Program Details

Shambhala Art: The Path of Dharma Art

with Steve Saitzyk & Herb Elsky
April 27 / 6:00 AM - May 4 / 6:00 AM

Shambhala Art Intensive: All Five Parts

Shambhala Art’s purpose is to explore the creative process and the product we call art from the viewpoint of a meditative discipline.  The Shambhala Art teachings are about discovery and play, and the universal nature of creativity and communication. They experientially explore what it means to see things as they are, as well as how to uncover the source of inspiration, its manifestation, and how it can speak to us beyond the limits of its container.  While Shambhala Art does not teach a particular skill such as painting, sculpture, or dance, it offers a view and a path that can be put into practice within any artistic discipline.  Shambhala Art is based on the Dharma Art teachings of the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Shambhala. 

The Shambhala Art Programme is taught in five parts.  This intensive will offer all five parts in one programme.

These teachings help us to discover the richness of our perceptions, our experience, and the possibilities for expression.
Open to everyone (Age 13-99). No previous training is necessary. The only pre-requisite is a sense of curiosity.

Shambhala Art Description

Part One: Coming to Your Senses
Clear perception is the basis of genuine art. Through a series of exercises, Part One explores the process of perception, highlighting both clarity and obscurations.

Part Two: Seeing Things as They Are
Art-making can be an inquiry into what is true. Trungpa Rinpoche taught dharma art as a way of investigating relative truth and absolute truth, which he called 'sign' and 'symbol.' Part Two through exercises points us in the direction of non-conceptual knowing.

Part Three: Heaven, Earth and Human --The Creative Process
Facing a blank piece of paper, an empty stage, an idle instrument, or an unplanted garden, we welcome the open space of not knowing -- the Heaven principle. Out of that space, inspiration arises and we take the leap, make the mark, and begin to create, joining Heaven and Earth. Bringing awareness and heart to the process is the Human principle. Part Three explores these ancient aesthetic principles by making calligraphies and doing object arrangements.

Part Four: The Power of Display
The world is a display of forms, patterns, colors, emotions, and wisdoms. Using the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space) which compose our world, we begin to see the range of our everyday expression as unique individuals within the totality. Out of this, the creative process drives us to shape our awareness as artistic expressions that display that totality within the particularity of the present moment.

Part Five: Art in Everyday Life
Along with inspiration comes obstacles and negativity. Working with these obstacles and negativities, co-emergent with inspiration, is the nature of the Shambhala Path. By using the Four Actions (pacifying (clarifying), enriching (presence), magnetizing (discrimination), and destroying (editing)), we can turn obstacles and negativities into vehicles of compassionate action, allowing the inspiration to become the timeless expression of art that is the pure nature of our relationship to the world.


Teachers: Steve Saitzyk, the international Director of Shambhala Art and one of the founders of the Shambhala Art Programme and Herbert Elsky, artist and Shambhala teacher. More about the teachers Steve Saitzyk and Herbert Elsky.

Herbert Elsky about the Retreat: “For me the essence of art is discovery and appreciation of the senses. I like the sense of aliveness and being in the moment, in the unknown, even if it is uncomfortable. You never know what you might discover!Read more here.

Find out more about Shambhala Art here.

Please note: Right after this retreat Dechen Chöling celebrates its annual Art's Day, Sunday May 5. You are very welcome to stay for this day. Please indicate during the registration process in case you would like to do so.

This programme is taught in English. Interpretation into French is offered at no extra cost. Interpretation into other languages is available under certain conditions. Translation services can be guaranteed only if requested at least two months in advance. Please contact us for more information.

This programme is now full. Please click here see find out about more Contemplative Art programmes.

Go to Dechen Chöling's website