Name: Yeshi Tinlay
Interview Age: 83
Date of Birth: 1930
Birthplace: Lhasa Sapogang, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 7B
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, Dalai Lama, education, escape experiences, March 10th Uprising, monastic life, Norbulingka, Utsang
Yeshi Tinlay was born in Lhasa in 1930 and attended school for two years starting at the age of 5. His parents owned a shop in Lhasa that sold goods such as cookware and also turquoise and corals. Yeshi Tinlay describes the Nyarongsha School, the different types of Tibetan scripts and how writing was taught to beginners. He enjoyed drawing pictures when he was young.
Yeshi Tinlay recounts the circumstances that led him to join Namgyal Monastery, the monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and located in the Potala Palace. He narrates in fine detail the various aspects responsibilities performed by the monks according to seniority and how they were taught, such as serving food and tea to senior monks. Yeshi Tinlay talks about learning to play religious musical instruments like the dhung 'long horn' and gyaling 'clarinet.'
Yeshi Tinlay provides an inside view of the events that unfolded in Lhasa during early 1959 as tensions with the Chinese mounted. He was at the Norbulingka on duty as a choeshang 'making religious offerings in His Holiness' residence,' so he personally witnessed the meeting of the cabinet ministers who discussed how to handle the large crowds who had gathered outside to prevent the Chinese from escorting His Holiness to their military headquarters. He describes the shelling of the Norbulingka and Potala Palace by the Chinese and his escape soon after.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)