Current Courses


OMEGA Institute of Holistic Studies
Contemplative Photography: Ways of Seeing (Open)

   I will be presenting a contemplative photography week retreat at the Omega Institute June 12th-17th

    The Omega institute is one of the major Spiritual educational institutions in North America. It is located in Rhinebeck New York.

    This retreat is part of an Arts week at the Omega Institute so it will be an immersive on the spot community experience of contemplative and Dharma artists. In general, week retreats are a way to deepen one’s practice and contemplative art path.This will be even more so in this holistic dharma art environment.


    The Omega Institute of Holistic Studies is one of the major Spiritual educational institutions in North America.

For more information and registration go to:


True Perception and Contemplative Photography:  Inner Teachings and Liberation (Open)

“The only magic that exists is this life, this world, the particular phenomena we are experiencing right this moment…Magic is direct and personal and lingers in our state of being. It is choiceless magic.”-Chogyam Trungpa

1) Fri. May. 6th-Jun. 3rd; 6:30-8:30 PM Eastern

2) Sat. May. 7th-Jun. 4th; 3-5 PM Eastern

Fee: $120 - $140 CAD  


Nalanda Miksang Contemplative Photography ( draws upon as it expresses the True Perception teachings of Chogyam Trungpa.  In our Miksang courses we present perception/image exploration with some reference to Chogyam Trungpa’s teachings. This course reverses the process: we deeply contemplate Chogyam Trungpa’s perception teachings highlighted with images from the participants.

The topics include Looking and Seeing, the Three Levels of Perception, drala (ordinary magic) the “flash” of perception and the “gap” of perception, dot-in-space and contemplative transmission, Absolute and relative Symbolism.  Also, we consider Chogyam Trungpa’s photographs and his comments on photography.  

In the contemplative arts there is often an outer and inner teaching.  The outer teachings pertain to the forms, practices and experience.  The Inner teaching pertains to the insights that open liberation.  In this exploration we will engage the Inner teachings.

For more


LOOKING AND SEEING: Introduction to Contemplative Photography (Open)

“When Eye, Mind and World are in the same place at the same time, one sees clearly, and the images are simple and vivid.”

 Sun. May 22nd - 29th, Jun. 5th, 19th, 26th: 2-4pm Est.

Fee: $120 CAD

Course includes teachings, assignments and image reviews

Teacher: John McQuade

For more information and registration go to the Toronto Shambhala Center Website:


Heaven and Earth: Contemplative Landscape Photography (Open)

Fri. Jul. 8th, 22nd, Aug. 5th, 19th, Sept. 23rd; 6:30 - 8:30 pm Est.

Sun. July 10th, 24th, Aug 7th, Sept 11th, 25th; 2-4 pm Est.

Fee: $130 -$150 CAN


Sat. Jul. 9th, 23rd, Aug 6th Sept 10th, 24th; 1-3 pm Est.
Fee: $120 CAN


This course explores Landscape from an Eastern Art contemplation rather than the traditional Western Scenic perspective. This contemplative landscape photography gives emphasis to forms, space and stillness rather than the conventional landscape photography formats of dramatic effect. The course will include resource teachings from contemplative aesthetics, Daoism and Chinese landscape painting.

Video link:

You will need a digital camera with a “long lens” (180 or more)

For registration and more information:


Contemplative Haiku: A brief introduction (Open)

“When we draw down power and vastness into a single perception we are discovering and invoking magic.” –Chogyam Trungpa

Sat. May. 14th - 21st, Jun. 4th; 12-2 PM Eastern

Fee: $75-$90 CAN


Haiku is a short poetic form – three lines. It expresses the ordinary occasion of the “now moment.” Contemplative Haiku explores the power and vastness of that single perception moment.

The course introduces the basic form and practice of contemplative haiku. It proceeds through haiku practice. Each person will have personal feedback for their haiku submissions (via email) and during the class we will collectively share our haiku.

No writing experience necessary. This course is required for a course offered in the Spring: The Way of ways: Daoism and the Contemplative Arts.


Nalanda Miksang Week long Intensives at The Haliburton School of Art (open)

There are two week long programs:

Ways of Seeing: Explorations

July 11-15

This course explores various fields of perception such as people and sentient beings, ordinary world and found modern art.

No photographic photography is necessary. You need a digital camera. (a phone camera is acceptable)

The Way of Seeing and the Ways of Nature

August 1-5

This course focuses on the manifestation of Nature as ways of contemplation, appreciation, and enrichment. Topics range from manifestations such as flowers and weeds to the more subtle aesthetics of Eastern Art.

The course works through two contemplative art practices: contemplative photography and contemplative haiku. Haiku is a short contemplative “poem” that, in its classic form, always includes a reference to Nature

No photography or writing experience necessary.You need a digital camera (a phone camera is acceptable)

For information concerning registration and lodging go to:

    The Haliburton School is located in the rural Ontario village of Haliburton.  This is about a 2:30 hr. drive from Toronto and a 1:30 hr. drive from Peterborough. Haliburton is at the juncture of an interesting land formation.

    It is located on the edge of South Ontario at the opening to North Ontario. It is located at a transition from the South Ontario glacial formed landscapes of fertile hills and valleys with deciduous trees like maples and elms to the glacial scraped landscape of the Great Canadian Shield with its granite rock and pine trees.

    One could combine the photography course with a holiday adventure in this rural and scenic environment. I know there are couples who each take a different course and enjoy their stay in this unique cultural and natural environment.

    These weeklong programs allow one to relax and “sink into the practice” as the practice “sinks into you”. Then you will have entered the Way of Seeing: the transformation of the ordinary into ordinary magic.


The Way of Seeing and the Ways of Humans:
Humans and Other Sentient Beings

Every other week, with one month between #3 and #4

2-4 pm EST

July 17

July 31 

August 14 

September 11

September 25

Sliding scale $150-$350 US dollars

To register, contact Miriam with the amount you wish to pay at

This first-time offering with co-directors of Nalanda Miksang, John McQuade and Miriam Hall, focuses on a single field of perception often quickly passed through in Level II, the Heart of Photography.

 This true perception exploration of people is more delicate than the explorations of other subject matter such as flowers, ordinary world, and so forth. As human photographers ourselves, sentient being subjects experience us, as we experience them, and we experience each other together.

In this contemplative inquiry, the subject matter is the relationship, communication, and intimacy of being human together. As such, this inquiry will be as much about yourself as it is about others. The images will display your way with them, and their way with being, in the same world together.

As humans, we are communicative and heart beings in our personal world, but also with our relatives and friends such as cats, dogs and horses. To a degree we will include all sentient beings, but this is another exploration.

There are many great photographers of people and we will include instruction from masters such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edward Weston and Dorothea Lange. There are many approaches and styles in the photography of people. Our approach is the contemplative: how people and other sentient beings manifest as their personal and unique ways.

Live calls are every other week with a forum available in between on Miriam’s Mighty Network. Sliding scale $150-$350 US dollars. This sliding scale is so broad in order to accommodate everyone’s payment needs. If you can pay more, please do, as you will help support those who need to pay less, as well as supporting both instructors and Nalanda Miksang as an organization. If you cannot afford the basic price, please let us know.

To register, contact Miriam with the amount you wish to pay at


Color Plus/Plus (Closed)

A prerequisite for this course is an introductory Nalanda Miksang course.

Every Sat April 9-30; Time at 2-4 PM Eastern

Every Fri April 8-29; Time at 6:30-8:30 PM Eastern

Course Fee: $100-$120 CAN

For further information or registration:

The first assignment in the Nalanda Miksang teaching is color as color. This first assignment abstracts color from the world reference of colorful things. Just color as color. 

This opening of color spontaneously continues to abstract until it becomes like Abstract American Art. This AbsoluteEye course will explore this natural color abstraction in the context of a study of American Abstract color artists such as Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellsworth Kelly, Barnet Newman, Kenneth Noland and others.

The course will proceed through image assignments and review along with a contemplation of the works of these American artists.


The Way and the ways/ Daoism and the Contemplative Arts (Closed)

“There is something in a state of fusion / Before Heaven and Earth were born/

Silent, vast/Independent, and unchanging/

It moves everywhere without fail/Picture the Mother of all beneath heaven/

I do not know its name

The word I say is Way

Forced to give it a name/ I say Great”

– Lao Tzu

Sun. Mar. 27th, Apr. 10th-May 1st; 2-4 PM Eastern

Fee: $130 CAN


This course is more of a “cultural studies” program although it includes the practice of haiku-do. The haiku practice is a way of embodying and expressing these principles. The course presents some of the basic principles and teachings of Daoism including references to some “root texts” and commentaries from some Daoist scholars such as David Hinton and Eva Wong. 

The main focus will be the Chinese contemplative artists with particular reference to poetry and landscape painting. 

 For more information contact or email


Contemplative Photography: A short introduction (Closed)

“When eye and mind are synchronized, you see more clearly, and your images are simple, strong and vivid”

Sat. Feb. 26th, Mar. 12th-19th; 2-4 PM Eastern

Fee: $90


Fri. Feb. 25th, Mar. 11th-18th; 6:30-8:30 PM Eastern

Fee: $90.00 CAN


This course introduces the basic approach of Miksang contemplative photography. It includes teachings, assignments and image reviews. An introductory course is a prerequisite for more advanced courses offered this year. (For information on these courses, go to No photography experience necessary, but you will need a digital camera. (Point-and-shoot or phone camera are acceptable.) For more information: and


Orderly Chaos and Found Modern Art (Closed)

“Chaos should be regarded as extremely good news”-Chogyam Trungpa

1.      Miriam Hall and John McQuade

Zoom: 12-2 pm Eastern time

Sun. Oct. 17 and 31; Nov.7 and 28; Dec 5


Fee: sliding scale $150-$225

2.      John McQuade

Zoom: 6:30-8:30 pm Eastern time

Mon. Oct. 18; Nov. 1, 8, and 29; Dec. 6


Fee: sliding scale $150-$225

This course is the third level in the Nalanda Miksang pedagogy which is based on Chogyam Trungpa’s dharma art teachings of the three levels of perception.

This course lets go of all reference points and enters the free play and energy of perception. The resulting images are often abstract and are found in modern art.  ( This course includes studies of Modern American Art with particular reference to the work of Robert Rauschenberg.

Course includes teachings, assignments and image reviews. A pre-requisite is that you had taken an introductory Looking and Seeing course.


Andy Warhol and Found Pop Art (Closed)

"Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?”-Andy Warhol

Zoom online: Two separate cohort courses

Fridays Oct 15th/22th & Nov 5th/12th: 6:30 pm- 8:30 pm Eastern time

Saturdays Nov 6th-Nov 27th: 3-5 pm Eastern time

Fee: Sliding scale $ 135- $150 (Can funds)

This course is occasioned by the Andy Warhol exhibit at the A.G.O. (Toronto) this Autumn. Inspired by Warhol’s creative interventions, this course will engage Found Pop Art. You will see what he saw and do what he did through the medium of photography. This course will complete the cycle of his work: Pop culture to Pop Art to found Pop Art/Culture.

The course will include teachings on Warhol’s work, pop art assignment teachings and image reviews. You need a digital camera (a good smart phone is acceptable)

Registration and further information:


Ways of Seeing and the Way of Nature:
Contemplative Photography, Haiku and Deep Ecology (Closed)

Tue & Thurs Oct 12/21 – Nov 18/21
Course Fee: $149 CAN

This program engages the contemplative arts of photography and haiku in a deep and detailed exploration of Nature. Haiku is an accessible short poetic form that includes a reference to Nature.

Both arts are experienced-based – working with direct perception and direct expression. We will explore manifestations of Nature such as flowers weeds, trees, landscape, animals, weather, the elements and so forth. The course includes presentations on Eastern Aesthetics drawn from the Zen and Daoist traditions. Also, we consider both the Western and Eastern teachings on Deep Ecology which articulate our place in the functioning of Nature and the Cosmos.

No poetic or photographic experience necessary but you need some version of a digital camera.

For registration and more information: or


Autumn Contemplative Haiku: The Way of the transitory (Closed)

 This is a Zoom course. It is offered in two separate sessions:

Five Wednesday evenings; 6:30-8:30 Eastern Time. Oct. 13, 20. Nov.3, 10, 17

Five Sunday afternoons; 3:00 -5:00 Eastern Time. Oct 24. Nov. 7,12,19,26

Fee: New participants: sliding scale: $130 -$175 (Canadian)

Returning participants: $90 - $150 (Canadian)

   Contemplative Haiku is a short poetic practice that always includes a reference to the Seasons. Haiku is both one of the simplest and one of the most profound of the contemplative disciplines. It is a practice of ordinary everyday deep appreciation of one’s life.

   Although haiku is practiced in all Seasons, I have always felt that it resonates more with the mood or sensibility of Autumn. Autumn manifests the impermanent, the transience and the ephemeral which resonates with Japanese contemplative aesthetics: “sabi” (loneliness), “wabi” (bare simplicity), “yugen” (mystery/poignancy).

   This course presents the practice contemplative haiku in the context of Japanese aesthetics. Also, it considers the source of contemplative art and aesthetics: the Ancient Chinese arts that present a deep spiritual ecology.

   The course includes teachings, assignments, weekly e-mail individual personal feedback, and collective contemplation of the haikus. No writing experience necessary.