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Art and Buddhism

Art and Buddhism: The Shambhala Sun offers a wide selection of articles from authors, actors, artists and musicians who temper their artistic discipline with Buddhist wisdom.

Richard Gere, Leonard Cohen, Alice Walker and bell hooks are but a few of the talented artists whose lives and work have been enriched by Buddhism. The Shambhala Sun is pleased to present the work of these and other artists.

Just click any article's title to start reading.

For 30 Years the Best of Buddhism in America: Art & Artists

Continuing our celebration of the Shambhala Sun’s 30th anniversary, we showcase seven artists whose work manifests the qualities of awakened mind, with commentary by the Sun’s art director, Liza Matthews.

Pure Fiction

Mystery, suspense, science fiction—Andrea Miller profiles Kim Stanley Robinson, Susan Dunlap, and Cary Groner, three Buddhist-inspired novelists who make up stories to tell deeper truths about life.

Writing Undoes Me

"To give oneself over to the objective business of writing," says Pico Iyer, "is to see how subjective the whole business of the self and writing is."

He Has Tried in His Way to Be Free

And to a remarkable extent, Leonard Cohen is succeeding. Sarah Hampson had a rare opportunity to spend an afternoon with the famed singer and poet. He's got the wisdom of age but he's still the essence of cool—the perfect reflection of his years of Zen.

The Vomit of a Mad Tyger

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of "Howl," the Shambhala Sun presents this exclusive autobiographical talk by the late poet and cultural icon Allen Ginsberg, narrating his spiritual journey from Blake to the Buddha.

Melody vs. Meditation

There are two sides to singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls: the “just sitting” meditator and the crazed composer. What side wins when they duke it out?

Adam Yauch: Check His Head

The late Beastie Boy Adam Yauch brought Tibetan music and Buddhist philosophy to their album, Ill Communication. He talks to The Shambhala Sun about hip-hop, hardcore, helping people, and "gettin' stupid."

k.d. lang's Watershed

Her new album, Watershed, reflects the dramatic changes in her life since she became a committed Buddhist. k.d. lang talks for the first time about her Buddhist teacher and practice.


Characters are taken over by their desires and make bad choices—that’s the appeal of noir fiction, says writer Brian Haycock, because we’re all struggling with our desires. Here, he offers a hardboiled story with a Buddhist twist.

The Zen of Joan Didion

Her masterpiece The Year of Magical Thinking, written after her husband's death, is a meditation on the human mind both pointed and profound. David Swick profiles Joan Didion, a great American journalist observing her own mind and experience.

We Live in the Best of All Possible Times: A Conversation with Alice Walker

This is the best time to be alive, says Alice Walker, because there is so much work to do—so many poor to house and feed, so much opportunity for self-realization, the earth itself to be saved. The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, poet, and essayist talks about her spiritual practice, the importance of resolve, and the charming perfection of her imperfect cat.

Love Fights the Power

For bell hooks, fighting oppression doesn't require anger or conflict—just opening our hearts and speaking the truth fearlessly. Barry Boyce tells the story of this renowned feminist and social critic, and how she came to embrace activism without enemies and a visionary kind of love. 

"Buddhism is the Most Radical and Civilized Choice"

A surprising conversation about being black and Buddhist in America with award-winning writer Charles Johnson.

If I'm Lucky They Call Me Unorthodox

If he's unlucky, he says, they call him "wild and untamed." A conversation with Dzongsar Khyentse about what it's like for a traditional Buddhist teacher to also live the life of a filmmaker.

Wabi-Sabi For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

An excerpt from Leonard Koren's gem, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers, considered a classic statement on this Japanese aesthetic.

Julia Cameron on the Path of Creativity

The author of The Artist's Way and The Vein of Gold in conversation with Samuel Bercholz, founder and president of Shambhala Publications.

Richard Gere: My Journey as a Buddhist

Richard Gere talks about his many years of Buddhist practice, his devotion to his teacher the Dalai Lama, and his work for Tibetan freedom.  

More Related Articles:

• Howl of Resistance, by Stephen Mooney
• The Late Allen Ginsberg and Beck in Conversation
• Alex Grey: The Mission of a Visionary Artist
, by Steve Brooks
• Web Exclusive: David Guy on the Zen of Writing
, by Andrea Miller
Richard Gere Knows What Counts, by Trish Deitch Rohrer
Happiness Is..., by Richard Gere and Matthieu Ricard
Thanks for the Dance, by Pico Iyer
Writers and the War Against Nature, by Gary Snyder
"There's No Place to Go But Up," by Maya Angelou and bell hooks
Rivers Cuomo: A Difference You Can Hear, by Jeff Pardy
Radiohead's Thom Yorke: The View From the Stage, by Judy Bond
Concept Becomes Experience: A Composer's Journey, by Peter Lieberson
Steven Seagal Speaks, by Stanley Weiser 

by Steve Brooks


Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

The Gere Foundation

k.d. lang

Leonard Cohen

Maya Angelou

Allen Ginsberg

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