project 01Debate courtyard in a monastic university like Sera is an important place where students study all the five major classics through critical debate. With logical reasoning as the governing rule, students practice the art of debate by questioning one another. This method of monastic debate is considered one of the best means of gaining a profound understanding by establishing the realities of things. As such, debate courtyard is one of the most important places of learning for the monk students of major Tibetan monastic seats.

In the past - prior to 1959 - Sera Mey had two debate courtyards: the upper and the lower. Many past great practitioners practiced debates in them. Teachings were also given by eminent masters in these debate courtyards; thus these are considered places of great blessing.

In exile, the tradition of debate has continued to this day. At the tent camp in Buxa [a village in West Bengal where the monks who arrived in exile in India were settled by the Indian government for some years] and at the old debate ground in front of the old monastic prayer hall, debate classes were held for many years. The present debate courtyard was constructed in 1996. It was sponsored by the late ex-abbot Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin and his students. It has one main courtyard in the middle and two other courtyards on the sides. The main courtyard is used for both prayer gatherings before the beginning of debates and for conducting debate sessions/classes. The two courtyards on the sides are used for conducting debate. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama blessed the compound and gave teachings there.

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