Interviewee Profile

Name: Kalsang Dakpa
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 78

Date of Birth: 1934

Birthplace: Namay - Porang, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Farming

Monk/Nun: Previously

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 11D

Date: 2012-05-16

Language: Tibetan

Location: Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India

Categories: Buddhist Traditions

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese -- oppression under, clothing/weaving, escape experiences, monastic life, pilgrimage, refugee in India -- life as, thamzing/struggle sessions, Utsang


Kalsang Dakpa was born in Namay village, which he describes as the birthplace of Chogyal Norsang, a religious king of Tibet. Kalsang Dakpa's father was a boot maker and a tailor. He describes the different types of boots and dresses that his father stitched. He became a monk at the age of 3, but continued to live at home for a few more years. Once he moved to the monastery he was assigned duties as a conch blower and kitchen worker.

Kalsang Dakpa talks about the various stages in a monk's life, such as taking the rabjung and gelong vows. He explains the daily meals, division of labor and studies at the monastery. He was not good at memorizing religious texts and was relegated to making tea offerings. Once he turned 20 he became a kitchen overseer. Kalsang Dakpa ran away from the monastery to join his brother on a pilgrimage. He talks about his journey to Bodh Gaya in India and Lhasa soon after the Chinese invasion of Tibet.

Kalsang Dakpa recounts that the Chinese initially ordered monks in his monastery to subject their deceased leaders to thamzing 'struggle sessions.' Then they were told to falsely accuse and beat living people and Kalsang Dakpa did not like to be forced to do such acts. He was also discouraged because the Chinese had banned religious practice in the monastery. He and five other monks decided to escape to India in 1959.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
  • Pema Tashi (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Kalsang Dakpa on 5/16/2012

Length: 01:21:53

© 2009-2018 Tibet Oral History Project. These translations and transcripts are provided for individual research purposes only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: Tibet Oral History Project, P.O. Box 6464, Moraga, CA 94570-6464. Privacy Policy