Name: Zoepa Gyaltso
Interview Age: 86
Date of Birth: 1924
Birthplace: Dotsang, Amdo, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 30M
Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India
Categories: Buddhist Traditions
Keywords: Amdo, childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, Chinese army -- invasion by , monastic life, resistance fighters
Zoepa Gyaltso hailed from a small village in Amdo Province. His parents made him a monk at the age of 8 years. He lived in the local monastery until he was 12 years old. When he was 15, he and two of his monk friends spontaneously decided to run away to Lhasa, being lured by its fame as well as fear of receiving a beating from their teacher for loitering.
Due to lack of proper planning, they did not have any food and money and faced a lot of problems on the journey. They spent a year with a family on the way to earn their passage. After finally arriving in Lhasa Zoepa Gyaltso joined the Gomang Datsang of Drepung Monastery in Lhasa. He served in various capacities in the monastery like storekeeper, disciplinarian and business manager.
Zoepa Gyaltso was 26 years old when the Chamdo region fell to the Chinese army. He was one among the group of monks of the three great monasteries of Sera, Drepung and Gaden sent by the government of Tibet to defend Chamdo. However, Chamdo was lost during the change of leadership between Cabinet-members Lhalu and Ngabo, and the monks were dissuaded from confronting the Chinese army because there were too few of them. Zoepa Gyaltso also witnessed the occupation of Lhasa by the Chinese in 1959.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)
- Namgyal Tsering (Interpreter)