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Published on Jan 5, 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: Kunchok Paksam's father had passed away before his birth and his mother died when he was 14 years old. Despite his mother's plans to have him marry, he was determined to become a monk so he sold his family's possessions after his mother's death and traveled to Lhasa. He relates the long journey of over two months to Lhasa, the tremendous hardships he and his companions faced due to the severe cold weather and scarcity of food. He vividly recounts his feeling of happiness on seeing Lhasa and his subsequent enrolment in Drepung Monastery. Kunchok Paksam recounts his life in the monastery, his religious education and his close relationship with his teacher, Tara Rinpoche. He also talks about the mismanagement of the food supply for the monastery by two monk officials and the reforms started by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When the Dalai Lama was 16 years old he implemented changes in taxes and loans. Kunchok Paksam talks about the shelling of Norbulingka in March 1959 in Lhasa. He escaped from Tibet through Bhutan and into Buxa, West Bengal, India. He tells about the training her underwent to become a teacher and different Tibetan schools in India where he worked. Later he served three years as the abbot of Drepung Loselling Monastery in Mundgod.