Dharma and Art:
A Whole-Life Path
An online course
Sherre DeLys and Rosalyn Driscoll
February 7-April 17, 2021
Applications are now closed
A ten-week online course that explores the rich relationship between Dharma practice and creative practice through the framework of the Eightfold Path.
This course is for people who practice the Dharma in any tradition and who also engage in artmaking or other forms of creative practice in any discipline. The course offers participants a framework, resources, and a community to explore their art practice in light of the Buddha’s practical teachings and to understand these teachings in the very personal context of their art practice.
The course draws on the Noble Eightfold Path, the Fourth Noble Truth taught by the Buddha in his first sermon, which Gregory Kramer has investigated as a Whole-Life Path, in which every moment and experience is an opportunity for practice. The eight Path factors provide lenses through which to explore, in an integrated way, a liberative life and the challenges and opportunities for transformation within creative practice. This course offers participants a structure to engage with perennial questions and new possibilities. Our intention is to provide a safe place to challenge and support each other within a community of shared practice.
Each week we will investigate one of the Path factors, initially through a video conversation between the lead teachers and then explored in small, facilitated group gatherings; in Dharma contemplations; in readings; in writing; and in creative production. The weekly small group sessions of 8-12 participants will be facilitated by practitioners of both art and Dharma. In addition to the weekly discussions, we will also gather all together three times during the course to learn and practice Insight Dialogue.
Insight Dialogue is an interpersonal meditation practice that brings together three basic elements: meditative awareness, the wisdom teachings of the Buddha, and natural relatedness. It is conceived as a component of a broader whole-life path of cultivation intended to support harmonious, liberating life and community. The Insight Dialogue sessions will include contemplation of themes that arise from the preceding weeks.
|Application time frame
|September 15 - December 1, 2020
|February 7- April 17, 2021
|5-7 hours per week
|Basic mindfulness practice
|• Weekly 30 minute video lectures
• reading assignments
• weekly writing exercise
|• Weekly 90 minute live
small group discussions
• Three 90 minute whole group Insight Dialogue sessions
*The small group meetings will occur at same day/time every week. Participants select the times they are available.
Pandora’s Box by Rosalyn Driscoll with the Buddha in the 2018 Dharma and Art residence.
|Introduction to the Whole-Life Path for artists and creatives
|Right View: Everything depends on how we see the world; how do we understand right
view in creative practice?
|Right Intention: How the mind is aimed; how to track intention in creative work.
|Right Speech: The power of language, communication and expression in art.
|Right Action: Causal factors connect individual, interpersonal, and social suffering and
liberation; what is right action in art practice?
|Right Livelihood: Money, ecology and resources: how do we as artists support ourselves
and participate in the economy?
|Right Effort: What is the role of effort, perseverance and energy in creative work?
|Right Mindfulness: How does mindfulness inform and enhance our creative practice?
|Right Samadhi: What are concentration and flow in the creative process?
|Review, integrate, and consider how to continue these explorations.
Who is invited to participate
The course is open to people who practice the Dharma and also identify as an artist or investigate the creative process in any discipline (visual art, dance, theater, music/sound, craft, writing, architecture, design, performance art). The leaders are grounded in early Buddhist practice and study, and welcome practitioners in other traditions. The focus will be on implementing the Buddhist teachings of the Eightfold Path into the daily practice of a creative life.
The course emphasizes learning that comes through exchange and discussion. The opportunity to share this deep inquiry among people who practice both art and Dharma is rare. The course nourishes connections between artists in different disciplines in order to discover common principles and issues and to forge new relationships and collaborations. We seek a diversity of participants—in Dharma practice, art form, geography, age, experience, and social identity.
Making art or sharing artwork during the course is encouraged but not required. We ask that any creative work shared during the course be created or initiated during the ten weeks of the course.
Gregory Kramer is the director of Metta Foundation, the Founding Teacher of the Insight Dialogue Community, and has been teaching insight meditation since 1980. Gregory is the author of A Whole Life Path: A Layperson’s Guide to a Dhamma-infused Life; Insight Dialogue: The Interpersonal Path to Freedom (Shambhala); Seeding the Heart: Practicing Lovingkindness with Children; Meditating Together, Speaking…Gregory was a music composer and performer, a National Endowment for the Arts Composition Fellow, and taught composition at NYU. He has scored Emmy-winning films as well as dance, video and environmental works. He has developed devices for the music and recording field and was a founding figure in the science of auditory display and data sonification.
Sherre DeLys’ relational sound practice spans radio art and podcast, compositions and documentary soundscapes, collaborative sound sculpture and installation, and performance. Based in deep listening, her works are broadcast, performed and exhibited internationally- having received some of the world’s most respected audio art awards. Her arts practice led PhD research explores how mindfulness can assist artists to thrive in uncertain and borderless creative working processes, and builds on a Hemera Foundation Fellowship exploring the intersection of art and Dharma. She teaches mindfulness to human centered design leaders at RMIT University and to patients and caregivers at Chris O'Brien Cancer Research Hospital.
Rosalyn Driscoll is a visual artist whose sculpture, installation, collage and photography is sourced in the body and sensory perception. She animates her sculptural works through video, dance and theater, and collaborates with scientists. She is a member of Sensory Sites, an international art collective, and her work has been exhibited in the US, Europe and Asia and awarded numerous fellowships. Her book, The Sensing Body in the Visual Arts (Bloomsbury, 2020) explores the grounds for integrating the bodily, somatic senses in our understanding of how we make and engage with visual art. She has been instrumental in the development of the Dharma and Arts program at BCBS.
Program Fee, Teacher Dāna and Scholarships
The course fee is $450. This does not include financial support for the teachers. As is customary at BCBS, there will be an opportunity to offer dāna to the teachers at the end of the program.
We are committed to making this program accessible to all. Financial assistance is available to help supplement the course fee. Requests for financial assistance may be made in the registration process. If accepted into the course, a 30%, 40% or 50% scholarship can be selected on the registration page, and it will be applied directly. If the financial assistance need is over 50% of the course fee, there is a space to indicate what amount of the course fee would be affordable, and we will offer what we can to accommodate the request. We generally only offer financial assistance one time per person per year so as to make this support available to as many students as possible.
Application Process and Criteria for Selection
Applications are now closed.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share any feedback regarding ways that we could make the application process or participation in the course more accessible for you or others.
Applications Open: September 15
Applications Close: December 1
Accepted Applicants Notified: December 15
Enrollment Period: December 16th-January 15th (Last day to pay Jan. 18th)
Spring 2021 Course Dates: February 7- April 17