Andy with Rinpoche at the summer camp in Portugal, 2014
25 years ago I was trying to write a research methodology text book but was unable to so due to severe writers block. This was making the lives of my friends in Glasgow a misery. One day someone suggested that I go to a quiet place and complete the book and then return and behave as a normal human being again. A few days later I found myself in a Tibetan monastery called Samye Ling in the borders of Scotland. Here I managed to complete the section of the book I was responsible for (it was a collaboration) the book is entitled Management Research and was eventually published by Sage publications in 1990.
The day after I managed to complete writing the book I rewarded myself with a walk in the forest adjacent to the Samye Ling monastery. It was here that had my first encounter with a Tibetan Lama who I was later came to know as Ringu Tulku Rinpoche. Continue reading
Having made my first visit to Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Buddhist Centre with the express purpose of attending a talk by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, my second visit, a few months later, was to find out more about the Centre itself. Driving through the soft, green rolling hills of Southern Scotland one is suddenly confronted by the spectacular temple and stupa with their glinting copper roofs and steeple bedecked by a profusion of colourful, fluttering prayer flags like some exotic, psychedelic mirage rising out of the Scottish mist.
As the first and largest Centre of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, Samye Ling has grown from modest beginnings, since two young refugee Lamas acquired a rather dilapidated old hunting lodge in Dumfriesshire, to become a world renowned Monastery and Centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture with satellite branches across the globe. Its magnificent temple was built and decorated entirely by volunteer labour under the direction the Centre’s co-founder Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche.
Entering the elaborate scarlet and gold shrine room for the first time Continue reading
‘Only the impossible is worth doing’.
Choje Akong Rinpoche was indeed, as described by Colum Kenny in the Irish Independent newspaper this week, a remarkable man: tulku, father, husband, lama, teacher, labourer, refugee, politician, healer, soothsayer, pure visionary, founder of Samye Ling and the Rokpa and Tara Trusts. A trusted guide to thousands of people in Europe and Asia, he had time for everyone and was utterly fearless. Everything Akong Rinpoche did appeared to have been accomplished effortlessly, and yet what he alone achieved through sheer doggedness in his lifetime was unimaginable in ordinary human terms. Apart from the dozens of schools, medical colleges, monasteries and nunneries he has built in Tibet, one little known project was to oversee the reconstruction of the mani wall, originally built with the stones that Dza Patrul Rinpoche had carved, that stretches for a mile across Dzachuka in eastern Tibet. All of that work has happened ‘under the radar’ mainly for political reasons, but also because he worked with a quiet determination that came of knowing what he had to do and just getting on with it. No fanfare, no accolade, just a relentless drive to benefit others, helping where help was needed, no matter what the personal risk.
This year in Samye Ling, the last stage of the monastery and shedra building has been completed, Continue reading