The First Noble Truth: Meeting Suffering with Maitri - Finding Freedom Course 1 [Online]

with Alan Ness

January 10th—February 7th

Date details +
  • $110 Program Price
  • $125 Patron Price
  • $306.00 DISCOUNT: Register for Courses 1-3
  • Pay what you can afford (enter amount in registration)
Program Registration is Closed.
This is an online program.
This January, the Seattle Shambhala Center is pleased to launch a series of five courses exploring foundational Buddhist teachings, called “Finding Freedom.” 

About the Series: Finding Freedom
The Hinayana path is where every Buddhist practitioner begins. It is based on the mindfulness and awareness training of meditation as well as many other core Buddhist principles and teachings, such as: The Four Noble Truths, The Four Marks of Existence, Maitri (friendliness to oneself), Karma, The Five Skandhas and The Four Foundations of Mindfulness. These foundational teachings are the heart of the Buddhist practitioner’s path. If you have ever wondered “what is Buddhism all about” or feel like you need a refresher on the key teachings, this is the course for you!
The Four Noble Truths is used as the overall organizing principle for the series and is threaded through each session. Each of the five courses will be taught by a local Seattle Shambhala teacher (there are no pre-recorded sessions).

Benefits of the Program
  • Through the practice of meditation, experience the present moment of everyday life just as it is
  • Develop more contentment and joy and live with greater clarity and compassion
  • Begin to understand the cause of your anxiety, depression, and fear and how you can be free from it
  • Develop more friendliness to yourself, allowing you to meet the challenges of daily life with bravery and dignity
  • Cultivate having a more open heart – both to yourself and others

Course 1: First Noble Truth: Meeting Suffering with Maitri 

This first section of the 5-part course offers an exploration of the nature of suffering (the anxiety, depression, and fear we work with every day) from the perspective of another foundational Buddhist teaching – the Four Marks of Existence.

The Four Marks of Existence are: Impermanence, Suffering, Selflessness, and Peace, and we learn how we can meet our anxiety, depression and other forms of suffering with maitri – a sanskrit word for “unconditional friendliness.” Students will also be guided in an exploration and practice of Mindfulness of Body, the first of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness – yet another core Buddhist teaching.

In his earliest teachings, the Buddha taught that the suffering, anxiety, depression, and fear of everyday existence is the First Noble Truth. Such underlying agitation and suffering is changing and impermanent, and it arises from infinite causes and conditions. However, 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 state of mind generates constant underlying fear and anxiety. When we recognize these simple truths of existence, impermanence, suffering, and the absence of a “true self such as we perceive it,” we can experience the peace of nirvana – and much more contentment and joy.

Course 1 will be taught by Alan Ness and starts Wednesday January 10, 2024. The class will meet for five consecutive evenings from 6:30 - 8:30 pm on Zoom.

Program Tuition: Registration for Course 1 only is $110 (Supporting); $125 (Patron); or offer an amount that works for you. 
PROGRAM DISCOUNT for those who register for Courses 1, 2, and 3 at the same time. Program price for all three is $306, for a total savings of $68. Select this price option when registering. For questions, email Meli-Tashi at [email protected].

Finding Freedom Course Schedule 2024:


About the Teacher

Alan Ness is a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He has been meditating since the 1970’s. Alan attended a three-month Buddhist seminary 1983 in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He has been trained as a meditation instructor and teacher in the Shambhala tradition. He lives in Wallingford and is an architect.


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] for technical assistance or program questions.