Name: Jampa Chonphel, Geshe
Interview Age: 84
Date of Birth: 1929
Birthplace: Tsona, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 20B
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Buddhist Traditions
Keywords: Buddhist beliefs, escape experiences, Chinese army -- invasion by , refugee in India -- life as, March 10th Uprising, monastic life, Utsang
Geshe Jampa Chonphel was born in Tsona in Utsang and there were five sons in the family. He recalls a monastery called Gonpa Tse and a nunnery Dodhenling close to his village. Theirs was a farming family and his father also worked as a nomad for Gonpa Tse.
Geshe Jampa Chonphel was inducted into Sera Monastery by his uncle at the age of 7. He remembers seeing the hermitages located near the monastery and had hoped that was where he would stay. He describes the daily routine at the monastery and explains that food for the monks was often scarce. He often went to families' homes to say prayers in return for food. For a while he worked for the monastery in the role of disbursing grain loans and collecting the repayments from the villagers after harvest. He talks about how the monks begin their education in the monastery and gradually engage in the philosophical studies.
Geshe Jampa Chonphel witnessed the bombing of Sera Monastery by the Chinese army in 1959. Some of the monks of his monastery went to receive weapons from the Potala Palace in Lhasa. He escaped from the monastery and arrived at Mon Tawang in India. He lived in Buxar for nine years to continue studying the scriptures before moving to the settlement in Bylakuppe. Geshe Jampa Chonphel expresses his feeling of great sadness on losing his country.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)