Interviewee Profile

Name: Samdhong Rinpoche
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 74

Date of Birth: 1939

Birthplace: Nangdug - Jol, Kham, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Monk

Monk/Nun: Currently

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 23B

Date: 2013-12-31

Language: English

Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India

Categories: Buddhist Traditions

Keywords: Buddhist beliefs, childhood memories, customs/traditions, Dalai Lama, Kham, March 10th Uprising, monastic life, refugee in India -- life as


Samdhong Rinpoche was born as Lobsang Tenzin in Nangdug, a small village of 12 families. His parents cultivated a small piece of land and reared yaks and dri 'female yaks' for a living. His father had two wives and there were nine children in the family. At the age of three, Samdhong Rinpoche insisted on going to the local monastery with an uncle, who was a monk, and remained in the monastery with him until he was 12 years old.

At the age of 5 he was recognized as the 5th reincarnation of Samdhong Rinpoche. He describes the lineage of Samdhong Rinpoche and what the name means. As a 12-year old, Samdhong Rinpoche left for Lhasa to complete higher studies, which was a tradition for all reincarnated lamas. He recounts the adventurous 75-day journey to Lhasa and his first impressions of the city. He remembers the first time he saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama and explains how he met his future teachers before travelling on to Drepung Monastery.

Samdhong Rinpoche saw the Chinese military presence in Lhasa and heard their propaganda through daily shows broadcast over loudspeakers. Otherwise, the Chinese invasion did not have much effect on monastic life at that time. He heard the bombardment of Norbulingka, the Potala Palace, Sera Monastery and fled with his teachers. Samdhong Rinpoche continued to study the Buddhist scriptures and practice monastic rituals in the refugee camp at Missamari, India.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Pema Tashi (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Samdhong Rinpoche on 12/31/2013

Length: 00:50:23

Short Videos

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Recognizing a Reincarnated Lama

Length: 00:04:23

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Signs of the Chinese Occupation in Lhasa

Length: 00:03:03

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