Program Details

Shambhala Art Parts 1 & 2: Coming to Your Senses and Seeing Things As They Are


with Ellen Rook & Jill Blagsvedt
February 7 / 7:00 PM - February 9 / 6:00 PM

Repeaters may take this program for half the price! Email interim_finanace@shambhalaboston.org for more info!


Art has long been an expression of the very best society has to offer. Shambhala Art provides an opportunity for artists and for people to see their life as ‘art in everyday life'.  In many traditions, artists have trained not only in their discipline, but they also have trained their minds in awareness, confidence, and compassion. Shambhala Art allows us to experience the profound teachings on art developed by the great Tibetan meditation teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. 

These teachings unlock a non-conceptual sense of expression that is available to all. Experiential exercises bring us deeper understanding of ourselves as powerfully creative beings. Trungpa Rinpoche says of artists, “You could play a tremendous role in developing peace throughout the world.” This workshop builds our capacity to do so.


Shambhala Art is art that springs from the meditative state of mindAs a process, it brings wakefulness and awareness to the creative and viewing processes through the integration of contemplation and meditation.  It does not teach a particular skill or technique such as painting, sculpture, or dance, but it is rather about the source of inspiration, its manifestation, and how it speaks to us.


The practice of dharma art is a way to use our lives to communicate without confusion the primordial and magical nature of what we see, hear, and touch.
  ~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche


First thought is best in art.
  ~ William Blake


The creative process has more to do with perception than talent.  The creative process requires that we first perceive our world as it is before we can represent it in some form or use it as a launching pad for expression.  Meditation helps this process by clarifying our perceptions, relaxing our relentless self-dialoguing, and revealing the source of creativity.  We also learn through meditation that we can rest in “square one,” a state of mindfulness and awareness where our mind, body, and environment are synchronized and self-expression can transform into pure-expression.


Part Two: Seeing Things as They Are


The map is not the territory. — Alfred Korzbyski


The truth of the thing is not the think of it but the feel of it.
– Stanley Kubrick


One eye sees, the other feels. – Paul Klee


Symbol, in this sense, is not a “sign” representing some philosophical or religious principle; it is the demonstration of the living qualities of what is.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche


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.


Shastri Ellen Rook encountered the Shambhala teachings in upstate New York in 1980. She has studied with both Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. For many years, she served as Director of the Shambhala Medtation Center of Albany. She was appointed to the position of Shastri in 2012. She is married and has three adult daughters. She works as an Information Technology Manager for the State of New York. She writes poetry and is working towards teaching authorization in the Sogetsu Ikebana tradition.


Jill Blagsvedt has been a Shambhala Buddhist practitioner for the past twelve years. She attended Shambhala Buddhist Seminary in 2004, and served as Executive Director of the Shambhala Meditation Center of Boston from 2008 to 2011. She is an authorized Shambhala Training Director and Shambhala Art teacher. Jill is also trained as a fine artist and a Librarian. 

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