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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Geshe Chime Dorjee on 1/5/2014

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Published on Mar 23, 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: Geshe Chime Dorjee was born in Karze in Kham Province. He was the second among six children in a farming family that grew crops like wheat, barley and peas. He remembers that his family visited the nearby Karze Monastery during auspicious days. He became a monk at age 7 or 8, but continued living with his parents and studied during the daytime at the monastery. Geshe Chime Dorjee witnessed the appearance of the Communist Chinese in his hometown. The fear of sons being drafted into the Chinese army prompted parents to send them to Lhasa. He narrates the month long journey to Lhasa where he joined the Gyumed Monastery. Geshe Chime Dorjee describes his experience of migrating to different branch monasteries for choethok 'dharma sessions,' which was a tradition unique to Gyumed Monastery. The monks travelled every 15 to 45 days for a period of six years. Food was provided by wealthy patrons, but the monks had to sleep in the assembly halls with only their cloaks for blankets. Geshe Chime Dorjee heard from senior monks about the bombardment of Lhasa which prompted the monks to flee towards the south of Tibet. He talks about the journey, the difficulties they faced, meeting the Chushi Gangdrug Defend Tibet Volunteer Force and ultimately escaping to India through Mon Tawang.

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