3rd ADC - A Pilgrim's Account

It has been an inspiring experience to have had the honour to take part in the 3rd Annual Drukpa Conference which is now in its third day, presided over by His Holiness together with so many other Rinpoches and Masters.
The sheer masses of people attending, tens of thousands gathered at Naropa Palace in Shey, Ladakh, speaks strongly of the following His Holiness has within Ladakh and India, but also internationally, with attendees from 66 countries present. Beautiful decorations and hundreds of colourful flags flutter in the breeze as monks chant long life prayers for His Holiness, with a backdrop of stunning snow-capped mountains.

Next to Naropa Palace is the Druk White Lotus School, which during the ADC housed a medical camp, the first camp in the Himalayan region run exclusively on solar power, to provide healthcare to an estimated 10,000 people from the region, by 31 volunteer doctors from Taiwan plus other specialists from France, Tibet, Taiwan, and Inida.

The ADC is comprised of a combination of devotional prayers, chants, teachings, as well as entertainment. As a lay person with strong interest in and leanings towards the Buddhist faith, the first three days have been truly incredible. The teachings have surely been as meaningful for lay people as they have for the monks and nuns themselves. The Drukpa Lineage, unlike most other Buddhist sects, is not only inward-looking and restricted to the spiritual realm. It strongly encourages activities and engagement with the local communities and the outside world to help others, protect the earth, and promote responsible citizenship and harmonious living.

I was particularly touched by the first public performance of the Nuns of Naropa Palace nunnery. The performed the “Dance of the Dragons” for the first time in history, in front of an audience of over 10,000. This was followed by the screening of tve’s documentary “Kung Fu Nuns” on their inspiring story and the way His Holiness supports their education and development more than any other Buddhist leader in history. This will surely begin to set a trend among Buddhists and help to increase the equality and improve the status of nuns and women in general.

The film Kung Fu Nuns will be aired on BBC World on September 3rd and 4th, 2011. Watching this film is a great way to get a glimpse of the activities of His Holiness and the lineage, through the inspiring story of the young nuns.

I have personally been deeply inspired by His Holiness and several of the Rinpoches and feel a deep connection to the Lineage and to the beautiful landscapes of Ladakh.

Samten Wangmo