According to Bhutanese law enforcement sources, over 1,100 chortens and lhakhang have been burglarized during the past seven years. Apparently, the thieves steal and sell the tsa-tsas, vases, images and so forth. In one recent case, the mastermind of a chorten burglary ring was found to be a retired soldier, who also dabbled in stolen ivory, rhino horn, and dzi: all obviously bound for the Chinese market, so let us be clear about what is actually happening.
According to Bhutanese astrologers, this is just one more sign of the origin of troubles that have afflicted Bhutan in 2009, and are likely to continue into 2010. The elements have gone out of balance there, with major earthquakes, fires, windstorms, and torrential rains.
Tshugla Lopon Samten Dorje, principal of the Pangrezampa School of Astrology, in Thimphu, directly stated, "Chortens and lhakhangs are built for certain reasons at particular locations. When they are desecrated and torn down, misfortunes will ensue."
He added that environmental offenses are another reason for natural calamities. "Hills and mountains are abodes of guardian deities, gods and goddesses. When their homes are desecrated for human comfort, they abandon us to confront the wrath of nature."
“The wrath of the perturbed protecting deities is powerful and destructive,” he said. "It is our deeds and actions that shape the state of the world we inhabit. Calamities such as fire, earthquake, flood, storm and diseases, are a portent of collective misfortune, according to the scriptures."
Astrologically speaking, 2009 and 2010 are not the best, with trouble for spiritual figures, earthquakes, political problems, and epidemic diseases strongly indicated. In Bhutan, the astrologers are recommending lhabsang, soelkha, rabney, and sangcho be offered to appease the deities.
The idea comes to me that practices of the Twenty-One Taras will also be extraordinarily helpful. I will just tell you in advance that 2010 -- the sixty year return of the Iron Tiger -- is not going to be any picnic.