Je Khenpo Confers Masters Degrees to First Cohort of Monks in Bhutan's Postgraduate Program in Buddhist Studies

- through Henry Oudin

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His Holiness the Je Khenpo, center, with Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Her Royal Highness Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck, Vairochana Rinpoche Ngawang Jigme Jigten Wangchuck and the graduate monks. At

His Holiness the Je Khenpo, the senior Buddhist monastic in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, on March 3 awarded master's degrees to 30 monks, who represent the first cohort of Bhutan's graduate program in Buddhist studies.

The monks, graduates of the Tago Institute for Advanced Vajrayana Studies, established in 2020 to foster the growth of Vajrayana-based education in the kingdom, received their graduation certificates at a ceremony held at Tashichho Dzong in the capital Thimphu. THE jonga Buddhist monastery and fortress, is the traditional seat of civil government in Bhutan.

Among the 30 monks graduating on Friday, Phub Namgay, 31, and Choki Dorji, 30, said they felt honored and blessed to receive their certificates, and expressed hope that they could help spread the virus. Buddhadharma. .

"We are truly honored and blessed to receive our certificates from His Holiness the Je Khenpo, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Her Royal Highness Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck and Vairochana Rinpoche (Ngawang Jigme Jigten Wangchuck)," , said Phub Namgay. “In the beginning, there were some challenges at the beginning of the course, but thanks to the blessings of the Triple Gem and the combined efforts of teachers and students, we managed to overcome all the challenges. (BBS)

“After receiving many Vajrayana teachings and learning this important practice, I hope to spread my knowledge as much as possible,” said Choki Dorji. "By traveling to other places, if we could share such studies (with) other people, we would be able to make them understand the importance of the Vajrayana tradition" (BBS)

Most monks are expected to continue to undertake a traditional three-year meditation retreat, while some will become teachers themselves.

His Holiness the Je Khenpo launches a book titled The essence of the teachings of the accomplished Vidhyadharas. At

At the graduation ceremony, the Je Khenpo also launched a book titled The essence of the teachings of the accomplished Vidhyadharaswhich includes research contributed by graduate monks.

I khenpo is the title given to the chief abbot of the Zhung Dratshang (the central monastic body), the most senior Buddhist monastic in Bhutan and the spiritual leader of the nation. The Je Khenpo is the chairman of the Dratshang Lhentshog (Religious Affairs Council), which oversees the Zhung Dratshang, assisted by five Lopen Lhengyes (masters of ministerial rank). His Holiness I Thrizur was i khenpo from 1986 to 1990. The position is currently held by 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra, who has held the position since 1996.

 In Vajrayana Buddhism, we have a choice (of the path) to achieve enlightenment. If we cannot awaken from one method, we have other methods to awaken,” said Gyalsey Trulku Jigme Tenzin Wangpo, president of the Tago Institute for Advanced Vajarayana Studies. “Therefore, this practice has the ability to cause its practitioners to attain enlightenment in a single lifetime. Second, it is important to learn the Vajrayana tradition to know how to conduct religious rituals. (BBS)

Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu, Bhutan. Photo by Craig Lewis

Remote, landlocked and perched in the thin air of the Eastern Himalayas, the Kingdom of Bhutan, sandwiched between two political and economic heavyweights, India and China, is the last Vajrayana Buddhist country in the world. The ancient spiritual tradition is embedded in the very consciousness and culture of this distant land, where it flourished with an unbroken history dating back to its introduction from Tibet by Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, in the XNUMXth century. century.

Nearly 75% of Bhutan's population of some 770 people identify as Buddhists, according to the Washington, DC-based Pew Research Center, with Hindus making up the majority of the remaining 000%. Most Buddhists in Bhutan follow the Drukpa Kagyu or Nyingma schools of Vajrayana Buddhism. Bhutan held its first elections as a constitutional monarchy in 25.

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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