Geshe (Tib. dge bshes, short for dge-ba'i bshes-gnyen, "virtuous friend"; translation of Skt. kalyāņamitra) or geshema is a Tibetan Buddhist academic degree for monks and nuns. The degree is emphasized primarily by the Gelug lineage, but is also awarded in the Sakya and Bön traditions. The geshema degree is the same as a geshe degree, but is called a geshema degree because it is awarded to women.
The title Geshe was first applied to esteemed Kadampa masters such as Geshe Chekawa Yeshe Dorje (1102-1176), who composed an important lojong text called Seven Points of Mind Training and Geshe Langri Tangpa (dGe-bshes gLang-ri Thang-pa, 1054-1123).
The geshe curriculum represents an adaptation of subjects studied at Indian Buddhist monastic universities such as Nālandā. These centers were destroyed by Islamic invaders of India, leaving Tibet to continue the tradition. It first developed within the Sakya monastic lineage, where it was known as ka-shi ("four subjects") or ka-chu ("ten subjects"). The Sakyas also granted degrees at the conclusion of these studies, on the basis of proficiency in dialectical ritualized debate. In Tsongkhapa's time the Sakya degree was awarded at Sangphu, Kyormolung and Dewachen (later Ratö) monasteries.
The geshe degree flowered under the Gelug monastic lineage. Under Gelug domination, monks from various monastic lineages would receive training as geshes through the great Gelug monasteries. Gelugpa geshes often went on to study at one of Lhasa's tantric colleges, Gyütö or Gyüme. (The tantric colleges also grant a "geshe" title for scholarship in the tantras.)
Under Sakya and Gelug influence, the Kagyu and Nyingma monastic lineages developed their own systems of scholarly education. Their schools grant the degree of ka-rabjampa ("one with unobstructed knowledge of scriptures") as well as the title Khenpo, which the Gelug tradition reserves for Abbot_(Buddhism)s. The course of study which prevails in Kagyu and Nyingma circles emphasizes commentary over debate, and focuses on a somewhat wider selection of classics (with accordingly less detail). It ideally lasts for nine years, concluding with a three-year, three-month meditation retreat.
In April 2011, the Institute for Buddhist Dialectical Studies (IBD) in Dharamsala, India, conferred the degree of geshe on Venerable Kelsang Wangmo, a German nun, thus making her the world's first female geshe.
In 2013, Tibetan women were able to take the geshe exams for the first time.
In 2016, twenty Tibetan Buddhist nuns became the first Tibetan women to earn geshema degrees. The geshema degree is the same as a geshe degree, but is called a geshema degree because it is awarded to women.
The Geshe curriculum consists of the "Collected Topics" (Tibetan: བསྡུས་གྲྭ་, Wylie: bsdus-grwa) which were preliminary to the syllabus proper, as well as the five major topics, which form the syllabus proper.
The exoteric study of Buddhism is generally organized into "five topics", listed as follows with the primary Indian source texts for each:
In the Gelug school, the degree may not be earned by laypeople (though some recipients later give up their robes), or until recently by women (including nuns). The first geshema degree was conferred to a German nun, Kelsang Wangmo, in 2011. The Gelug curriculum, which lasts between 12 and 40 years, centers around textual memorization and ritualized debate, and is invariably taught through the medium of the Tibetan language.
Each year an examination is held for those who have completed their studies. In it their performance is evaluated by the abbot of the particular college. The topics for their dialectical examination are drawn from the whole course of study and the topic to be debated is selected by the abbot on the spot, so that students have no chance to do specific preparation. Thus, it is a real test of a student's abilities and the depth of their study. At the conclusion the abbot assigns each candidate to a category of geshe according to their ability. There are four such categories, Dorampa, Lingtse, Tsorampa and Lharampa, Lharampa being the highest. After this, in order to qualify, the candidates are not allowed to miss even one of the three daily debate sessions during the subsequent eight months.
Gishe is one of the woredas in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Located at the eastern edge of the Ethiopian highlands in the Semien Shewa Zone, Gishe is bordered on the south by the Menz Gera Midir, on the west and north by the Debub Wollo Zone, and on the east by Antsokiyana Gemza; the Wanchet River defines its western boundary. The name of this woreda is coming from the name of a district of the former province or kingdom of Shewa, Gishe. It contains Abuye Meda, the largest plateau in Ethiopia. The administrative center of Gishe is Rabel.
Elevations in Gishe range from about 1200 meters along the Wanchet to over 3000 meters above sea level in the ridge of mountains that run near the eastern border of this woreda. Rivers include the Albuko, Yasha,Wayit, Kechine and Yada rivers.Geshe Lama Konchog
Geshe Lama Konchog, born Lobsang Puntsog (1917–2001), was a Tibetan Buddhist lama of the Gelug school, who had thousands of followers around the world. Konchog was recognized by the Dalai Lama to be a Mahasiddha, or realized guru.Konchog spent a total of 26 years in isolated mountain retreat, seeking illumination. Beginning in 1985, he resided at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. He also traveled around the world teaching.
Konchog died at the age of 84 in 2001. Tenzin Nyudrup (Phuntsok Rinpoche) was recognized by the Dalai Lama to be Konchog's reincarnation. Konchog's funeral rites, and the search for his subsequent reincarnation by his close disciple Tenzin Zopa, are documented in the 2008 film, Unmistaken Child.Geshe Rabten
Geshe Rabten (1921–1986) was a Tibetan Geshe born in Tibet in 1921.
He was a student at Sera Monastery in Lhasa, and achieved Geshe status before leaving Tibet in 1959. He became known as a debater, scholar, and meditation master.Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche were guided by him in their early days outside of Tibet.
In the mid 1960s Geshe Rabten was a religious assistant to the Dalai Lama.The Dalai Lama asked him to teach Dharma to Westerners in Dharamshala in 1969.He went to teach in Switzerland in 1974.He was the founder of the Rabten Choeling Centre (which was originally named Tharpa Choeling) in Switzerland in 1979. He remained there till his death in 1986.
Other centres that he founded in Europe included the Tibetan centre in Hamburg, Tashi Rabten at the Letzehof, Puntsog Rabten in Munich and Gephel Ling in Milan.Kelsang Gyatso
Kelsang Gyatso (Tibetan: བཀལ་བཟང་རྒྱ་མཚོ།, Wylie: bskal bzang rgya mtsho) (b. 1931) is a Buddhist monk, meditation teacher, scholar, and author. He is the founder and former spiritual director of the New Kadampa Tradition-International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU), an "entirely independent" Modern Buddhist order that presents itself to be a tradition based on the teachings of the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which has grown to become a global Buddhist organisation and currently claims to have 1200 centers and branches in 40 countries around the world.Kelsang Gyatso is known among students of Buddhism for establishing the NKT and for his books which outline what he sees as key aspects of the Gelugpa tradition. He has become known for elevating the status of Dorje Shugden, by claiming Shugden's appearance is enlightened.Lamrim
Lamrim (Tibetan: "stages of the path") is a Tibetan Buddhist textual form for presenting the stages in the complete path to enlightenment as taught by Buddha. In Tibetan Buddhist history there have been many different versions of lamrim, presented by different teachers of the Nyingma, Kagyu and Gelug schools. However, all versions of the lamrim are elaborations of Atiśa's 11th-century root text A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (Bodhipathapradīpa).Lhatse (town)
The new town of Lhatse (Wylie: lha rtse) or Lhatse Xian, also known as Quxar, Quxia or Chusar, is a small town of a few thousand people in the Tibet Autonomous Region in the valley of the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Lhatse County, 151 kilometres (94 mi) southwest of Shigatse and just west of the mountain pass leading to it. Lhatse is 4,050 metres (13,290 ft) above sea-level.Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) is a Tibetan library in Dharamshala, India. The library was founded by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama on 11 June 1970, and is considered one of the most important libraries and institutions of Tibetan works in the world.The library contains sources which were relocated from Tibet during the 1959 escape, including important Tibetan Buddhist manuscripts and archives related to Tibet's history, politics, culture and even art. It possesses more than 80,000 manuscripts, books and documents; over 600 thangkas, statues and other artefacts of Buddhist heritage; 10,000 photographs; and many other materials.The directors have included Geshe Lhakdor, and Geshe Sonam Rinchen had also been scholar-in-residence.
The primary objective of the library is to provide a comprehensive cultural resource of the highest standard and to promote an environment to facilitate research and the exchange of knowledge.The second floor of the library contains a museum (opened in 1974) containing notable artefacts, such as a three-dimensional carved wooden mandala of Avalokiteshvara and items that date back to the twelfth century.Ling Rinpoche
Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche is a Tibetan tulku. The best-known incarnation is the sixth incarnation, Thupten Lungtok Namgyal Thinley (1903 - 1983), a Tibetan buddhist scholar and teacher.
Thupten Lungtok Namgyal Thinley, the 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche, was one of the most renowned and qualified masters of the 20th Century. His students included masters from all four Tibetan Buddhist schools. He was very learned and an accomplished writer, poet and expert on grammar. In 1965 HH Ling Rinpoche was appointed the 97th Ganden Throne Holder and held the position as the head of the Gelug school for 19 years, longer than any other occupant of this throne.Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was born in Tibet in 1903, not far from Lhasa in Kyisho, a place known as an abode of Cakrasamvara and his consort. After only 12 years of study at Drepung Loseling Monastic University, he received a Geshe Lharampa degree at 21 years old. Rinpoche served as Disciplinarian and Abbot of Gyuto Tantric Monastery, before serving as the 14th Dalai Lama's Principal Tutor. He fled with the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959 and lived in India for the remainder of his life.Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche gave many public and private teachings and initiations throughout his life in Tibet, India, Europe and North America. He died in Dharamshala, India at the age of 81. Rinpoche’s consciousness reportedly remained in his body after he died, in the clear light meditation on the mind of death ('Tukdam'),for thirteen days.
Prior to Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, three earlier incarnations of Ling Rinpoche were tutors for previous Dalai Lamas, including the 13th, the 12th and the 6th Dalai Lamas. Three incarnations of Ling Rinpoche were also Ganden Tripas. Over many years, the Ling Rinpoche incarnations founded many monasteries in Tibet and taught students in every sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Many of the monks in Ling Khangtsen come from these monasteries.
The current incarnation of Ling Rinpoche, the 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Choktrul Rinpoche, was born in India on November 18, 1985. He was taken to the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala after his mother died, and stayed there until HH the Dalai Lama recognized him as the reincarnation of his Principal Tutor, HH the 6th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche, who died in 1983.The 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche joined Drepung Monastic University’s Loseling College in 1990, which was re-established in the Mundgod Tibetan settlement in South India. His enrollment and return to the monastery of his predecessors was celebrated with large, traditional religious ceremonies for auspiciousness. The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoches had studied there as members of the Ling Khangtsen.HH the Dalai Lama gave the young Ling Rinpoche novice monk vows in 1993 to continue a monastic lineage. He also received full monastic (‘Bikshu’) vows from HH Dalai Lama exactly 50 years after the Dalai Lama had received them from his Principal Tutor. Monks usually receive Bikshu vows when they are 20 years old. Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was asked to lead a Long Life Puja on March 5 2004, which was organized by the Tibetan Government to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama taking the Bikshu vows. The 6th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche had given them to him in 1954 in front of the Jho statue in Lhasa’s Jokhang temple. Since HE Ling Rinpoche was 20 years old at the time, HH the Dalai Lama gave him the Bikshu vows on March 3 2004, at Yongzin Lingtsang Labrang in Dharamsala. The 6th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche had received all his monastic vows from HH the 13th Dalai Lama in the Potala Palace.The Gelug tradition emphasizes a deep and intensive study of Buddhist scriptures. The 7th Kyabje Ling Rinpoche’s monastic studies began when he was ten years old under the guidance of HH Dalai Lama. Geshe Namgyal Wangchen and Geshe Thubten Rapgay served as his two main tutors. During breaks from studying, he has completed private retreats. The 7th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche received his Geshe degree Drepung Monastic University in November 2016 and enrolled at Gyuto Tantric College in Dharamsala, India in April 2017 for a year of tantric studies that traditionally follows the completion of a Geshe degree.In 1991 Ling Rinpoche gave his first teaching in South Korea. Since then he has given teachings and tantric initiations in many countries in Asia and Europe, Canada, Australia, the United States, Mexico and Israel, as well as Tibetan settlements throughout India and Nepal. Rinpoche has also organized and attended many important Buddhist events.HE Ling Rinpoche organized HH the Dalai Lama’s historic series of Jangchup Lamrim Teachings on the 18 classic Stages of the Path to Enlightenment treatises. They were held at Sera, Drepung, Ganden and Tashi Lhunpo monasteries between 2012 and 2015, with approximately 40,000 people from all over the world attending each year. In November 2012, while driving to Goa Airport to greet HH Dalai Lama who had arrived to give the Jangchup Lamrim teachings, HE Ling Rinpoche was in a car accident which was fatal for the driver. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche sustained serious injuries requiring lengthy surgeries. His complete recovery took several years.Rinpoche attends international events dedicated to preserving Buddhist traditions, including the International Conference on Vinaya and World Peace Puja in Bodhgaya, India and the conference on the relevance of Buddhism in the 21st Century in Rajgir, India that was organized by the Indian Government Ministry of Culture and the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara. Starting in 2004 he has also participated in the Mind and Life Institute dialogues held in India between HH the Dalai Lama and scientists on a variety of topics, such physics, neuroplasticity and destructive emotions.List of Tibetan writers
This is a chronological list of important Tibetan writers.Manjushri Institute
Manjushri Institute was a large Buddhist college situated at Conishead Priory in Cumbria, England from 1976 until its dissolution in 1991. In 1991 its assets, including Conishead Priory, were transferred to a new centre on the same premises, Manjushri Mahayana Buddhist Centre, which was later renamed Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre.Michael Roach
Michael Roach (born December 17, 1952) is an American non-traditional teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. Ordained as a Gelugpa monk, he was the first American to receive the Geshe degree at Sera Monastery in Tibet. He has started a number of businesses and organizations, written books about Buddhism, and translated Tibetan Buddhist teachings.
Roach has written and lectured that yoga, meditation, and a practice of helping others—even competitors—leads to financial prosperity. He has at times been the center of controversy for his views, teachings, activities, and behavior.New Kadampa Tradition
The New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT—IKBU) is a global Buddhist new religious movement founded by Kelsang Gyatso in England in 1991. In 2003 the words "International Kadampa Buddhist Union" (IKBU) were added to the original name "New Kadampa Tradition". The NKT-IKBU is an international organisation registered in England as a charitable, or non-profit, company. It currently lists more than 200 centres and around 900 branch classes/study groups in forty countries.The NKT-IKBU describes itself as ‘an entirely independent Buddhist tradition’ inspired and guided by ‘the ancient Kadampa Buddhist Masters and their teachings, as presented by Kelsang Gyatso’. Its founder, Kelsang Gyatso, has sought to make Buddhist meditation and teaching more readily accessible to twenty-first century living. He also wanted to ensure that people did not simply study Tibetan Buddhism from an academic point of view, but learned how to extend this knowledge through meditation and practical Buddhist experience. The NKT-IKBU is described as being "very successful at disseminating its teachings" and Geshe Kelsang's books have been called "very popular".The NKT-IKBU has expanded more rapidly than any other Buddhist tradition in Britain. It has been described as a "controversial organization" and a "controversial" new religious movement, a cult, or a breakaway Buddhist sect.Ngawang Wangyal
Ngawang Wangyal (Tibetan: ངག་དབང་དབང་རྒྱལ་, Wylie: Ngag-dbang Dbang-rgyal) (October 15, 1901 - January 30, 1983), popularly known as "Geshe Wangyal," was a Buddhist priest and scholar of Kalmyk origin who was born in the Astrakhan province in southeast Russia sometime in 1901.Sonam Rinchen
Geshe Sonam Rinchen (1933–2013) was born in Trehor region of Kham in Eastern Tibet in 1933. He died in Dharamshala, India, 5 October 2013.
In 1945, he joined Dhargyey Monastery, and entered the monastic university of Sera in Lhasa in 1952, where he studied until he was forced to flee Tibet in 1959.
In India he completed his studies for the degree of Geshe Lharampa which he received in 1980. He also received the degree of Acarya from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath. He was appointed resident teacher at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamshala, India in 1978, where he taught Buddhist philosophy and practice, mainly to westerners. He has also taught in Japan, Australia, Great Britain, South Korea, Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland.Tashi Tsering (Jamyang Buddhist Centre)
For Geshe Tashi Tsering of Chenrezig Institute, Australia, see Tashi Tsering
Tashi Tsering (Tibetan: བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཚེ་རིང་, Wylie: Bkra-shis Tse-ring) (born 1958) is abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University in India. From 1994 to 2018, he was the resident Tibetan Buddhist teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London.
Tsering was born in Purang, Tibet in 1958, and his parents escaped to India in 1959. He entered Sera Mey Monastic University in South India when he was 13 years old, and graduated with a Lharampa Geshe degree 16 years later. Geshe Tashi then entered the Higher Tantric College (Gyuto) for a year of study.Tsering's teaching career began at Sera, after which he taught the monks at Kopan Monastery, Nepal for a year. He went on to the Gandhi Foundation College in Nagpur, India and then moved to Europe, initially to Nalanda Monastery in the South of France.
In the west, Tsering teaches in English and is renowned for his warmth, clarity and humour. Besides Jamyang, he has been a regular guest teacher at other Buddhist centres in the UK and around the world as well as creator and teacher of the Foundation of Buddhist Thought, the two-year FPMT correspondence and campus course on the basics of Tibetan Buddhism.In March 2018 it was announced that Geshe Tashi Tsering had been asked by the Dalai Lama to become abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University in India. He was enthroned as abbot on 17 June 2018.In June 2019 he was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen's birthday honours list for services to Buddhism in the UK.Geshe-la should not be confused with Geshe Tashi Tsering of Chenrezig Institute, Australia.Tenzin Zopa
Geshe Tenzin Zopa (born 1975) is a Nepalese Tibetan Buddhist monk of the Mahayana tradition. He is the resident teacher of the Losang Dragpa Centre of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). Zopa is featured in the 2008 documentary film Unmistaken Child, which follows his search for the reincarnation of his beloved master, Geshe Lama Konchog. Zopa has also written a book about this search, titled Precious Holy Child of Kopan.Thubten Yeshe
Thubten Yeshe (1935–1984) was a Tibetan lama who, while exiled in Nepal, co-founded Kopan Monastery (1969) and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (1975). He followed the Gelug tradition, and was considered unconventional in his teaching style.
Lama Yeshe was born near the Tibetan town of Tolung Dechen, but was sent to Sera Monastery in Lhasa at the age of six. He received full ordination at the age of 28 from Kyabje Ling Rinpoche. Jeffrey Paine reports that Lama Yeshe deliberately refused the geshe degree, despite having studied for it:
Many years later, when pressed why he had shunned this prestigious degree, he would laugh: "And be Geshe Yeshe?"
Sera Monastery did award him an honorary geshe degree in the early 80s. He also used to joke that he was a Tibetan hippie: "I dropped out!"Thupten Jinpa
Thupten Jinpa Langri (born 1958) is a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, former monk and an academic of religious studies and both Eastern and Western philosophy. He has been the principal English translator to the Dalai Lama since 1985. He has translated and edited more than ten books by the Dalai Lama including The World of Tibetan Buddhism (Wisdom Publications, 1993), A Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus (Wisdom Publications, 1996), and the New York Times bestseller Ethics for the New Millennium (Riverhead, 1999).Thupten Jinpa Langri was born in Tibet in 1958. He received his early education and training as a monk at Zongkar Choede Monastery in Hunsur near Mysore, Karnataka, South India and later joined the Shartse College of Ganden monastic university, in Mundgod, Karnataka, South India, where he received the Geshe Lharam degree. He taught Buddhist epistemology, metaphysics, Middle Way philosophy and Buddhist psychology at Ganden for five years. Jinpa also holds a B.A. Honors degree in Western Philosophy and a Ph.D. degree in Religious Studies, both from Cambridge University, UK.From 1996 to 1999, he was the Margaret Smith Research Fellow in Eastern Religion at Girton College, Cambridge and he has now established the Institute of Tibetan Classics where he is both president and editor-in-chief of the Institute's translation series Classics in Tibet. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Mind and Life Institute, dedicated to fostering creative dialogue between the Buddhist tradition and Western science.He is a Visiting Research Scholar at the Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences at Stanford University.Geshe Thupten Jinpa has written many books and articles. His latest works are Tibetan Songs of Spiritual Experience (co-edited with Jas Elsner) and Self, Reality and Reason in Tibetan Thought: Tsongkhapa's Quest for the Middle View.Trijang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso
The Third Trijang Rinpoche, Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (1901–1981) was a Gelug Lama and a direct disciple of Pabongkhapa Déchen Nyingpo. He succeeded Ling Rinpoche as the junior tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama when the Dalai Lama was nineteen years old. He was also a lama of many Gelug Lamas who taught in the West including Zong Rinpoche, Geshe Rabten and Lama Yeshe. Trijang Rinpoche's oral teachings were recorded by Zimey Rinpoche in a book called the Yellow Book.
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