A total of 44 nuns sat in the annual exam for Geshema degree: 8 in I year, 10 in II year, 6 in III year and 20 in final year respectively. As per the result, all twenty Tibetan nuns from final year have cleared their exams, and will become the first batch of Tibetan Geshema degree holders in history.
The conferment of the certificates will take place during the 600th founding anniversary celebrations of Drepung Monastery in Mundgod, one of the three largest Gelug monasteries in Tibet. (The ceremony will be webcast live on tibetonline.tv)
Geshema is the highest academic degree awarded in Tibetan Buddhism.
The conferment of Geshema degree to Tibetan Buddhist nuns, a longstanding aspiration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, reflects a historic milestone, as the degree was awarded only to male monks earlier.
However, in 2012, departing from centuries of past practice, the Department of Religion and Culture, made the historic decision to confer Geshema degrees following a meeting of representatives from six major nunneries, Institute of Buddhist Dialectics and the Tibetan nuns project.
The conferment of the Geshema degree is a historic development as it marks a new chapter in empowerment and education of Tibetan woman particularly in the spiritual sphere. The degree will open avenues of employment and opportunity to the nuns, as it makes them equally eligible as monks to assume various leadership roles in the monastic and lay communities.” Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok, Kalon of the Department of Religion and Culture, said.
The Geshema degree, known as Geshe when awarded to male monks, is conferred after at least 21 years of rigorous study of the five main Buddhist texts, combined with a regular session of prayers and recitations.
Thupten Tsering, Joint Secretary, Department of Religion and Culture, Dharamshala – +91 8629000320
Choephel Thupten, Chief Representative of Southern Tibetan Settlements, Bangalore – +91 9945516443