US Congress lauds Buddhist leader for empowering women

Indo Asian News Service

Kathmandu, March 6 (IANS) Buddhist leader and environmentalist, the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa - the spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order - was felicitated in a US Congressional resolution for empowering women in the Himalayas and supporting green initiatives, his private office here said on Monday.

The Gyalwang Drukpa was presented with a US Congressional resolution from Carolyn Maloney, the US Congresswoman for New York's 12th Congressional district, during his birthday celebrations here on Sunday.

The resolution recognises the Gyalwang Drukpa as a world-renowned humanitarian, environmentalist and champion of gender equality, besides recognising his efforts to provide relief services to tens of thousands in the Himalayas following the devastating 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

The resolution mentioned his initiatives to protect soil erosion and support clean air through his one million trees project, besides empowering, educating, protecting and inspiring girls and women in the Himalayas and around the world.

Besides Sri Sri Ravi Shankar from the Art of Living Foundation, the gathering saw the presence of All India Organisation of Imams of Mosques chief Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, Jain spiritual leader Acharya Lokesh Muni and Mahabodhi International Meditation Center founder Bhikkhu Sanghasena.

US administration officials were also in attendance of the birthday celebrations that will culminate on March 8.

Just two months after the flash-floods that devastated Ladakh in 2010, the Drukpa Order with around 9,000 volunteers, planted 50,033 willow saplings in 33 minutes and 25 seconds over 112,000 square yards.

According to the spiritual leader, planting trees is not only impactful but also an important gesture.

The Gyalwang Drukpa also founded the Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery in Kathmandu which is a unique instance of gender reversal with nuns running the administration. Over 300 nuns receive modern education, besides training in ancient Chinese martial arts.

Spiritual teachers, monks, nuns and devotees from across the globe gathered in the nunnery here to participate in the birthday celebrations.

The spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in the Himalayas is associated with the Earth Awards Selection Committee that recognises viable innovations that improve the quality of life.

He is also heading the 17th century famed Hemis monastery of Drukpa lineage in Ladakh, the largest such in the Himalayas.

--IANS

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