His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa is an active environmentalist, educator and the spiritual head of the Drukpa Lineage, one of the main Buddhist schools of the Himalayas founded by the great Indian saint Naropa (1016-1100 CE) with a 1000-year legacy in India. He has millions of followers worldwide.
His Holiness’s core philosophy is to convert compassion into action, and create concrete solutions for today’s problems.
One of His Holiness’s main focuses is on environmental preservation and education, which puts into action the core Buddhist tenet that all beings are interconnected and interdependent.
His mission is to promote universal harmony and inner peace by integrating the spiritual tenets of love and appreciation into daily life. His work includes promoting gender equality; establishing educational institutions, medical clinics and meditation centers; and rebuilding heritage sites in the Himalayas. He is the founder and spiritual director of the award-winning Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh, India, which provides its students with a modern education while preserving their local culture.
In 2007, His Holiness founded the not-for-profit international humanitarian organization Live To Love. In September 2010, the United Nations honoured His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Award for his effort in promoting environmental education and gender equality, as well as for his various humanitarian works through various chapters of Live To Love to “create compassion into action”. In December 2011, His Holiness received the Green Hero Award from the President of India Smt Pratibha Patil, at the NDTV-Toyota 1st Greenathon Awards Ceremony in New Delhi, India, in the presence of Farooq Abdullah, Minister of New and Renewable Energy, and NDTV Chairman, Dr. Prannoy Roy.
Utilizing a holistic approach to solving problems, His Holiness spearheaded numerous environmental projects and educational initiatives in India. He works diligently to “green” the world through tree planting. He had organized two green events that broke the Guinness World Records for most trees planted simultaneously. On 10th October 2010 at 10:10:10, 9,313 people came together on a site near the famed Hemis Monastery in Ladakh, north India, planting 50,033 trees in 33 minutes 25 seconds. Two years later, he led 9,814 people in planting 99,033 trees in less than one hour. He has plans to plant over 2 million trees throughout the Himalayan region and Pan India, which will improve air quality as well as stabilize soil and prevent mudslides.
His Holiness is also focused on environmental education. One of his main projects is the Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh, which has been awarded numerous international accolades for its green architecture. His Holiness is also building environmentally-sound monasteries and nunneries in India. These buildings provide exemplars for others to follow, and help to teach rural communities the importance of environmental protection.
His Holiness also worked to assist those impacted by natural disasters – the sad outcome of poor environmental choices. Recently, His Holiness’s Live to Love international and domestic chapters have provided immediate disaster relief to the thousands impacted by flash flooding in Ladakh and he has plans to qualify his monks and nuns to provide disaster relief services for future needs.
His Holiness visited more than 50 villages affected in the disaster to meet with all the affected families, and his Live to Love volunteers gave away the much needed relief materials to the villagers in the remote areas of Ladakh. In all his encouraging advices to the Ladakhis, he said that the disaster should not be wasted and should be used as a lesson to remind all of us the importance of taking care of our mother earth, our common and only home.
In addition to his work outlined above, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa sits on the Earth Awards Selection Committee along with Jane Goodall, Richard Branson and Diane Von Furstenberg. Spearheaded by Prince Charles of the United Kingdom, the Earth Awards Selection Committee identifies and recognizes viable innovations that improve the quality of life.
His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa is an avid writer; he writes all the messages on his personal website.