Buddhist debate is an essential part of monastic education in the Tibetan tradition. The practice of debate joins logical thinking with a deeper understanding of Buddhist philosophy.
Although Tibetan monks have, for centuries, taken part in an annual month-long debating session called the Jang Gonchoe, this educational opportunity only became open to Tibetan nuns since 1995, when the first nuns’ Jang Gonchoe began in India.
Report on the 2016 Jang Gonchoe Inter-Nunnery Debate
In the autumn of 2016, the annual Jang Gonchoe inter-nunnery debate was held in Jangchup Choeling Nunnery in South India and nuns from nine nunneries in India and Nepal took part. Around 260 nuns participated from other nunneries along with all the 170 nuns of Jangchup Choeling.
There were regular participants such as Dolma Ling Nunnery, Geden Choeling Nunnery, and Jamyang Choeling Nunnery from Dharamsala, as well as Thukjee Choeling Nunnery and Kopan Nunnery from Nepal. In addition, four new nunneries took part in 2016: Jangsim Choeling Nunnery and Jampa Choeling Nunnery from Kinnaur and Ladakh, Yangchen Choeling Nunnery from Spiti, and Tsungon Ratna Menling Nunnery (a Bon nunnery) from Solan, near Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.
Here is the reaction of one nun, Tenzin Youdon, who attended:
“It has made a big difference to me, as I have been able to listen to other nuns’ view points. It’s also an opportunity to get feedback from philosophy teachers from the participating nunneries, which is always very positive. I also feel it is a big responsibility for me because I feel I am representing my nunnery. I also strongly feel that the love, help, and support that we get from our sponsors and donors towards our well-being and education always encourages to me to do better.”
Here’s a video made a number of years ago by the nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery about the importance of monastic debate.
To help fund debate scholarships or the Jang Gonchoe Endowment Fund you can:
- Make a gift online – see below.
- Call our office at 1-206-652-8901
- Mail a check to:
The Tibetan Nuns Project
815 Seattle Boulevard South #216
Seattle, WA 98134 USA