There’s so many things that have changed for Yeshi since he arrived in the UK, but here’s one you might not have guessed at – his name.
In Tibet, people don’t have surnames – just two given names. When I first met Yeshi he went by his second given name, Jampa, and this is how everybody knew him and addressed him. It’s normal practice in Tibet to pick out the one you like best, or for a parent to whittle it down for you.
On arrival in the UK, Jampa began to function as Yeshi’s surname. This is the name he’d enter as his family name in the many immigration documents he needed to complete, and eventually it became formalised as his surname when it went into his passport (along with his made-up date of birth – another story that you may have followed along the way).
Welcome Yeshi, then. But here again there was a change. In Tibet, Yeshi’s name is is pronounced Yee-she, with particular emphasis on the final syllable (the dictionary editor in me is now all too apparent). In the UK he’s become known as Yeshy – it’s just the way that it falls most comfortably on the British tongue.
Yeshi (or Yeshy) to us, Jampa to friends and family.
But wait! Years after we got married and had children, I learned that neither Yeshi nor Jampa were in fact Yeshi’s birth names.
For the first ten years of his life, Yeshi was known as Kunchok Tsering. This is the name that his parents gave him when he was born, but the Tibetan tradition is for the family’s Rinpoche to name a child – either at the point of birth (if possible – but spiritual leaders are not as close at hand as they used to be) or some day down the line – whenever the Rinpoche happened to be in town. And so Kunchok Tsering became Yeshi Jampa.
The most striking thing for me is how long it took for this tale to unfold: it was a story of such little consequence to Yeshi that it never occurred to him to mention it.
We’ve written before about attachments, and how Buddhists consider them to be the cause of all suffering. Attachments to people/things/ideas – even a name. Chuck ’em out! I’d have changed my name to Julie Jampa just for larks, but seeing as Jampa was Yeshi’s actual name 🤯 …
Come and see us again this week! We’re open all the usual hours, as follows:
Wednesday: 5-9.30pm (dinner only)
Thursday – Saturday: 12-3 (lunch) / 5-9.30pm (dinner)
Finally, Taste Tibet has been shortlisted for an Oxinabox Award! We’re up for Best Global food in Oxfordshire. If you love us please give us a click! It’s that simple – you can vote for us here in just a second (no email address required/any other fuss involved).
Thank you so much!
See you soon,
Julie and Yeshi
Opening hours this week:
Thurs – Sat: 12-3pm 🥢 5-9.30pm
☏ 01865 499318