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Walk On!

Sourabh Gupta, from the The Hindustan Times, carried this piece, along with a photo of His Holiness, monks and nuns releasing balloons, marking the unofficial flagging of the Pad Yatra. Click the above image to download the original article in PDF format.

He is the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, Ladakh's current spiritual leader, and he is inviting all youngsters to join him on a 400-km pilgrimage on foot, from Manali to Ladakh, through five Himalayan passes in a 42-day-long journey of a lifetime and learn to live for others.

The journey is about practicing what we are preaching, he says. Walking on the World's Rooftop: A spiritual odyssey for a better tomorrow begins today, May 23, in Manali. Over 650 monks, students and others will walk with him on this ambitious trip.

"It is one of my missions: to give people confidence. Those who do have any confidence, I am leading them," say the ever-ecstatic Buddhist monk, at a press conference in the city on Friday, a day before the journey, which he calls padyatra.

The trip, replete with hardships, will allow the spiritual leader to reach out to people in remote Himalayan villages and create awareness among them about living to love - the core teaching of the 800-year-old Drukpa school of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, with over five million followers across the world.

"We are focusing on youngsters in terms of introducing them to our principles and getting them to live to love. This is the generation that likes to see and feel. It should not only be theological but practical too."

"The world lacks in true activities of love. Some activities should be achieved through love. I'm just doing my duty," he adds.

"Whatever you do, do it for others. Don't say I didn't get the chance to help others. You had plenty of time."

The 12th Gyalwang Drukpa says his every activity, from eating to talking, is about helping others. "When I drink water, I don't drink for myself but for the millions of organisms in the body asking for water." Similar is this journey, he says. You are not walking for yourself but others. The 'padyatra' will end at the Hemis Monastery, near Leh, on July 3.

Saint Naropa founded the Drukpa lineage in the 12th century.