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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.


The Only Way

According to the Buddha, no one can attain basic sanity and basic enlightenment without practicing meditation. You might be highly confused or you might be highly awakened and completely ready for the path. You might be emotionally disturbed and experiencing a sense of claustrophobia in relation to your world. Perhaps you are inspired by works of art you have done or the visual and audial aspects of works of art in general. You might be fat, thin, big, small, ntelligent, stupid — whatever you are, there is only one way, unconditionally, and that is to begin with the practice of meditation. The practice of meditation is THE and ONLY way. without that, there is no way out and no way in.

Work of Art

What a work of art is all about is a sense of delight. Touch here, touch there, delight. It is an appreciation of things as they are and of what one is — which produces an enormous spark. Something happens — clicks — and the poet writes poems, the painter paints pictures, the musician composes music.
— From "Artists and Unemployed Samurai" in THE TEACUP AND THE SKULLCUP: CHOGYAM TRUNGPA ON ZEN AND TANTRA. Page 42.

The Mark of Genius

When realized artists work on their production, they are completely filled with what they are doing. At that level, a person doesn’t have any other mind than being an arist, 100%. Complete concentration is involved when somebody is executing a work of art. That is the mark of a master. The mark of genius is none other than that you put 100% of your being into the situation, and you can do so. It turns out to be seemingly almost accidental, as in Shakespeare’s work, especially his early work. He was almost to the level of being a hero by mistake, by a very fortunate mistake. In a positive sense, such a mistake is possible. It involves a lot of power and concentration as well. So we are talking about a sense of contact, a sense of concentration, and a sense of mindlessness when a person is executing a work of art of writing poetry. At the time that you are writing poetry, you don’t think. You just do it.
— From "The Doha Tradition," Talk Twelve of THE TIBETAN BUDDHIST PATH. Naropa Institue, July 1974. Edited from an unpublished transcript.

The Ground of Art

The practice of meditation consists of sitting practice as well as meditation in action in everyday life situations. This provides some guidance as to how to conduct your life and how to relate to a work of art... When a person becomes a Buddhist or a Buddhist-inspired person, you are already an artist; you are already a poet; you are already a painter; you are already a craftsman. We have to understand this, not only in terms of being arty, clever, resourceful or cunning, but in terms of the solidity [of discipline] in our life situation. We decide to step into the understanding that there is no ego, and we find that there is no maker of ego either. Such a brave step seems to be necessary. To begin with, it is necessary to emphasize this solid ground [of egolessness and discipline] again and again. Sometimes we find ourselves inspired, but we find it very difficult to be grounded. We have to watch our step very carefully. If things are presented to you in a dramatic way or a fantastic way, there is something else to look into. A sense of stillness, a sense of austerity and a sense of solidity are very important. I would like to present the difficult way to you first, because there is enormous value in that. The hinayana or basic discipline is extremely valuable and necessary before we go beyond.
— From "The Doha Tradition," talk twelve in the TIBETAN BUDDHIST PATH, Naropa Institute, July 6, 1974. Edited from an unpublished transcript.

Emotions as They Are

In the practice of meditation, we neither encourage emotions nor repress them. By seeing them clearly, by allowing them to be as they are, we no longer permit them to serve as a means of entertaining and distracting us. Thus, they become the inexhaustible energy that fulfills egoless action.
— From "The True Spiritual Path," in THE ESSENTIAL CHOGYAM TRUNGPA, page 46.

Enlightenment Is Born Out of Confusion

The idea of enlightenment is born out of confusion. Because somebody is confused, there is the other aspect that contrasts with that confusion, which is enlightenment. We have to approach this scientifically: if confusion exists, then enlightenment exists, therefore confusion exists. We have to work with this polarity.
— Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, page 4

Anxiety Transformed into Mindfulness

Whether you are happy or sad, whether you are exuberantly joyful or miserable, it’s still an anxious world we’re living in. According to Buddhist tradition, anxieties can be transformed into mindfulness and awareness. Anxiety itself can be a reminder, a nudge that keeps waking us up again and again.
— “Choiceless Magic,” in True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, page 112

New Sight

Symbolism is a question of gaining new sight. It is being extremely inquisitive to see things in their own nature, not always wanting to change things. The opposite of symbolic vision is resentment, fear, and too much philosophy. You want to change the whole world. But you could take a different attitude, seeing things as they are in their own value, their own spaciousness.
— True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, page 68

The Gap

The fickleness of thoughts occurs continuously in our state of mind. There is the birth of a thought and the death of a thought, a gap or space, and then another birth and death. This happens all the time, every two thousandth of a second or so. The moment when this gap occurs is the ultimate state. It is the origin, and it is where birth and death are dissolved.
— From Milarepa: Lessons from the Life & Songs of Tibet’s Great Yogi by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, page 203

A True Reflection

Waiting and letting what arises reflect within our intelligence is the meditation practice. It is like letting a pond settle down so the true reflection can be seen. There are already so many mental activities going on constantly. Adding further mental activities does not sharpen intelligence. The only way is just to let the intelligence develop, grow.
— Glimpses of Abhidharma by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, page 59

 Instinct and the Mandala Perspective

Empty-hearted awareness refers to a sense of the rug being pulled out from under your feet, along with a sense of nondwelling—not exactly a sense of floating, but of nondwelling. It’s a stillness, not a pulsating, flickering kind of thing. It is as though you have suddenly been exploded and then you dissolved into the atmosphere. It is sort of an evaporation of something or other.
— “Instinct and the Mandala Perspective,” in Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle, by Chögyam Trungpa, page 128