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!”


Foundations For Freedom: The Hinayana is divided into five courses. Each course will be co-taught by two teachers, and will include both live and pre-recorded talks. The live events will always be recorded and posted in the course, so you can also view them at your convenience. Each course begins with a live talk given by both teachers, then there are 4 or 5 pre-recorded talks, and each course ends with a live Q&A with both teachers.

The entire course runs from April 19, 2020 through February 2021.
Please click here to access a document with all the details (including all dates).



Free Introductory Talks:
“Framing the Journey”
Teachers: Acharyas Simmer-Brown, Acharya Hessey and Shastri Loden Nyima 

These introductory talks will present an overview of the course and lay out the entire journey. Feel free to use them as promotional material to encourage your center’s members and friends to register for the course.

Here is one of them! 

To view all four, please click here


Course 1/ Spring 2020
The First Noble Truth: Meeting Suffering with Maitri 
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.
For more information and to register, see this link.


Course 2/ Summer 2020
2nd Noble Truth — The Origins of Suffering, Part I: The 5 Skandhas
Teachers: Acharya Dale Asrael and Acharya John Rockwell 
June 14 – August 23

Course Overview
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? Our innate intelligence begins to explore the subtle layers of experience, going deeper and deeper until we come to the heart of our being. 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.

For more information and to register, see this link.


Course 3 / Fall  2020 (Starts Sunday, Sept 6  with a live talk on Zoom)
2nd Noble Truth — The Origins of Suffering, Part II: Wheel of Life, Karma & 12 Nidanas 
Teachers: Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown and Shastri Loden Nyima

Course 4 / Winter  2020 (Starts Sunday, Nov 8  with a live talk on Zoom)
3rd Noble Truth — Freedom from Suffering
Teachers: Acharya Suzann Duquette and Acharya Dan Hessey

Course 5 / Winter  2021 (Starts Sunday, Jan 10  with a live talk on Zoom)
4th Noble Truth –The Path of Shila, Samadhi, and Prajna
Teachers: Acharya Eve Rosenthal and Acharya Eric Spiegel

Please click here to access a document with all the details (including all dates).



You can register for the whole year at a discount or register for each of the five sections individually. 

One course at a time→ $149 for each course
Five-course package discount→ $399 (Save $346)  

One course at a time→$399 for each course
Five-course package discount→ $999 (Save $996) 

One course at a time→$299 for each course
Five-course package discount→ $799 (Save $696)


To register for the complete Foundation for Freedom: The Hinayana–five-course package, please click here

To register for the first course, First Noble Truth: Meeting Suffering with Maitri, please click here.

To register for the second course, Second Noble Truth: The Origin of Suffering (Part 1)-The Five Skandhas, please click here.

The individual registration links for the other courses will become available later.