Samye Ling, Scotland
First Tibetan Centre
in the West
Trungpa Tulku and Akong Tulku
The Chinese annexation of Tibet in 1959 crushed Buddhism
in Tibet but at the same time drove Tibetan Buddhism into exile in the
world at large. Until then, only a handful of Westerners who had travelled
to Tibet had had any experience of it.
Among the refugees were two lamas of the Kagyu tradition Chogyam
Trungpa tulku , Abbot of Surmang, and Dr Akong Tulku, Abbot of Dolma
Lhakang. They soon became responsible for the Young Lamas Home School,
set up in Dalhousie, North India, to care for young Tibetan prodigies,
considered reincarnations of its great lamas. In 1963 the two lamas
accepted an invitation to come to the UK, to study English at Oxford.
Interest soon grew in them and their religion. This resulted in the
founding, in 1967, of Samye Ling Tibetan Centre, the first monastic
Buddhist centre of the Tibetan tradition in the West. More details of
this can be found in the biography of Dr AkongTulku,
in these pages.