Interviewee Profile

Name: Yeshi Tinlay
(Alias: Yes)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 83

Date of Birth: 1930

Birthplace: Lhasa Sapogang, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Monk

Monk/Nun: Previously

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 7B

Date: 2013-12-29

Language: Tibetan

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.

Interview Team:

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

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Yeshi Tinlay (alias) on 12/29/2013

Length: 01:58:31

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