Name: Tashi Dhondup
Interview Age: 70
Date of Birth: 1945
Birthplace: Shingri, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1960
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 22N
Location: Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: Buddhist beliefs, childhood memories, customs/traditions, monastic life, myths/stories, Utsang
Tashi Dhondup was born in the town of Dhingri within the small village of Shingri. His parents were farmers who could cultivate only barley because of the high altitude. They also raised animals like goats, sheep, horses, yaks, dzo 'animal bred from an ox and a female yak' and cows. He explains how being the middle of three sons entitled him to become a monk at the age of 8. He talks about the education he received at the monastery and what a happy life it was with nothing to worry about.
Tashi Dhondup's narrates a folktale of how Dhingri got its name. Pha Dhampa Sangay, a great Indian master, threw a rock from India wishing to work for the welfare of sentient beings where the rock fell. The rock landed with the sound of 'dhing' and that explained the name of Dhingri. Pha Dhampa Sangay went in search of the rock and settled in Dhingri once he found it there. Many meditators came to see him and miraculous events occurred there.
Tashi Dhondup also narrates the story of Nalanda, an ancient Buddhist university in India and the ingenuity of the learned Buddhist monks there. He recounts how a great Buddhist master, Lopon Arya Deva, the disciple of Gonpo Ludup 'Lord Nagarjuna' defeated Muthek Tayang, a non-believer, in a debate and converted him to Buddhism. Muthek Tayang was renamed Lopon Pawo and became one of the best disciples of Gonpo Ludup.
- Katharine Davies Samway (Interviewer)
- Henry Tenenbaum (Videographer)
- Palden Tsering (Interpreter)