Glossary of Terms
The following glossary provides more information and context to topics mentioned in the oral history interviews. Each section of terms is organized by interviewee and then by sequential appearance in the interview. Each glossary term includes the page number of where it appears in the interview.

Kelly Lhungay

Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV)

The Mission of Tibetan Children’s Villages (TCV) – an integrated charitable organisation – is to ensure that all Tibetan children under its care receive a sound education, a firm cultural identity and become self-reliant and contributing members of the Tibetan community and the world at large. Transcript page 2. See also

Students for a Free Tibet

Students for a Free Tibet was founded in New York City in 1994 by a group of Tibetans and young students and supporters.  The concept of SFT was borne from the understanding of the critical role students and young people have played in freedom struggles throughout history. Since that time, SFT has grown into an international network of students and non-students in more than 35 countries.  Today, it has more than 650 high school, university and community chapters and one full-time office in New York City. Transcript page 9. See also

Lhakar Movement

Lhakar is a homegrown, Tibetan self-reliance movement that started after in the aftermath of the 2008 uprising. In spite of China’s intensified crackdown, Tibetans have embraced the power of strategic nonviolent resistance. Every Wednesday, a growing number of Tibetans are making special effort to wear traditional clothes, speak Tibetan, eat in Tibetan restaurants and buy from Tibetan-owned businesses.  Transcript page 10. See also


A chuba is a long sheepskin coat made of thick wool worn by many of the peoples of the Tibetan plateau. Transcript page 11. See also

Rubin Museum of Art

The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City is home to a comprehensive collection of art from the Himalayas and surrounding regions. Transcript page 16. See also

Zayden Tethong

1000 visas

Section 134 of the Immigration Act of 1990 gave a boost to the Tibetan immigration to the USA, by providing 1000 immigrant visas to Tibetans living in India and Nepal. Transcript pages 7, 11. See also

Students for a Free Tibet

See above (Kelly Lhungay). Transcript page 7. See also


The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) works to promote human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Tibet.Transcript pages 8, 12. See also

Tibet Day in the Pioneer Valley (March 10)

Tibetan (Uprising Day), observed on March 10 every year, commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese Communist presence in Tibet. The failure of the armed rebellion ultimately resulted in a violent crackdown on Tibetan independence movements, and the flight of Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso in exile to India. Tibetan Uprising Day in the USA and around the world is observed primarily by organizations and individuals who support Tibetan independence, such as Students for Free Tibet. In 2012, in the Pioneer Valley, a march was held from Amherst, MA to Northampton, also to celebrate the fact that both the towns of Amherst and Northampton proclaimed teach March 10 from here on, beginning in 2012, as TIBET DAY and urged all the citizens to participate fittingly in its observance. Transcript page 8. See also

Tibet Lobby Day

This event is a collaboration of U.S.-based Tibet Support Groups, and Tibetan Associations in the United States. Transcript page 11. See also

Senate Resolution 356

Senate Resolution 356 was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein on January 31, 2012, calling on the Government of the People’s Republic of China to suspend religious control regulations, reassess religious and security policies in Tibet, and resume a dialogue with the Dalai Lama, in response to the recent self-immolations and intensifying security crackdown. Transcript page 12. See also

Panchen Lama

The Panchen Lama is the highest ranking Lama after the Dalai Lama in the Gelugpa (Dge-lugs-pa) school of Tibetan Buddhism. Transcript page 13. For more information and about the current controversy about the Panchen Lama, see

Tibetan Prime Minister

Lobsang Sangay (born 1968 in Darjeeling, India) is a Tibetan refugee and legal scholar who was elected as the Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile on 26 April 2011. Transcript page 16.

Tsewang Trinley Lama


Kham refers to Eastern Tibet. Transcript page 2. See also

Therdun Sha

Village in the region of Kham, eastern Tibet. Transcript page 2.


Dharma is a Sanskrit term that means “law” and that in the context of Buddhism refers to the teachings by the historical Sakyamuni Buddha. Transcript pages 2, 5. See also


Thangka painting is a Himalayan art form whose origins lie in Indian Buddhist art, with Nepalese, Chinese, and Kashmiri styles influences. A thangka is at once art, an object of worship, and an aid to spiritual practice. Transcript page 2.See also


Sangha is a Sanskrit for “community” and it refers to the congregation of Buddhist monks and nuns that makes up the core of Buddhist monastic institutions across the world. Transcript page 5. See also

Lama and Rinpoche

Both of these terms are honorifics used in Tibetan Buddhism. Lama, literally “chief” or “high priest,” may be used for a high ranking Tibetan Buddhist monk, nun, or for a very advanced and realized practitioner. Rinpoche, literally “Precious One,” refers to a reincarnated and very realized teacher who returns to the realm of human existence to keep helping all sentient beings become realized. Transcript page 6. See also

Theravada tradition

The Theravada (literally, “the Ancient Teaching”) is the oldest surviving Buddhist lineage, and it is mostly prevalent in South East Asia. Transcript page 14.

Mahayana tradition

Mahāyāna (literally the “Great Vehicle”) is one of the two major traditions of Buddhism existing today, together with the Theravada school. According to the teachings of Mahāyāna traditions, “Mahāyāna” also refers to the path of seeking complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, also called “Bodhisattvayāna”, or the Way of the Bodhisattva. Maha Buddhism spread and is now diffused in most of East Asia. Transcript page 14. See also

Vajrayana tradition

Vajrayana (literally, the “Diamond Vehicle”) is a complex system of Buddhist practice and philosophy that evolved over several centuries and took a strong foothold in the Tibetan region, especially since the eighth century CE. Transcript page 14.

Thondup Tsering


Village in Western Tibet. Transcript page 1.

Tibetan Children’s Village

See above (Kelly Lhungay). Transcript page 2. See also

J. Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti (May 11, 1895 – February 17, 1986) was an Indian writer and speaker on philosophical and spiritual subjects. Transcript page 3. See also

Lhasa Café

The Tsering family owns the Lhasa Café, in Northampton. Thondup and Dolma Tsering are from Tibet, but they grew up in India and received care and education at the Tibetan Children’s Village, Dharamsala. After completion of their education, they returned to serve the Children’s Village before coming to the United States in 1997. Transcript page 9. See also

Tibetan Association of Western Massachusetts

The Tibetan Association of Western Massachusetts (TAWM) was founded in 1992 in Amherst when the first group of Tibetans arrived in the area following the resettlement program for Tibetan refugees passed by the Congress. Transcript page 10. See also

Phuntsog Wangmo

Shang Shung Institute

The International Shang Shung Institute is a non-profit, non-political heritage organisation dedicated to the preservation and study of Tibetan culture with branches in Italy, Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Austria, The Netherlands and Italy. Transcript page 2. See also

Tsegyalgar East

Tsegyalgar East is the seat of Dzogchen Community of North America, located in Conway, MA, under the direction of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Transcript page 2. See also For a biography of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, see

Dzogchen community

The Dzogchen Community is made up of those who are interested in following and practicing the Dzogchen teachings. It was founded by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in Italy in the second half of the seventies and rapidly developed in various countries around the world, taking on a completely international dimension. Transcript page 2. See also

Derge king

Derge is today a town in Dege County in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province. It was once the seat of the Derge Kingdom of Kham, or Eastern Tibet. Transcript page 6. See also


See above (Tsewang Trinley Lama). Transcript page 17. See also


Karma is a Sanskrit term that means “action,” and that in the context of Tibetan Buddhism refers to the positive and negative consequences sentient beings accrue through their actions throughout their countless existences in samsara. Transcript pages 17, 22.See also


Losar is Tibetan for “New Year,” and it indicates the fifteen-day celebration held at the beginning of the Tibetan lunar calendar. Transcript pages 28, 29. See also

rGyud bZhi books

The ‘Four Tantras of Tibetan Medicine’- written by Yuthok Yonten Gonpo, the Father of Tibetan Medicine, in the eighth century – is the canonical source of all Traditional Tibetan Medicine. Transcript page 30.

Tsinghua University

Qinghua (or Tsinghua) University, founded in Bejing in 1911, is one of China’s top universities. Transcript page 30. See also