The First Noble Truth: Meeting Suffering with Maitri -- Foundations for Freedom, Course 1

May 18th—June 15th

Date details +
  • $110 Program Price
  • $175 Patron Price
  • Pay what you can afford (enter amount in registration)


This is an online program.

This spring, the Seattle Shambhala Center is pleased to launch the series of five courses that make up the year long program, Foundations for Freedom, currently being offered by Shambhala online.  Each of the Five courses, framed around the Four Noble Truths, will include pre-recorded talks taught by Shambhala’s very senior teachers and a facilitated discussion led by one of Seattle’s local teachers.

First Noble Truth: Meeting Suffering with Maitri 

With Senior Shambhala Teachers Acharya Susan Chapman and Acharya Fleet Maull 

This course offers an exploration of the nature of suffering from the perspective of the Four Marks of Existence–Impermanence (anicca), Suffering (dukkha), Selflessness (anatta) and Nirvana/Peace (nibbana)–and how we can meet suffering with maitri (unconditional friendliness).  The acharyas will also guide students in the exploration and practice of Mindfulness of Body, the first of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. 

The suffering of samsaric existence is the blameless first noble truth. Such suffering is changing and impermanent, and arises from infinite causes and conditions. It feels intensely personal (mine), and, in fact, is one of the bases we use to craft our identity (me and my problems), which is called “mistaking what has no self for a self”. This desynchronized state generates constant underlying fear and anxiety. When we recognize the reality of our existence as it truly is (impermanent, suffering, not mine, and without self-entity), we can experience the peace of nirvana.


A Year-Long Exploration -- Foundations For Freedom: The Hinayana

In the spirit of  “returning to square one”–a favorite expression of the Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa, a group of Acharyas were inspired to offer to the community an in-depth study of the foundational Buddhist teachings of the Hinayana.

This year-long program will provide a thorough and extensive exploration of the Hinayana path drawing on teachings from the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, other prominent teachers and classic sources. The emphasis will be on cultivating maitri or friendliness to oneself, and on the Shambhala teachings of basic goodness, gentleness and bravery–allowing us to meet the modern human condition with warriorship and dignity.

The Four Noble Truths are used as the overall organizing principle, with the Four Foundations of Mindfulness interwoven to provide a meditative method for embracing the totality of our basically good experience—including pain and suffering—as our practice and working basis.

As the Vidyadhara said: “Never forget the Hinayana!”

Course 1/ Starts Monday, May 18th, 2020

More information regarding accessing the program online will be sent to participants via email closer to the program’s start date.

Questions? Reach out to us at [email protected] or [email protected] for technical assistance or program questions.