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Los Angeles, CA

Shambhala Art can be seen as a process, a product, and an arts education program.  As a process, it brings wakefulness and awareness to the creative and viewing processes through the integration of contemplation and meditation.  As a product, it is art that wakes people up. Shambhala Art is also an international non-profit arts education program based on the Dharma Art teachings of the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Shambhala Buddhism, Shambhala International, and Naropa Institute.  Shambhala Art is a division of Shambhala and is presided over by his son and heir, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. This program is taught by trained and authorized Shambhala Art teachers.


Introduction to Meditation

Meditation is the foundation of the viewing and creative process.

In looking at the role of sitting meditation practice in artistic perception, we should try to understand how the practice of meditation changes the way you relate with your world: how it changes your visual system, your hearing system, and your speaking as well.
— Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Sitting meditation is the foundation for the viewing and creative process. As explained by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, meditation acts as a way of simultaneously relaxing your conceptions and increasing your confidence. When connected to the viewing process, meditation helps us to simply and directly relate to a work of art through all of our senses. We can let go a need to know and instead just be with the experience of viewing. In the creative process, meditation gives us the ability to simply and directly communicate our view with confidence. Whether its a pair of chopsticks or a large-scale installation we can create art without confusion or trickery.

The foundations of meditation in Shambhala Art is shamatha, a technique for placing our mind on an object of meditation and coming back to it continually. Shamatha meditation is taught in Part 1 of our program, and is also available at Shambhala groups or centers that offer meditation instruction. The video below is an introduction to meditation guided by Anne Saitzyk, Assistant Director of Shambhala Art, and should be supplemented by further instruction and practice. For those without access to a Shambhala group or center, we recommend Shambhala Online's course Meditation in Everyday Life.