creative energy : the essence of everything

Jigme Namgyel (b.1964) is the present Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. He is also an abstract expressionist painter. Kongtrul Rinpoche views creativity as “something very large – the essence of everything”. His training in the arts began at an early age with the practice of calligraphy, music, ritual dance and other traditional Tibetan arts. After his introduction to Western culture, Rinpoche became increasingly interested in modern art, particularly abstract painting and the work of Picasso and Kandinsky. He began painting under the guidance of his teacher, Yahne Le Toumelin in the mid 1990’s.


Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel: Untitled 229, 2007

Untitled 229, 2007
oil on canvas 22.6cm X 160.7cm


When we trust our creativity we encounter a supreme kind of enjoyment –
an amazement at the natural unfolding of life
beyond our ordinary way of looking at things.

Meeting reality directly requires confidence in the fundamentally positive nature of our being. The more we trust what arises in our mind to come from this creative source, the more we can let the mind be as it is, rather than approach it with judgment, fear or manipulation based on our likes and dislikes. My hope is that my paintings communicate the beauty of this unhindered practice of free expression.


Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel: Untitled 254, 2007

Untitled 254, 2007
oil on canvas 122cm X 91.5cm


Watch a video of the creation of this work


The essential practice of meditation is to allow the mind to express itself freely without fear or judgment. In each moment of awareness we encounter impressions of the outer world through our sense perception as well as our inner world of thoughts, feelings and emotions. When, through the process of meditation, we are able to let this incredible array of experience be, without trying to reject what we fear or pull in what we feel attracted to – when we relax into experience without trying to manipulate it in any way – we have a complete experience of mind, naked and unaltered. Art, when it is free of such notions of beauty and ugliness, ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ can be used to express this complete experience of mind. When art evolves from this understanding it provides the possibility for those who see it to also experience the natural and unfabricated nature of their own awareness.

– Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel


I wish to urge students of the dharma who may have forsaken their creative impulse in favor of practice to realize there is no conflict between creativity and meditation. Creativity can be understood, in essence, to be the practice of our own nature and that nature’s expression. You may find your way into the nature through creativity; or you may come out from the nature to express creativity. Both have to be appreciated as the best of our mind’s potential.

– Kongtrul Rinpoche

Sources:  wikipedia and Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel’s website

Relevant posts and pages:

on painting

creative energy : the essence of everything

the art of disciplined freedom


artisans’ gallery