The general qualifications for admission to Gyuto Tantric Monastery are similar to the basic requirements laid down in the Vinaya, the Buddha’s teaching on monastic discipline. A suitable candidate is one for whom there is no obstacle to properly receiving and abiding by vows and who does not suffer from any deformity that constitutes an obstacle to receiving the vows of a monks. He should not have been expelled from or punished by another monastery and should have some monastic background. He should have enrolled in one of the great monasteries and his sole objective for seeking admission to Gyuto Tantric Monastery should be the wish to spend his life studying and practicing the esoteric teachings of tantric Buddhism. If these requirements are fulfilled, no discrimination is made on the grounds of class, sect, region of origin or nationality.
Anyone who seeks admission after completing a course of studies in dialectics is treated as a new candidate and is obliged to pass a memorization test of the following texts:
If the candidate has already completed a course in dialectics and studies based on the sutras and holds the degree of Geshe Lharampa, Tsogrampa, Lingse, Dorampa or is a Geshe from Ngari, Dagpo, Rato or Tashi Lhunpo and can ably discourse on all five major treatises that form the basis for these studies, or if he holds the qualification of Karampa and can discourse on all eight chapters of the Ornament for Clear Realization (abhisamayalamkara), he does not need to take the above mentioned test.
Someone who is free from obstacles and possesses the required qualifications is then admitted by the following procedure. Three tutors are appointed to whom the first is responsible for the candidate’s studies and supervises his general discipline, conduct and daily routine. The second, the robe master, is responsible for ensuring that the candidate has the necessary robes, begging bowl and other essential items prescribed by the code of monastic discipline. The third tutor is in charge of his conduct and encourage him in his studies, meditation and observance of the unwritten tradition.
In accordance with the regulations laid down by Abbot Jangchub Chophel and the Master of Ceremonies Gelek Gyatso, this tutor then requests the Abbot to admit the candidate. The request is repeated on three consecutive days.
Those whose memorization is to be tested prepare thoroughly for at least fifteen days before the examination. On the day of the examination the master of discipline and master of ceremonies interview the candidates and check their robes and other prescribed articles. Then in the presence of both these masters as well as the chanting master each candidate recites the memorized texts. The successful candidates are admitted and their order of seniority is decided by the master of ceremonies who, having collected their rosaries, selects them at random.
The newly admitted monks then offer silk scarves to the master of ceremonies and to the thangka of Mahakala. They taste the sacred nectar from the skullcup and offer tea to their tutors and all those in authority who are present. It is said that the quality of this tea symbolically foretells their success in monastic life. They then take up their respective places among the other monks whose seats are arranged in rows according to seniority. After this the newly admitted monks participate fully in all the religious practices and activities of the monastery.
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