Explore this recorded Shambhala Online course at your own pace.
This course is part of a five-course-series that provides a thorough exploration of the Hinayana path drawing on teachings from prominent teachers and classic sources. The emphasis is 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. Instructions in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness are interwoven and provide a meditative method for embracing the totality of our basically good experience—including pain and suffering.
Course II – Having recognized the truth of suffering and the confusion that is pervasive in our life, we naturally have questions. How does this state of suffering arise? Where does confusion come from? In this in-depth exploration of the Five Skandhas, we will touch these layers or constellations of experience one by one, starting from the unconditioned, innate ground of open space, and see how we fabricate our own world of projections.
Dale Asrael, growing up in a suburb of Washington, DC, studied music and dance and, even as a young child, ruthlessly searched for answers. Through her Jewish ancestry, she learned to celebrate the sacredness of life and, simultaneously be aware of the depth of human suffering. After completing university studies in film and Eastern religions, Dale moved to Canada in 1970, disheartened by the Vietnam War. Shortly after she took Refuge Vows at the Kagyü Center in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dale heard reports of a “revolutionary young lama” who was teaching about chaos and wisdom. She journeyed to Boulder to meet him, and during her first interview with the Vidyadhara in 1973, realized she was “being given answers to questions I hadn’t even begun to articulate.” Dale attended the first session of Naropa Institute in 1974 and the first public dathün at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (now Drala Mountain Center) that same summer. An early member of the Kootenay Dharma Study Group, she spent the next six years traveling from B.C. to Boulder to attend programs with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. During that time, she completed university studies in Education and became a music teacher in the British Columbia public schools. Dale attended the 1978 Vajradhatu Seminary, a program remembered for Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s regular gatherings for post-talk singing in the hotel lounge. In 1979, she moved to Boulder to study intensively with the Vidyadhara. She taught music at the Buddhist-inspired Vidya School for five years. At Trungpa Rinpoche’s request, she moved to Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (now Drala Mountain Center) to serve as Head of Practice and Study from 1985-1990. In that role, she had the inexpressible good fortune of working closely with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpcohe during his last two Seminaries. Upon returning to Boulder, CO. to live, Dale was able to return to Drala Mountain Center every summer to teach at the Seminaries. In this way, she began to work closely with Sakyong Mipham, Rinpoche and to learn deeply from his stream of teachings. Dale has taught as Core Faculty at Naropa University since 1992, in the M.A. Buddhist Studies, Contemplative Education, and Counseling programs, and is an Upadhyaya (Buddhist minister). She leads meditation retreats, dathuns (month long meditation retreats), Sutrayana Seminaries, Ngondro Instructor trainings, and other programs internationally. “I am continually humbled by studying and practicing the profound teachings of our lineages. The more I learn, the more I realize the incredible good fortune we share.”
John Rockwell has been on the path of dharma for 47 years. He met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1975 and studied and practiced the Buddhist and Shambhala teachings for 12 years with him, and in particular worked with him on translating Tibetan texts into English. For ten years, he studied and taught at Naropa University in the Buddhist Studies department. For many years, he served as an acharya or senior teacher for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and also studied intensively with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. His inspiration now is to open the heart and senses on the spot.