March of 2022 brought Menri Monastery’s first women(female) Geshe graduation. Ceremonies took place at the Ratna Menling Nunnery.
To become a Geshe-ma the nuns had to meet requirements by completing the same high level dialectic studies as the monks. All of the female candidates excelled in their exams. This accomplishment takes 15 years to complete and is the equivalent to a PHD in philosophy. The emphasis is on mind, body and spirit in the ancient Bon tradition.
A longtime vision of His Holiness 33, he supported the Bon belief that all nuns needed to be offered the same educational opportunities as the monks. His Holiness 34 has helped make this vision a reality. The first nuns arrived at Menri in 2004. They were so excited to be at the World Center of Bon practicing under the guidance of His Holiness 33 and Menri Ponlob Rinpoche. Since their arrival the nuns have worked very hard on their studies, practices and in supporting the many new nuns that have come to the Redna Menling Nunnery. To see the Geshe-mas achieve this degree offers the younger nuns a role model as they look to their future with dreams and endless/wonderful possibilities.
There have been nuns in Tibet who have received their Geshe degree. However, the significance of this event at Menri Monastery allows for greater visibility and it is exciting to think of the future offerings of the Geshemas in what they can provide the world.