Foundations for Freedom: The Hinayana, Courses I-V

Dale AsraelMarianne BotsSusan ChapmanSuzann DuquetteDaniel HesseyFleet MaullLoden NyimaJohn RockwellJudith Simmer-BrownEric Spiegel

Individual: $399
Patron: $449 The Patron rate helps us offer our generosity policy to those in need.
Centers: $999
Groups: $799

This course is open to all, providing an in-depth exploration of the foundational Buddhist teachings of the Hinayana through the lens of the Shambhala terma teachings. The emphasis is on cultivating maitri, 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 experience—including pain and suffering—as our practice.

Each of the five courses offers 4 or 5 pre-recorded talks, with 2 additional recorded group conversations and Q&As, making it very easy to include in your schedule.

I. The First Noble Truth: Meeting Suffering with Maitri

With Susan Chapman and Fleet Maull
This course offers an exploration of the nature of suffering from the perspective of the Four Marks of Existence–Impermanence, Suffering, Selflessness and Peace–and how we can meet suffering with maitri (unconditional friendliness). The teachers 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.

II. The Second Noble Truth: The Origin of Suffering, Part I—The Five Skandhas

With Dale Asrael and John Rockwell

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.

III. The Second Noble Truth: The Origin of Suffering, Part II—The Wheel of Life; Karma; and the Twelve Nidanas

With Judith Simmer-Brown and Loden Nyima

The foundational teachings of the Buddha indicate that the suffering we experience in our lives can come to cessation if we recognize, deeply and profoundly, how that suffering has arisen. This requires gentle bravery and deep contemplation, bypassing simplistic notions of how our suffering has arisen.

IV. The Third Noble Truth: Freedom From Suffering

With Suzann Duquette and Daniel Hessey

Contemplating cessation of suffering, we first see the accessibility of the third noble truth as the gap. We are basically good. Realizing this to be true is that simple, and we are glimpsing this all the time.

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

With Marianne Bots and Eric Spiegel

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


Teachers and Faculty

Dale Asrael became a student of Trungpa Rinpoche in 1973, and has trained in both the Tibetan Buddhist and Zen traditions. She teaches programs, and leads meditation retreats internationally, and is an authorized teacher of traditional Daoist Qigong. She is a Professor at Naropa University, where she founded and leads the Naropa Mindfulness Instructor Training, a year-long program. Her writing is published in three anthologies: “Love of Wisdom Puts You on the Spot” in Meditation in the Classroom; “No Hidden Corners” in Shadows and Light; and “Compassionate Abiding” in Brilliant Sanity.

Marianne Bots lives in The Netherlands and joined the Shambhala community in 1977. She is a psychologist and psychotherapist who has worked for more than 30 years in a clinic for young adolescents. She teaches throughout Europe.

Susan Chapman has been a student of Shambhala since 1974. She has an MA in Buddhist and Western Psychology from Naropa University, worked with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, and is a licensed Marital and Family Therapist. With her husband Jerry she founded the Juneau Shambhala Center and later completed Gampo Abbey’s three-year retreat, where she went on to serve as druppon “retreat leader” for six more years. She is the author of the book The Five Keys to Mindful Communication.

Suzann Duquette has been a student of Shambhala for more than 40 years, beginning with the first summer of The Naropa Institute. She is a core faculty member of the Shambhala Ritual Academy, which focuses on strengthening and furthering sacred ceremonial and liturgical forms of Shambhala. She is also a Daoist-Qigong instructor in the lineages of Dr. Eva Wong and a Mudra Space Awareness teacher. A resident teacher at Karmê Chöling, she teaches, inspires community practice and study, and is lead core faculty of the Mukpo Institute, a residential program for deep practice and study. With her husband Jan Enthoven, she also owns and operates Blue Skies, a bed and breakfast near Karmê Chöling.

Daniel Hessey has been a student of Shambhala Buddhism since 1973 and has taught extensively throughout the U.S. and South America. He was the resident Acharya at Drala Mountain Center and currently lives at Karmê Chöling.

Fleet Maull has been a Shambhala practitioner for more than 40 years. He leads Shambhala programs and retreats throughout North America, Europe and Latin America. Fleet is also a Roshi (senior lineage teacher) in the Zen Peacemaker and Soto Zen lineages. He is a consultant, executive coach, an internationally renowned social activist and founder of numerous engaged organizations including Prison Mindfulness Institute, Engaged Mindfulness Institute, Center for Mindfulness in Public Safety, and the National Prison Hospice Association.

Gelong Loden Nyima is a fully ordained Buddhist monk. He lived at Gampo Abbey from 2009 to 2017 where he practiced intensively, completed Shedra studies, and served in various roles including as a Shastri. He now lives at Drala Mountain Center where he serves as Resident Teacher and a founding faculty member for the Summer Seminar and other programs. He spends a portion of each year in retreat, frequently travels to continue his own dharma education, and can often be seen jogging around the land at DMC.

John Rockwell read Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism in 1975, and was amazed by the clearest description of confusion he had ever read. He met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche shortly after and became his student. As a member of the Nalanda Translation Committee, he worked closely Trungpa Rinpoche on translations of The Rain of WisdomThe Life of Marpa, and other texts. He received a M.A. in Buddhist Studies from Naropa University and began teaching there, eventually as a core faculty member in Buddhist Studies. He also taught at the Ngedön School in Boulder for many years, and he travels internationally to teach.

Judith Simmer-Brown, PhD, is Distinguished Professor Emeritx of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where she has taught since 1978. A Buddhist practitioner since the early 1970s, she became a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974. Her teaching specialties are meditation practice, Shambhala teachings, Buddhist philosophy, tantric Buddhism, and contemplative higher education. Her book, Dakini’s Warm Breath (Shambhala, 2001), explores the feminine principle as it reveals itself in meditation practice and everyday life for women and men. She has also edited Meditation and the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (SUNY 2011). She and her husband, Richard, have two adult children and three grandchildren.

Eric Spiegel has been a student and teacher in the Shambhala tradition since his teens. He was an early member of the Boulder community, deepened his practice at Karmê Chöling, and was the resident acharya for the New York sangha for many years. He lives in the Hudson Valley, New York State.

Individual: $399
Patron: $449 The Patron rate helps us offer our generosity policy to those in need.
Centers: $999
Groups: $799