By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Dec 23: A long held vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was accomplished as 20 nuns were awarded historic Geshema degrees at a conferment ceremony held yesterday at Drepung Lachi Monastery in Mundgod, Karnataka.
A total of 20 nuns, six each from Dolma Ling and Jamyang Choeling, five from Jangchup Choeling, one from Geden Choeling and two from Kacho Gakyal Ling at Kopan nunnery in Nepal have passed all the stages of the examinations that were taken over a four-year period in line with the Gelukpa study programs and received the historic Geshema degree.
Explaining the background of the historic event and expressing his appreciation and gratitude to all who have contributed to bringing this project to fruition, Kalon for Religion and Culture, Ven Karma Gelek said, “The geshema degree program was envisioned by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Religious Office of the CTA in partnership with the Tibetan Nuns Project has supported the fulfilment of that vision. Former Kalon for Religion and Culture, Pema Chonjor designed the four-year program for this degree examination. So I would like to thank him for putting bits into place.”
“The program is open to nuns from all Tibetan traditions and we expect there to be further groups of nuns appearing for the Geshe-ma degree in coming years,” Ven Karma Gelek concluded.
The Tibetan spiritual leader presided over the historic Geshema degree convocation ceremony and awarded the Geshema degree certificates to the nuns.
“Though some people were not so receptive of the term ‘Geshema’ for the nuns’ degree, I’ve observed you(nuns) debate, you have studied hard and achieved high standards. You have earned this degree and I congratulate you for the feat,” the Dalai Lama said in his address.
The Dalai Lama’s vision paved ways for the nuns to study the ‘Five Great Canonical Text’ (Shungchen) at par with the monks for the Geshe degree.
“Honoring Geshema degree to nuns is purely based on their achievement in the field of Buddhist study and a contribution to the development of Buddha dharma,” His Holiness concluded.