During his voyage to Antarctica in January 2006, there is little doubt these verses from ‘The King of Prayers’ were amongst the benison, holy words with which the most Venerable Lama Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, at the grand age of 80, blessed the world’s oceans. With a specific aim of harmonising the environment and pacifying the world’s weather patterns, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche embarked upon a series of ceremonial ritual invoking divine protection in three different places. It was a remarkable trip for the now deceased Venerable Lama, in so many ways. Not only did Rinpoche, the abbot from Kirti Monastery in Dharamsala, India, experience pristine polar magnificence and meet with friendly penguins, but together with his assistant, Alak Rinpoche, (Rinpoche means treasure or ‘Jewel’) his mission was to offer blessings to the world’s water in the form of a sacred statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, carved in stone from Bodhgaya, the place of Buddha’s enlightenment.
From such time and place, at the ship’s most possible southern point, powerful vibrations of heartfelt prayer quietly rippled, emanating into a phenomena identified in scientific geographical circles as ‘The Great Ocean Conveyer Belt’ – or to get technical, the ‘Thermohaline Circulation’: the deep ocean current that loops and swirls around the earth seas, absorbing, storing, and redistributing the Sun’s heat around the globe (2): Caught on this conveyor belt, a molecule of water can course around the Southern Pole for years. Antarctica’s Circumpolar Current flows from west to east, and is where many oceans gather and disperse. From one sea and pole to the other, it can take a thousand years for an undercurrent to emerge from the ocean’s abyss – that’s approximately 10 centimetres per hour, which is not so fast for a body of water at least 10 Amazon Rivers long. The hot debate is now about the part the Oceanic Conveyor Belt plays in the world’s climate, and how a balanced mix of freshwater and salt is a crucial factor to stable weather patterns.
As an all too rare being, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche was an omniscient meditation master, rightly concerned about the environment; he would often mention how pollution disturbs Earth’s Elements, and therefore its inhabitants. In order to redress this balance, Rinpoche saw fit to offer prayers. At the suggestion of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama (whose name, incidentally, means ‘Ocean of Great Wisdom’), the start of this momentous triple blessing began at the aptly named Cape of Good Hope, Africa’s most southern most tip on Dec 27th, where the Atlantic Ocean in the east meets the Pacific Ocean in the west. The next offering was to Antarctica, a place that holds 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of the world’s freshwater, where the world’s waters convene. The final offering was made in New Zealand on January 24th 2006 in Tasman Bay, on the South Island. With Antarctica affecting all water, this is the blessing chart to study in depth; it also contains the themes of all three charts. We will also review Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche’s very interesting life through his horoscope, noting his special connection to the Water Element.
When I first met Rinpoche, I felt reassured by this kind of association which resonates with the astrological maxim: “As above, So below”, or as Tibetans say, “as it is without, so it in the body”. The year was 1996, and through a wonderful series of synchronicities I had found myself sitting at the feet of a small man who was an extraordinarily High Lama, who was, in fact, one of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama’s, teachers.
Through lifetimes of reincarnations, Kirti Tsenshab, as a renounced being who had gone beyond all trappings of ego attachment, ignorance, and desire, was most ecologically aware, super conscious of water’s healing properties. He chose to make the triple blessing at this perilous point in Earth’s history, to offer up his accumulated waters, which included water blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and sand from various mandalas. The three blessing charts are an extraordinary testament to a man in tune with the heavens, instinctively aware of all signs, positive and negative. Considering he didn’t carry a computer programme with astrological calculations, only a little pocket calendar with auspicious Tibetan dates marked in it, the fact his schedule was so tight, often changing at the whim of an airline, makes the dynamics of these charts all the more amazing.
Each chart carries the sturdy Fixed Cross, with planet of action, Mars, rising in determined Taurus, signifying that once the intention was set into motion, there was no turning back.
The Moon in the Antarctic Blessing chart, set two weeks later, is in the exact opposite position, exalted in Taurus.
The much-welcomed announcement of stabilised ozone came one month after Rinpoche, being a front-line Lama, was diagnosed with liver cancer whilst in a bomb shelter in Haifa, Israel, during the 2006 summer war between Israel and Lebanon. Sceptics may ask: “How could a high Lama suffer such a human disease?” But as Roy Gillett, President of the AA, said when told about Rinpoche’s cancer, and the correlation drawn to the reparation of the ozone, “All that negativity had to go somewhere!”
So it was, after defying the doctors by living with liver cancer for many months beyond expectations, at 2.30 am, on the 16th December, 2006, on one of the holiest days in the Tibetan Gelukpa (Yellow hat) calendar, the day of Lama TzongKhapa, that Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche dissolved his bodily Elements one last time, as he had practiced doing for so many years, and entered Tudkam, the Tibetan name for the period of omniscient Clear Light, before his consciousness left his body four days later at the Winter Solstice, a special time in Kalachakra astrology, when the King of Light returns - quite a feat for someone who had consciously taken on the world’s woes. Rinpoche was cremated at dawn on the 25th December 2006. The fire was left until the 30th, when his relics were collected and noted as being filled with many wonderful signs.
Briefly the above article describes a newly discovered deep ocean current, a supergyre that links three major oceans: Pacific, Atlantic and Indian. It is called the 'Tasman Outflow'. This is made all the more interesting as the last blessing Rinpoche did was in New Zealand, in Tasman Bay!
And to the Visual Alchemist Bill Brouard for all the illustrations that he provides: