Interviewee Profile

Name: Lama Kunga Thartse
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 71

Date of Birth: 1937

Birthplace: Lhasa, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Monk

Monk/Nun: Currently

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 94

Date: 2006-06-26

Language: English

Location: Kensington, California, United States

Categories: Buddhist Traditions

Keywords: brutality/torture, childhood memories, Chinese -- oppression under, escape experiences, farm life, forced labor, imprisonment, monastic life, Utsang


At the age of 10, Lama Kunga Thartse was recognized as a reincarnation of a previous lama. He was taken to Thargye Dupdhe Monastery in Shang village to study and later moved to Ngor Monastery near Shigatse. He was born to an aristocratic family and his father, Mr. Shuguba, served the Tibetan government in various capacities, including the Minister of Finance.

Lama Kunga Thartse nostalgically recalls his family estate where they used to grow barley, vegetables and flowers. The estate was later covered in concrete when the Chinese constructed a hydraulic energy station there. Ironically, his village had no electricity even after this transformation.

Lama Kunga Thartse's father was arrested in 1959 after the collapse of the central Tibetan government and he and his brother escaped to Nepal. When his father was released from prison in 1980, Lama Kunga Thartse visited Tibet and was reunited with his father after a period of 20 years. During his visit to Tibet, he was very touched by the difficult, poverty-stricken condition of the Tibetan people. Some pleaded with him, "Please do something. Help me."

Lama Kunga arrived in the USA in 1962 and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He established the Ewam Choden Tibetan Buddhist Center offering meditations and classes in Buddhism.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Kerry Rose (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Lama Kunga Thartse on 6/26/2006

Length: 01:51:22

Short Videos

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Remembering a Past Life

Length: 00:04:04

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