This blog post is our special record of the historic milestone, the Geshema graduation ceremony, and is a permanent placeholder for the video of the event.
On December 22, 2016, His Holiness the Dalai Lama awarded 20 Tibetan Buddhist nuns with Geshema degrees at a ceremony at Drepung Monastery in Mundgod, South India.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the 20 Geshema graduates at the degree ceremony in Mundgod, December 22, 2016. Photo courtesy of OHHDL.
The Geshema degree is equivalent to a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy and is the highest level of training in the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. It could previously only be earned by monks and is called the Geshe degree.
This historic milestone for the 20 nuns was the culmination of decades of study and dedication. The rigorous exam process for the Geshema degree takes a total of four years to complete. Each May the nuns took 12 days of exams to test their knowledge gained in a 17-year course of study.
Nuns attending the first Geshema convocation at Drepung Lachi in Mundgod, Karnataka, India on December 22, 2016. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.
At the graduation ceremony, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke about the important of education for women and girls. “Through the power of education, women have been able to rise up to prominent roles including leadership in various societies. Education has played a big role in the advancement of gender equality and material development,” His Holiness said.
Tibetan political leader Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay was also in attendance, offering congratulations for the nuns’ hard work and dedication.
As doctors of philosophy, the nuns will now be expected to teach, a role reserved only for men until this point.
Video of the Geshema Graduation Ceremony
The full graduation ceremony can be seen here:
Watch the Tibetan language version of the ceremony.
On the day following the ceremony, the Tibetan Nuns Project shared many messages of congratulation that came from around the world for the nuns.
A joyous occasion. Some of the 20 nuns react to a comment by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The ceremony took place in the courtyard of Drepung Lachi Monastery in Mundgod, Karnataka, India on December 22, 2016. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam.