Dalai Lama’s nephew dies walking for Tibet

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Florida: The nephew of HH the Dalai Lama, Jigme K. Norbu, 45, died on Monday along a Florida highway, during a 300-mile “Walk for Tibet,” a charity walk to raise awareness of the Tibetan struggle for independence from China.

Norbu was hit by an SUV around 7:30 p.m. on State Road A1A along the state’s eastern coast, the Florida Highway Patrol reported. He was on a Valentine’s Day “Walk for Tibet” some 300 miles from St. Augustine south to West Palm Beach. The son of the Dalai Lama’s late brother, Taktser Rinpoche, had done similar walks several other times. Just last December he undertook a 250-mile walk in Taiwan, an especially significant location given Taiwan’s tortuous relationship with China.

Jigme Norbu had logged 7,800 miles on 19 walks and on his bike before what proved to be his last trek. Norbu and two companions were to have ended their “Walk for Tibet Florida” later this month in West Palm Beach.

Norbu, a native of New York, was killed about 25 miles south of St. Augustine, where he had begun and hardly three minutes away from his rendezvous point with his companions.

Norbu’s late father, Taktser Rinpoche, was a high lama and an abbot of a monastery when the Chinese invaded. Later, he became a professor of Tibetan studies at Indiana University in Bloomington while serving as the Dalai Lama’s U.S. representative. Late Rinpoche also founded the Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington and had himself started long treks for Tibet. He died in September 2008 at 86.

Norbu, a father of three, ran a Tibetan restaurant in Bloomington, the Snow Lion.

Many Tibetans blame the Chinese of depriving them of their religious freedom. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of pushing for Tibetan autonomy and fomenting anti-Chinese protests.

With inputs from



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