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Current Courses


AbsoluteEye Contemplative Photography: From Orderly Chaos to Found Modern Art

“Chaos should be regarded as extremely good news”

~Chogyam Trungpa


Two Separate Sessions

  1. Toronto Shambhala Center

Sat. 12pm-2pm Est; Mar 23rd, 30rd, Apr 6th, 13th, 20th

For registration:

2.Drala Image

Fri. 6:30pm-7:30pm Est; Mar 22nd, 29th, Apr 5th, 12th,19th

For registration:



    This Zoom exploration engages direct perception without reference points. Not even the reference point of contemplative art.  It is a free flowing perception orderly chaos. The images are energetic and vivid. They are Found Modern Art.

    The Nalanda Miksang path and pedagogy orients from Chogyam Trungpa’s  Dharma Art teaching: The Three Levels of Perception. These three levels parallel the Buddhist three levels:  Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. This contemplative art perception engagement is the “Tantric” level. You will learn to “let go,” enter a  “visual gap” and let the visual world manifest in its own orderly chaos way.

    The aesthetic of these artistic images resonates with certain paintings of Modern American Art. This course includes a cultural studies aspect. We will consider the Assemblage School of American Modern Art which includes artists such as Robert Rauschenberg as well as some Pop Artists.

    One of the intentions of this course is to produce brilliant found modern art images. You will become absolute photo eye artists.

    The course will include contemplation of Dharma Art and Modern Art texts, teachings, image assignments and image reviews.  No photographic experience necessary. You need a digital camera. (a smart phone is workable).


Child of Illusion: Contemplative Art, Yogachara Buddhism and Liberation

“Yogachara is the school of Buddhism that produces art and appreciates aesthetic consciousness…a touch here, a touch there, delight”, “The Tea Cup and the Skull Cup” ~Chogyam Trungpa,


“If there is nothing to grasp there is no grasping” ~Vasubandhu


Two course date/times:

  1. Eight weeks.Every Sat. 3-5 pm Est, Feb. 17th- Apr. 6th

Register through Shambhala Online:


  1. Eight weeks.Every Fri. 6:30-7:30 pm Est, Feb. 16th-Apr. 5th

Fee: $225-$275 CAN. (or what you can afford)




   The two ways of contemplative arts and the Yogachara come together at certain “pressure points”. One is the dualism/non dualism that occur in our experience and perception. A unique feature of the Yogachara and the contemplative arts is to use dualism – our everyday experience – as a way to realize non-dualism or the liberation from fixed references through the free flowing, vibrancy and openness of direct experience.  

   This course, through various perception exercises and meditation practices, facilitates these liberation ways and cultivates a subtle aesthetic appreciation. In particular it focuses on “post-meditation” as vehicle for empowering the phenomenal world “ to wake you up”. Then you have a powerful ally in your liberation practice and way.

  (there will be some contemplative photography exercises so you need a digital camera. A phone camera is acceptable)

  Along with these transformative exercises we will contemplate certain texts and teachings. We will engage Vasubandhu’s classic treatise: “ The Three Natures”. Vasubandhu is one of the founders of the Yogachara school.  Also we will consider teachings from Traleg Rinpoche’s text “The Influence of Yogacara on Mahamudra” and ChogyamTrungpa’s text the “ Tea Cup and the Skull Cup”. Readings from these texts will be provided.

   This is not a beginner’s course so one should have established a meditation practice and taken Refuge or Shambhala vows or some similar commitment to Dharma practice.


True Perception and Shambhala Meditation

“ When the warrior-students experience an environment where the dralas are present, where the possibilities of sanity are always there, they can appreciate the mountains, the clouds, the sky, sunshine, trees, flowers, brooks...intensely bright red and blue and brilliant white and orange. You see the brilliance of the universe. You develop a true perception of the universe” ~Chogyam Trungpa: Shambhala Sacred Path of the Warrior

  The course is presented on two separate dates, Four sessions each.

  1. Sat. Nov 4th; 12-2pm Est. For more information and registration go to the Toronto Shambhala Center website:

  2. Starting Tues. Nov. 7th, 6:30-8:30pm Est.

    Course fee: $120 -$140 CAN (or what you can afford)

    For more information: Current courses at

    For registration:

    Chogyam Trungpa, the great Buddhist meditation master and Shambhala teacher was also an accomplished contemplative artist. His Dharma art teachings are gathered in a book: True Perception.  As the above quote indicates “true perception” is also at the heart of the Shambhala teachngs.

    This course integrates these True Perception dharma art teachings with the Shambhala way and meditation practice.

    In particular it includes some contemplative  photography explorations and two forms of Shambhala meditation: a Mind/Body/World synchronization which establishes the basis for true perception and a perception/awareness meditation which manifests true perception.

    No photography or meditation experience necessary. Instruction will be provided. You need a digital camera (a phone camera will work).

    The course will include teachings from True Perception, Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior, Great Eastern Sun and Heart of Photography. These texts will be provided.

color example1.jpg

Color: Introduction to Contemplative Photography (Closed)

“ But the point is to see properly. See colors: white, black, blue yellow, red, green, purple. Look. This is your world!”~Chogyam Trungpa; Sacred Path of the World


We ask: does visual experience and the visual world have forms or elements ?  Is it made of anything? Yes it does have visual features. Everything we see involves color, light, surface, space and seeing something.

   These visual forms become the first explorations of our pedagogy and path of visual contemplative training. It is something like learning the visual cords and scales although the images themselves can be very interesting and powerful.

   Color is the first engagement. This engagement opens the way of contemplative photography. Besides this basic visual form it involves the pedagogy and skillful means of contemplative photography such as the practices of synchronization and “flash of perception”.  It teaches how to make an equivalent contemplative image composition. And deeply: it introduces the distinction between an orientation to the “thing world” – a red fire engine – and the contemplative phenomenal or appearance world – fire engine red: the color red as the color red.

   This course can be a good introduction the Looking and Seeing course which teaches all the visual forms.  Also, it is a direct introduction to the Color Plus/Plus course which explores color manifestations as Found Modern Art.

   No previous photographic experience necessary but you need a digital camera (a phone camera works)


Moon and Sun: A Short  Introduction to Contemplative Haiku (Closed)

  “The moon and sun are travelers through Eternity…Even the days wander and each day is a journey and the journey itself is home”-Basho


 This course introduces the classic form of Contemplative haiku which situates an occasioned “now” within the vast cosmos of Nature.


  The course includes a consideration of the sublime aesthetics of the Japanese contemplatives- such as sabi, wabi, and yugen. Further we consider the Shambhala teachings of “authentic presence” and “ordinary magic” as energetic ways that inform contemplative practice.


  This Zoom course proceeds through teaching, haiku assignments and reviews.  Each participant will have weekly personal feedback through e-mail and will share their haiku in the Zoom sessions.


  For those interested, this course opens participation in the ongoing “ Moon and Sun” community of haiku practitioners and more advanced Haiku studies.

No writing experience necessary.


Contemplative Photography and Liberation: The outer and inner teachings (Closed)

“ If you are able to relax – relax to a cloud by looking at it, relax to a drop of rain and experience its genuiness – you can see the unconditionally of reality…you experience a vast realm of perceptions unfolding…the realm of perception is limitless, so limitless that perception itself is primordial…there are endless fields of perception.”

   The course proceeds through teachings, assignments and assignment reviews. No photographic experience necessary but one needs a digital camera. (a phone camera is workable)




Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala Sacred Path of the Warrior

    This course will take you on a deep dive into the world of contemplative photography and is open to everyone. No previous photographic experience necessary.

   A basic introduction to the practice of contemplative photography will be explored – as well as the liberation aspects of this practice. The direct perception experiences resonate with more primordial depths of insight. So it is both a contemplative art  and dharma practice. We will consider how the liberation features of contemplative art resonate with the liberation features of Shambhala, the Buddhadharma and Daoism.

  The “clear seeing” you will experience as part of this course opens up many realms of perception that we typically do not engage in our daily life. We will explore some fields of perception such as impressionism, flowers and weeds, and ordinary world magic.  

  We will contemplate some Chogyam Trungpa texts from the books True Perception and Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior. (if you do not have these books excerpts will be provided)

     For more discussion of the contemplative way of liberation consult the blog post on this website: “ Contemplative art and liberation: how it works ”


Orderly Chaos and Found Modern Art (Closed)

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




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.


There is no prerequisite for this course.

" Following this course, in the Summer, we will offer a related
AbsoluteEye Found Modern Art course: Assemblage Artists.  It will
contemplate the works of artists Robert Rauchenberg and Tom Wesslmann;
the works of photographers Edward Weston and Lee Frielander, the
Assemblage theories of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze  and the
Tantric teachings of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche."



Moon and Sun Haiku Gathering (Closed)

This is an ongoing feature of the Moon and Sun haiku manifestation. Every month, we will gather around to share some of our haiku. This is only available to those who have taken a Moon and Sun haiku course. The haiku will be in the classic contemplative haiku form.

The process will be similar to the course format. Participants can send me up to five haiku via e-mail. I will respond and select some that we can read and contemplate together. There may be a haiku lesson. It will be scheduled for a two-hour session, but the actual session may be shorter.


Contemplative Photography: A short introduction (Closed)

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


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


LOOKING AND SEEING: Introduction to Contemplative Photography (Closed)

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


Teacher: John McQuade

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

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