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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Lobsang Lungthok on 4/10/2010

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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: Lobsang Lungthok was born in Tunuegang, a town very close to Lhasa. His family engaged in farming and he recalls herding the animals. He became a monk at the age of 8 and recounts his life as a monk in the Drepung Monastery in Lhasa. He describes the admittance process and selection of teachers for new monks. As a young man he joined the the dhopdhop--a bunch of obstinate monks who indulged in jumping and throwing stones instead of studying the scriptures. Lobsang Lungthok provides information on the procedure of the Monlam Chenmo 'Great Prayer Festival' in Lhasa and the various ceremonies and officials associated with it. He explains his own role as a genyok 'assistant' to the tsogchen shengo, who is in charge of discipline during the Monlam Festival where up to 40,000 monks assembled. He shows the tools of the disciplinarian--a sword and a stick, which required that he give up his monk's vows to use. Lobsang Lungthok speaks about the shelling of the Potala Palace on March 10, 1959 and about witnessing the mass of people fleeing through the swamp near Norbulingka. Fearing the worst, he escaped from Lhasa soon after and relates the difficulties they faced during the journey into exile in India.

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