Looking At Tibet’s ‘Simple Monk’

Today marks the 14th Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday.  The Shanghai Daily interviews Gonpo Tashi, nephew to the Dalai Lama, for an inside look at the history of the Tibetan spiritual leader.

The 14th Dalai Lama turns 76 on July 6, and reporters Li Na and Yu Zheng take a look at the birth, history and celebrity of the controversial “simple monk.”

Gonpo Tashi, a nephew of the Dalai Lama, has been a guardian for at least three decades of the birthplace of the Tibetan spiritual leader at Hong’ai Village on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

“I prepare this room for the Dalai Lama in hopes of his return,” says the stocky, 65-year-old Tibetan who showed reporters a dark, 12-square-meter chamber containing a throne that has been elegantly prepared for its supposed master.

The chamber is on the top floor of a two-storey wooden house. Outside the chamber hangs a giant photo of the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso. There are also six Buddha statues and a yellow monk’s robe that Tenzin Gyatso used to wear.

Gonpo meticulously dusts furniture and rituals every morning at dawn.

“I believe that his soul has already been here, though his human body hasn’t yet,” Gonpo says.


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