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Liberation Through Non-Clinging: An Exploration of the Five Aggregates
Dates: Dec 03, 2019 - Dec 08, 2019
Days: Tue - Sun (5 Nights)

Instructor(s): Jill Shepherd

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The goal of the Buddhist path is sometimes defined as “liberation through non-clinging.” But what is meant by clinging? In the First Noble Truth, the Buddha proclaimed that there is dukkha (suffering, stress, distress, unsatisfactoriness), and he defined dukkha in short as “the five clinging-aggregates” of form, feeling-tone, perception, formations, and consciousness.

To have any possibility of experiencing the freedom of non-clinging, we first need to understand the nature of our clinging more fully. In this six-week online course, we will explore the five clinging-aggregates through weekly two-hour meetings on Zoom, comprising short talks, guided meditations, and interpersonal practice in pairs and small groups using the guidelines of Insight Dialogue. 

Our group practice will be complemented by home study and practice of at least two hours per week, using the Canvas platform to access supplementary readings and dharma talks, and to contribute to an online discussion board.

Practicing in solitude and together, we can directly experience not only the dukkha of clinging, but the possibility of its release.

Prerequisite: At least two insight meditation retreats of one week or longer, plus basic familiarity with core Buddhist teachings such as the Four Noble Truths and the Four Establishments of Mindfulness.

As we work to become a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming; please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.

  • Jill Shepherd began practicing insight meditation in Thailand in 1999, and since that time has lived and worked at several meditation centers and monasteries in the US, Australia, England, and Thailand. She spent seven years on staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, where she participated in several long retreats and Buddhist study programs, as well as offering weekly meditation classes at a nearby men’s prison. She is a graduate of the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the US.   Jill has recently facilitated BCBS's online Entering the Path course for three iterations.