Five Geshemas have received scholarships to participate in a Tibetan Buddhist philosophy research program that is the first of its kind.
The historic research project is organized by the Geluk International Foundation which recently announced seats for 30 Geshes and 5 Geshemas to do three-year research projects on five topics of Buddhist philosophy.
The Geshema degree for nuns (called the Geshe degree for monks) is the highest level of training in the Gelugpa tradition and is equivalent to a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism. The degree was only formally opened to women in 2012. To date, 44 nuns have earned this degree.
This research program grew out of the Conference of Religious Heads held in 2012. At that conference, His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked the research program to focus on various fields. Now, the Geluk International Foundation, chaired by Gaden Tripa, has made His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s vision a reality by starting the research program with formal rules and regulations.
The new research wing is headed by Shartse Khensur Ven. Jangchup Choeden who is the director. The committee members include other eminent Geshe Lharamphas from major monasteries.
The individual participants will work on their subjects and will submit quarterly reports under the guidance of their advisors. At the end of three years, each will submit a final thesis.
The Tibetan Nuns Project formally announced the program and contacted the five nunneries that regularly participate in the annual Jang Gonchoe month-long debate session and have Geshema graduates – Dolma Ling, Geden Choeling, Jamyang Choeling (all three in the Dharmasala area), Jangchup Choeling in South India, and Kopan in Nepal. The selection of research topics by the Geshemas was done on a first-come-first-serve basis.
In order to qualify for the program, the Geshemas had to have obtained 60% in their final Geshema exams, as well as to meet other criteria and supply formal documents. The Tibetan Nuns Project helped to coordinate the application process by the Geshemas.
Here are the five Geshemas who received scholarships and their chosen research subjects:
- Geshema Namdol Phuntsok (a.k.a. Passang Lama), Kopan Nunnery. Subject: Dulwa / Vinaya
- Geshema Tenzin Tseyang (a.k.a. Tashi Lhamo), Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute. Subject: Pharchin / Prajna Paramita
- Geshema Tenzin Palmo, Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute. Subject: Ngonpa Zoe/ Abhidharma
- Geshema Tenzin Dolkar, Jangchup Choeling Nunnery. Subject: Uma / Madhyamika
- Geshema Phuntsok Dolkar, Jangchup Choeling Nunnery. Subject: Tse-ma / Pramana
The research program was initially planned to start on April 1, 2020, but due to the strict lockdown all over India and Nepal, the Geluk International Foundation altered the start of the three-year project to June 1st, 2020.
The scholarship funding has been arranged by Geluk International Foundation under the sponsorship of a trust/foundation based in New York and The Dalai Lama Trust.
The Tibetan Nuns Project is very happy that these five Geshemas have this valuable opportunity to increase their learning and skills and to fulfil the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. May all concerned sponsors and supporters of the Geshemas be proud and happy for their valuable contributions in helping the Geshemas!