Last spring, we asked our global community of supporters if they would like to share messages of congratulations to the 20 nuns who were receiving their Geshema degree on December 22, 2016.
The Geshema degree, known as Geshe when awarded to male monks, is conferred after at least 17 years of rigorous study of the five main Buddhist texts, combined with a regular session of prayers and recitations.
We included brightly colored cards with our spring 2016 letter and many of our donors mailed back lovely messages for the nuns. You can see and read some of the messages in our earlier blog post.
Today’s blog post is a special one to report back to everyone who sent a message to the nuns.
On December 23, 2016 in Mundgod, South India, the Executive Director of the Tibetan Nuns Project, Lisa Farmer, sat down with the nuns after a special luncheon and read the congratulations messages to them.
“The nuns were really moved,” said Farmer. “They were amazed that people from all over the world had been following their progress and had taken the time and trouble to send warm words of congratulations and best wishes for their futures.”
The conferment of the Geshema degree to Tibetan Buddhist nuns was a longstanding wish of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and reflects a historic milestone, as the degree was only awarded in the past to monks.
At the graduation ceremony on December 22nd, 2016, the Tibetan political leader, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, welcomed the conferment of the Geshema degree to Tibetan Buddhist nuns as a step towards gender equality in education. “I heartily congratulate the twenty nuns who are receiving the Geshema degree. This is a result of your hard work and dedication,” he said.
He also expressed his gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for envisioning this step. “His Holiness the Dalai Lama is instrumental in making possible the historic conferment of the Geshema degree to Tibetan Buddhist nuns. We owe him a debt of gratitude.”