126-6220-0. 
  7. ^ "Searchresult". Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  8. ^ Akong Tulku Rinpoche (Shetrup Akong Tarap) (7–11 September 2009). "Treatments with Mantras and Prayers (sgnags)". Seventh International Congress on Traditional Asian Medicine (ICTAM VII). Thimpu, Bhutan. 
  9. ^ Akong Tulku Rinpoche (Shetrup Akong Tarap) (7–11 September 2009). "Treatments with Mantras and Prayers (sgnags)". Seventh International Congress on Traditional Asian Medicine (ICTAM VII). Thimpu, Bhutan. 
  10. ^ Cohen, Yvan (20 October 2000). "Struggle for Tibet's Soul". Asia Week. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ [3]
  14. ^ Top Chinese adviser meets Tibetans in Britain
  15. ^ China Uses 60th Tar Anniversary to Undermine Dalai Lama
  16. ^ Exile Tibetan Traitors Attends "60th Anniversary In Lhasa" (Akong Rinpoche pictured on far left at 1:31) on YouTube
  17. ^ Samye Ling monks killed ITV.com News, 8 October 2013
  18. ^ Eskdalemuir monastery founder Akong Rinpoche killed in China BBC Scotland, 8 October 2013
  19. ^ Heather Saul, "British Tibetan Monk 'assassinated' in China", The Independent, 10 October 2013; retrieved 10 October 2013
  20. ^ Wong, Edward (9 October 2013). "3 Arrested in Death of Tibetan Religious Leader in China". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  21. ^ "3 Akong Rinpoche cremation ceremony planned in Tibet". British Broadcasting Corporation. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "Statement". Samye Ling (archive). 
  23. ^ McElroy, Damien. "Former British resident held after Buddhist killed in China". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 

External links[edit]