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Preliminary exam for highest Tibetan Buddhism degree held in Xizang
update:June 26,2024
A total of 13 monks from multiple monasteries are in the process of completing a preliminary examination for the Geshe Lharampa, the highest academic degree in the exoteric teachings of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Geshe Lharampa, which means "intellectual" in the Tibetan language, is the equivalent of a doctoral degree in modern education.

The preliminary exam is taking place at Sera Monastery in Lhasa, the capital city of southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region. It began on June 23 and will continue until June 30.

The monks, who have an average age of 45, are first attending sutra debates and will then undertake a theoretical examination.

Among the 13 candidates is Ngawanga Choma, 56, from Lhasa's Drepung Monastery. He is the oldest monk taking the preliminary exam and has dedicated over 30 years to the study of Tibetan Buddhism.

"Learning is endless. After finishing the exam, I will continue to delve deeper into the study of Tibetan Buddhism, continuously improving my knowledge. At the same time, I will do my best to help nurture more outstanding monks," he said.

An assessment committee will review and rank performances in the debates and theoretical exam to finalize a list of those eligible for the 2025 Geshe Lharampa examination.

Since 2004, a total of 189 Tibetan Buddhist monks have been awarded the degree of Geshe Lharampa.

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