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The term khenpo (Tib. མཁན་པོ་ mkhen po), or khenmo (in the feminine) is a degree for higher Buddhist studies given in Tibetan Buddhism. In the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya traditions, the title is awarded usually after a period of 13 years of intensive study after secondary school level studies. The degree is awarded to students who can publicly defend their erudition and mastery in at least five subjects of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, namely Prajñāpāramitā, Madhyamaka, Pramāṇa, Abhidharma, and Vinaya. After successfully passing their examination they are entitled to serve as teachers of Buddhism.

A comparable title in the Gelug lineage is Geshe.

The title has also been compared to the PhD title awarded by Western Universities.

In the Gelug tradition, the title khenpo can be used to refer to either a senior monk who ordains new monastics, or the abbot of a monastery.

In some cases, the title khenchen (Tib. མཁན་ཆེན་ 'great khenpo') is used to refer to senior khenpo.


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