Ringu Tulku is the Patron of the UK Registered Charity Rigul Trust. He is a Tibetan Buddhist master of the Kagyu Tradition. He was born in the region of Rigul and was recognised as the reincarnation of the Abbot of Rigul Monastery by HH the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. His family, and many of the people of Rigul, had to leave the area following the Chinese takeover.
What happened in Rigul after the Chinese occupation and Ringu Tulku and his family left?
We dont know for sure what happened, but it is understood that the people suffered severe hardships and many did not survive. Most of the teachers and monks left or were killed or imprisoned. The remaining villagers moved into the monastery which prevented the Chinese from destroying it completely and they were able to save a number of precious relics, thangkas (religious paintings) and rupas (statues), by hiding them. They were told that Ringu Tulku and his family were dead.
What help has been sent so far?
Until relatively recently, little news had been heard from Rigul since the 1960s. But in 1992 Ringu Tulku was able to start sending money to enable the people to restore the monastery and to build a shedra, a teaching college for the monks. A generation of Buddhist teachers had been lost following the Chinese takeover and it was Rinpoche’s wish to help restore the teachings in the area. The monastery was repaired and the shedra built. Teachers from Dzogchen Monastery came to give teachings to the monks and help them in their studies. A Health Clinic was also started in 2001 by a young nun, Ani Choden, a relative of Ringu Tulku, and more funds were sent to help her and pay for the doctor. Rinpoche also wanted to encourage a lay school for the local children and sent money to help pay for teachers.
What happened in Tibet in 1950?
In 1950 the Chinese invaded Tibet claiming they were invited to liberate Tibet from Western Imperialism, and would leave when requested to do so. Now, over 55 years later, China still illegally occupies Tibet, in defiance of international law, UN resolutions and the wishes of the Tibetan people.
Rigul is a region situated in Kham, South Eastern Tibet, about 40 km (25 miles) south-east of Nangdo on the right bank of the Za-chu (Yalong) river. The altitude is 3,900 meters (12795 feet).The population is made up of 150 to 200 people over a large region, as well as 90 monastery and 40 shedra monks. The local people make a living out of cattle (yaks) and crops (barley, potatoes and some other vegetables).
- Now there is a completed, purpose built school where currently about 60 to 65 children attend every day of the year with 5 teachers and 3 cooks. The children receive 2 hot meals a day free and come from far and near, many having to walk up to and over an hour each way. The winters are severe.
- Also the Health Clinic is flourishing, housed in it’s purpose built building, where about 80 people receive free consultations and treatments daily. Medicines are paid for in summer when there is work.