The Foundations of Buddhism: Meeting Suffering with Unconditional Friendliness (hybrid)

January 5th—February 2nd

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  • $159 Program Price
  • $189 Patron Price
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This hybrid (online and in-person) course is the first in a five-part series. It 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).  Each class is hosted by two local instructors, and includes a recorded talk by a senior international teacher. The teachers will also guide students in the exploration and practice of Mindfulness of Body, the first of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.

In the Buddhist tradition, the First Noble Truth consists in deeply realizing the cyclical and conditioned nature of suffering. 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.


About Your Teachers

Susan Gillis Chapman has been studying and practicing the Buddhist teachings for 46 years. She is the author of The Five Keys To Mindful Communication, drawn from her experience as a family therapist in bringing the teachings of contemplative psychology to our relationships. She and her husband, Jerry, also spent 9 years at Gampo Abbey, where she completed the traditional 3-year retreat and later served as retreat director.  She long served as an Acharya, or senior teacher, in Shambhala and is also on the faculty of Karuna Training.

Fleet Maull, PhD has been a Shambhala practitioner for more than 40 years and a senior teacher since 2009. He leads Shambhala programs throughout North America, Europe and Latin America. Fleet is also a senior lineage teacher in the Zen Peacemaker and Soto Zen lineages. Fleet is a consultant, executive coach, internationally-renowned social activist and founder of numerous organizations including Prison Mindfulness Institute, Engaged Mindfulness Institute, Center for Mindfulness in Public Safety and the National Prison Hospice Association. He is the author of Dharma in Hell and Radical Responsibility: How to Move Beyond Blame, Fearlessly Live Your Highest Purpose and Become an Unstoppable Force for Good.

Colin Cordner, PhD has been a Shambhala practitioner for 13 years and a student of Buddhist meditation for 17 years. He is the Director of the Ottawa Shambhala Centre, was authorized as a meditation instructor in 2016, and is also an educator and chaplain at Carleton University (Ottawa). He is the author of various academic articles on philosophers such as Plato and Michael Polanyi, and occasional bouts of poetry.

Natalie Charron, PsyD has been been a meditation practitioner for many years, and completed her meditation instructor training in 2023. She has trained in both Tara Brach's Theravadan lineage of metta practice, and now too in the Shamabhala Buddhist lineage of shamatha practice.