When he was a child in Tibet, Gelong's family owned a huge herd of sheep and fierce dogs to guard them from wolves. Gelong had the difficult responsibility of grazing the animals in the mountains, often separated from his family for extended periods of time. He recalls the beautiful animals like lynx, gazelles and wild asses that used to roam in Tibet.
Once, as a young boy, when Gelong (originally named Namgyal Tenzin) grew sick, his family consulted a lhapa 'medium'. The lhapa believed Gelong to be a reincarnated lama and renamed him “Gelong,” a name typically reserved for high lamas. Then he recovered from the illness.
After the Chinese came to his village, Gelong's family was subjected to the thamzin 'struggle sessions' initiated by the Chinese on Tibet's wealthy families. Gelong relives those sad moments when the Chinese turned his family out of their house and confiscated their assets. He also talks about his experience of forced labor under Chinese rule; Gelong had to help build roads. When the work was completed he returned to his village, only to find that his family had fled to India. He soon he followed them and helped to build his settlement in India.
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