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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Jampa Thinlay on 5/16/2012

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Published on Mar 2, 2018

The interpreter's English translation provided during this interview is potentially incomplete and/or inaccurate. If you are not fluent in Tibetan, please refer to the interview transcript for the complete and correct English translation. Read the interview transcript in English at http://tibetoralhistory.org/Interview...

** This interview about life in Tibet was conducted by the Tibet Oral History Project. This non-profit organization aims to preserve the history and culture of the Tibetan people by interviewing elderly Tibetan refugees about life in Tibet before and after the Chinese invasion. Learn more at http://www.TibetOralHistory.org.

** Interview Summary: Jampa Thinlay was born into a farming family in Tawu in Kham Province. He became a monk at the age of 10 in order to serve his paternal uncle, who lived in a local monastery. He recalls with gratitude that his uncle taught him to read and recite prayers. When he was older he moved to Gaden Jangtse Monastery to take his final vows, but was unable to stay long due to the Chinese invasion. Jampa Thinlay feels that there was only misery once the Chinese appeared in Tibet. He describes how the Chinese deceived the Tibetan people with dhayen 'Chinese silver coins' and subsequently confiscated everything that the Tibetans owned. He talks about the destruction of holy statues and how they were transported to China and melted down. Jampa Thinlay recounts how he and his fellow monks joined the Chushi Gangdrug Defend Tibet Volunteer Force. He wanted to volunteer to escort the Dalai Lama out of Tibet, but his horse was not good enough for the journey. Jampa Thinlay details the numerous confrontations the guerrillas engaged with the Chinese army and the limitations they faced while fighting the enemy. He briefly explains the guerrillas' efforts in Mustang, Nepal and the support they received from the United States. The men fighting at the Nepalese border felt were advised by the Dalai Lama to surrender arms to the Nepali army and Jampa Thinlay recalls being very angry at that time. He talks about his life after Mustang and how he came to live in Dharamsala, India.

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