Serpom Thoesam Norling Monastery in the Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement of Mysore, India was formerly Pomra Khangtsen of Sera Mey Monastery. Established as a monastic university in its own right in 2008, Serpom Monastery is an institution for advanced Buddhist education based on the pure tradition and lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa. As is the tradition of the Gelugpas, Serpom Monastery has its own pantheon of Dharma Protectors, of which Dorje Shugden, the uncommon Dharma Protector, is one.
The Serpom School opened its doors in the year 2009. Modelled on the Tibetan Buddhist educational system with an emphasis on debate, the students have regular classes in the mornings, with debate sessions held twice a day in the mornings and evenings. It has been proven over the centuries that intensive debate cultivates a good memory, concise understanding of the subject matter and clarity of thought, not to mention the need to be able to think on the move.
The young monks in Serpom School study a range of traditional topics including Tibetan language, Tibetan grammar, Tibetan handwriting, mathematics and science. Modern additions to the traditional school curriculum include English and Chinese language classes, which will equip the young monks with the necessary skills to integrate into modern society and thus be better able to preserve and propitiate the pure lineage and teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa and Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden.
Serpom School endeavours to provide textbooks and reference books for the young monks, which is made possible through the kind generosity of sponsors from around the world who believe in supporting the monastic education system. In this way, the students do not have to be burdened with finding resources for basic academic supplies but instead can concentrate on their education. Modern day necessities such as computers are also much needed to equip the young monks with computer know-how and digital skills, which are useful for digitising rare and precious Tibetan texts for easy preservation and dissemination.
The knowledge gained from Serpom School will serve these young monks well when they advance to the study of the five main texts: Valid Cognition, Perfection of Wisdom, Middle Way, Monastic Discipline, and Treasure of Knowledge.
It takes 18 years to complete the monastic education, which culminates in the Geshe classes. 14 years are spent studying the five main texts and four years for the Geshe classes. Those who graduate with top honours are granted the Geshe Lharampa title, the highest degree in Buddhist philosophy equivalent to a doctorate (Ph.D.).
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