By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, November 6: The second batch of Geshema graduates saw six nuns receive Geshema degree, the highest academic degree in Buddhist studies (equivalent of a PHD in Buddhist Philosophy) from Minister of Religion and Culture (Kalon) Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok at Dolma Ling Nunnery in Norbulinkga yesterday.
Kalon Yuthok reminded 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.
“The recipients 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,” said the minister.
Encouraging the nuns who excel in studies and scriptures to teach their fellow nuns, he said that sometimes debates with students could also be beneficial to better understand the scriptures.
Delek Wangmo of Dolma Ling Nunnery topped the second batch with a score of 79.27 percent. She said, “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.”
The convocation ceremony of the first ever batch of Geshema degree holders took place at Drepung monastery in the Tibetan settlement of Mundgod last year, when 20 nuns received the degree from Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Geshema degree is the highest attainable academic distinction in the Gelugpa sect of the Tibetan Buddhism conferred upon nuns who distinguish themselves after more than 21 years of studying Buddhist philosophy.
In order to appear for Geshema examinations, a nun must first study the Five Great Canonical Texts (Shung Chen Kapo Nga) thoroughly for 17 years in their respective nunneries. Only then nuns will be allowed to appear for the four-year course.
The decision to conduct Geshema examination was arrived at a high-level meeting of Department of Religion and Culture in May 2012 after His Holiness, at the 11th meeting of Tibetan religious heads in Sept 2011, had suggested the religious heads to chalk out an academic procedure for the degree interpreted widely as a Doctorate in Buddhist philosophy.