145- Dorje Kirsten
Born in New Mexico in 1971, Dorje Kirsten~Shinno grew up in Seattle . As a child, he listened to many wonderful and enriching tales of Japan and Asia told by his grandfather, Richard Daiensai Kirsten. Adjacent to the house in which Dorje was raised was the Kirsten Gallery , curated by his uncle and his father, who is himself a tremendous visionary painter. The artist tradition, the mystical legends of Japan , and the practices of Buddhism have been part of Dorje’s life for as long as he can remember.
At the age of 18, Dorje received his first initiation in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Since then, he has had the good fortune to study under the guidance of many great and realized Nyingma Buddhist masters, including His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and Lama Drimed Norbu. Trained extensively in the ritual arts of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism as a “chopen,” (ritual shrine assistant), Dorje has lived at a Buddhist retreat center for more than ten years.
Master Daiensai Kirsten decided to train Dorje in Sumi-e painting over seven years ago. Dorje furthered his studies under Master Shozo Satsereo. According to Daiensai, who has traveled extensively throughout Japan for over 40 years, there is not another living being in Japan who continues to unite Buddhist spirituality with serpent painting. Daiensai thus feels strongly that Dorje is the only current living “Serpent Painting master,” and has urged Dorje to sustain the life force of the sacred serpent lineage. Daiensai conferred the Japanese name of “Shinno” upon Dorje, meaning “King.”
In addition Dorje is working on a body of art that relates to the western path of mystic evolution through the symbols of alchemy. This body of work is an abstract minimilist style. They are meant to let the mind find its own way into meditation through asthetic beauty as well as appreciation for the transformation of the soul from a fractured fallen state to a whole state. These new works are available for viewing on the "western path" page.
Dorje now lives with his family in the Humboldt Bay area of Northern California, a short walk away from the grace and beauty of the majestic pacific ocean . The natural beauty of the ocean, the fog, the mountains, combined with the mighty Redwoods and the vital spirit and chi of the land in this remote corner of California deeply inspires his practices of Buddhism, painting, astrology, and writing poetry.(Huệ Hương ST)