The nine monks receiving Lharampa Geshe degree take a group photo on April 12, 2009.
Years of pious study and devotion have paid off for nine Tibetan Buddhist monks in Lhasa. The nine were awarded the religions' highest degree of traditional Lamaism in a ceremony in front of the famed Jokhang Temple Sunday.
A Lamaism degree is similar in achievement to a doctorate and is the goal of every Buddhist monk. But instead of playing "pomp and circumstance" at the ceremony, awards are presented amid prayer, chanting and rapid-fire debate in which degree-seekers must demonstrate their knowledge of scripture.
The ceremony of conferring Lharampa Geshe degree on nine monks was held in the Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, on April 12, 2009.
For the nine Yellow-sect monks who took part, it was a dream come true.
INTERVIEW: Losang Lungtok, Buddhist monk of Tashilhunpo Monastery (ONE OF THE 9) "I entered Tashilhunpo Monastery at 16 years old and took the tonsure and became a monk at 17 years old. It has been 20 years since I began to study intensively the Buddhist doctrine at 19 years old. I hope to pass down my knowledge of Buddhist philosophy imparted by the masters to more young monks after I return to the monastery."
Only 22 Tibetan Buddhist monks have obtained Lamaism degrees since the tradition was revived in 2005 after an 17-year suspension.