Name: Chime Dorjee, Geshe
Interview Age: 78
Date of Birth: 1935
Birthplace: Karze, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 18B
Location: Rabgayling Tibetan Settlement, Hunsur, Karnataka, India
Categories: Buddhist Traditions
Keywords: childhood memories, escape experiences, Chinese -- first appearance of, Kham, monastic life
Geshe Chime Dorjee was born in Karze in Kham Province. He was the second among six children in a farming family that grew crops like wheat, barley and peas. He remembers that his family visited the nearby Karze Monastery during auspicious days. He became a monk at age 7 or 8, but continued living with his parents and studied during the daytime at the monastery.
Geshe Chime Dorjee witnessed the appearance of the Communist Chinese in his hometown. The fear of sons being drafted into the Chinese army prompted parents to send them to Lhasa. He narrates the month long journey to Lhasa where he joined the Gyumed Monastery.
Geshe Chime Dorjee describes his experience of migrating to different branch monasteries for choethok 'dharma sessions,' which was a tradition unique to Gyumed Monastery. The monks travelled every 15 to 45 days for a period of six years. Food was provided by wealthy patrons, but the monks had to sleep in the assembly halls with only their cloaks for blankets.
Geshe Chime Dorjee heard from senior monks about the bombardment of Lhasa which prompted the monks to flee towards the south of Tibet. He talks about the journey, the difficulties they faced, meeting the Chushi Gangdrug Defend Tibet Volunteer Force and ultimately escaping to India through Mon Tawang.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)