Published On: Mon, Feb 3rd, 2014

Drupka Kinley (The Happiness of Art)

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I have been greatly inspired by the life and wisdom of Drupka Kinley.

I attended Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche  two days teaching in Thimphu about the songs and poems of Drupka Kinley entitled “Outrageousness and Elegance”. It was a profound teaching by Rinpoche in his usual skillful way. For me, Drupka Kinley embodies the spirit of the true artist. A true artist has access to the unseen world, the non-dual word as well as the seen world and the dualistic world. An artist’s quest is to communicate, through his art, the bridge between these two worlds so that others can be inspired and find their own way to the eternal. The true artists knows that the only way to receive access to the unseen world is to Know thyself and be true to thyself. We hear that phrase batted around a lot but what exactly does it mean?  Well to me to, “know thyself” is the journey all great mystics from Lord Buddha, Drukpa Kunley, Pema Lingpa to Galileo, Michelangelo, Steve Jobs, ect begin when they are brave enough to ask the question who am I. Once they realize themselves enough to ask the question then they are free to be true to thine own Self, their own unique way and their own unique gift that they have to share with the world. But they know they cannot share their authentic Self until they realize their authentic self. The path is what creates the artist, Drukpa Kinley is one such man that realized himself and shared his Self in such a way that his teachings live on and inspire so many others to this day! He teaches us how one should understand the artist, he gave us a rare and very profound access to the inner workings of the artists process and result.

I love how the Bhutanese honor this wonderful artist and teacher. I love how they understand that things are never as they seem. That the sinner can be a saint and the saint can be a sinner and everything in between. This sublime ability to understand and enact “perspective” is the currency of the artist and the saint.

I encourage you to learn more about the great artist Drukpa Kinley who truly lived his art “out loud” and to this day, through his life and writings inspire the artist in us all.


Poem about happiness

-By Drukpa Kunley

I am happy that I am a free Yogi.

So I grow more and more into my inner happiness.

I can have sex with many women,

because I help them to go the path of enlightenment.

Outwardly I’m a fool

and inwardly I live with a clear spiritual system.

Outwardly, I enjoy wine, women and song.

And inwardly I work for the benefit of all beings.

Outwardly, I live for my pleasure

and inwardly I do everything in the right moment.

Outwardly I am a ragged beggar

and inwardly a blissful Buddha.


A man said to Lord Buddha, «I want happiness». 

Lord Buddha said, first remove «I» that›s ego. 

Then remove «want» that›s desire.

See now you are left with only




By Aine Carey

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  1. Veronica says:

    I believe, it is worth mentioning Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of the Divine Madman, where his ‘spirit’ still hovers – a magical, mysterious and quite ‘an artistic’ space in its own right. The place where women suffering from infertility can visit and eventually become pregnant. It is the legacy, which trully inspires and is amazingly human, loving and compassionate.

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