A Brief Biography of The Second AkongDharma Arya Akong Rinpoche
Akong Rinpoche’s Quotes:
“Freedom is not something you look for outside of yourself. Freedom is within you.”
If you forget everything I say, remember never to forget ‘the greatest power is compassion.’
When tidying the chairs in the dining hall and putting them into coloured sets, he said “There is enough chaos in the world, so have organisation where you can.”
“Only the impossible is worth doing.”
“Obstacles arise. If you deal with them through kindness–without trying to escape–then you have real freedom.”
“Reminding ourselves of how others suffer and mentally putting ourselves in their place, will help awaken our compassion.”
“There is no ‘guilt’ in the dharma.”
“The Buddhist principle is to be everybody’s friend, not to have any enemy.”
Once when I told Rinpoche I was afraid, he smiled and said “Don’t worry its just your fear.”
“Wherever and whenever we can, we should develop compassion at once.”
Born in 1940, in Dharak Village, Riwoche County in the east of the Tibetan areas of China, he was discovered at the age of four as the reincarnation of the previous (1st) Akong, Karma Miyo, Abbot of Dolma Lhakang. At nineteen, Akong Tulku Rinpoche completed his religious training as a lama of the Karma Kagyu and Nyingma schools. His root lama was HH 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, supreme head of the karma Kagyu Tradition and HE Jamgon Kongtrul of Shechen. He was also trained in traditional Tibetan medicine.
Due to political changes in Tibet Akong Rinpoche along with Trungpa Rinpoche and another three hundred Tibetans fled to India in 1959. Under the impact of this terrible experience only thirteen survived. Akong Tulku Rinpoche resolved to help people suffering from poverty, sickness, fear and psychological torment.
With Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche he founded the Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Centre in Scotland in 1967, the first Tibetan Buddhist centre in the West.
Akong Tulku Rinpoche’s activities encompassed three major areas: spiritual, therapy and charity.
Kagyu Samye Ling, with its monastery, retreats and branches, as described above, comprise the spiritual activity.
The interest which many therapists and physicians showed in Akong Tulku Rinpoche’s medical and therapeutic Buddhist skills led to the development of an innovative system of therapy, now thriving as the Tara Rokpa Therapy Process.
In 1983, Akong Tulku Rinpoche returned for a short time to the Tibetan areas of China, where he was very upset to learn that the Tibetan culture and language were under threat of disappearing. He encountered abject poverty, lack of education opportunities and environmental problems. He immediately began to plan and implement aid projects to help the Tibetan people to learn to help themselves. His efforts were also devoted to breathing new life into their language and culture. On his return to the UK he co-founded ROKPA International his charitable activity.
On 8th October 2013, prior to commencing a trip to visit Rokpa international’s projects in the Tibetan areas of China, Rinpoche died in tragic circumstances in Chengdu.