Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing marine animals in the Marina Cala de’ Medici, Italy, October 2017. Photo by Piero Sirianni.

On October 8, 2017, Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessed marine wildlife at the Marina Cala de’ Medici on the Ligurian Sea in Italy.

Joining Rinpoche aboard MV Brigitte Bardot, a trimaran belonging to the conservation organization Sea Shepherd, were the crew and a number of animal welfare workers, including Angelo Vaira, the well-known Italian founder of ThinkDog, a positive training dog school. Also participating were members of the Lega Italiana Protezione Uccell (LIPU), the Italian League for Bird Protection. Given Rinpoche’s dedication to caring for animals, there was a natural connection between all involved. 

Lama Zopa Rinpoche pouring blessed water into the the Marina Cala de’ Medici, Italy, October 2017. Photo courtesy of Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche pouring blessed water from the deck of the Brigitte Bardot into the Marina Cala de’ Medici, Italy, October 2017. Photo by Piero Sirianni.

Hundreds of people attended the event, which saw the release of seagulls from a LIPU rescue center and Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing all the sea animals and birds with prayers and mantras. Rinpoche also blessed the pets that students had brought to the marina.

On the dock, Ven. Drachom, who has liberated millions of sentient being in Singapore, helped arrange a table with a stupa, texts, and other holy objects for blessings. There, Rinpoche shared advice on how to bless animals and the benefits of mantras.

While on the boat, Rinpoche explained the blessings that he was doing, which included blessing a large jug of water that was then poured into the sea. At Rinpoche’s request, protections, such as the Namgyälma mantra, were attached to the boat. 

Many visitors used this opportunity to board the boat, which set a world record in 1998 as the fastest motored vessel to circumnavigate the globe. The vessel bears the name of French actress and model Brigitte Bardot, who became a well-known animal rights activist and whom Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson took on an anti-sealing trip in 1977. The vessel was used in 2010 to campaign against Japanese whaling operations in the Antarctic Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The event at the marina was organized by Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, the FPMT center in Pomaia, Italy, where Rinpoche is currently guiding a month-long retreat.


Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Marina Cala de’ Medici, Italy, October 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

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