His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa is the spiritual head of the Drukpa lineage, one of the Vajrayana buddhist schools. His Holiness was born in 1963 in Tso Péma, the sacred lake of Guru Padmasambhava, near Rewalsar (Northern India), during the dances of the lamas celebrating the 10th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. That very day, H.H. received the name Jigme Padma Wangchen, from the Supreme Chief of the Nyingma lineage, H.H. Dujom Rinpoche in person. The Gyalwang Drupka considers this latter as the most precious and the finest names he received from his different masters.
His Holiness was officially recognised as the 12th incarnation of the Gyalwang Drukpa by Their Holinesses the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa and other great masters. He was officially enthroned by H.H. the Dalai Lama in 1966 in Dharmsala, then in 1967 in the monastery of his own lineage in Darjeeling.
From his first master, His Eminence Kyabjé Thouksé Rinpoche, the regent of the Drukpa lineage who was himself the son of the 10th Gyalwang Drukpa, His Holiness was given the complete transmission of the teachings and the specific practices of his own lineage. He also received the entire teachings of the Nyingma school from H.H. Dujom Rinpoche and many others from H.H. the Dalai Lama. He studied and practised alongside with other eminent spiritual masters, as their Holinesses Kyabe Trulshik Rinpoche, Zhichen Ontrul, Dodrupchen Rinpoche, etc. His Holiness the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa is then the holder of the teachings of both Kagyu and Nyingma lineages. He is an accomplished master of the mahamoudra and the maha-ati and an authentic representative of the rimé movement, that is, of the non-sectarian teaching.
In charge of many monasteries in the Himalayan regions, among which the most important ones in India - Thubten Sangag Tcheuling in Darjeeling (Western Bengal) and Hemis (Ladakh) - His Holiness is at the head of many Buddhist studying and meditating centers in the world, mainly in Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America. His main center for studies and meditation, Druk Gawa Khilwa Abbey, is situated near Swayambunath, in Katmandu in Nepal. The European Seat of His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa, Druk Thoubten Tcheukhor Ling, is situated in France, in Plouray in the Morbihan region. It is run by Drubpön Ngawang Tenzin, his official representative in Europe.
The Gyalwang Drukpa unrelentingly travels the world in order to share his knowledge and his experience through conferences and teaching series. He is an accomplished master in meditation and an extraordinary teacher who explains with much clarity and depth, in a very direct and pertinent style, the essence of the Buddhist philosophy, so that one can integrate it into ones daily live. Not only his way of teaching, but above all his personality, imbued with a great kindness, simplicity, humility, and sense of humour, touches the hearts of his listeners.
For the spreading of his teachings and activities, His Holiness has created his own editing house, Drukpa Publication Private Limited. This editing house aims at making accessible to a large public the teachings of the Drukpa lineage through books, magazines, video and audio supports, etc.
Besides, His Holiness founded the Drukpa Humanitarian Association, which goal is to help the poor populations in some Himalayan regions. This association concentrates its activities on three fields :
- Teaching: opening schools, training teachers, etc.
- Health: creating health centers and hospitals, prevention campaigns against tuberculosis and fight against drugs and alcoholism, etc.
- Monastery community: creating nunneries, sponsorships, etc.
One of the other great projects that His Holiness keeps at heart, is the restauration of several Drukpa monasteries in Tibet, particularly that of Namdruk, which was the first main seat of the Drukpa lineage founded in the 13th century by the 1st Gyalwang Drupka, Tsangpa Gyaré.
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