12 Tibetan monks receive Buddhism's highest degree

LHASA, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Twelve monks were awarded the degree of Geshe Lharampa on Monday in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

The award ceremony was held in the Jokhang Temple in downtown Lhasa, the regional capital.

Geshe Lharampa, which means "intellectual" in the Tibetan language, is the highest academic degree for the Gelugba School -- also known as the Yellow Sect -- of Tibetan Buddhism. The history of Geshe Lharampa goes back 400 years.

The exam takes the form of debate, questions, and answers. During the debate activity held on Monday, Chokyi Nambar from the Champa Ling Monastery took first place; Losang Jonang from the Tashilhunpo Monastery and Ngawang Gonchen from the Drepung Monastery came second and third respectively.

So far, some 140 monks have received the degree since the exam was restored in 2004.

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