Ladakh model for eco-school in Sikkim

The Telegraph, Dec 30, 2010

Walk for clean & green himalayas

Gangtok, Sikkim (India) --  The head of the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism has announced his plan to set up an eco-school in Sikkim modelled on the one in Ladakh that he had helped build earlier.

The Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh provides education in all general subjects under the CBSE curriculum along with lessons on Himalayan culture. It was set up with the support of the XIIth Gyalwang Drukpa, the leader of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa lineage.

The Ladakh institution is popularly known as Rancho’s school named after the main character in the movie The 3 Idiots. Several scenes of the film were shot in the school.

Setting up eco-schools is one of the main objectives of the spiritual leader who is known for his initiatives in creating awareness on environment, particularly those affecting the Himalayan belt. Recently he had been awarded by President Pratibha Patil for his efforts in addressing ecological issues.

“Such schools are the need of the hour. I have shared my idea with chief minister Pawan Chamling. He was positive towards the proposal,” said the Gyalwang Drukpa.

The Drukpa lineage follows the Mahayana Buddhist tradition in philosophy and the methods are based on the Tantrayana teachings.

The lineage gets its name from the word “Druk” which in Tibetan means a dragon. The word also refers to the sound of thunder. Gyalwang Drukpa is the head of the order that has millions of followers across the world.

“I am trying to educate the youth to live healthy and be environmental friendly because people today have developed unfriendly attitude towards nature,” the spiritual leader said.

He was speaking at a programme in Chintan Bhavan yesterday to mark the culmination of a 300km-long “pilgrimage”.

Around 300 monks, nuns and devotees took part in the Kanchenjungha Eco Padyatra or “pilgrimage” led by the spiritual leader.

The walk, aimed at increasing awareness on the ecological issues plaguing the Himalayan region, had started from Darjeeling town on December 2.

The Gyalwang Drukpa complimented the Sikkim government, local associations and the people of the state for taking initiatives to protect the Himalayan eco-system and said the march has given him more confidence to work for environment conservation.

During the walk, the participants picked up waste material that they found along the road they took and disposed them of in a proper manner.

“It gives me immense pleasure to announce the completion of this journey that began almost 27 days ago. It was heartening to witness the warm welcome extended to us by the local communities wherever we passed by. The arrival in Gangtok is like a homecoming for me. This march has been about experiencing this splendid uplifting journey of not only sight but also of the mind,” said the Gyalwang Drukpa.