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- It is a title given in the Nyingma, Sakya and Kagyu schools to a monk who, after completing a nine year course in Buddhist philosophy in a shedra, has attained a proven level of knowledge and, in some schools, also of discipline and benevolence. In the Nyingma school, after their studies are completed students are required to teach for a further three years in a shedra before they can be awarded the title of ]]khenpo\\.
- It can also refer to the abbot of a monastery and to the preceptor from whom one receives ordination.
The term khenpo (also spelled Khyenpo) is a spiritual degree given in Tibetan Buddhism. In the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya traditions, the title is awarded usually after a period of 3 years of intensive study after secondary school level studies, and is considered much like a spiritual Bachelor's. Similar titles of lower standing are De Nod Dzin Pa, and Shor Phon. In the Gelug tradition, the title khenpo refers to either a senior monk who ordains new monastics, or the abbot of a monastery. A comparable title in the Gelug lineage is Geshe. The term Khenpo should only be used to refer to "a vow giver according to the vinaya," in keeping with tradition, and the title of Lobpon should refer to those who have achieved high academic training and become teachers.