Mandala of Compassion
A little sand leads to a lot of serenity at the Hammer Museum

Lately it?s hard to escape the barrage of conflict in the world, from big issues like international political discord to little annoyances like traffic snarls.

So we?re welcoming outside-the-box ways to bring a little positivity into our lives, starting with the new Mandala of Compassion exhibit at the Hammer Museum. 

Beginning on Saturday, orange-robed monks from Tibet will spend two weeks creating an intricate art piece (like this) from colored sand. According to centuries-old Buddhist teachings, just watching the monks quietly working helps reduce pain and suffering (similar to meditation). 

Museumgoers can also join the monks in prayer around museum opening and closing times. (But every day at 1 p.m., they break for lunch--a good excuse to treat yourself to a meal at Ammo in the courtyard until they resume.)

You?ll have to move fast; when the mandala is competed, the sand's all swept away to reflect life?s impermanence. True believers should attend the closing ceremonies in October. You can follow the monks to the ocean, where they?ll throw the sand into the waves to release blessings into the world.  

And if you want to keep your chill state of mind, don?t hit that Westwood traffic at rush hour.

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