Drepung Gomang is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery established in the Gelug tradition, founded by Je Tsong Khapa (1357-1419).

The Gelug tradition lays special emphasis on the place of ethics, as expressed through monastic discipline, as the ideal basis for religious education and practice.  In addition, the Gelug tradition regards sound scholarship as a prerequisite for constructive meditation; hence, the teachings of both sutra and tantra are subject to rigorous analysis through the medium of dialectical debate.

Drepung Gomang College is renowned among all the Gelug Monasteries (Ganden, Sera, and Drepung) for its emphasis on and expertise in the field of logic and debate.

In general, the curriculum of study in a Gelug monastery covers the five major topics plus Collected Topics (Parchen) which is preliminary to the syllabus proper.    The major topics are:


In Tibetan



Tsel Ma Namdrel

Pramana Vartikka

Commentaries of logic



Perfection of Wisdom



Avoidance of Extremes/middle way



A treasure house of Knowledge



Canons of Monastic discipline

These five courses are studied meticulously by the dialectical method using Indian texts as well as Indian and Tibetan commentaries to them for a period of sixteen years.  After completing these five-course, a monk can pursue further studies appearing on Gelug Examination, a Standard examination for all three Gelug monasteries (Gaden, Sera and Drepung).  Upon successfully passing this exam, the monk is awarded of the degree of Geshe (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy: Geshe Lharampa, Master of Buddhist Philosophy: Geshe Dorampa, Bachelor of Buddhist Philosophy: Geshe Rabjampa).  Soon after getting this title, the Geshe will also undertake one year mandatory course either at one of two tantric colleges. viz., Gyumed Tantric college or Gyutoe Tantric College.



Monastic class Course Subject course duration
1 Du chung Elementary Philosophy 1st year  one year
2 Du chen Elementary Philosophy 2nd year  one year 
3 Tarig Commentaries of Logic 1st year  one year 
4 Lorig Commentaries of Logic 2nd year  one year 
5 Don dochoe Perfection of Wisdom 1st year  one year 
6 Shung Wog Perfection of Wisdom 2nd year  one year 
7 Shung Gong Perfection of Wisdom 3rd year  one year 
8 Kyab 1st Perfection of wisdom 4th year  one year 
9 Saem Sog (new class introduced in 2008) Perfection of Wisdom (supplementary year)   one year
10 Kyab 4th  Perfection of Wisdom final year one year 
11 Uma Sarwa  Avoidance of Extremes 1st year one year 
12 Uma Nyingwa Avoidance of Extremes 2nd year  one year 
13 Zoe  Treasure of Knowledge  one year
14 Karam Wog  Preparatory class for Gelug Gyutoe (doctorate course)  one year
15 Karam Sarwa  Preparatory class for Gelug Gyutoe (doctorate course)  one year
16 Karam Bog Preparatory class for Gelug Gyutoe (doctorate course)  one year


If he wishes, upon completing his degree,  the Geshe may join one of the tantric colleges (Gyumey and Gyuto) to study the tantras and thereby complete his formal studies; or he may return to his local monastery to teach, or retire into seclusion to engage in intensive meditation.  A monk who has completed a Geshe's training is respected as being a fully qualified and authoritative spiritual master worthy of devotion and esteem.

Young monks begin their studies around the age of six.  They attend 8 years of classes in the standard subjects of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and history.  In addition, they begin preliminary studies of scripture and philosophy as soon as they learn to read and write.

The Monastic Annual Religious Programs

The monastery holds 8 annual periods of debate session:
1) First Spring Session lasts for 15 days (from 3rd of the second month of Tibetan almanac till 17th of the third month);
2) Greater Spring Session lasts for 30 days (from 3rd of the third month till 3rd of the fourth month;
3) First Summer Session lasts for 20 days (from 16th of the fourth month till 6th of fifth)
4) Greater Summer Session lasts for 30 days (from 16th of the fifth month till 16th of the sixth month);
5) Greater Autumn Session lasts for 30 days (from 3rd of the eighth month till 3rd of the ninth month)
6) Sakar Session lasts for 20 days (16th of the ninth month till 6th of the tenth month)
7) Ngachoe Session lasts for 15 days (16 of the tenth month till 1st of the eleventh month)
8) Greater Winter Session lasts for 30 days (from 16th of the eleventh month till 16th of the twelfth month).

Jamshug Tsenphu (an overnight mass debate congregation on the initial part of The Perfection of Wisdom concerning The Life Lord Maitreya on 18th of the eleventh month of Tibetan almanac; Namdral Tsenphu (an overnight mass debate congregation on Pranama) in the twelfth month; Kyap Shepai Tsenphu (an overnight mass debate congregation on the fourth chapter of The Perfection of Wisdom) on 18th of the third month; Umei Jugtsul Tsenphu (an overnight mass debate congregation on the initial part of Madhyamika) on 9th of the eighth month; Umei Thaldog Tsenphu (an overnight mass debate congregation on the concerning chapter of Madhyamika about Prasangika School’s counter polemical critique against especially Cittamatra or The Mind-Only School’s misconceptions) on 29th of the eighth month.

About the participation in twos from the concerned class in debate presentation during the mass prayer congregations cover the varied core parts of the monastic curriculums: Vinaya; Abidharma; Madhyamika (the concept of self-negation); Madhyamika (the grounded polemical logic that proves the invalidity of self-experiencing consciousness); on Abisamayalngkara (The Perfection of Wisdom) the subjects range as on Choekhor (The Turning of The Wheel of Dharma), Gedun Nyishu (the 20 Sangha grades), Semkei (Bodhichitta), Dhangnei (The right interpretation), Kapshipa (the fourth chapter of The Perfection of Wisdom).

The significant anniversaries are as follows: Anniversary of Kunkhen Rinpoche; Anniversary of Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana; Anniversary of Buddha’s First Teaching; Umei Dhusang (Graduation Day of the outgoing students of Madhyamika class); Anniversary of Buddha’s Descent from Tushita Heaven; Anniversary of Jhe Tsongkha Pa; Pharchen Dhamcha (the days long graduating debate participation by the outgoing students of The Perfection of Wisdom class); Garing Gathung Damcha (the days long mass debate congregations participated by the graduating students/Geshe of the year); Pharchen Thug Chora (the days long inter-class mass debate congregations participated by the students of The Perfection of Wisdom classes).

About the scope of the monastic examination, the matters range as: Memorization Test, Debate Test, Writing Test of Buddhist philosophy, Religious History, Tibetan Grammar, and Poetry. The ones who fare excellently in their examinations are presented with prizes during a prayer congregation and those who fail have to remain in the same class to qualify even further in their past year studies.

The recess periods between 8 annual periods of debate sessions as cited above are for memorizing and reciting scriptural texts of one’s concern studying subjects and also for attending teaching classes.