Shambhala Art Day Festivals & Celebrations

Shambhala Art Day Festivals & Celebrations

Shambhala Art Day has been designated by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to occur on the spring equinox. It is a day when the entire Shambhala community and friends are invited to celebrate art forms and disciplines that embody the Dharma Art teachings of the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. These teachings encourage the creation and manifestation of art that wakes up the viewer as well as its maker to a sense of unconditional sacredness within the phenomenal world.

“A work of art is created because there is basic sacredness, independent of the artist’s particular religious faith or trust.  Sacredness from that point of view is the discovery of goodness, which is independent of personal, social, or physical restrictions.” Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.  Pg. 130, in True Perception

Each year’s celebrations would ideally be held on or near the spring equinox.   They may be as short or as long as desired (see descriptions/suggestions below).  One of the main manifestations has been the Shambhala Art Festivals, which is going into its 11th year.  (Please Note: Shambhala Arts, as distinguished from Shambhala Art, is the moniker that many in our community give to specific art forms and disciplines that appear to share and manifest Dharma Art principles -see the Dharma Art Letter below.).  Internationally each center’s contribution has served to magnetize the energy of its community as well as realize the authenticity of art-in-everyday-life.

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The Dharma Art Letter

A letter written by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche on the occasion of the Naropa Institute’s first summer program in Boulder Colorado, July 1974. Pgs. 1-2, True Perception.

The term dharma art does not mean art depicting Buddhist symbols or ideas, such as the wheel of life or the story of Gautama Buddha.

Rather, dharma art refers to art that springs from a certain state of mind on the part of the artist that could be called the meditative state.  It is an attitude of directness and unself-consciousness in one’s creative work.

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Suggested Forms of Celebration

Suggested Forms of Celebration

Individual: For those who do not have an opportunity to share their celebrations with a larger community, they could attend a concert, a performance, see a movie, visit an art museum, and the like.  They could read and contemplate the Dharma Art Letter before and if a friend can share their celebration, they could discuss their experience in light of the Letter.

A Group Without an Available Shambhala Center: Similar to the above, except the discussion after the shared event could be more formalized for the group where they would meet in a home and hold a “salon,” also known as “salon gathering” or “conversation salon.”  In such gatherings there is an agreed upon topic and discussion moderator.  Each participant has an opportunity to share their experience and thoughts along with some food and drink.  Some subjects of Shambhala Art Salons have been, “When can ugly be beautiful,” “What makes Shambhala Art, art?” and “What is the role of art in an enlighten society?”

Exhibits and Festivals: Where there are Shambhala Centers available, celebrations can include exhibitions, performances, and demonstrations of various art forms and disciplines that we associate with the Shambhala/Dharma Art principles.  Usually a committee is formed to organize, setup, and manifest the celebrations.  Examples can be seen at our Slide Shows Page.