Name: Gelong Jamyang, Khensur
Interview Age: 78
Date of Birth: 1935
Birthplace: Yangju Tanka - Kyerong, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 16B
Location: Rabgayling Tibetan Settlement, Hunsur, Karnataka, India
Categories: Buddhist Traditions
Keywords: Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, escape experiences, monastic life, myths/stories, oracles, pilgrimage, refugee in India -- life as, trade, Utsang
Khensur Gelong Jamyang was born in the village of Yangju Tanka, which is surrounded by mountains and forests. His family grew barley in their fields and his father also travelled to Nepal for trade. Gelong Jamyang became a monk at Zongkar Choede Monastery in Kyerong at the age of 11. He describes his duties as a novice monk and how he later took on administrative responsibilities of the monastery at the age of 22.
Khensur Gelong Jamyang gives a detailed historical account of the origins of the four ancient Jowo, statues of Avalokitesvara. The Jowo portraying "power" was placed in Kyerong. Fearing an invasion by the Chinese army, the monks decided to escort the Jowo to India, but had to overcome strong resistance from the community. Gelong Jamyang gives a narrative of the escape journey and the numerous problems they faced escorting the statue through Nepal into India.
Khensur Gelong Jamyang speaks about the important role divination played in deciding whether to escort the Jowo into exile or not and guiding the team on the right path during the dangerous journey. The men of the Chushi Gangdrug Defend Tibet Volunteer Force provided security while the monks escorted the Jowo into exile. The Jowo was presented to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and remains at his residence in Dharamsala, India.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)