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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Karma Lamthon on 12/27/2013

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Published on Mar 16, 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: Karma Lamthon was born in Gemokhuk in Kham Province. His brother was a reincarnated lama and his father was a ngagpa 'shaman,' who helped to cure the nomads' sick livestock. Karma Lamthon recalls being taught to read the scriptures by his parents at home. He joined the local monastery as a monk at the age of 8 and shares his experience in the monastery until the age of 20. Karma Lamthon recounts how he spent three years in meditation at the retreat center of Dolma Lhakhang from age 12 to 15 where he was instructed once each week by his teachers in different meditation practices. Karma Lamthon talks about his long journey to Lhasa where he witnessed the festival of Tse Guthor, a religious dance performance by monks given at the Potala Palace. He proceeded on a pilgrimage and gives vivid images of various sacred and holy places in Lhasa and surrounding areas. Karma Lamthon renounced his vow of celibacy and left the monkhood. Since he chose to continue his religious practice and retain all of his other vows, he decided to become a nagapa. He gives us a detailed understanding of the tradition and practices followed by nagapa, the rites and rituals they performed, and the ensuing benefit in both this and the next life.

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