LOSELING RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS

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The Loseling College has eight important religious festivals in a year.
1. The First Spring Religious Festival
The First Spring Religious Festival commences on the second day of the second month of the Tibetan Calendar and it is held for fifteen days. During the daytime debate session, the prospective Geshes must do a debate tour and sit as answerers to all the class-debates. Every Sunday evening they must visit the Khangtsen debate sessions and sit as answerers. The festival winds up on the sixteenth of the same month followed by a seventeen-day intermission where debates are not held in the college.


2. The Great Spring Religious Festival
The Second Spring Religious Festival – the Great Spring Religious Festival – commences on the third day of the third month of Tibetan calendar. It is held for a month. During this festival the interclass debates are held. This festival is one of the most exciting festivals. The festival ends on the third day of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar followed by a thirteen-day intermission where debates are not held in the college.

3. The Third Spring Religious Festival

The Third Spring Religious Festival – the Debate on Emptiness –commences on the sixteenth of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar and it is held for twenty days. During this festival the interclass debate continues if it has not been completed during the previous festival. The monks who will participate in the forthcoming standing debates should sit as answerers during this festival. The most important religious activity that should be done during the Third Spring Religious Festival is that the Khenpo should teach from the Lamrim Chenmo (Lama Tsongkhapa’s The Detailed Stages on the Path to Enlightenment). The festival ends on the sixth day of the fifth month of the Tibetan calendar followed by a ten-day intermission where debates are not held in the college.

4. The Great Summer Religious Festival

The Great Summer Religious Festival commences on the sixteenth day of the fifth month of the Tibetan calendar and it is held for a month. The first debate session of the festival is held in the college itself. On the second day a special evening prayer is held in the college. From the third day onwards special evening prayers are held by the two colleges in the hall of Drepung University. However, the daytime debates are held in the respective colleges. During this festival, the prospective Geshes should take the main responsibility to resolve the first year students’ inquiries on the Vinaya and Abhidharma texts. They should also meticulously examine their “Four-Possibility” debates on Vinaya and Abhidharma which is to be presented in the Drepung University. From the twentieth day of the fifth month of the Tibetan calendar, upon the stone-floored courtyard of Drepung University, the prospective Geshes of both colleges perform standing debates as answerers and debaters alternatively. For four evening debate session, the 'Four Possibility' debates on Vinaya and Abhidharma are held.
The festival ends on the sixteenth day of the sixth month of the Tibetan calendar followed by a forty-seven day intermission where debates are not held in the college. This intermission is called the great religious intermission. During this intermission the annual examinations of the college are held.

5. The Great Autumn Religious Festival

The fifth festival is called the Great Autumn Religious Festival which commences on the third day of the eight month of the Tibetan calendar and it is held for a month. During this festival the monks resolve their uncertainties of the Middle Way philosophy and the Perfection of Wisdom texts. The monks who are gifted with good voices are also trained in the art of prayer melodies during this festival for a week. The festival ends on the third day of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar followed by a thirteen-day intermission where debates are not held in the college.

6. The Second Autumn Religious Festival

The Second Autumn Religious Festival – Sakar Choera (literally it means Whitewash Debate) – starts on the sixteenth day of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar and it is held for twenty days. During this festival the Khenpo teaches the Lamrim: Path of Bliss through his personal experience. The festival ends on the sixth day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar followed by a ten-day intermission where debates are not held in the college.

7. The First Winter Religious Festival

The First Winter Religious Festival – Ngamchoe (literally it means 'Offering of the Twenty-fifth') Choera (Debate) – commences on the sixteenth day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar and it is held for fifteen days. During this festival, the Khenpo teaches during the evening debate sessions and should also debate on epistemology. The monks who are selected as answerers for the forthcoming debates during the Jang Gunchoe Religious Festival need to do a debate tour as answerers for all the class debates held during this festival. They also need to do a debate tour as answerers in all the Khangtsens. Generally, the festival ends on the first day of the eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar. However, if the Jang Guchoe Religious Festival is held at Drepung University then there will be no breaks until Jang Gunchoe Festival is over. Otherwise, there is a fifteen-day intermission where debates are not held in the college.

8. The Great Winter Religious Festival

The eighth religious festival, called the Great Winter Religious Festival, commences on the sixteenth day of the eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar. It is held for one month. Like the Summer Religious Festival, a special evening prayer is held in the college itself on the second day. From the third day onwards, special evening prayers are held by the two colleges in the hall of Drepung University and the daytime debates are held in the respective colleges. The most famous debates of the Great Winter Religious Festival actually commences from the first day of the twelfth month of the Tibetan calendar where Geshe Larampas and Geshe Tsokrampas must be the answerers for the debates. The festival ends on the sixteenth day of the twelfth month followed by a forty-six-day intermission where debates are not held in the college.
During this intermission, just before the Tibetan New Year (Losar), an overnight debate is held in each Khangtsen on the Epistemology (Pramana). Either on the twenty-sixth or twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month of the Tibetan calendar an overnight debate on the Epistemology (Pramana) called the 'Great Overnight Debate' is held in the college.

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