Foundations for Freedom: The Hinayana Course I - The First Noble Truth: Meeting Suffering with Maitri

April 19th—May 31st

Date details +
  • $50.00 Standard Price
  • $65.00 Patron Price
  • Or pay what you can (enter amount)

The Birmingham Shambhala Center is excited to present the first in a series of five courses from Shambhala Online exploring the profundity of the Hinayana teachings of the Buddha.

In this first course, entitled The First Noble Truth: Meeting Suffering with Maitri, Acharya Susan Chapman and Acharya Fleet Maull will guide 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).  They 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.

The course consists of six classes:

Class 1: Introduction to the First Noble Truth and Mindfulness of Body

Class 2: The Four Marks of Existence: Impermanence (annica)

Class 3: The Four Marks of Existence: Suffering (dukkha)

Class 4: The Four Marks of Existence: Egolessness (anata)

Class 5: The Four Marks of Existence: Peace (nibana)

Class 6: Discussion on Zoom with both teachers

Locally we are presenting recordings of the Shambhala Online classes through Zoom in the weeks from April 19 through June 2, with each class being offered twice: on Sunday evening from 6 – 8 pm (except for the first class - see below), and again on Tuesday evening from 6 – 8 pm. Each class will consist of viewing the recording and having local discussion.

Sunday series:                                                            

April 19 (live from Shambhala Online at noon), April 26, May 3, May 10, May 17, May 24 for local discussion, May 31

Tuesday series:

April 21 (recording of the first live class), April 28, May 5, May 12, May 19, May 26 for local discussion, June 2

Participants will have access to the recordings to watch on their own if they miss a session, or they may attend the alternate session (Sunday or Tuesday) for the week.

Generosity Policy applies:  The Birmingham Shambhala Center does not wish restricted finances ever to interfere with one’s ability to receive the teachings.  If you need to arrange a payment plan or negotiate a reduced tuition, please make arrangements prior to the program by contacting Nick Buckner at [email protected]. Alternatively, select the "Pay what you can" option and register and pay online.

For those who can offer more than the program price, we have a “patron price”. Your generosity in offering the patron price helps cover the costs for others who are not able to pay the full price.