2024 Geshema Exams: Send a Good Luck Message!

This summer, 147 Tibetan Buddhist nuns are taking various levels of their Geshema exams. You can send the nuns a good luck message by commenting on this blog. We’ll collect the messages and send them to the exam location.

The Geshema degree is the highest level of training in the Gelugpa tradition and is equivalent to a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism. It is the same as the Geshe degree for monks but the ending “ma” marks it as referring to a woman. The degree, until recently reserved for men, was only formally opened to women in 2012.

Tibetan Buddhist nun holding Geshema hat

Photo of a Geshema holding the yellow hat that signifies her degree. Detail of photo by Olivier Adam.

This year’s exams are being held in Mundgod, South India at Jangchub Choeling Nunnery because Dolma Ling could not provide enough space. One of our current projects is to build 16 more double-bed rooms at Dolma Ling for Geshema graduates who wish to do the advanced Tantric studies required to become fully qualified teachers of their tradition.

The 2024 Geshema exams will take place from July 21st to August 15th. Each year, the candidates gather in advance for a one-month study period before the roughly two weeks of written and oral (debate) exams start.

Geshema, nun Tibetan Buddhism, 2023 Geshema exams

A nun taking her Geshema exams in 2023. TNP’s Founding Director and Special Advisor Rinchen Khando Choegyal said, “Educating women is powerful… It’s about enabling the nuns to be teachers in their own right and to take on leadership roles at a critical time in our nation’s history.”

The Geshema degree enables Tibetan Buddhist nuns to become teachers, leaders, and role models. It makes these dedicated women eligible to assume various leadership roles in their monastic and lay communities reserved for degree holders and hence previously not open to women.

Geshemas teaching Tibetan children Feb 2022

Each winter, Geshemas at Dolma Ling help Tibetan refugee children learn Tibetan.

Geshes and Geshemas are the most educated monastics, carrying much of the responsibility for preserving the Tibetan religion and culture.

Once again, there is a record-breaking number of nuns taking various levels of the rigorous four-year exams. The nuns are from seven nunneries in India and Nepal. Here is the breakdown:
1st year exams: 45 nuns
2nd year: 37 nuns
3rd year: 52 nuns
4th and final year: 13 nuns

There are 15 more nuns than last year’s record 132 and 53 more nuns than in 2022. No exams were held in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID. All being well, there will be 13 more Geshemas formally graduating this fall.

chart showing number of nuns taking Geshema exams over the years

There’s a dramatic increase in nuns taking their Geshema exams. The Geshemas are paving the way for other nuns to follow in their footsteps and the momentum is building. Not long ago, this increased status of nuns was almost unimaginable and we are so grateful for your support to educate and empower these dedicated women!

As of June 2024, 60 nuns hold the Geshema degree. Here’s a list of the Geshema graduations since the formal approval in 2012:

Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling depart for south India to take their Geshema exams.

Nuns from Dolma Ling departing on June 21st for their Geshema exams in Mundgod, South India. The nuns who took the photos wrote, “Courage, determination, and faith accompany our nuns on their exam journey.”

Here’s a video by the Dolma Ling Media Nuns of the 2023 Geshema exams. Can’t see the video? Click here.

We are extremely grateful to the 159 donors to the Geshema Endowment which funds the annual exams including the Pema Chodron Foundation, the Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Frederick Family Foundation, and the Donaldson Charitable Trust. We are also very grateful to everyone who sponsors a nun and helps them on their path.

Geshemas teaching Tibetan children Feb 2022

When you’re facing big challenges, it’s great to know that people are sending you support. Nuns at Dolma Ling reading good luck messages in 2016. Share a message for 2024 by commenting on the blog.

The Geshema Exam Process

To be eligible to take their Geshema exams, the nuns must first complete at least 17 years of study.

The Geshema examination process is rigorous. It involves four years of written and debate exams as well as the completion and defence of a thesis. Candidates are examined on the entirety of their 17-year course of study of the Five Great Canonical Texts. They must achieve a score of at least 75 per cent during their studies to be eligible to sit the exams.

“The fact that growing numbers of women are achieving equality with men in the highest levels of Buddhist monasticism, by earning the equivalent of doctorate degrees, is joyous and of enormous importance to the world,” says Steve Wilhelm, a Tibetan Nuns Project board member. “This means that women monastics will be leading more monastic institutions, and will be teaching other women and men. Humanity needs this gender equity if we are to navigate perilous times ahead.”

Tibetan Buddhist nuns read good luck messages Geshema exams

Nuns cluster around the bulletin board at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute to read good luck messages sent from around the world to nuns taking their exams in 2018. Photo by the Nuns’ Media Team.

Please send a good luck message to the nuns by commenting below on this blog!

111 thoughts on “2024 Geshema Exams: Send a Good Luck Message!

  1. Pamela Frederick

    YOU GO GIRLS!

    Best of luck and warm wishes for your successful completion of the Geshema degree!

    I’m cheering you on from New Hampshire, USA.

    Reply
    1. Katharina

      Wishing you the best and send blessings🌸 What an auspicious event, I rejoice in your efforts and merits🙏

      Reply
    1. Albert Hendrix

      Good luck and blessing for your Geshema Excams.
      Nice greethings from Albert Hendrix from the Netherlands 🙏

      Reply
  2. Lee Edwards

    I’m sending you positive thoughts and wishing you luck on your exams!! You are such role models for many girls!

    Reply
  3. Cherry Cooke

    Good luck for your exams and may your futures be bright,
    I’m just about to downsize and my house sale will release some money so I’m hoping to support you more. 🍒

    Reply
  4. Shirley Boyce

    Prayers for your success in the exam. You have worked hard for this opportunity. All the Buddhas are cheering you on.

    Reply
  5. Siouxsie Stacey

    Tashi deleks! You are all doing wonderful work for the prosperity of the Triple Jewel and all sentient beings. Thank you so much for keeping the Dharma alive. You all deserve the best results. Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dharmaya, Namo Sanghaya!

    Reply
  6. Niamh Nicraith

    Wishing you auspicious good fortune in your exams. May Many Bright Blessings Be Yours.
    Om Tara Tuttare Ture Soha

    Reply
  7. AH Captain

    Thank you for all of your energy and blessings you bring to us with your joyful effort may you all bring these gifts to the world with ease and joy and may they be received and great merit had by all.

    Reply
  8. Maggie Rhoades

    Sending heartfelt congratulations for your many years of hard work and study that bring you to this most auspicious position of taking your exams. May you all pass with highest honors and continue to be an inspiration to the sisterhood of Tibetan nuns!

    Reply
  9. Bronya

    It is wonderful to see so many beautiful women dedicating your lives to learning and sharing the Dharma. It is so appreciated. With love from Australia.

    Reply
  10. Katy

    Wishing you all good luck and good fortune! You have earned it through your dedication and hard work for the benefit of all beings. May you continue to flourish!

    Reply
  11. Diane

    The world needs you! With gratitude for your efforts and wishes for your success.

    Sending you blessings from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

    Reply
  12. Sharyn Marble

    Tashi Delek to all of you for your hard work, preparation and study. Cheers from Massachusetts, USA. 🙏🪷🙏🪷

    Reply
  13. Megan Hussey

    Good luck to all of you – you are all amazing and I know you will do well! Love from Newfoundland, Canada 🙂

    Reply
  14. Pat Williams

    Best wishes to each of you Anis!!! Very proud to see you moving along this path!!!
    May you set an excellent example by your accomplishments. And may you bring many young women to the same by your efforts…

    Reply
  15. Michael King

    All your hard work, perseverance, determination and love of the Dharma is about to pay off. I hope you all do great on your exams. You are all strong, brilliant, amazing women. Blessings. 🙏🌺

    Reply
  16. Daniela Burgos Alvarez

    I hope that all your effort flourishes in the biggest wisdom for the benefit of all beings. 💕💕💕💕 Best wishes to all of you 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

    Reply
  17. Birgit Federmann

    Good luck to you all🍀! Stay focused, calm and do it with joy. You are an inspiration for all women🙏🏼!

    Reply
  18. Adelle Lytle

    What inspiration you bring to my heart and mind. I wish you joy in your endeavors; each step is a gift to our world. hugs and blessings

    Reply
  19. loh seow yuen

    Dear Anila,
    May you remain calm and focus during your exams, may the wisdom of manjushri and the blessings of lineage gurus rain upon you to clear all obstacles and ensure your dharma goals are achieved. your best wishes, seow yuen

    Reply
  20. Terri Wenrick

    Tashi Delek & Blessings from South Carolina, USA. Thank you for keep the Dharma alive for the sake of all beings! 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 Om mani padme hum

    Reply
  21. Eleanor Nettleton

    Geshema Exam Anis! Tashi Delek! from Connecticut USA
    Big Love And thank you for Diligent study!
    Eleanor Nettleton

    Reply
  22. Tenzin Lhamo

    From all of us who are ordained nuns outside India, you represent our hopes and faith and ideals.
    You have the chance to study in advanced ways that few women have and we are so proud of you and your efforts and your commitment to the Dharma. May Manjushri sit on one of your shoulders and Arya Tara on the other and may your strength and intelligence prevail.

    Reply
  23. Francie Nolde

    I am so proud of all of you working toward successfully passing the Geshema exam. You will accomplish your dream, for sure. It is worth the hard work.

    Your loving kindness will go into the hearts of all sentient living beings. You are true Bodhisattvas. Thank you!

    Tashi Delek from the Boston area of Massachusetts.

    Reply
  24. Choetso

    Wishing you the best with your exams! You have worked hard and studied well! May your wisdom shine during exams. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of all beings! With great rejoicing, ani choetso from Iowa USA

    Reply
  25. Sarah Suits

    I am so very proud of everyone for coming this far in pursuit of your dreams! Best of luck and millions of blessings to each and every one of you. Maybe someday I will one of you. I admire you all. Take good care!

    Reply
  26. Rae Jean

    May the efforts of all of those supporting and taking the exams become a ripple of bodhichitta to all sentient beings! Thank you for your amazing service, dedication and work.

    Reply
  27. Kristin Sheikh

    It’s exciting to see so many women taking these exams!!! I’m proud of every one of you and cheering you on from Indiana (USA)!

    Reply
  28. Toni Miller

    You have worked very hard. I am sending you wishes for good completion of your Geshema exams. An American Buddhist from Ohio, USA.

    Reply
  29. Debbie Zimmerman

    Thank you all so much for your beautiful effort, intentions, & aspirations for the boundless benefit for all! You are truly bright lights in our troubled world, dedicating your lives in service to others! May your exams & your lives be blessed! Emaho!

    So much love & gratitude,
    Urgyen Rigdzin Khandro
    ❤️🙏❤️

    Reply
  30. Penelope A. Tarasuk

    Many good wishes for successful examinations. Remember to breathe and center, remember all you have learned, remember so many are behind you and in front of you cheering you on. You are strong and focused women. I admire you!

    Reply
  31. Nicolas Bommarito

    ཡིག་ཚད་ཡག་པོ་བྲིས་དང་།🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

    Reply
  32. Ann Blake

    Wishing you all the best in your exams, and thank you for taking on this remarkable course of study. You are indeed an inspiration to us all!!

    Cheering you on from California! Many blessings!

    Reply
  33. Penelope McMorris

    You’ve worked so hard to get where you are. I join others in wishing you all the very best luck.

    Reply
  34. Joanie Kerr

    Dear Nuns – you have already accomplished great things. From California I send you my deepest admiration and enthusiastic support for your success in the Geshema examinations. We are proud of you. We believe in you.
    And we so appreciate your dedication and devotion to the Triple Jewels.
    May you reach all of your goals!
    Best Wishes and Best of Luck.

    Reply
  35. Virginia Macdonald

    Wishing you all the best of luck in writing your exams and I hope you all pass with flying colours!
    Thank you for devoting your life to learning and helping others in Dharma.

    Reply
  36. Tina

    Thank you, from my heart, for all your strength, commitment and determination to complete your studies and my sincere best wishes for your future, in whatever path you choose to benefit all sentient beings.
    Tina
    Scotland

    Reply
  37. Michelle

    Congratulations on reaching this level of study and devotion. May you have success in your examinations and may your efforts benefit all sentient beings everywhere!

    Reply
  38. Thea Howard

    I admire you all greatly for your dedication to studying and practicing the Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings. I wish you all great success in your exams and am cheering you on.

    Reply
  39. Karen Price

    Sending many Blessings and much Light to all of you beautiful wise dedicated women. The Precious Dharma will live on forever because of your efforts. Cheering you on from Northern California with joy from my heart to yours.

    Reply
  40. Sophie Thiébaud-Rault

    Good luck to you all for your exams !

    You are an inspiration to us, thank you for everything.

    Wishing you the best for the future.

    Un grand bonjour de France ! 🙂

    Reply
  41. Sandra/ Tendhar Chötrön

    Tashi Delek, liebe Nonnen🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
    ich wünsche Ihnen allen ganz viel Glück für die Prüfungen, ganz viel Erfolg und alles Liebe und alles erdenklich Gute🙏🏻💐

    Ganz freundliche herzliche Grüße aus Österreich

    Reply
  42. Jalene Szuba

    Congratulations on your achievements! I have been following you all since 1997 when I first visited Dolma Ling. You all were just beginning the journey and you’ve stayed steadfast. What a celebration! Thank you for keeping the Dharma alive and for persevering. You are making history and are an inspiration!

    Reply
    1. Peter Mast

      So wonderful, I feel such inspiration from you all! Your achievements are stunning, like Arya Tara you demonstrate amazing commitment to us all! May you all find success, may your accomplishments bring all beings closer to Liberation.
      I work at a Rehabilitation Center for Adolescents with Trauma and Addiction problems. Your collective story may be an inspiration to these youths in their time of need.

      Please remember us in your prayers. We are at Serenity Mesa Recovery Center, NM, USA.

      Reply
  43. Laurel

    Prayers and blessings to you all! It’s so inspiring so many of you are taking the exam this year. It makes a difference in the world!

    Reply
  44. Jane Braaten

    ཡིག་རྒྱུགས་ལ་བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས།

    May there be auspiciousness!

    Reply
  45. Heidi

    Wishing you luck on the exams, and happiness and good health in life! You are such an inspiration to all of us. Blessings from the US!

    Reply
  46. Ray Gattinella

    Thank you for all your hard work and good Intentions!
    Good luck, stay healthy and stay strong!!
    🍀🌈🙏

    Reply
  47. Ramona Gault

    Great good fortune to all of you lovely and dedicated nuns! I am in awe of your hard work. Wishing you every success!

    Reply
  48. Julia

    You are an inspiration! And you are fulfilling His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s wishes of having more women in positions of leadership! Tashi Delek, best of luck, and you will do GREAT! I’m a mental health practitioner and had to take many exams, but you are so fortunate to have studied the Dharma like this! I send you endless DHIH syllables full of wisdom and bliss!
    Aloha from Maui, Hawaii, USA!

    Reply
  49. Kieran

    E whakapiki ake ahau kia whiwhi koe i te pai katoa, mo ō whakamātautau e whakarite ana <3

    I wish you all the best, for your upcoming exams <3

    Reply
  50. Sri Kripa

    Sending you all love and prayers for successfully completing your exams. You are an inspiration to us all. I appreciate your courage, devotion, and steadfastness. The world needs you to take up your gifts. Thank you for your efforts. May you feel held in love. ❤️🦋🙏

    Reply
  51. Phillip Ortiz

    May you all enjoy peace,
    Homage to all actions(Kamma) that have results of peace
    Compassion, good will, patience, virtue, joy, wisdom … anything beneficial.

    🙏

    Reply
  52. María Ochoa

    Blessings to you all as you achieve this accomplishment. All of you are inspiration and your commitment to creating a more just and loving world gaves all the world hope.

    Reply
  53. Kim Preston

    All the very best to you on your exam! I believe in you – you will succeed in this accomplishment.

    Kim from Northern California

    Reply
  54. Heather Teixeira

    Best of luck! This is an exciting time to celebrate all your hard work and dedication by showing what you know and applying all the ideas you have learned. I hope you enjoy the process and achieve excellence!

    Reply
  55. Lorraine Barba

    Wishing you all the very best results in your exams. You have worked so hard that I sincerely hope that you are successful in this endeavor.

    Reply
  56. Eliza Z

    Blessings to all of you as you embark on this journey of taking and passing your exams. Daughter’s of Tara, you inspire all sentient beings. Go forth, with the Spirit of the Dragon’s wisdom and Love.

    Reply
  57. Erica

    All best wishes on your Geshema exams!! Your hard work and dedication is inspiring. May you all flourish in realizing, preserving, and sharing the teachings and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Thank you for your efforts <3

    Reply
  58. Maja Louise Bruun

    I wish you all the best – for your exams and your future. It is so important what you do, for yourselves, for the children and people around you, for women and for humanity. Thank you for all your effort.

    Reply
  59. Anita Jane

    Whatever your result; may you remain a beacon of light and love and hope to a troubled world. We thank you for having the strength and courage to be who you should be, in the place and time that is where you should be; to live your truth and share your message. We send you every good wish, blessing and prayers for the successful completion of your exams. May you dwell in peace, love and light.

    Reply
  60. Dennis Mccann III

    Wishing you all the best as you prepare to take your exams, may peace and mental fortitude be with you. I am so very grateful for you all🙏🏻
    Warm wishes from NY, USA

    Grant your blessings so that my mind will follow the Dharma.
    Grant your blessings so that the Dharma will become my path.
    Grant your blessings so that the path will clarify confusion.
    Grant your blessings so that confusion will dawn as wisdom.

    Reply
  61. Cheri

    Wishing Great Good Luck to you all! I am proud of each one of you!
    Sending warmest wishes and much love…

    Reply
  62. John and Susy Wyndham

    Blessings and Success for your 2024 Geshema Exams, our world will be all the richer for your endeavours.

    Lots of regards John and Susy

    Reply
  63. Laura Zimmerman

    Your dedication and strength inspire us all–and especially women, everywhere!
    We send our love to all of you as you take these exams and in the days beyond. You are shining lights in a world that truly needs your guidance.

    Reply
  64. Tara Freimund

    Good luck this summer!! Thank you for your hard work and dedication. You are beautiful souls with powerful intelligence and grace. Peace and Blessings.

    Reply
  65. Tenzin Tsepal

    Wishing you all the confidence that comes from your bodhicitta motivation and also your many years of diligent study and efforts. I’m rejoicing for all of you! Please go out and teach once you attain your Geshe degree!

    Reply
  66. Kathleen Bond

    You are all amazing and this is so wonderful for you to have this opportunity! I am rejoicing in my heart for all of you!

    Reply
  67. Sandra

    Please believe in yourself that you will pass the exam with confidence. I’ll be praying for your success. Please take care! ~ from California

    Reply
  68. Martha

    Warmest wishes for success on your exams. Be strong, think hard, share your knowledge, your strength, and your voices. You’re surrounded by love and support.

    Reply
  69. Paula Hamje

    All the best to you – what a wonderful opportunity these exams offer to the most courageous, resourceful and inspiring women anywhere. You are in our thoughts. Good luck!

    Reply
  70. Emily Witcher

    Greetings to the exam students. A college friend of mine used to say “Don’t wish me good luck on my exams. I don’t need luck – I need skill!” 😆 After all the years of study, debate, and contemplation, you surely have the skills, and I wish you the best for this strenuous exam period. May all beings benefit! 🙏

    Reply
  71. Barbara Haines

    Good luck and remember to take good care of yourselves, help each other, and eat well! We’re all wishing you great progress and success!

    Reply

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