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A shedra (Tib. བཤད་གྲྭ་, Wyl. bshad grwa) is a center for studing classic Buddhist texts within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Shedras are sometimes referred to as "study colleges" or "monastic universities". Traditionally, shedras have been associated with monasteries within Tibet.

In modern times, shedras have been opened for nuns, and various dharma groups have begun establishing shedras for Western students.

Shedras have been established in Nepal and India by the Tibetan exile community. Some shedras are also operating within Chinese-occupied Tibet.

Five traditional topics of study

All four schools of Tibetan Buddhism generally follow a similar curriculum within a shedra, using the same Indian root texts and commentaries. However, the Tibetan commentaries that are studied will differ according to the school.

The exoteric study of Buddhism is generally organized into "Five Topics," listed as follows with the primary Indian source texts for each:

  1. Abhidharma
  2. Prajnaparamita
  3. Madhyamaka
  4. Pramana
  5. Vinaya

Five treatises attributed to Maitreya

Also of great importance are the "Five Treatises of Maitreya." These texts are said to have been taught to Asanga by Maitreya (according to the Buddhist tradition, he is the future Buddha who currently resides in Tushita-Heaven; some scholars, for example, Frauwallner and Tucci believe Maitreya was a historical person who had to be Asangas teacher[1]), and comprise the heart of the Shentong-Madhyamaka, as well as Yogacara school of philosophical thought in which all Tibetan Buddhist scholars are well-versed. They are as follows:


  1. NAKAMURA 1987, A Survey of Indian Buddhism, page 256: [1]

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