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This group is for those who have completed Miksang Contemplative photography training. Let's get together to continue our Miksang practice. We can have events for group shoots in the Houston area and do "live" group reviews. We can also have "virtual" events to challenge ourselves and support our individual practices.

From my teacher Miriam Hall....

Dear participants,

Over the years, starting with Flickr and now increasingly on Facebook, Miksang photography groups have been great places to gather and share photography. We want to continue in that tradition, but there has also been confusion about "What Miksang Is". So I am writing this to help clarify some.

People tend to think of Miksang as either two things:
1. A general term meaning contemplative photography, and therefore encompassing anything that feels contemplative.
or
2. A very specific set of rules: no black and white, no (over)-processed images, etc

It is neither of these.

Miksang means "Good Eye" in Tibetan, and it refers to a very specific set of teachings and practices based on the Dharma Art teachings of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Though you will find, if you google Miksang, a lot of references to what Miksang is, you will find if you look on either of the two official websites: miksang.org and miksang.com, that this is exactly what Miksang is. Those practices use guidelines (including those two "rules" above and more) but the guidelines are there to establish a container for our practice.

What Nalanda Miksang's main teacher John likes to say about these guidelines is something like this: While it would be really nice to give the meditation instruction "Just Be" and find enlightenment that way, we can't seem to do that. We need structure and we need practice. Miksang, the result of now three decades of hard work, dedication and practice, is one of those structures.

If, reading this, by now you already feel like contemplative photography shouldn't have structure, rules, guidelines, then maybe Miksang isn't for you. There are many, many contemplative photography options out there. Please explore them. We do not have the corner on the market of seeing clearly. But if you are interested in using guidelines to help liberate yourself, then you are in the right place.

[...] Classes are offered online (and frequently posted here and in other Miksang groups). If you feel a heart connection with what is posted here, your best bet is to go for it and take a class. We make them affordable, accessible and enjoyable.

Why do I say take a class? Because while clear seeing: seeing things as they are, photographing them as they are - is available to all of us, structure is essential to Miksang. Some common ground. Common language that helps us to communicate clearly. Without that, looking at even beautiful photographs doesn't have as much clarity.

The moderators of this and our other groups are Miksang practitioners and some even teachers. We strongly suggest, again, if you feel a connection, to make an effort to take a class. Otherwise it may seem like folks here are speaking another language.

And there is a final, significant reason to take a class:
Miksang is a practice, not a result.
I cannot say this enough:
Miksang is a formal practice, not a bunch of images that look a particular way, or even feel a particular way. It is a formal practice, like meditation is, in which you learn to look and see freely, but with specific guidelines. Without the practice, the guidelines for images posted seem simply like a bunch of pointless rules. And without the practice, that's what the guidelines are: just rules.

Also, images produced not from Miksang practice (again, it's a formal lineage, tradition and structure) are basically Miksang-like. Because the practice, the process is 3/4 of the actual point of Miksang. And that is something you can only learn by taking a class.

Or, by reading a book. John McQuade and myself have one coming out April 1, 2015. It will be called Way of Seeing. There's a similar book - though not as in depth or explicitly Miksang - by Andy Karr and Michael Wood (the other official school of Miksang) called The Practice of Contemplative Photography. And finally, Julie DuBose, another senior teacher, has a book called Effortless Beauty. You will find that our book has the most actual instruction, though we still recommend you take an actual class.

Why? Because we want to sell you something?
No.
Because this tradition, this lineage, is real. And real teachings are passed from person to person, heart to heart. Because this is a community, society practice, not just an individual way to make your own images.

So please connect to the heart. It will make these guidelines, the ones you have been waiting for, so much clearer.

In general, at the result level, Nalanda Miksang discourages:
-Black and White (not the colors of what we actually see)
-Heavily post-processed photos (changing the exposure or cropping a bit is fine, but fake colors or added affects take away from what we are about here. You can have very fine photos done this way, artfully. They can be real perceptions. But we don't do those here.)
-Documentary pictures (if you study Miksang you will find that we are all about perception - what was your perception and were you able to communicate it? Often shots that are documentary tell us rather than show us.)

The guidelines are set and well-proven to be helpful and clear. They are here to help us develop clarity, to open, actually, rather than restrict us.

Here's what's up for discussion: how do you experience Miksang? What are other experiences you've had that are like Miksang? Discussions that question the core Miksang teachings will only be allowed for those who have taken the time to actually read the books and/or take the classes.

I am sorry to be so stern about this, but we are not using these groups as ways to replace classes. Please commit to at least one book if you are truly interested. We've taken time to make them, offer them to you as heart communications. Please take the time and heart to reciprocate, then come back to discuss. Otherwise the conversations are abstract and based on rules rather than heart connection.

Much love for your good eyes,
Nalanda Miksang Senior Teacher,
Miriam Hall

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Founded Aug 29, 2012

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