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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 Gyaltsen was born in Ladakh in India to parents who were farmers. He recalls being the youngest of 10 siblings and herding goats at the age of 7. At age 12 he became a monk and then at the age of 17 he traveled to Tibet. He joined Drepung Monastery to study philosophical debating and lived there for 20 years. In 1959 Jampa Gyaltsen was captured by the Chinese and imprisoned for two years for attending a meeting in protest against the Chinese occupation. He was subjected to hard labor for six months and admits that his hardship made him contemplate suicide. He describes the earlier attack on Drepung Monastery and how the Chinese captured the abbots and business managers of the monastery. He witnessed the thamzing 'struggle session' that the monastery's business manager was subjected to. Along with other foreigners, Jampa Gyaltsen was jailed in Drapchi prison for eight months. Food was limited and religion was banned. Jampa Gyaltsen was released from prison after intervention from Indian authorities. He moved to the relocated Drepung Monastery in Mundgod, south India. He recounts taking his geshe 'Buddhist philosophy' degree and then moving to Gyumed Monastery in Hunsur for further studies. He describes his providential escape from three nearly fatal accidents.