in Tibet was modeled after the great monasteries of Classical Buddhist
India, namely, Nalanda and Vikramalashila, and was an institution
dedicated to intense study of the traditional Buddhist arts and
training program required twenty years of intense academic study,
with rigorous testing and close supervision throughout, as well
as six hours of debate each day. The focus of the program was the
five major topics of Classical Indian Buddhism: philosophy, psychology,
logic, metaphysics, and ethics. This was followed by an internship
usually lasting five to ten years.
completing this course of study and training, the student candidate
would be allowed to stand for the Geshe Lharampa degree. Drepung
was one of only three monasteries in Central Asia with the authority
to award this degree, regarded as the most prestigious honor in
the Tibetan Buddhist world.
Chinese Communist takeover of Tibet in 1959 resulted in the destruction
of all but a dozen of Tibet's 6,500 monasteries, and in the closure
of Drepung, with most of the monks being either killed or imprisoned.
Approximately 250 of Loseling's monks managed to escape the holocaust.
They were accepted as refugees in India, where eventually they built
a replica "Drepung Loseling in Exile" monastery on land
generously donated by the Indian government in Karnataka State,
southeast of Bombay. Here they worked to preserve their ancient
traditions. Over the years many more young spiritual aspirants have fled Chinese-occupied Tibet and sought entrance into the monastery, thus helping to preserve their traditional culture. The number of monks presently in the re-established Drepung Loseling has increased to more than 3,000.