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Reconstructing The 1950s

Lhakpa Recounts His Rescue of Kyidong Jowo Statue 53 Years Ago

During the mid-1950's, word of the Chinese army’s destruction of religious artifacts and imprisonment of religious leaders in eastern Tibet reached areas of Kyidong. Concerned about the safety of Kyidong Jowo Wati Sangpo, one of Tibet's most sacred ancient statue, the attendant of Dzonga Choede Monastery devised a plan to smuggle the statue into safety in India. In 1959, Lhakpa, who was a close friend of the attendant, was asked to accompany the Kyirong Jowo statue into India. Then 29-year-old Lhakpa and some companions embarked upon a mission to rescue the highly venerated ancient Buddha statue, from certain destruction at the hands of pillaging Chinese forces. Lhakpa, who is now 81 years old, recounts his journey of smuggling the statue from Kyidong into Nepal fifty-one years ago.