Akong: a remarkable life - a report on the London premiere
Posted on 22 Mar 2017
Ani Sonam Drolkar writes:
"I travelled down with Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche and fellow Sangha members for the two recent screenings of the feature-length film Akong - A Remarkable Life at Kagyu Samye Dzong London and marvelled at the tireless hard work of the volunteers and residents in preparation for the events. Over £4,500 was raised due to the generosity and inspiration of those who attended and watched the film. All the funds raised will go to the Akong Memorial Foundation projects.
The London premiere took place to a full house on Sat 18th March, in the presence of Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, the film's director, and many of the film crew. Seats for the event were quickly sold out and so a second screening was held the next night, again to a full house.
The film has been a labour of love for the film’s director, Chico Dall’Inha, and is, above all else, a film about compassion. Against a backdrop of stunning Himalayan photography, the film charts Akong Tulku Rinpoche’s perilous escape from Chinese-invaded Tibet, in 1959; to becoming a refugee, first in India, then in the United Kingdom; and his incredible life’s work, centred on the establishment and development of Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Scotland and of the many Buddhist Meditation Centres in Europe and Africa that have emanated from it. It charts an important period of history, from the political occupation in Tibet to social revolution in the West. It holds a spotlight to the many inspirational qualities that Akong Rinpoche embodied and the vast achievements beyond Samye Ling for which he was responsible, including his teaching, charity work, pioneering Tara Rokpa Therapy and the establishment of ROKPA International to name just a few.
Almost three and a half years since Akong Rinpoche's death, his message of compassion-in-action needs to be heard more than ever.
In total more than 400 people came to see the film in Samye Dzong London and so much positive feedback was received both from people who had an interest in the film subject and also from those who knew very little about it. I've now seen the film 3 times this week, and every time I'm inspired more deeply by the life of Akong Tulku Rinpoche. I'm looking forward to seeing it again as it shows in venues around the UK, and those in other countries will be able to see it as it is screening worldwide too, with all proceeds being donated to the Akong Memorial Foundation.
At the end of the London screenings, we all listened as Lama Yeshe Rinpoche spoke about the work of the Akong Memorial Foundation, set up to fund community projects in the Tsawa Gang Dolma Lhakang area. He spoke of how, in keeping with Akong Rinpoche's ethos of putting others before oneself, he helped many other monasteries and communities by setting up schools, medical clinics and soup kitchens. Tragically, he was killed before he was able to finish work on his own monastery in Tibet, Dolma Lhakang.
The work of the Akong Memorial Foundation is now crucial in supporting not only the monks and nuns who have dedicated their lives to intensive study and practice in the harshest of environments, but also to support the elderly people in the area who are in need of shelter and care, as well as the wider community with a medical clinic.
For more information on what the Akong Memorial Foundation are doing and how you can help, visit: https://akongmemorialfoundation.org/
If you, or anyone you know, are interested in screening the film, please get in touch.
Thanks to everyone at KSD London for a wonderful weekend.
Ani Sonam Drolkar