His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa is a world-renowned humanitarian and environmental activist from Nepal.
The Drukpa lineage is the grassroots school of diverse Buddhism, celebrating diversity and active community service, with over 27 million followers worldwide.
The Gyalwang Drukpa received the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Honor in 2010 and is the leading advocate for Himalayan communities.
He summarized his beliefs in a nutshell:
“All we need is respect. For nature, all creatures, and human beings. A holistic approach to life.”
His focus is the Himalaya Mountains, where he lives near Katmandu in Nepal.
1.3 billion people depend on the water which springs from the glaciers.
This is the roof of the world, where important rivers start which begin and flow into China, India, Bangladesh or Pakistan and all large river deltas in this region.
There are three atomic powers (China, India, Pakistan) next to each other with territorial disputes and little trade or substantive steps towards reconciliation. The glaciers are projected to start melting; the past few decades have seen an increase of 2-4 degrees Celsius in temperatures, resulting in floods and expected water shortage for millions.
The philosophy of His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa rests on these beliefs:
- Preserving and honoring the diversity and cultures of the Himalayas, while improving quality of life for 1.3 billion people throughout the region by preserving water and natural resources, educating girls and women to become leaders, and sustaining peace in the region.
– An advocate of gender equality, he has made sure that nuns receive a modern education, spiritual teachings traditionally reserved for monks and training in martial arts. These Kung Fu Nuns serve as role models of female physical, spiritual, and mental strength.
– Promote interfaith harmony in the Himalayas. The Silk Road in the Himalaya Mountains was for many centuries the world’s most important trading route. Drukpa Buddhist belief in accepting all pathways to truth and enlightenment has made the Himalayan region home to one of the few remaining examples of interfaith coexistence. Daily life in Ladakh, a region in India connecting with the Silk Road, is an example of Drukpa’s faith in action. Ladakh was once an empire spanning the China-India-Pakistan border, remains an area where Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists live in integrated communities and maintain their traditions.
– Against extremism. As Pakistan, India and China closed the roads along their borders, trade and commerce between Himalayan communities suffered. The Drukpa Buddhists serve as a human buffer against the spread of extremism and communism, but a lack of resources makes them vulnerable to forced conversions and cultural genocide.
His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa has shown us that peace needs humanity, reconciliation, fairness, human rights, and a maximum for respect in a diverse world.