29 January 2024
At 2.00pm the nuns assembled in the Monlam Pavillion for the first session of the debate competition, The competition is no longer held between the nunneries, rather it is held between teams of nuns drawn from different nunneries.
There are seven judges for the debates: five khenpos from the monastic shedras of Sherabling, Zurmang, Lekshey Ling, Lava and Tergar, and two senior Kagyu nuns, one from Thrangu Tara Abbey in Nepal and one from Palmo Choekyi Dingkhang in Bhutan.
This year there are three topics covered by the debates: Dudra:Collected Topics; Tagrig:Types of Evidence; and Lorig: Mind and Awareness.
The first debate this afternoon was on Lorig.
During the Arya Kshema the nuns follow an intensive programme.
They have sessions for private study and memorisation, practice debate sessions in groups and individuals, prayers, and the debate competition. They also study the special textbooks prepared for each topic and level by the Gyalwang Karmapa and a team of monks. These textbooks are the same ones as the monks use when preparing for the debates during the Kagyu Gunchoe.
There are also certain annual rituals such as Chod and Tseringma.
As Losar falls within the Arya Kshema this year, they will also offer a two-day Gutor, the ritual which prepares for the New Year, and the Sangharama puja on the second day of Losar.