Geshema Exams 2019

Good news! This project has been fully funded. We’ll report back here as soon as possible after the exams in August. The results are usually posted later in the fall. Thank you for helping the nuns on their path.

We would like to extend our deepest thanks to the Pema Chödrön Foundation and everyone who supported our 2019 Geshema Exam Fund to cover the travel costs and the food for the Geshema candidates.

By supporting the education of the nuns, you are helping to pave the way for future generations of nuns to follow in the Geshemas’ footsteps. The Geshema degree will make the nuns eligible to assume various leadership roles in their monastic and lay communities reserved for degree holders and hence previously not open to women.

Here’s a video about this year’s exams.

The nuns who took their exams in August came from four different nunneries: Dolma Ling, Geden Choeling, Jangchup Choeling, and Kopan Nunnery.

There were:

  • 24 nuns taking their first-year exams
  • 8 nuns doing their 2nd year
  • 11 nuns doing their 3rd year
  • 7 Geshema candidates doing their fourth and final year of exams.

Earlier we wrote that 8 nuns would be taking their final year of exams. However, one nun withdrew from her exams at the end of July. She will have the opportunity to sit her exams next year.

All being well, there will be 7 new Geshema graduates this fall. The graduation ceremony will be held at the end of the 2019 Jang Gonchoe Inter-nunnery debate in November.

About the Geshema Degree

The Geshema degree (or Geshe degree for monks) is roughly equivalent to a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism. This highest degree was, until recently, only open to men. Now Tibetan Buddhist nuns are making history. In the last two years, 26 Tibetan Buddhist nuns have earned this degree.

The Geshemas are paving the way for other nuns to follow in their footsteps. This degree will make them eligible to assume various leadership roles in their monastic and lay communities reserved for degree holders and hence previously not open to women.

Here’s a video we made in July 2018 to support the 2018 Geshema Exams.