Photo of John EinarsenAbout ten years ago, I came across a simple photograph of a cup of coffee that stopped me cold. It was different somehow. A striking clarity and peacefulness were manifest; I felt I was seeing this object for the very first time. I experienced it with the heart, not the mind. How did this happen? What was it about this one photograph that made it so authentic and touch me so deeply? I eventually tracked down the author of this image—Michael Wood, the founder of Miksang Contemplative Photography. I then began studying with him and his partner, Julie Dubose. This distinctive approach to seeing originated in Michael’s meditation practice and his encounter with the photographs and writings of Chöygam Trungpa Rinpoche over 40 years ago. He spent decades practicing and refining a precise methodology for seeing authentically. My photographs would never have been possible without their clear teachings and kindness. Through them, I learned how to see with more depth and clarity than I ever thought possible. They started me on a path that leads nowhere except the present moment. Such seeing is now with me every day and it brings such joy. I want to share this with others, so I became an instructor in 2017.

I have lived in Kyoto, Japan, for over 35 years, and am the founding editor of Kyoto Journal (, an English quarterly on Japanese and Asian culture. I am available to teach in Japan and Asia with Mitsue Nagase.

View John’s Miksang Gallery


Photo of Mitsue NagaseSince my twenties, I have been enjoying taking photographs of people and ordinary things around me. In Japanese, the characters for photograph mean “capturing truth”, so I thought, it must do what the name stands for...
but is that so?

Many photographs are rather reflections of the photographer’s point of view and their relationship with what is being photographed. In other words: by nature, all photography has filters on.

So, I asked myself, is it possible to take photographs directly: of the “this” itself? While I was contemplating such a question, I encountered Miksang through the book by Michal Wood and Julie DuBose. I was drawn into their photographs... they had an authentic, timeless, trans-personal quality.
How now can one take such photographs?

This simple question lead me to take first weekend workshop in NY, then monthly workshop in Colorado; and after years of practicing and continuous studying, I become a certified Miksang-instructor.

In Miksang, the emphasis is on how to be receptive and meet this fleeting world without ideas and labels. When this happens, the joy and ease of simply being emerges. The world is full of fresh surprises. You might start feeling warmth and friendliness toward plain concrete surface, or a pen which you see every day suddenly start to have strong presence. Jewel like moments all available right here in your daily life.
I am grateful that I have met this path, and happy to share what I had learned with anyone who is interested. It is my deep joy to teach Miksang workshops in Japan and Asia, in collaboration with John Einarsen.

Mitsue can be reached at:

View Mitsue’s Miksang Gallery

Both Mitsue and John belong to the Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography and have no associations with other Miksang groups.

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