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Second Batch of Geshema Degrees Awarded

By Mary Trewartha  /  November 15, 2017;

Six nuns have become the second ever to achieve the Geshema degree, the highest academic qualification in Buddhist studies, at a ceremony at Dolma Ling Nunnery in Norbulinkga, Dharamshala, on November 7.

KalonVen Karma Gelek Yuthok, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile Minister of Religion and Culture, made the presentations at the ceremony, saying that the recipients of the degree should “first and foremost serve the nunneries set up in India and help their fellow nuns who aspire to get the Geshema Degree”. He continued by saying they “must carry forward the teaching of Buddha. When we say carry forward the teaching, we should not think of foreign lands. We must first give priority to the nunneries in exile. When the nunneries here become impeccable, its impact can be boundless”.

The Geshema degree is the equivalent of a Doctorate in Western education and the nuns had all distinguished themselves after more than 21 years of studying Buddhist philosophy.To achieve this level they must first study the Five Great Canonical Texts (Shung Chen Kapo Nga) for 17 years before applying for the final four-year course and completing the examination. The decision to allow nuns to take the degree was made after much debate at the highest level in 2012 at the instigation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The heads of the Tibetan Buddhist religion then decided on the appropriate academic procedure.

Last year was the first time that nuns have achieved the Geshema, with 20 receiving theirs from His Holiness the Dalai Lama at a ceremony at Deprung Monastery in Mungod.

Top scorer in this year’s batch was DelekWangmo of Dolma Ling Nunnery with a score of nearly 80%. “The hard work we have put for over 20 years have come to fruition. I started my studies with an aim of serving the community and now that I have I hope I can help others in various nunneries in India with what I have learned over the years”, said Wangmo

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