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Akong Rinpoche at his 65th Birthday celebration in 2005
[[Image:Akong Tulku Rinpoche throne.jpg|thumb|left|Akong Rinpoche in the Temple at Samye Ling)]
Chöje Akong Rinpoche is a tulku in the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and a founder of the Samye Ling Monastery.
He was born in 1939, near Riwoq 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 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.
In 1959, in the aftermath of the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion, he fled to India at age 20. Of the 300 in his party only 13 arrived successfully in India.
They were so hungry after running out of food on the journey that they had to boil leather shoes and bags to make soup.
After spending time in refugee camps he was asked to teach at the Young Lamas Home School in Dalhousie, NW India.
Then 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).
He has worked diligently to introduce Western people to Tibetan religion and culture as an effort to counter the "destruction" in Tibet.
In 1967, he co-founded Samyé Ling in Scotland with Trungpa.
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."
Samyé Ling has a separate charitable foundation called ROKPA Trust that fundraises for and contributes considerable funds to ROKPA International.
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 responsible for locating the reincarnation.
Akong Rinpoche has written a book Taming the Tiger:Tibetan Teachings for Improving Daily Life.
The book aims to help those seeking the truth about suffering and happiness.
The first part deals with Buddhist topics and the second part is devoted to exercises, meditations and relaxation techniques for body and mind and include 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.
In 2009, he submitted a paper on medical treatments using mantras and prayers at the Seventh International Congress on Traditional Asian Medicine held in Bhutan.
Akong Rinpoche's younger brother Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, has now taken over some of his duties as abbot of Samye Ling.
Relations with the regime of mainland China
Although being a refugee from the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Akong Rinpoche maintains close political contacts to high-ranking members of the Communist Chinese Government.
According to his followers, Akong Rinpoche is obliged to maintain these contacts due to humanitarian activies of his organisation Rokpa, in Tibet.
This organisation claims to be the largest NGO preserving Tibetan language, culture and religion on the Tibetan plateau.
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.
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.
In a video posted to YouTube of the celebrations, Akong Rinpoche is shown together with other "Patriotic Tibetans" such as Gangchen Tulku.