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In the service of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lama: Choegyal Nyima Lhundrup Kashopa - Untold stories of Tibet
In the service of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lama: Choegyal Nyima Lhundrup Kashopa - Untold stories of Tibet
In the service of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lama: Choegyal Nyima Lhundrup Kashopa - Untold stories of Tibet
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In the service of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lama: Choegyal Nyima Lhundrup Kashopa - Untold stories of Tibet

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There is probably no personality in modern (pre '59) Tibetan politics more colourful or controversial than Kashopa Choegyal Nyima. Most major histories of modern Tibet mention him, some like Shakabpa favourably, others like Goldstein in less flattering terms.
In spite of his lengthy and contentious political career Kashopa has, unfortunately, not received more in-depth attention from historians and scholars, which is a pity as he was quite deeply involved in some of the most consequential events of modern Tibetan history: the Lungshar conspiracy, the imprisonment of Gedun Choephel, the Sera War and more. One scholar has gone so far as to note that "Kashopa's presence is felt in every aspect of Tibet's recent history".
Kashopa's son, Jamyang Choegyal, has now come out with a very personal and engaging biography of his famous father, which will definitely contribute to our understanding of that fascinating period in Tibetan history. For the general reader there is much to enjoy in this absorbing story of a politician's life in old Lhasa, with all its rewards and pitfalls.
(Jamyang Norbu - Exile writer and essayist, and author of The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes, Warriors of Tibet and Shadow Tibet)
SpracheDeutsch
HerausgeberTibethaus Verlag
Erscheinungsdatum16. Juni 2016
ISBN9783957020161
In the service of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lama: Choegyal Nyima Lhundrup Kashopa - Untold stories of Tibet
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    In the service of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lama - Jamyang Choegyal Kasho

    Choegyal Nyima Lhundrup Kashopa

    The four Council Ministers of Tibet in the 1940s as guests of the Nepalese Emissary. From right to left, sitting on chairs: the Nepalese Emissary, Kalon Kashopa, Kalon Lama Ramba, Kalon Surkhang, and Kalon Phunkhang.

    Choegyal Nyima Lhundrup Kashopa

    In the Service of

    the 13th and the 14th Dalai Lamas

    Untold true stories of Tibet

    by

    Jamyang Choegyal Kasho

    In the Service of the 13th and the 14th Dalai Lamas: Choegyal Nyima Lhundrup Kashopa, Untold true stories of Tibet

    © Jamyang Choegyal Kasho, 2015

    ISBN 978-3-95702-008-6

    Editors in chronological order:

    Ms Kate Saunders, Mr Ben Carrdus,

    Mr Tsering Gonkatsang, Dr Robert Barnett.

    All rights reserved.

    Published 2015 by Tibethaus Deutschland e.V.

    Kaufunger Straße 4

    60486 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

    www.tibethaus.com

    Calligraphy by Puntsok Tsering Duechung

    Cover design by Ann Katrin Siedenburg

    Book design and typeset by Manfred Jung, Bad Vilbel, Germany

    Printed in Poland by Drukarnia Dimograf Sp.zo.o., Bielsko-Biala

    Contents

    Foreword by Tsering Shakya

    A note on historical background by Robert Barnett

    Acknowledgements

    Preface

    Photographs: My Lamas

    Introduction

    Telling Kashopa’s Story

    Photographs: Kashopa

    Chapter 1

    The Tibet of Kashopa’s Early Years

    Chapter 2

    The Lungshar Conspiracy: One Leap from Prison

    Chapter 3

    1935 – Kashopa as Tsipon

    Chapter 4

    Kashopa and the First English School in Lhasa

    Chapter 5

    Tsipon Kashopa and Dzasa Tsarong

    Chapter 6

    The Yigtsang and the Tsikhang

    Chapter 7

    Kashopa and the Reting Regent

    Chapter 8

    An Act of Perfidy: The Reting Rinpoche Affair

    Chapter 9

    Kashopa’s Time as Kalon

    Gedun Choephel and Kashopa

    Chapter 10

    The Death of Reting: Sera Jey Monastery Pushed to the Brink

    Chapter 11

    A Power Struggle Threatens the Dalai Lama

    Chapter 12

    Kashopa’s Second Prison Term

    Chapter 13

    Aspects of Kashopa’s Character

    Chapter 14

    Kashopa’s Life after his Second Term of Imprisonment

    Chapter 15

    The Cultural Revolution

    Chapter 16

    The Unusual Deaths of My Parents

    Chapter 17

    The Result of Accumulating Merit

    Chapter 18

    Kashopa’s Last Service to HH the 14th Dalai Lama

    Afterword

    My Own Story: How I Came to Write the Biography of Kashopa

    Appendices

    1 Anthony Aris’s letter

    2 Kusho Palden Gyatso’s letter

    3 Langdun Palden Namgyal’s letter

    4 Dr Gyurme Dorje’s corroborative evidence for the sacred photographs

    5 HE Dagyab Rinpoche’s letter on Kashopa and Drepung Monastery

    6 Kusho Champa Thegchok’s letter

    7 Kusho Palden Gyatso’s letter

    8 Langdun Paljor’s testimony on the authenticity of the photograph of Gedun Choephel

    9 An account of Kashopa in the Biography of Geshe Jampa Rolwé Lodrö

    10 Note from Yuzhen-la

    11 Tibetan and English versions of Tsering Woeser’s article on Kashopa

    Glossary of Tibetan Terms

    Biographical Notes

    Foreword

    In the Tibetan literary tradition, there has been a long history of autobiographical and biographical work by lamas known as namthar. These works focus mostly on the spiritual accomplishments of great Buddhist figures.

    The primary purposes of these writings are to provide a guide for ordinary people in leading a virtuous life and spiritual attainment. Historically, there have only been a few biographies of secular leaders. For secular figures, writing a biography was seen as a display of arrogance and self aggrandizement. One of the earliest works is known as rlangskyipotibserurgyas pa, written in the 14th century, which tells the family history of the Lang clan who dominated Tibetan politics in the 14th-16th Century. The only other extensive biography of a secular officials is Dokharwa Tsering Wangyal’sbka’ blonrtogsbrjod (Autobiography of a Cabinet Minister), written in 1762. These books were written during turbulent periods in Tibetan history and both drew inspiration from the Tibetan saying that a person who does not know his family history and repay their kindness is no better than a monkey in a forest. Tibetans place great importance in remembering the kindness of their parents and often the compassionate, nurturing of infants is used as a metaphor of the innate compassionate nature of all sentient beings. In Tibetan society we generally avoid mentioning the names of those who have passed away, particularly our family member’s names, instead we use a more endearing or polite formulaic suffix dam pa before a name. A deceased father is referred to as yab dam pa, noble father. I find that the Tibetan language has an intricate way of expressing respect and endearment that cannot be easily rendered in English. Jamyang Chogyal’s book about his yab dam pa is not only a remembrance of his father, but also a means of repaying the kindness and life long learning shown and administered by his father.

    The name Kapshopa Chogyal Nyima is well known to the older generation of Tibetans who had lived under a free Tibet. A man of humble origins who came to the attention of the 13th Dalai Lama and rose to the heights of Tibetan society and politics. Kapshopa’s rise and fall is worthy of a Tolstoy novel such as War and Peace or Dr Zhivago, which play against the background of war and transition from feudal Russia to the transformation under the Russian Revolution. His story is situated in Tibet from the reign of the 13th Dalai Lama to the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, which marked the transition of Tibet from a feudal society governed by theocracy and lay aristocrats to colonial society under modern China. During this period, his life underwent dramatic changes, the stories of this transformation are marked by grand achievements as well as tragic circumstance. The story Jamyang Chogyal tells of his father is full of the drama of Tibetan high society and political ambition of the governing class. Whatever the flaws of old Tibet might have been, it was of their own making, no different from the political life of any society. Rise and fall are inherent to the life of a political figure. However the life of the Kapshopa family could also be the life story of any Tibetan, a close and affectionate family concerned with daily existence, wealth and fame, both gained and lost. Yet at the same time, Kapshopa’s story is not an ordinary story, the drama and events narrated by his son take place amid the background of the inner workings of the Tibetan political elite. As such, the views and events in the book are important in our understanding of the history of 20th century Tibet. It was a period where Tibet governed itself as an independent nation with control over its internal and external affairs. Jamyang Chogyal’s recollection of events as told by his father and his own lived experiences provides a first-hand account of recent Tibetan history and as such it will serve as an important source for our understanding and appreciation of Tibetan history.

    Kapshopa Chogyal Nyima came from a humble family, but later rose to become one of the most influential figures in government. He occupied the position of Kalon, a minister in the Tibetan government. As a towering political figure in the first half of the 20th century, he was a controversial figure. For his supporters, of which they are many, as shown in his book, he was a generous and devout patron of lamas and religious institutions. He was regarded as fearless in his judgement and willingness to make difficult decisions. But for his detractors Chogyal Nyima was an ambitious and shrewd figure motivated by self-advancement. In the Machiavellian world of politics, no one can hold a saintly position and the very nature of politics contaminates all participants. In this book, Jamyang Chogyal presents a compelling case for reconsideration of his noble father’s personality and role in the recent history of Tibet.

    One of the themes that emerge in the book is very interesting and reveals much of Tibetan politics at the time. In old Tibet, politics were the affair of a few elite monks from the three great monasteries near Lhasa and lay aristocracy made up of two classes, Depon (sdedpon) families, long established families that can trace their lineage to historical rulers of Tibet and the families of the Dalai Lama. This group of families was seen as established elite and enjoyed great privileges both in terms of economic resources and political power. The second category known as Gyer pa (sger pa) are made up of families with land and estates but do not belong to the nobility. They can nonetheless be promoted and achieve great power. Kapshopa Chogyal Nyima was one such figure. His family estate was in Gyantse, far from the center of politics in Lhasa. He came to Lhasa as a young man to serve in the 13th Dalai Lama’s court. His first position at the court was a member of the retinue during the Dalai Lama’s travels. While at court, he came to the attention of the Dalai Lama, who promoted him to a higher position. With the Dalai Lama’s patronage, Kapshopa Chogyal Nyima rose rapidly in the Tibetan political hierarchy. As a newcomer of humble origins, he was resented by the Depon families. The Dalai Lama’s patronage was a blessing yet attracted enmity from the aristocratic elite.

    During the 13th Dalai Lama’s reign, the conflict between the historic noble families and those of humble origins promoted by the Dalai Lama was most notable. While the Dalai Lama was alive, they exercised great power, but after the lama’s death, they were immediately deposed. The most notable case was that of Thupten Kunphel la, a monk official, who was known as the Dalai Lama’s favorite (spyangsal) and after his death of the Dalai Lama, he was arrested and exiled from Lhasa, The negative portrayal of Kapshopa can be viewed as originating from the conflict and rivalry between these sets of noble families.

    Jamyang Chogyal has written a compelling case for his yab dam pa, noble father’s place in the recent history of Tibet. As he writes, he is not writing what might be called an objective history, but the truth as he and his family sees it. Yet it is a frank and detailed account of an important Tibetan historical period and as such it provides a window into the political life of Tibet. The publication of the book adds to our understanding and knowledge of Tibet. By writing this book, Jamyang Chogyal has served faithfully his noble father’s memory, but also provided a source of information on the recent history of Tibet for future generation of Tibetans, for whom the recollection of a once free and independent Tibet will surely provide inspiration.

    Prof Tsering Shakya,

    University of British Columbia.

    Professor Tsering Shakya is Canada Research Chair in Religion and Society in Asia at the University of British Columbia. Professor Shakya’s most expansive work to date The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947 (Pimlico, London 1999) was acclaimed as the definitive history of modern Tibet by The New York Times, and a prodigious work of scholarship by the UK’s Sunday Telegraph.

    A Note on Historical Background

    The Tibetan issue is, at its core, a dispute between the former Tibetan government and the current Chinese state over ownership of a snow-bound plateau that is the size of Western Europe. Until the turn of the last century, the Tibetan and the Chinese governments had been on mutually respectful terms for centuries, their relations managed and explained largely through Buddhist rituals and formulae.

    The current dispute, which has lasted just over a hundred years, and which led in the 1950s and 1960s to tens of thousands of Tibetan deaths in war, rebellions, uprisings and protests, is at its most basic level over how that relationship should be described in modern terms. Tibet had been an appendage of some unclear kind to the Chinese empire since at least the early 18th century, but functioned more or less as a separate nation, with the Tibetan government free to run the country largely as it wished. This arrangement collapsed when the British sent their army to invade Tibet on a gratuitous mission in 1903-4, largely seen by its generals as their last chance for imperial adventure. Having slaughtered some 3-4,000 Tibetans on their way to the Tibetan capital, the British forced the Tibetan government to surrender to their terms, leaving the 13th Dalai Lama, then head of the Tibetan state, to flee to Mongolia for safety.

    The British left within six months, but the results of their adventure were long-lasting: their escapade provoked the Qing imperial court in Beijing to decide for the first time to make Tibet into an integral part of Chinese territory, and in 1910 it sent an army to invade Lhasa to enforce that claim. That invasion failed because of the collapse of the Qing Dynasty a few months later, but the assertion that Beijing had absolute sovereignty over Tibet and Tibetans strengthened in intensity and resolve across the years and became the source of the on-going century-long conflict between Tibet and China. It took China four decades to put that growing resolve into action, because of a lengthy civil war and invasion by Japan, and during that period the Tibetans were able to run their country as a completely independent state in any practical sense. But in 1950, a new and much more powerful government of China, under the leadership of Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party, staged a second 20th-century invasion of Tibet by China. The Tibetan government sent appeals to the United Nations and to former allies like Britain and India, but, finding itself without significant support, it was quickly defeated militarily and had no choice but to surrender to the Chinese forces. In May 1951, Tibetan representatives in Beijing signed a document known as the 17 Point Agreement in which for the first time a Tibetan government recognized Tibet as part of China.

    In that agreement, the Chinese leadership allowed the government of the 14th Dalai Lama, then just 15 years old, to continue to function much as in the past, and promised that there will be no compulsion on the part of the Central Authorities with regard to reforming society, religion, or language use in Tibet. The agreement collapsed in 1959 after uprisings spread across Tibet, a result largely of radical reforms, including the pillaging of monasteries, initiated by Chinese forces in eastern Tibetan areas from about 1956 onwards. The uprising failed, and the Dalai Lama, together with several leading officials from his government and some 80,000 other Tibetans, fled to India, where an exile government was established and where most of the exiles still remain, living as refugees in camps and settlements around the sub-continent.

    Jamyang Choegyal’s book provides a detailed glimpse into the inner world of Tibetan elite politics in the first half-century of this conflict. It focuses on the last decade of the period between the 1910 and 1950 invasions of Lhasa by armies from Beijing, and on the life and thinking of his father, a leading government official at that time. Several works about that epoch have appeared in English in recent years, written by other leading aristocrat-officials or their offspring, including at least five by the Dalai Lama or his immediate family. But those writers and their subjects had fled with the Dalai Lama in 1959 and had little knowledge of events in Tibet following their departure, as well as very limited familiarity with Chinese language or politics. This book is thus the first of this kind to be written in English without a ghost writer or intermediary by a Tibetan brought up and educated in the Chinese system.

    Kashopa (often written as Kabshopa or simply Kasho), the subject of this book, was one of the few leading officials to have remained in Lhasa after the Chinese authorities took over the direct running of the government there in 1959. Over the following decades, all officials of his rank and many of the lower ones were required to write repeatedly about their views and personal experience as part of propaganda efforts by their new rulers to denounce the system that the aristocrats had led. Their writings were designed primarily to impress domestic audiences in Tibet and China with the rightness of Chinese claims, and they are heavily marked by the rigid censorship and control of the Chinese authorities. Few if any of them have been translated into English or any other western language. This work is thus the first to offer detailed insight into the thinking of a Tibetan leader from the group that remained after 1959.

    The biography of Kashopa describes the extraordinary complexity and narrowness of options that he faced as a leading official in a society in extreme crisis. Victors and losers in battles to control nations and their peoples usually tell clear stories of right and wrong, each from their own perspective, but this account of Kashopa’s life is neither of these: rather than presenting its story in terms of national success or failure, it is a chronicle of a man who was, we are told, a highly moral person in a situation where there was relatively little room for morality, and where morality was not a primary factor in political outcomes. He and his colleagues were confronted by a series of weak choices, none of which could begin to solve their national problems, and few if any of which could be agreed upon in any case. In fact, it seems as if the more important issues were rarely even discussed.

    This may sound like an indictment of individual leaders, but the history shown here suggests more complex factors were involved. The book is a history of an institution, the traditional Tibetan government, as much as of a person, and it describes a system of government in which decision-making was often all but impossible. Although it was highly formalized in terms of rank and privilege, we are shown that the Tibetan government lacked impersonal mechanisms for enacting policies: everything depended on relationships with power-holders. We are given glimpses of the complex chains of influence and indebtedness that had to be built up before any decision could be made, and that could often be reversed at the last minute by someone with more money, more influential relatives, or better promises. We see also the opportunities for corruption and control that were available to those, such as favourites and stewards, who were close to the most important leaders. And we learn of the long history of suspicious deaths of Dalai Lamas around the time they reached their majority, as well as the venal conflict between the two regents in the 1940s that led to a brief civil war and yet more questionable deaths, assassination attempts, and sporadic war.

    We can see from this account that the limitations on the authority of leaders were bypassed too easily, that the parliamentary system was too rudimentary and weak, and that the ethos of entitlement linked to noble birth or high office made it all but impossible for serious debate or sustained reflection to be sustained, or for a culture of reform to develop. But even if Tibetan governance in the 1940s is seen as outdated and deficient, viewed up close its problems seem not so distant from those of governments today. Kashopa’s often futile efforts to achieve even the most trivial objectives are reminiscent of politicians even in advanced democracies now, where the most obviously beneficial outcomes often cannot be realized because of conflicting interests within elites. States like the People’s Republic of China are vastly different from pre-1959 Tibet in terms of economic distribution, social mobility, ideology and technology, but in certain ways their leaders face similar limitations—they too risk finding themselves deadlocked and forced into inaction by a nexus of interest groups, intra-elite conflict, endemic corruption, and power deficits. There are huge differences between these systems, but the central message of the book—the limited capacity of leaders to achieve outcomes that are for the common good—has wider application than just to pre-1959 Tibet.

    But in many ways this book is even more important because of the history of its writer. Jamyang Choegyal was a leading member of the younger Tibetan aristocrats trained in Beijing by the new rulers, completely fluent in their language and their way of thought. Almost unique in his mastery of Tibetan, English and Chinese, he worked or lived under each of the four main systems of government that have run Tibet in the last century. He was brought up under the traditional system within which his father served as a cabinet minister in the 1940s; during the transitional period in the 1950s, when the new Chinese rulers gradually introduced new ideas while allowing the old government to remain nominally in position, he was being educated in English in India or in Chinese in Beijing, but had lengthy periods at home in Lhasa; the extreme leftist regime under Maoist autocracy in the 1960s and 1970s saw him sent to a remote nomadic region of western Tibet; and he became a member of the Chinese Communist Party and served as a middle-level official under the reform and opening up government set up by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s, when the household economy, a measure of religious freedom, and some forms of cultural expression were allowed again. In 1991 he became the first, and probably the only, Tibetan official and Party member of that rank to defect whilst on an official visit abroad. He then worked in London for some twenty years as an invaluable translator, advisor and analyst of exceptional ability with those of us then studying and publishing commentaries on contemporary Tibetan affairs.

    This book is therefore unique in many ways. Although the author’s opinions of China’s various interventions in Tibetan life are clear both from his writing and from the decisions that have shaped his later life, his book is not designed primarily as a critique of China’s policies in Tibet. It is instead a study of the thinking of elite Tibetan leaders in the years immediately before the arrival of the Chinese Communists, a vivid explanation of the complex issues that they faced, and an important source of insight into why only some of these leaders fled in 1959.

    The history told by Jamyang Choegyal suggests a much more complex narrative than found in other accounts of 20th century Tibet. Invasions, radical changes of regime, and extreme reversals of social structure are hardly mentioned in his work except as a painful backcloth to local tensions, suffering and intrigues. It is not that they were not important, and indeed devastating in their impact. Rather, his version of history, written by a participant rather than an outside observer, resists reduction either to the messianic narrative offered by the Communists, in which the suffering masses are liberated from inhuman servitude, or the cataclysmic version sometimes presented by Tibetan nationalists, which tends to depict China’s role in Tibet as a drive to wipe out Tibetan culture if not its people. For both these groups, the years 1950 or 1959 are seen as turning points in history: for China, Tibetan life before that time was a series of inhuman atrocities inflicted on down-trodden serfs by aristocrats and lamas, while for exiles, a life of freedom and contentment was replaced at that time by servitude to an oppressive neighbouring state.

    The writer’s concern in this account is however, with a different story, one that tries to describe what it was like to live as a leading figure in those times, and that tries indirectly to explain why key decisions were made, or in some cases, not made. In this account, while life before 1959 was clearly very different from that afterwards, there is no suggestion of a total, cataclysmic change. Modern and pre-modern Tibet may have been different in important ways, but there were also continuities. For the participants, Tibet as described here continued as a distinctive society without a break, even though it was under different rulers, part of a different system, no longer a separate state, and facing enormous pressures and at some times atrocities. The Cultural Revolution, which lasted from 1966 till about 1979 in Tibet, included attempts to eradicate the distinctiveness of Tibetan culture entirely, but is only briefly mentioned in the latter part of the book and again is not presented as a separate period or turning point. These events are written about as changes in government and regime, and often, we can sense, the changes were welcomed with some enthusiasm at the time and only seen as disasters later when they soured. This gives the impression that the writer, at least, and perhaps his father, lived through these events without experiencing them as a total rupture with the past, as if they saw themselves as in some way continuing. They may also have seen their country and identity as fundamentally unchanged as well. There is no other account in English where we encounter this impression of existential continuity throughout this time despite the massive changes forced upon Tibetans by their new rulers.

    This sense of underlying identity helps to explain what to outsiders has been one of the most surprising features of recent Tibetan history: the remarkable recovery of Tibetan culture and religion after the death of Mao in 1976 and the ending of the Cultural Revolution. It might also help to explain what must be an even greater surprise to Chinese rulers in Beijing: the resurgence of Tibetan identity and nationalism in the last thirty years, despite the huge efforts of the Chinese authorities to promote socialism, modernization, patriotic education, Chinese nationalism, and similar ideologies. It may turn out to be different with the younger generation today, at least in towns, but Jamyang Choegyal’s writing and life-decisions show that, in terms of his sense of who he is and what community, tradition, heritage and nation he belongs to, the fundamental issues have not changed over the course of his life despite the massive reversals in politics that he has lived through.

    In the fifty years since the Dalai Lama and his followers left Tibet, still little is known of the thinking of the 97% of Tibetans who remained there after 1959, least of all those who served as senior officials in the new system. Jamyang Choegyal’s study of his father provides an important and unique contribution to deeper understanding of the long-missing portions of that history, and will significantly widen the knowledge of those seeking to grasp the complexities of the Tibetan-Chinese dispute.

    Prof Robert Barnett

    Columbia University, New York

    Professor Barnett is the Founder and Director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia University in New York, and previously co-founded and directed the Tibet Information Network, an independent news and research service based in London. His books include A Poisoned Arrow—the Secret Petition of the 10th Panchen Lama; Leaders in Tibet—A Directory; Lhasa -Streets with Memories; and Tibetan Modernities: Notes from the Field.

    Acknowledgements

    It would be impossible to acknowledge adequately all the assistance I have received in presenting my Pala dampa Kashopa’s biography. I began only after I had been assured by Dr Robert Barnett that my standard of English had attained a level where I could write the biography in this, my third language. In the task of presenting Kashopa’s story, with its historical context, and in a truthful and honest way, Their Eminences the late Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, the current 102nd Gaden Tripa Rizong Sras Rinpoche, and Dagyab Kyabgon Rinpoche; Her Highness the Gyalyum Chenmo; the Venerable Champa Thegchok, the former Abbot of Sera Jey Monastery; and Kusho Palden Gyatso (a former prisoner of the Chinese who spent 33 years in jail), all provided me with important corroboration to fulfil this obligation. I thank them with all my heart for providing me with irrefutable evidence for Kashopa’s story.

    I have drafted and redrafted my manuscript again and again under the guidance of the prominent Tibetan historian Mr Tashi Tsering, who kindly helped me obtain Kashopa’s memoirs from India; and with the help of Mr Rick O’Sullivan, Ms Kate Saunders and Mrs Barbara Barnett who sacrificed their precious time and energy for me. Kungo Rabgang Sonam Paljor also encouraged and assisted me in telling my Pala dampa’s story. I wholeheartedly thank each of these five people for their great contribution in helping me develop an accurate basis for this biography.

    Then Rick and Barbara suggested that I should find a professional editor but, as I couldn’t afford to pay someone, I asked Kate, as a long-term colleague and a very talented lady, to be my editor and she agreed wholeheartedly. Kate asked Mr Ben Carrdus to initially assist her in editing my manuscript and planned to do the final editing work herself. Even though at that point most of Ben’s time should have been spent looking after his newborn daughter, he told me he would do his best, and edited both the manuscript and its glossary with great sincerity and effort. I was very touched by his remarkable achievement, his zeal and commitment, and I appreciate it very much.

    Following Ben’s input, I made some additions and deletions and sent the manuscript to a small circle of knowledgeable people to seek their advice. Luckily I received positive feedback, in particular from Mr Tsering Gonkatsang at Oxford University, who, to my pleasant surprise, had actually reedited the manuscript without knowing Kate’s original plan, as he wanted to do justice to Kashopa’s story out of his strong sense of fair play. He wrote to me: …the majority of the people will have a changed and positive view of your late Pala and the honour and respect he deserves for his many contributions to the Gaden Phodrang Government. Thereupon he also re-edited the manuscript’s glossary and translated much of the Tibetan material. Later, after Kate still offered her excellent editing skills as planned, he once more refined the manuscript while translating His Eminence Dagyab Kyabgon Rinpoche’s personal account of Kashopa. I thank him for his great sense of justice and his contribution to this work. And Kate, as well as editing, was also the one who encouraged and enthusiastically supported my book since its inception. In addition, I was deeply impressed by her act of writing a fact-based article to commemorate my late son Jamphun’s brave deeds for his country. And I must say such noble act towards a deceased person is truly admirable.

    During the later stages, I spent some time adding my finishing touches to the manuscript to produce a definitive version ready to be published. Then, as I was about to hand it to the publisher, to my great joy, Dr Robert Barnett offered his help in the final edit of my manuscript. I really felt lucky to receive this respected Tibetologist and humanitarian’s help since my very first day in London following my escape in 1991. As I expected, he did a marvellous job in editing the book and checking its glossary—a reflection of his encyclopaedic knowledge of Tibetan history and culture, and I’m very grateful for his friendship and help in so many ways for more than two decades.

    Words fail to convey my grateful feelings to Dr Tsering Shakya and to Dr Robert Barnett for providing a foreword and an introduction; and to Mr Jamyang Norbu and Ms Tsering Woeser for the blurbs they wrote. These highly esteemed scholars’ invaluable support and comments, and their kindness and expertise were an exceptional contribution to my book.

    I would like to attribute the completion of Kashopa’s biography to all the people mentioned above and, also to the support, encouragement and invaluable feedback from Lhacham Kelsang Takla, Kungo Tsetashi, Mr and Mrs Tsewang Pemba, Dr Lama Jabb and Mr Tenzin Gelek. In particular, I am indebted to the Tibetologist Mr Matthew Akester for acknowledging an account of Kashopa’s effort to save Tibetan honorific language; and to Mr Sonam Tsering for his great sense of justice and honesty on the Gedun Choephel issue to provide an accurate historical account for the next Tibetan generation. At the same time, I will always remember his

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