I remember with clarity the moment I was first introduced to traditional Thangka painting as a form of sacred art, and was immediately struck by the variety and power of the feminine imagery. These paintings resonated strongly with me and have inspired and shaped my artistic expression and spiritual path.
Growing up in Ontario, Canada, my first exposure to Buddhism occurred while completing a fine art degree at Queen’s University during a course that examined Buddhism from a feminist perspective. Dharma practice took on a more prominent role in my life in 2004, when I took refuge and joined the sangha at the Kootenay Shambhala Meditation Centre in Nelson, BC, Canada. During this time, I was given the instruction needed to begin White Tara sadhana practice.
Over the past few years I’ve been able to visit Karma Sonam Dargye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Temple (the Canadian Seat of HH 17th Karmapa), spend time at His Eminence the 9th Tulku Neten Rinpoche’s Dharma Centre, Jam Tse Cho Ling in Toronto, and attend teachings given by Lama Karma Phuntsok on the bardos of living, dying and becoming. I’ve also had the good fortune to visit Tashi Choling, Zasep Tulku Rinpoche’s meditation centre in British Columbia.
Toronto was honoured with the presence of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa in 2017, and I was present for four days of teachings on topics which ranged from environmental responsibility to transforming afflictive emotions, and ended with a Manjushri empowerment.
In 2017, I began Longchen Nyingtik Ngöndro with Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche’s distance Ngöndro Gar program. I feel immense gratitude to have access to this specific form of guidance in order to proceed with Ngöndro practice in a structured, accountable way. It was particularly meaningful to attend a teaching and Manjushri empowerment by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche at the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre.
I’m continuously inspired and informed by the Buddhist deities that I familiarize myself with during Dharma practice. Painting and my interest in the dharma have become intertwined, with one nurturing the other, and the artistic skills that I continue to cultivate also creates a richer ability for visualization during Dharma practice.
My largest body of art work is a series of non-traditional White Tara paintings. Revisiting Tara’s image consistently over a sustained period of time has deepened my connection with, and appreciation of, this yidam.
My aspiration is to cultivate a generous, peaceful, and clear mind that becomes manifest in my paintings.