Good News but NOT the First

Now here’s a good one to end the year on. His Holiness the Dalai Lama awarded 20 Tibetan Buddhist nuns with Geshema degrees yesterday at a ceremony at Drepung monastery in Mundgod, South India last Thursday, the 22nd of December. (Geshema is simply the feminine version of Geshe). 

According to the Tibetan government in exile the nuns are the first female monastics to complete the necessary training and examinations to earn the degree.

However, what about Venerable Kelsang Wangmo? In April 2011, His Holiness advised the renowned Institute for Buddhist Dialectical Studies (IBD) in Dharamsala, India, to confer the degree of “Geshe” to Venerable Kelsang Wangmo, a German nun (formerly Kerstin Brunnenbaum).

The Geshema degree is the highest level of training in the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, and could previously only be earned by men. In July, the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration announced that all 20 candidates for the degree had passed the examination process. The exams take a total of four years to complete, with one 12-day exam period per year each May that tests the knowledge gained in a 17-year course of study.

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It’s World Peace Day, Honest

Now I seem to have almost missed this but today is World Peace Day. What with all the ceasefires being declared and peace treaties being signed, the universal dancing in the streets and all those swords being beaten into ploughshares it’s amazing but I really didn’t notice the significance of the date.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All” which aims to highlight the importance of all segments of society to work together to strive for peace.

So it is opportune that the Dalai Lama has given his blessing to a new course of evening classes, available across the UK, promising to make participants happier… and the world a better place.

The eight-week course, designed by the Action for Happiness organisation, claims to be scientifically proven to increase life satisfaction, mental well being, compassion and social trust.

Entitled Exploring What Matters, the classes will be free – although organisers do ask for a donation to cover costs. Hundreds of people have already volunteered to host the course in locations across the UK.

Launching the course today, on World Peace Day, the Dalai Lama said he was delighted to see the “work being done to create a happier and more caring society”.

“I wholeheartedly support the Exploring What Matters course and hope that many thousands of people will benefit from it and be inspired to take their own action to help create a happier world,” he said.

During the course, local groups explore a series of questions including “What really matters in life?”, “What really makes us happy?” and “How can we create a happier world?”.

Better get a move on as the world ends day after tomorrow……………………………