Sorry this is well after the fact but I thought those here might appreciate this little blurb: (from the Tibetan nuns' project)
TIBETAN BUDDHISM WELCOMES GESHEMAS! Tibetan Buddhist women are celebrating a landmark victory: For the first time in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, 27 nuns are gathering in Northern India to begin their exams for the Tibetan equivalent of a Ph.D.--the so-called Geshema title. Pictured here with her German mother and the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, in April, 2011, is the first Tibetan Buddhist Geshema, Kelsang Wangmo.
Geshema (or Geshe, for males) is a degree in Buddhist Philosophy, much like the Western degree of Ph.D., and much like in Western academic life, a Geshe or Geshema degree can also be bestowed on an honorary basis. The title is only found in the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The other schools--Nyingma, Sakya and Kagyu--give the academic title Khenpo, which in the Gelug (as at Sera Jey) and Sakya tradition denote Abbotship.
After years of deliberation, the Central Tibetan Administration reached this unanimous and historic decision on May 19, 2012, after a two-day meeting in Dharamsala attended by high lamas, representatives of nuns from six different nunneries, and members from the Tibetan Nuns Project.
Previously, Geshe degrees were open only to Tibetan monks. Now, nuns will be allowed to appear for the doctorate exams, as well as be fully ordained and acknowledged for their monastic and academic abilities. They will be able to teach Buddhist philosophy in nunneries and schools.
To graduate with a Geshe/Geshema degree, one studies the five essential Buddhist texts--all based on the teachings of the Buddha--over a period of about 20 years. The method of study involves logical analysis and debate, combined with regular sessions of prayer and recitation.
Because the Geshema/Geshe degree is granted usually on the basis of proficiency in dialectical ritualized debate, the Tibetan Nuns Project (TNP) has always encouraged the practice and cultivation of debate: first, by initially setting up a system of literacy and education for the nuns, and later, by sponsoring the month-long, inter-nunnery debate competition—Jang Gonchoe. According to TNP Co-Director Elizabeth Napper, "Debate is the way the nuns come to know what they study; it builds their confidence, as well as their competency."
For many years, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has advocated that a Geshema program for nuns be established. After seeing the nuns debate during the prayer festival on March 7, 2012, His Holiness expressed his happiness at the level of knowledge the nuns showed while debating, and strongly recommended that it was time to include nuns in the Geshe process.
Rinchen Khandro, Director of the Tibetan Nuns Project, attended the historic meeting in Dharmasala and expressed her gratitude to all the people who have made the nuns’ dream of obtaining a Geshema degree a reality, and urged the nuns to study hard.
The Tibetan Nuns Project would like to thank those of you who sponsor nuns, or support Jang Gonchoe, or contribute to the the Tibetan Nuns Project in any way, because, you, too, have helped make the Geshema degree a reality.
- The first Geshe, german nun Ven. Kelsang Wangmo, with her mother and HHDL
- 942252_479786068759770_1104800925_n.jpg (31.48 KiB) Viewed 314 times
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths