Since the core aim of the monastery is to provide an in-depth and advanced study in Buddhism along with modern subjects and languages, as the monk students graduate from the school, it is imperative that the transition from the school to the higher Buddhist Studies is gradual and smooth.
As can be seen from the Academic Calendar and Curriculum grid of the Higher Buddhist Studies, (Lobnyer), one needs a concentrated and continuous study for at least 24 years to complete the curriculum. The complete course include the Art of healing, Dialectics, Sanskrit, Arts and Crafts, Metaphysics and Buddhist philooshy. Of these five higher subjects, the most important are the Buddhist Philosophy and Dialectics. They are divided into five major subjects, known by their Sanskrit names Pragna Paramita, Madhyamaika – the middle path, Vinaya – the canon of monastic discipline, Abhidarma – Metaphysics, and Pramana – logic, developing mental powers and Dialectics.
Written and Oral examinations are conducted every academic year. The Academic Council sets the papers and topics for these written and oral examinations, and they are strictly enforced to ensure fairness and quality. The final debate examinations are held twice in an academic year in the presence of the Abbot and all the Academic Council members. If they are successful in these examinations, the monks obtain the Kachen degree.
After the internal examinations are over, many senior monks also enter the external Geluk Debating and Written examinations conducted by the Central Examination Board of Gelug Monasteries in exile. This is the apex examining Board for Gelukpa monasteries. If they are successful in these examinations held during the Choetrul Monlam, they obtain the degree of Kachen Lharampa degree, which is equivalent to Ph.D. in modern education.
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