Deprung Debates

Monk Debate, Deprung Monastery, Tibet

You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen hundreds of Tibetan monks debating. You might expect monk debate to be a low-key intellectual pursuit – you would be wrong. They scream, they yell, they swing their arms and clap their hands in their opponents face. It’s anything but low-key. And the whole time we were watching them debate, they were exchanging money – what’s that about? Hmmmmm.

Debate, Deprung Monastery, Tibet

The debates at the Deprung monastery were one of the weirdest, most bizarrely thrilling spectacles I’ve seen in Tibet. And even more strangely, we were encouraged to walk through the debates and photograph the whole thing.

Tibet aficionados might be thinking I have confused Deprung with Sera. I haven’t. While most people visit debates at the Sera monastery, the debates shown here took place at Deprung.

Monks Debating, Deprung Monastery, Tibet

To see and hear the debates, watch our short video:

4 responses to “Deprung Debates”

  1. avatar greeneyes says:

    Who would have thunk

    This type of behavior from a monk

  2. avatar ranjau says:

    What are they debating about in such an animated way? The World Cup?

  3. avatar Beverly says:

    Tony! Perhaps you were a monk in your past life! 😉

  4. avatar Thomas says:

    If you are wondering about the how and why of the debates, here’s a short explanation.

    The debates help the monks to practice their logical thinking and reasoning techniques they learned in class. The one standing poses a statement and claps his hands while the one sitting tries to challenge the “attacker” with a logical answer. This goes back and forth, each trying to find flaws in the other’s reasoning.

    We also saw money exchanging hands. I guess if one of the monks can’t come up with a counter argument, he has to pay up. It’s not at all a serious event and there’s a lot of laughing and hugging involved.

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