Panchen Lama earns the Kachen degree from Tashilhunpo Monastery


On the evening of October 26, after nearly two hours of sutra debate, under the witness of 800 people, including revered Buddhists from major monasteries and temples in Tibet, as well as monks and pilgrims, Panchen Erdeni Choskyi Gyalpo successfully passed the examination at Tashilhunpo Monastery and obtained the "Kachen" degree, one of the highest degree in exoteric teachings of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, equivalent to a doctoral degree in modern education.

The Kachen degree is the highest degree for the Buddhist monks of Tashilhunpo Monastery to study the five volumes of Tibetan Buddhist teachings. Since the Panchen Lama came to the throne in December 1995, the eminent monks and sutra masters of Tashilhunpo have formulated a step-by-step Buddhist study plan. The Panchen Lama began to study the five volumes of Tibetan Buddhist teachings strictly in accordance with the traditional degree system of Tibetan Buddhism. Year after year, week after week, during more than 20 years of formal and rigorous training in reading and cultivating scriptures, the Panchen Lama has heard and thought deeply, practiced the Dharma diligently, and continuously improved his Buddhist attainments.

After several days of preparation, on the afternoon of the 26th, the Panchen Lama participated in the debate of the Kachen degree at Tashilhunpo Monastery. At 17:30, the eminent monk holding an incense burner welcomed the Panchen Lama to the throne on the second floor of the cloister. At 18:20, the incense-bearing monk signaled that the Panchen Lama walked from the throne to the debating seat.

The debate that night was divided into two rounds. The Panchen Lama took turns to question and refute the debaters as argumentators and refutationists. The defense always revolved around the doctrine of the "Four Truths" of Tibetan Buddhism. When he was standing, the Panchen Lama sometimes raised his arms and slapped his hands in circles, and frequently asked questions to the debater; when he was sitting down, he responded calmly and responded fluently.

At 20:10, the debate was successfully concluded and the assessment passed. Afterwards, representatives of monks from the temple presented manza and khata to the Panchen Lama and congratulated the Panchen Lama for obtaining the "Kachen" degree.

On the 27th (22 day of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar), Tashilhunpo Monastery held an auspicious prayer ceremony to congratulate the Panchen Lama for obtaining the highest degree. The Panchen Lama gave blessings to all the monks present, and collectively recited the sutras with the monks, praying for blessings and benefits to all beings, prosperous legal affairs, national peace and prosperity, and good weather.

As one of the six major monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, Tashilhunpo Monastery has its own unique learning system and degree-granting inheritance. It is an important place for Buddhist learning. Since the establishment of the monastery, a rigorous learning system and the "Kachen" degree system have been inherited. It has extensive influence in Tibetan Buddhist monastic education and plays a pivotal role. The Kachen degree is the highest degree of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. A Buddhist monk needs to study the basic courses of Tibetan Buddhism and the five volumes of Tibetan Buddhist teachings from the moment he enters the monastery before he can obtain the " Kachen" degree.