k.d. lang and Ari Bhod’s Compassion Mandala Exhibit


Today Oct 5, 2014 , the Hammer Museum at UCLA hosted two events. One was the continuing exhibit of the Tibetan lamas creating a Compassion Mandala created by Ari Bhod. This has been open to the public since Sept 27, 2014. It is on a live feed so anyone can watch as it is created. The second event was sponsored by the related organization of Tools For Peace. This was an event for children and their families where they could learn how to make a Mandala out of sand as well as participate in acts of compassion. I want to say that it was not so easy to get photos without intruding on spiritual space. So I did the best I could. Further, there is so much to know and understand about this practice, and I am no expert at all. So, bear with me….

About Los Angeles

Since I am writing this primarily for fans of k.d. lang, there are many people who may not be familiar with UCLA or the neighborhood it is in. It is located in the city of Westwood, which is a section of Los Angeles. I took some pictures so you can get an idea of the urban  and collegiate feel of this affluent part of Los Angeles.


Huge banner on one side of building of the Hammer Museum.
Huge banner on one side of building of the Hammer Museum.


Famous landmark in center of Westwood Village.
Famous landmark in center of Westwood Village.
North view of famous Westwood Blvd.
North view of famous Westwood Blvd.



The Compassion Mandala Exhibit

First, I scanned the information brochure that was available at the exhibit. It provides a good overview of what the mandala means and other details. This was put together by the volunteers at Ari Bhod.


Today started with Puja, a kind of prayer service that was open to the public. It is not an easy practice to explain, especially by someone like me who is not really too knowledgeable. But I tried to find a link for you to explain a bit more about it. Like many things in “Buddhism”, there is generally not just one answer, or one way of doing things. Practices vary by country, culture, and lineage.

Monks chanting during Puja.
Monks chanting during Puja.



A drum used during Puja.
A drum used during Puja.

Viewing the Mandala

The compassion mandala is open to the public. It works in 15 minute viewing sessions. 15 people are allowed to walk clockwise around the mandala. The mandala is in a fairly small room, but it has been painted and Buddhist “artifacts” (for lack of a better word) were brought in.








The Monks at Work







This metal tool appeared to come in different sizes. As the monks needed, they would go to a small area in the corner and get new sand and/or a more appropriate tool for what they were going to fill in next.








The Compassion Mandala For Kids

The first activity they had was an act of compassion mandala. Kids would trade wishes with each other.




One of the great things about today was that Tools For Peace was teaching kids how to make a sand mandala in the courtyard of the museum. This was the second activity for kids today. Then, they could come downstairs with their parents and see the real monks! It was totally awesome.



So, peeps, I did my best to try and give you a sense of what this was like. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be to try and get the basics across.



  1. OMG, no apologies needed. I am glad you asked. In my case, there are no meds that are effective for the incessant 11 year dialogue about kd. I would rather not state exact ones I have tried, because although they did not work for me, they may in fact work for others. Suffice to day that it has been over 12 different ones.


  2. 1. No other obsessions.
    2. I get this question a lot. No. Not in love. These thoughts
    are non-stop, never go away, invade my every space, and drive me nuts. This very question shows that OCD is not understood. It’s like the old “But just get up” quip to people who suffer from depression. Try to imagine thoughts that are totally out of your control, every minute you are awake. It is like a constant background tape. Finally, OCD got me and I had to leave my career. OCD is fully unreasonable. If I could never think of kd again, I would happily select that option. If a “hang up” comes and goes, as you put it, it is NOT a medical obsession. Here is a simple test for you: If someone told you you could get $100 for not behaving in some way (like tweeting kd, or writing thousands of words about her,) could you stop long enough to get the $. No matter what amount of money I would be offered, I could not stop. That is OCD.

    3. No doctor has ever helped. There are no meds that stop the chatter. Talk therapy only exacerbates it.

    In short, this is an illness. Like cancer. Most reactions, like your questions display, are all about “why” kd and not about “What can we do to stop the thoughts?”. kd is not the issue, it is a brain malfunction. If I were an animal, in the wild, I would surely be dead by now because I could not focus on what is going on or hunt, or protect myself.
    I write this blog in an effort to tell others who may have this, that they are not alone, that this situation sucks and that most people misunderstand it


    1. I’m truly sorry if I haven’t properly understood, or if I’ve only managed to ask wearisome questions you’ve heard a million times. My husband’s bipolar, and I do know how difficult real clinical illness is.

      My own obsessions, while not clinical or completely debilitating, sure do seem borderline sometimes, and have caused me suffering. Most definitely. It’s not one thing–kd or a hobby or another person or buttered popcorn–that I can’t detach myself from; it’s compulsiveness itself, whatever its object, that exhausts me. It moves from object to object, and I have considered asking for medical help, but I guess it’s still within manageable means because I haven’t yet done that.

      In any case, my apologies. I’m sorry for your struggle and I know it’s exhausting and horribly constricting and utterly blows.

      You’re such a good writer, I do hope you keep up your blog and anything else you do. I’m sure it’s greatly appreciated even by people who don’t respond or comment.

      If you don’t mind my asking, I’m just wondering what drugs in fact are prescribed for OCD? Are they generally effective, and/or did they at least temper your symptoms somewhat (if you did take them, that is)?

      Disclaimer, for whatever it’s worth: I’ve been on Prozac and Wellbutrin for 20 years.

      Kind regards. Blessings. And peace.


  3. Hi! Spoke with you on Twitter recently and enjoyed the exchange. Just have some questions, and I hope you can forgive the number!

    If I may ask, what other obsessions (if any) have you had? I’m curious because I share the kd lang one, though it comes and goes when I replace it temporarily with other hang-ups :/

    Also, have you had any shrinks who finally DID offer some helpful feedback?

    And here’s another: is it possible you’re simply in love with her and it’s magnified and made weird by the fact that she’s an unreachable celebrity? Celebrity artists are a strange phenom, afterall. We experience a very real kind of intimacy through her singing, but then are unable to touch, be in the presence of, or even necessarily converse electronically with her! Just love, plain old love, made bizarre by a bizarre commercial mass culture?

    And (I hope) just one more. I see her as sort of a shape-shifter: you just can’t pin her down. I mean, the career photos vary hugely from period to period–and yet, at the same time, she always seems to be a person of considerable substance and presence, someone who reflects intensely on things, and someone with integrity–meaning a unified, coherent soul. So we have this paradox of weight and substantiality, singleness and solidity–coupled with a face and body forever shifting this way and that in the light. One minute feminine, another masculine. And not only that, but feminine and masculine with a zillion flickering nuances and myriad types of fem and masc.

    And then on top of THAT of course a voice and a talent that appear to have come from some Realm of the Immortals.

    oops–I guess that last paragraph wasn’t exactly a question!

    Sorry for the lengthy post! I’m a university teacher and writer, I write all day and do all of my thinking on paper/screen, so it was just a matter of time before I broke down and started blabbing with you…

    Thanks very much for your blog, by the way 🙂

    And here’s one final (I promise) wrinkle: I’m married and very happily straight. Last night I had a sex dream with Tom Cruz for God’s sake.

    Liked by 1 person

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