(TibetanReview.net, May04, 2016) – The first batch of candidates for the Tibetan Buddhist degree of Geshema – the equivalent of the male Geshe degree – have begun appearing for their final, fourth year examination at the Geden Choling Nunnery at Dharamshala, India, on May 1. Of the total of 44 candidates from five nunneries in India and Nepal, appearing for the examinations, which will end on May 12, 20 are final year candidates.
The decision to institute the Geshema degree was taken in 2012, on the initiative of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, at a two-day meeting of high lamas and nun representatives. At the 11th meeting of Tibetan religious heads in Sep 2011, he had asked the religious leaders to work out a course for nuns to attain Geshema degrees. He had earlier spoken about the need for the Geshema degree for nuns in 1995.
In order to qualify for the four-year degree course, a nun must have completed 17 years of study of the Five Great Canonical Texts (Zhung Chen Kapo Nga) with a total score of 65 percent marks.
The current candidates belong to the Kopan, Jangchup Choeling, Geden Choeling, Dolma Ling and Jamyang Choeling Nunneries. They will sit for written tests and will also be evaluated in a debate test. four Geshe Lharamapas from Sera Jhe, Drepung Losel ling, Gaden Jangtse and Drepung Gomang monasteries will test the candidates’ debate performance.
Successful candidates at the current examination will get their Geshema degree from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in October.