Akong, 73, who had lived in UK since 1963, founded co-Samye Ling in 1967 in a former nurses' home in Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway. According to media reports, it was the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the West.
'Three Tibetans confronted Tarap Shetrup Akong, a British national, at his residence in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 and stabbed him to death along with his nephew and a driver,' Chinese police in Chengdu City claimed in an official statement.
The Chinese police claimed that 'the men were attacked after negotiations over a financial dispute soured, but the victim's brother, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, issued a statement saying the three had been "assassinated," though he did not elaborate.
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche expressed his shock and sadness over the tragic passing away of Dr. Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche. "Akong Tulku had been my friend from the time I was seven. A social activist, he showed great kindness to Tibet by founding schools and hospitals, printing old texts, and helping many people," the Karmapa Rinpoche said in his condolences letter.
"Thus I am shocked to hear that he, along with two others, has been taken from us so suddenly," he added.
"I would like to offer my condolences to his family members, everyone at Samye Ling Monastery, the Rokpa Foundation, and all the persons involved in his projects in Tibet as well as to all of the students whose lives he touched," Karmapa stated, adding "I hope that all of his visions and aspirations may continue to be fulfilled."
A statement posted on the Samye Ling website based in UK by Akong's brother Lama Yeshe Rinpoche said: "To all dear friends of Samye Ling and Choje Akong Rinpoche, I am very, very sorry to inform you all that tragically, my brother Choje Akong Rinpoche, my nephew and one monk who was travelling with then, were all assassinated in Chengdu today.
"Rinpoche's body has been taken to hospital where a post mortem will be carried out. That is all the news I have so far. If I receive further news I will let you know."
Chengdu police further said the suspected assailants have been detained and have admitted carrying out the killings. The case remains under investigation.
Akong fled from Tibet into India in 1959, following the Chinese occupation of the country, in an arduous, ten month journey as one of the leaders of a 300-strong party, of which only 13 people made it safely to India.
But in recent years he had established unusually good relations with the Chinese government, and was able to travel in the country supervising schools and medical programmes that had been established by his charity ROKPA International. He was on a visit to these projects when he was killed.
The UK based monastery said that 'Samye Ling is a monastery and international centre of Buddhist training, known for the authenticity of its teachings and tradition. It offers instruction in Buddhist philosophy and meditation within the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. It is also a centre for the preservation of Tibetan religion, culture, medicine, art, architecture and handicrafts.'
'He had established unusually good relations with the Chinese government in recent years, and was able to travel in the country supervising schools and medical programmes that had been established by his charity ROKPA International," according to the media reports.