Shambhala Art Parts I-V

New Live Course beginning September 10th

With Steven and Anne Saitzyk

“Dharma art is not so much that you should be artistic, that you should paint a lot of pictures, compose music, or at least play music. And it is not that you should develop some fruition of beauty. Dharma art is not showmanship, or having some talent that nobody had before, having an idea that nobody’s done before. Instead, the main point of dharma art is discovering elegance. And that is a question of state of mind, according to the Buddhist tradition.”

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Whether or not you consider yourself an artist OR a meditator, the Shambhala Art teachings celebrate the creative spark that springs from the meditative mind. They remind us to appreciate the uniqueness of everyday sensory experience, the art of everyday life. Seeing the simplicity and brilliance of “things as they are” provides the ground for genuine creativity, which is the expression of non-aggression.


Schedule Overview

Time for all sessions: 1pm-7pm ET/10AM-4PM PDT

  • Part I: September 10
  • Part II: October 10
  • Part III: November 19-20
  • Part IV: December 10
  • Part V: December 11

The Shambhala Art Training Curriculum on Shambhala Online

Part I: Coming to Our Senses

September 10

In the initial workshop, we develop meditation as the ground for all creative endeavors. Through a sequence of experiential exercises, we glimpse our capacity for spontaneous creative expression that is independent of agenda or forced cleverness. These glimpses provide the initial confidence that we can rest with ourselves and our world. Resting with ourselves and our world is the ground for the creative process according to the Shambhala Art teachings.

We cover the following topics in Part I of this series:

  • Learning the value of slowing down and establishing a practice of meditation
  • Understanding the concepts of “felt sense” and “thought sense” and how to have more profound and more authentic experiences
  • Learning to appreciate the vividness of experience and trusting our “first thought, best thought.”

Part One is required for participation in the whole series. 

Those who can’t make the Part One live session will be able to access the recordings prior to taking the rest of the series.

Part II: Seeing Things As They Are

October 10

Through meditation we come to see things as they are, as opposed to how we think or imagine they are.  We discover that everything has a felt presence to it as well as a thought sense that we bring to it.  What we create and perceive communicates through signs and symbols.  Signs communicate primarily information and the thought sense of things.  Symbols on the other hand are primarily about non-conceptual direct experience, the presence and the felt sense of things.  Seeing the difference between signs and symbols, thought sense and felt sense, as well as how they work together empowers our creative and viewing processes.

Part III: The Creative & Viewing Process

November 19 & 20

Part III a: The Creative Process

November 19

The creative process can be a form of meditation-in-action when it begins with coming to our senses and arriving at square one. We do this naturally when we unconditionally face a blank piece of paper, an empty stage, an idle instrument, or an unplanted garden and allow inspiration to arise out of that space. If that inspiration is met with mindfulness and awareness, it can be given shape and form and built into a result that has a life and energy of its own that others can perceive and experience.

Part III b: The Viewing Process

November 20

The creative process is only half of the equation; the balance is an awakened viewing process that provides the means to fully perceive what is being communicated. We learn to relax further into our felt sense and perceive the inherent qualities of objects. Once perceived, we can work with those inherent qualities in a way that gives rise to relationship and communication between the objects and the viewer.

Part IV: The Power of Display

December 10

As we explore things as they are in greater and greater depth, we find many shapes, sounds, tastes, colors, and so on with patterns that suggest connections to the seasons, emotions, truths, and wisdoms. Cultures throughout history have developed systems to merge their intuitive experience with their collective knowledge and display it through their arts.  In Part Four we focus on one of the most universal systems, the five elements: earth, water, fire, air (wind), and space, and how they form a Gestalt, mandala, or interconnected dynamic display.  In discovering the nature of these elements, we also learn about ourselves and our unique means of expression and how in spite of all our differences there is some universality to our communication.

Part V: Art in Everyday Life

December 11

Some feel that if an idea or inspiration is clear, or pure, then whatever is produced will automatically be the same.  However, the gap between inspiration and manifestation can be huge and filled with obstacles, negativity, and self-consciousness.  The five elements not only describe our world and our experience, but four of them offer means, actions we can take, to work with these challenges: Pacifying (water), Enriching (earth), Magnetizing (fire), and Destroying (wind).  These four actions are used in everyday life, as well as the creative process, as the vehicles for compassionate action and pure expression where obstacles become challenges and negativity is transformed into greater vision and truth.