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Lions Roar : January 2013
56 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2013 1. Dharma and Art People often start with art and discover dharma out of that. But our approach is different: we begin with dharma, the truth of the teachings, the truth of reality, and then we try to find if there is any art in it. We start right at the beginning, right at the basic point—with the question of who we are, what we are, and what we are trying to do in terms of art. So in discuss- ing dharma art, it is important to have some familiarity with dharma and why it is art. Dharma means “norm” or “truth.” It is also defined as peace and coolness, because it reduces the heat of neurosis, the heat of aggression, passion, and ignorance. So dharma is very ordinary, very simple. It is the stage before you lay your hand on your brush, your clay, your canvas. It is very basic, peaceful, and cool. It is free from the neurosis that creates obstacles to perceiving the phenom- enal world properly and fully, as a true artist should. The basic obstacle to clear perception is omnipresent anx- iety, which does not allow us to relate to ourselves or to the world outside ourselves. There is constant anxiety, and out of that anxiety comes a feeling of heat. It is like entering a hot room—we feel claustrophobic and there is no fresh air. That claustrophobia leads us to contract our sense perceptions. Unconditional Beauty The dharma art teachings and artworks of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche This teaching concludes our year-long series honoring Chögyam Trungpa, founder of the Shambhala Sun, on the 25th anniversary of his death. OCEAN OF DHARMA When there is one hundred percent claustrophobia—the full heat of neurosis—we can’t see, we can’t smell, we can’t taste, we can’t hear, we can’t feel. Our sense perceptions are numbed, which is a great obstacle to creating a work of art. Some people say that if there were no neurosis, they could not become good artists. This view of art is the opposite of a sense of peace and coolness. It undermines the possibility of intrinsic beauty. Fundamentally, art is the expression of unconditional beauty, which transcends the ordinary beauty of good and bad.