The Geluk Exam – 2011

shar gaden exam

The Gelug Exam is widely known as the final stage of Buddhist studies within the monastic community especially in terms of Sutra studies. A monk must pass his monastery’s local exam where one must participate in all the related subjects like the Vinaya class (either 1st year or 2nd year) in order to be a fully eligible for the Gelug Exam.

In Tibet, this particular exam tradition was unknown to the general populace. Instead, they had the Geshe Debate Test that was conducted during the Lhasa Monlam Chenmo (The Great Prayer Festival) which is the equivalent of the contemporary exam with the exception of the philosophical writing test and grammatical discourse. The Geluk Exam was founded after 1959 (post Tibetan diaspora) and several modifications were later implemented in order to increase the scope of the exam.

The current general board of the Gelug Exam, which consists of the general supervisory staff from each monastic college: Shar Gaden and Serpom Monastery. Their responsibilities are to organise the most suitable time and venue for the exam. These board members are appointed with the consent and mutual agreement from the monastic colleges in order to ensure the successful continuation of the tradition so that it will be joyfully savored by future generations.

shar gaden exam

Currently, the exam is a 4-year course, and the final exam is held once a year during the Yarne season. In the past, it used to be a 6-year course but later reduced to 2 years in the wake of the segregation in 2008, which caused a sudden drop in participants. But that’s no longer a problem. A participant who manages to pass consistently for these four years will be conferred the Geshe Lharampa Degree (a monastic equivalent of the Phd in Buddhist studies) and he may spend a couple of years either in the Upper or Lower Tantric University (Gyuto / Gyume) for intensive Tantric experimentation thereafter in accordance with the Gelug tradition. Therefore, we prefer our own extraordinary tradition.

This year’s Gelug Exam will be held at Shar Gaden with many participants from Serpom monastery. This event traditionally begins from the 4th of September to 17th September 2011. We wish all the participants a great success and may their wholesome deeds cause eternal tranquility amongst all beings.

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One Response to “The Geluk Exam – 2011”
  1. Rinchen says:

    With this exam being held at Sha Gaden Monastery, it shows that although they practice Dorje Shugden practices, it allows them to grow spiritually. Hence, Dorje Shugden is not an evil spirit. Instead, he is an enlightened Dharma protector.

    It is also great to see that there are different examinations installed for the monks that are still studying. It shows the world that being a member of the Sangha is not as simple as it seems to be. It involves studying of texts that would be with the Dharmic knowledge. For the description of the examinations, I guess the monks would really have to study very hard in other to pass that examination.

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