Contemplative Arts comprise a number of secular disciplines and activities, including flower arranging and photography, that integrate art and culture with everyday life. Each of these disciplines represents a genuine contemplative path; together they bring beauty, vividness and wisdom to our lives and culture.
Shambhala Art is art that springs from clear perception and pure expression. To artist or non-artist, the creative process often seems mysterious and magical. How do we give a physical reality to some ephemeral inspiration or abstract truth? How do we create forms that communicate some essential nature beyond the limits of their container? The Shambhala Art Program's purpose is to explore the creative process and the product we call art from the point of view of clear perception and pure expression. It is about the source of inspiration, how the creative process manifests and finally how what we create communicates that inspiration. See also www.shambhalaart.org.
In 1982, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche formed a new school of ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) inspired by his own training and vision. Kalapa Ikebana, as this school is called, promotes the study and practice of flower arranging, often working closely with masters of other schools of ikebana.
Kyudo means the way of the bow and can be described as a form of standing meditation. Under the direction of Shibata Kanjuro, Sensei and senior instructors, students learn an ancient form of archery using traditional Japanese bows. Kyudo is a form of meditation practice, not sport, and hitting the target is not considered important. The purpose of kyudo is to purify one's heart and mind to awaken the natural dignity of being human, beyond the obstacles of ambition, aggression or confusion.
"You develop strength in your sight, so that when you look at the Great Eastern Sun you don't become blinded by it. Having developed a dharmic eye, you will be able to see the Great Eastern Sun. See also www.miksang.net and www.miksang.net/miksangfilm.html
Maitri Five Wisdoms Practice
This practice is based on the principles of the five buddha families, each of which expresses a particular style and attitude of openness. Maintaining a posture associated with each family in five specifically designed rooms heightens the characteristic patterns of energy of each family, so that both the neurotic and sane aspects of the student's personal style becomes apparent. See also www.maitripractice-international.org.
Mudra Space Awareness
This awareness practice is based on postures and movement from traditional Tibetan monastic dance. Simple yet demanding, these techniques train students in synchronizing body and mind, in relating with space, in maintaining awareness during intense activity, and in communication.