spiritual training, and meditation practice were inseparable
since I was a young child in the Dru-gu region of Tibet; there,
I spent much of my time mingling my mind with the thankas and
spiritual art that surrounded me. I began painting as a hobby
from which I derived much inspiration and delight. After coming
to India I was trained primarily by H. H. Kamtrul Rinpoche,
one of the greatest artists from Tibet. During those first years
in India I was very homesick and painted my fond memories of
earlier times. I also devoted much effort to recreating, from
memory, some of the great thankas, deity paintings, and other
artistic treasures that were destroyed in the cultural revolution.
Later I began what might be called Espontaneous paintings. These
works come from the craziness of my flowing inner energy‹they
manifest as if by themselves. With brush and color I let everything
flow and move without effort and without inserting myself. These
paintings differ from the traditional works in that they do
not originate with a plan or concept. In this process there
is no judgement, and no modifications are made. Painting is
not an attempt to capture or convey a pre-determined experience,
nor to create something to be known as an art piece. Each painting
is a unique experience arising from visions, feelings, sensations‹and
from the immediate sparkling clarity of mind. As such, painting
is a language I speak and a world I explore within myself in
every possible spontaneous experience.
Some of my works are created using elements of both the traditional
and spontaneous methods. For example, I may plan to paint an
iconographic image, or scene or experience from memory, but
then I slip off into essence and spontaneity. I like painting
deities and other subjects used for visualization practice in
a way that keeps them alive, as they appear in my own visualization
practice. Here, then, I keep to the traditional, but with freedom
from the restrictions of lines and rules. This is a way of combining
the historical traditions with the immediate experience. I cannot
say this is a new style, but I feel we are in a period where
Tibetan artists can generate a new style that may be very useful.
So while my works differ in style and technique, more important
is what they have in common: the Buddha's vision expressed in
the tantric teachings that everything is living light energy,
a living universe of all the fantastic wonders of the mind.
One can develop this vast space of clarity, love and awareness,
full of the kind of energies that we experience in everyday
moments and especially in the sourceless and unending plane
of mental energy that manifests through movement and forms.
is my strong wish that all those who share concern for Tibetans
and their unique heritage will put into practice some activities
to benefit this goal. We are perhaps the last generation with
the resources to transmit this cultural heritage, not as a collection
of archived relics, even if the meaning is known; but to preserve
and continue its vibrant vital essence for future generations.
This is how it has been passed on to us.