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Location: Shambhala Online

Finding Freedom: The Core Teachings of the Buddha

Explore this recorded Shambhala Online course at your own pace.

About the Series

This five-course-series provides a thorough exploration of core Buddhist teachings, drawing on teachings from prominent teachers and classic Buddhist sources. If you have ever wondered “what Buddhism is all about” or feel like you need a refresher on the key teachings, this is the course for you!

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, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, and many more foundational teachings of the Buddha that are the heart the Buddhist practitioner’s path.

Explore these recorded sessions at your own pace to find more contentment and joy and to discover the freedom you can have from anxiety, depression, agitation, and fear. There are no live sessions, so you will receive all course materials upon registration and can take this course from the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule.

Benefits of the Course

  • 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

The registration fee for this course series is $399. While this may be a large upfront investment, you will receive multiple talks on each topic from some of Shambhala’s most treasured teachers, while gaining insight and tools to last a lifetime.

Breakdown of Five-Course Series

One of the most foundational Buddhist teachings, “The Four Noble Truths”, is used as the overall organizing principle for this course and is threaded throughout each session.

The Four Noble Truths are: 

  • The Truth of Suffering (we all experience ongoing anxiety, fear, depression, pain)
  • The Truth of the Cause of Suffering (there is a reason why we experience our experience as suffering – anxiety, fear, pain, depression, etc.)
  • The Truth of the Cessation of Suffering (it is actually possible to end our anxiety, fear, depression and other forms of suffering)
  • The Truth of the Path to the Cessation of Suffering (there is an actual path to follow where we learn the tools and methods for how we no longer need to experience anxiety, fear, depression, and other forms of suffering)

Course I – The 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.” The teachers also guide students in the 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.

Teachers: Susan Chapman and Fleet Maull

Course II – The Second Noble Truth: The Origin of Suffering, Part I – The Five Skandas

Instructions in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness are interwoven with the teaching of The Four Noble Truths and provide a meditative method for embracing the totality of our basically good experience – which can include holding our anxiety, pain, fear, and suffering with unconditional friendliness for ourselves, or maitri.

Having recognized the truth of anxiety, fear, and suffering in our everyday life and the confusion that is also so often pervasive, we naturally have questions. How does this state of seemingly constant anxiety, overwhelm, fear, and suffering arise?  Where does this confusion come from? In this in-depth exploration of another foundational Buddhist teaching – “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 create our own world of projections. Through this exploration we can uncover what is real and begin to tune into more contentment and joy.

Teachers: Dale Asrael and John Rockwell

Course III – The Second Noble Truth: The Origin of Suffering, Part II – The Wheel of Life, Karma, and the Twelve Nidanas

The foundational teachings of the Buddha indicate that the anxiety, fear, depression, and other forms of suffering we experience in our lives can end if we recognize, deeply and profoundly, how that suffering has arisen. This requires gentle bravery and deep contemplation, and means we must be willing to go beyond any previous simplified ideas about how and why our anxiety, fears and suffering have arisen.

Teachers: Gelong Loden Nyima and Judith Simmer-Brown

Course IV – The Third Noble Truth: Freedom From Suffering

Contemplating that anxiety, fear, depression and other forms of suffering can indeed end – that this is actually possible – we first see the possibility and accessibility of the third noble truth as the “gap.” We are basically good and innately worthy human beings. Realizing this to be true is that simple, and we are glimpsing this all the time. This can free us from our anxiety, fear, and depression, and leads to freedom.

Teachers: Suzann Duquette and Daniel Hessey

Course V – The Fourth Noble Truth: The Path of Shila, Samadhi, and Prajna

We have been studying the Buddha’s first teaching: The Four Noble Truths. After teaching that anxiety, depression, fear, and other forms of suffering are pervasive to all experience, that there is a cause to that suffering and that the end of that suffering is possible, he then taught a way forward, which we call ”The Path.”  In fact, everything the Buddha taught and all of our experience as practitioners are “The Path.” In this course, we will examine this notion of “The Path” from multiple perspectives of what has been taught by the Buddha and what is experienced by us as individuals walking this beautiful and profound path of transformation.

Teachers: Marianne Bots and Eric Spiegel

2023-10-02 18:45:19