Born in Shopo in the Ba region, Tashi Topgyal fondly recalls the childhood days he spent with his family there. He became a monk at a very young age and joined Zeze Monastery, a large monastery of 800 monks located 3-hours away from Shopo. He explains that religion was so embedded in the Tibetan way of life that every family sent one son to practice the Buddhist dharma as a monk. Tashi Topgyal describes his monastic life in detail, reporting that it represented an important phase of his life.
At the age of 19, he left his monastery to travel to Lhasa and joined the Drepung Monastery there. He was completely transformed at the age of 22, when he joined the Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas to fight against the Chinese army in 1959. Tashi Topgyal says the Chushi Gangdrug could not fight the Chinese for long because their stock of arms and ammunition quickly dwindled. That same year, he and many other resistance fighters escaped to India.
In 2007 Tashi Topgyal visited Tibet and spent eight months in his village. He describes his impression that, though Tibet's bigger towns have developed, the isolated regions, such as his native village, remain very poor.
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