On May 20, You Quan, a member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China and head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, met and took a photo with the winners of the Thorampa advanced academic title from the 15th Tibetan Buddhism Thorampa examination in Beijing.
You Quan emphasized that the Tibetan Buddhist community must resolutely safeguard the unification of the motherland and national unity, adhere to develop religions in the Chinese context, carry forward the great traditions of patriotism and love of religion, obey the law and Buddhist disciplines, dedicate to further study, speak and behave well, benefit all beings, and play an active role in promoting the healthy inheritance of Tibetan Buddhism and adapting Tibetan Buddhism to the socialist society.
The Thorampa academic title is the highest in Tibetan Buddhism. This year, 40 monks earned the title after undergoing strict examinations.
The new academic system in Tibetan Buddhism consists of beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Of these, the beginner academic title is called chenrampa in Tibetan, and it is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree. The intermediate title is called chingrampa in Tibetan, and it is equivalent to a master’s degree. Accordingly, the advanced title is equivalent to a doctoral degree, and in Tibetan it is called Thorampa.
The Thorampa degree is awarded by the High-level Tibetan Buddhism College of China.,
In order to earn this advanced academic degree, first students must concentrate on studying in a monastery for over 15 years. Only one gained some achievements, followed religious discipline well, and achieved particularly good results, can he sit for the entrance examination to the High-level Tibetan Buddhism College of China and be selected to study there.
Second, after being accepted, they must study at the college for two years, during which time they undergo comprehensive and systematic study. They must take traditional religious classes as well as general courses in science, culture, law, and management.
Third, upon graduation, they must not only have taken all the necessary credits and pass exams in the cultural and political classes, they must also undergo a scripture debating exam, a scripture lecture giving exam, and a thesis defense. After all their examinations are qualified and approved by the academic rating committee, they have obtained the highest academic title in Tibetan Buddhism.