I’m very sorry to hear about the sudden demise of Choje Akong Rinpoche. I first met him in Buxa Tibetan Refugee camp near the Bhutan border in 1959. Later we spent quite a while with Freda Bedi in Delhi, along with Trungpa Rinpoche, learning English and learning about Western culture. This was long before the young Lama’s Home School was established. Later Akong Rinpoche and Trungpa helped with the Young Lama’s Home School. While Mrs. Bedi and Trungpa ran the school, I was sent to look after refugee kids as dharma teacher in various places in India.
Later Akong Rinpoche and Trungpa founded Samye Ling in Scotland. Trungpa Rinpoche moved to the US. Akong Rinpoche remained in Samye Ling, carrying out many dharma and cultural activities. Later I learned that he started a number of projects in Tibet, and in Gansu and Yunnan Provinces, his native area. My understanding is that he established a number of orphanages, Tibetan medical schools and dharma/monastery centers. He was also connected with various Chinese universities, sponsoring over 1000 students – Tibetan and other minorities. He funded salaries for a number of teachers and between 1990-2010 he brought nearly 20 million US dollars to these schools, monasteries, meditation centers, learning centers, orphanages, vocational training centers, etc. Akong Rinpoche was not only part of bringing dharma to the West but he made great efforts to reestablish dharma and Tibetan culture in his homeland. His death is a loss for everybody and from Jewel Heart we pay our condolences to Samye Ling’s community and to Choje Akong’s family and monasteries.
Posted on Friday, October 11th, 2013