If you are a die hard k.d. lang follower as I am, and see her as a spiritual “kick ass” like I do (just kidding you kd) , then you know that she is involved in Ari Bhod. If I understand k.d. correctly, she was introduced to Buddhism in a formal way while she was with Warner Brothers. At this time she met her rinpoche with whom she studied for nearly a decade until his death in 2009. This relationship was critical for her, her music, and her spiritual work in this life.
Part of his dream was to bring Tibetan Buddhism to the Western world. Part of this dream was established with Ari Bhod (America’s Tibet), and another part was established with Tools For Peace. As you may know, k.d. has worked with both organizations to help realize the idea of compassion and kindness taking a deep root with us here in the West.
Today, was a huge day in the Tibetan calendar, called Lhabab Duchen. So, I got off my duff, faced 2 hours of Los Angeles traffic, and arrived shaken but on time for this event. What I have to show you are mostly pictures with a novice Buddhist’s take on things. So here we go…
You may recognize these four men from their work on the Compassion Mandala at the Hammer Museum at UCLA. It is the same friendly crew sitting on the dock at Marina del Rey in Los Angeles saying prayers. Here, in this picture, only the lamas are praying from small, yet intricately decorated prayer sheets.
Before this happened, a small group of us, about 10 or so (not counting the “Fab Four”) said about an hour of chants. The chants were about wishing happiness and a lack of suffering for all creatures. There were quite a bit of prayers said for those beings in an animal incarnation wishing them peace, and a death that is not too horrible. Lucky for me, they had a cheat sheet with all the Tibetan Romanized so I could recite with the best of them. (Thank you Ari Bhod for doing this!)
I think many of the animals appreciated the thought because they all seemed to line up to listen. I got the idea that each has had enough of animal incarnations, but maybe that is just me projecting and anthropomorphizing!
After about an hour and 15 minutes of prayers, the real fun began; the release of live bait into the ocean. The actual release took about 20 minutes with 5-6 people diligently working and during this time, one of the lamas (I think he is higher than just a lama) said more prayers and released a kind of “holy water” for lack of a better word. (Sorry I am so ignorant, but it was not really a good time to stop the guy and ask, if you know what I mean LOL).
While some lamas put the live bait in the ocean, others turned on a hose full blast to keep the local wildlife from eating everything in two seconds. I’m not sure how much bait was released, but it was a lot, at least 20-30 net-fulls.
So readers, that is about it. The bait were released and off the monks went, I think all the way back to Ari Bhod in Tehachapi, CA. I feel for them spending nigh on 5 hours in the car today!