Geshe Tenzin Namdak answering debate questions during the geshe graduation ceremony, Sera Je Monastic University, India, May 2017. Photo courtesy of Sera Jey Audio Visual Center.

Watch the eighteen-minute video below to see the colorful, moving, and joy-filled graduation ceremonies of Geshe Tenzin Namdak, who has completed the full twenty-year course of studies at Sera Je Monastic University in South India and his final geshe examinations there: a tremendous achievement.

On May 8, 2017, Geshe Namdak, a registered FPMT teacher and native of the Netherlands, was officially awarded a geshe degree by Sera Je. He is one of only very few Westerners to have obtained a geshe degree and the first to do the entire course of studies and exams at Sera Je.

This video, filmed and edited by Claudio Curciotti, shows the formal ceremony as well as related activities. It also highlights the friendship and support offered to Geshe Namdak by other Sera IMI monks and Geshe Namdak’s friends and students at Choe Khor Sum Ling (CKSL), the FPMT center in Bangalore, India. Geshe Namdak is also accompanied in parts of the ceremony by his ordained students, including a young Tibetan boy, Jampel Tsering, who lives at Sera IMI house.

Sera IMI monks in the courtyard of IMI house at Sera Je Monastery, India, November 2013. (L to R) Vens. Gyalten Lekden, Tenzin Legtsok, Tenzin Gache, Tenzin Namdak, Jampel Tsering (child), Jampa Khedrup, Losang Khedrup, Tenzin Namjong, Gyalten Choklang. Photo by Sandesh Kadur, November 2013 (The boy monk is Jampel Tsering. He is Ven. Tenzin Namdak’s student and lives with the monks at Sera IMI house). Photo by Sandesh Kadur.

In addition to his geshe studies and helping to establish CKSL at the direction of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Geshe Namdak has benefited others in many ways. These include helping to establish Sera IMI House and serving as its director, organizing and teaching translation courses at Sera Je, translating for various lamas, and helping run pre-ordination courses for new monks and nuns in Dharamsala, India.

While Geshe Namdak speaks only shyly of his great accomplishment, attributing it to the support he has received from his gurus and others, in an interview soon to be published by Mandala, he allows that graduating is an occasion for rejoicing. He adds, “I have been very fortunate that the guru gave me this opportunity!”

Watch Geshe Namdak’s graduation ceremony on YouTube here:

For more about Geshe Tenzin Namdak, see “The Union of Study and Practice,” an article about the benefits of long-term intensive study and practice in Mandala January-June 2016.

To learn more about debate and other aspects of geshe studies, read “Dhi! Ven. Tenzin Namjong on Debate, Study, and Life at Sera Je,” a Mandala online feature.

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