Ven. Achok Rinpoche was born in Bomdila, eastern India, in 1976. Up to
the age of six he lived under the loving care of his parents. While in
the sixth month of his schooling at the Benjamin Nursery School in Kalimpong,
he was recognized as the forth reincarnation of the Achok Rinpoche of
Lithang, eastern Tibet, by Kyabje Trijhang Rinpoche (1900-1982) the junior
tutor of the H.H. Dalai Lama.
Rinpoche was received as his two earlier predecessors, at the Sermey Monastic
College, an affiliate of the reconstructed Sera Monastic University, now
located in Balakuppe, the southern country side of India. At this monastic
college, till the age of ten, the young reincarnation focused on the memorization
of basic ritual texts. From his eleventh year, Rinpoche began his formal
training in Buddhist philosophical studies (The five treatises of Buddhist
philosophy) including dialectics, the Prajnaparamita classics and their
commentaries and oral transmission traditions, the Madhyamic philosophy,
Abhidharma, Paramana, and Vinaya. All based on the works of Lama Tsong
Khapa and his main disciples.
Under the personal guidance of his spiritual master Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche,
his studies were enriched with private instruction in related areas of
Buddhist practice. In 1998, at the age of 22, Achok Rinpoche sat for the
examinations of the Gelugpa Cultural Society, the board that maintains
the educational curriculum of the three biggest Gelug Monastic Universities;
he obtained Geshe Lharampa degree with the highest honor. Rinpoche is
the youngest monk to obtain such a high honor outside of Tibet.
Currently, Ven. Achok Rinpoche lives in the United States.