Support of the Buddhist Women's Educational Society for the nuns debate (jang guenchoe) and geshema exams 2014-2015
The annual Jang Gunchoe, the inter-nunnery debate session held in October, brings together hundreds of nuns from different nunneries for an important educational opportunity that was once only open to monks.
This debate session plays a great role in sharpening the nuns’ minds and preparing them for higher examinations, such as the Geshema exams, as they share their knowledge and debating skills among themselves.
The first inter-nunnery debate session was held on September 20, 1995 in Dharamsala, India. This milestone for Tibetan Buddhist nuns was modeled on the Jang Guenchoe debate sessions of the great monastic institutions of Tibet. It was organized by the Department of Religion and Culture and was attended by nuns from 4 nunneries in India — Jangchup Choeling, Jamyang Choeling, Geden Choeling, and Dolma Ling.
Funding for the first year was donated by the Foundation for Buddhist Studies on suggestion of Ven. Jampa Tsedroen (Germany). For the second year there was no specific funding so the participating nunneries from Dharamsala could only afford half a month debate session while Jangchup Choeling nuns from South India were unable to attend the session altogether.
From the third year 1997 onwards, the nunneries approached the Tibetan Nuns Project for assistance to held the third debate session at Dolma Ling (Dharamsala). The Department of Religion and Culture and the Tibetan Nuns Project agreed to work together to organize the Jang Guenchoe session for the nuns until they gain the skills and confidence to take the responsibility into their own hands as the monks do. However, the Tibetan Nuns Project is solely organizing the funds. The venue of the Jang Guenchoe site is rotated among the participating nunneries.
The nuns' interest in debate is steadily increasing and the number of nunneries participating has also increased. Seven nunneries, the original 4 plus Khacho Ghakil Ling and Thugjee Choeling from Nepal and the Buddhist Education Centre from Kinnaur also attend the Jang Guenchoe every year. Sometimes they are joined by others such as the Drikung Nunnery, Dongyu Gyatseling, Sherab Choeling, Yangchen Choeling, and Jampa Choeling. They are all welcome to join when they can.
In 2011 a nuns committee was formed with two representatives from each participating nunnery who are responsible to make all the plans and arrangements for the session. However, it will take some time for the committee to take on fund-raising responsibilities. In the meantime, as usual the funds are being organized by the Tibetan Nuns Project, supported by the Buddhist Women's Educational Society.