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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Geshe Jampa Chonphel on 12/30/2013

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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 Jampa Chonphel was born in Tsona in Utsang and there were five sons in the family. He recalls a monastery called Gonpa Tse and a nunnery Dodhenling close to his village. Theirs was a farming family and his father also worked as a nomad for Gonpa Tse. Geshe Jampa Chonphel was inducted into Sera Monastery by his uncle at the age of 7. He remembers seeing the hermitages located near the monastery and had hoped that was where he would stay. He describes the daily routine at the monastery and explains that food for the monks was often scarce. He often went to families' homes to say prayers in return for food. For a while he worked for the monastery in the role of disbursing grain loans and collecting the repayments from the villagers after harvest. He talks about how the monks begin their education in the monastery and gradually engage in the philosophical studies. Geshe Jampa Chonphel witnessed the bombing of Sera Monastery by the Chinese army in 1959. Some of the monks of his monastery went to receive weapons from the Potala Palace in Lhasa. He escaped from the monastery and arrived at Mon Tawang in India. He lived in Buxar for nine years to continue studying the scriptures before moving to the settlement in Bylakuppe. Geshe Jampa Chonphel expresses his feeling of great sadness on losing his country.

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