Six teenage Tibetan Living Buddhas have received "Nyethang Tarampa" degrees－the elementary academic degrees for Tibetan Buddhism－at the Tibet College of Buddhism in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region, China News Service reported.
Aged between 14 and 17, the Tibetan Living Buddhas are from different sects of Tibetan Buddhism from all over the region. Apart from receiving the monastic "Nyethang Tarampa" degrees, which signifies the completion of a level similar to that of junior-middle school, they were also presented with graduation certificates during the graduation ceremony held on Monday.
During the ceremony, they also gave presentations including speeches, poetry recitations, English melodramas and sutra debate to demonstrate their academic achievements gained at the institution.
During their studies at the institution, the Living Buddhas took courses including Tibetan, Mandarin, English, biology and science－as well as dharma teaching courses－to accomplish their middle-school stage tasks over the past three years.
Thubthen Gyidrak, a Living Buddha from the Ngothok Monastery of the region's Nagchu city, said he was enrolled by the college in 2016 and majored in cultural courses over the past five years. He said he would study religious courses in his next learning period at the college.
"Cultural courses can support my study in religion. Specifically, math can help me cultivate better logical thinking, which is very helpful for my dharma debating course," he said.
"The English language course is also important. It can serve as a tool for me to promote Buddhism in other cultures," he added. "However, it was not integrated into the traditional religion education system."
According to Lha Tsering, a teacher at the college, after completion of their studies at the middle-school stage, some of the graduates continue their study programs at the college to obtain higher academic degrees while others go back to their monasteries. The institution has kept improving its education plan for Tibetan Living Buddhas aged under 16 to empower them to better adapt into the current society.
At present, the college has more than 800 students, including more than 200 Buddhist nuns, said Lha Tsering. "All the disciples are given free education. Their tuition, textbook fees and boarding expenses are all covered," he said. "Each of them also gets an additional subsidy of 500 yuan ($71) monthly to cover other expenditures."
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