Alternative flash content


Alternative flash content


Monastery Curriculum

Debate courtyard of Drepung Gomang Monastery constructed in 2007.

Drepung Gomang is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery established in the Gelug tradtion, founded by Je Tsong Khapa (1357-1419).

The Gelug tradition lays special emphasis on the place of ethics, as expressed through monastic discipline, as the ideal basis for religious education and practice.  In addition, the Gelug tradition regards sound scholarship as a prerequisite for constructive meditation; hence, the teachings of both sutra and tantra are subject to rigorous analysis through the medium of dialectical debate.

Drepung Gomang College is renowned among all the Gelug Monasteries (Ganden, Sera, and Drepung) for its emphasis on and expertise in the field of  logic and debate.

In general, the curriculum of study in a Gelug monastery covers the five major topics plus Collected Topics (Parchen) which is preliminary to the syllabus proper.    The major topics are:


In Tibetan



Tsel Ma Namdrel

Pramana Vartikka

Commentaries of logic



Perfection of Wisdom



Avoidance of Extremes/middle way



Canons of Monastic disciplin



Treasure house of knowledge

These five courses are studied meticulously by the dialectical method using Indian texts as well as Indian and Tibetan commentaries to them for a period of sixteen years.  After completing these five course, a monk can pursue further studies appearing on Gelug Examination, a Standard examination for all three Gelug monasteries (Gaden, Sera and Drepung).  Upon successfully passing this exam, the monk is awarded of the degree of Geshe (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy : Geshe Lharampa, Master of Buddhist Philosophy: Geshe Dorampa, Bachelor of Buddhist Philosophy: Geshe Rabjampa).  Soon aftering getting this title, the Geshe will also undertake one year mandatory course either at one of two tantric college. viz., Gyumed Tantric college or Gyotoe Tantric College.








Du chung

Elementary Philosophy 1st year

one year


Du chen

Elementary Philosophy 2nd year

one year



Commentaries of Logic Ist year

one year



Commentaries of Logic 2nd year

one year


Don Dochoe

Perfection of Wisdom 1st year

one year


Shung wog

Perfection of Wisdom 2nd year

one year


Shung gong

Perfection of Wisdom  3rd year

one year


Kyab 1st

Perfection of Wisdom 4th year

one year


Saem Sog (new class introduced in 2008)

Perfection of Wisdom extra year

one year


Kyab 4th

Perfection of Widsom final year

one year


Uma sarwa

Avoidance of Extremes Ist year

one year


Uma Nyingpa

Avoidance of Extremes 2nd year

one year



Treasure of Knowledge

one year


Karam Wog

Preparatory class for Gelug Gyutoe (Gelug University examination)

one year


Karam sarwa

Preparatory class for Gelug Gyutoe (Gelug University examination)

one year


Karam Bog

Preparatory class for Gelug Gyutoe (Gelug University examination)

one year


If he wishes, upon completing his degree,  the Geshe may join one of the tantric colleges (Gyumey and Gyuto) to study the tantras and thereby complete his formal studies; or he may return to his local monastery to teach, or retire into seclusion to engage in intensive meditation.  A monk who has completed a Geshe's training is respected as being a fully qualified and authoritative spiritual master worthy of devotion and esteem.

Young monks begin their studies around the age of six.  They attend 8 years of classes in the standard subjects of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and history.  In addition, they begin preliminary studies of scripture and philosophy as soon as they learn to read and write.

The Monastic Annual Religious Programs

The monastery holds 8 annual periods of debate session: 1) First Spring Session lasts for 15 days (from 3rd of second month of Tibetan almanac till 17th of third month); 2) Greater Spring Session lasts for 30 days (from 3rd of third month till 3rd of forth month; 3) First Summer Session lasts for 20 days (from 16th of forth month till 6th of fifth) 4) Greater Summer Session lasts for 30 days (from 16th of fifth month till 16th of sixth month); 5) Greater Autumn Session lasts for 30 days (from 3rd of eighth month till 3rd of ninth month) 6) Sakar Session lasts for 20 days (16th of ninth month till 6th of tenth month) 7) Ngachoe Session lasts for 15 days (16 of tenth month till 1st of eleventh month) 8) Greater Winter Session lasts for 30 days (from 16th of eleventh month till 16th of twelfth month).

Jamshug Tsenphu (an overnight mass debate congregation on the initial part of The Perfection of Wisdom concerning The Life Lord Maiteria) on 18th of eleventh month of Tibetan almanac; Namdral Tsenphu (an overnight mass debate congregation on Pranama) in the twelfth month; Kyap Shepai Tsenphu (an overnight mass debate congregation on the forth chapter of The Perfection of Wisdom) on 18th of third month; Umei Jugtsul Tsenphu (an overnight mass debate congregation on the initial part of Madhiamaka) on 9th of eighth month; Umei Thaldog Tsenphu (an overnight mass debate congregation on the concerning chapter of Madhiamaka about Prasangika School’s counter polemical critique against especially Cittamatra or The Mind Only School’s misconceptions) on 29th of eighth month.

About the participation in twos from the concerned class in debate presentation during the mass prayer congregations covers the varied core parts of the monastic curriculums: Vinaya; Abidharma; Madhiamaka (the concept of self-negation); Madhiamaka (the grounded polemical logic that proves the invalidity of self-experiencing consciousness); on Abisamayalngkara (The Perfection of Wisdom) the subjects range as on Choekhor (The Turning of The Wheel of Dharma), Gedun Nyishu (the 20 Sangha grades), Semkei (Bodhichitta), Dhangnei (The right interpretation), Kapshipa (the forth chapter of The Perfection of Wisdom).

The significant anniversaries are as: Anniversary of Kunkhen Rinpoche; Anniversary of Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana; Anniversary of Buddha’s First Teaching; Umei Dhusang (Graduation Day of the outgoing students of Madhiamaka class); Anniversary of Buddha’s Decent from Tushita Heaven; Anniversary of Jhe Tsongkha Pa; Pharchen Dhamcha (the days long graduating debate participations by the outgoing students of The Perfection of Wisdom class); Garing Gathung Damcha (the days long mass debate congregations participated by the graduating students/Geshe of the year); Pharchen Thug Chora (the days long interclass mass debate congregations participated by the students of The Perfection of Wisdom classes).

About the scope of the monastic examination the matters range as: Memorization Test, Debate Test, Writing Test of Buddhist philosophy, Religious History, Tibetan Grammar and Poetry. The ones who fare excellent in their examinations are presented with prizes during a prayer congregation and those who fail have to remain in the same class as to qualify even further in his past year studies.

The recess periods between 8 annual periods of debate session as cited above are for memorizing and reciting scriptural texts of one’s concerned studying subjects and also for attending teaching classes.

Travelling in USA