The Three Characteristics: The Characteristic of Suffering

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The Three Characteristics
with Andrew Olendzki
Saturday, March 16th, 2019 | 10:00am-5:00pm


The Characteristic of Suffering
The central Buddhist teaching on suffering is among its most misunderstood ideas since the word has only negative connotations in our language. The noble truth of suffering is not the same as ordinary unpleasantness and holds the promise of more profound well-being than the simple escape from pain. Shifting from an abstract conception of suffering to exploring the detailed experiences of mind and body accessed through insight meditation, this day-long workshop examines the texts and practices of early Buddhism that bring out a more nuanced understanding of suffering and its cessation. Insight into suffering enables letting go of wanting things to be different than they are, accessing the wisdom of being with things just as they are.

The Three Characteristics
In classical Buddhist tradition meditation is not an end in itself, but a means of accessing wisdom. Mindfulness meditation is meant to lead to insight into the three characteristics of experience, namely impermanence, suffering, and non-self. This three-part program examines each of these in turn, emphasizing how each is encountered, not theoretically, but in the moment-to-moment flow of the mind and body. The program consists of lecture, discussion, and meditation practice. Beginners will find the language and the practices accessible, while experienced meditators will be guided towards the deeper meaning of insight meditation. The Three Characteristics teachings will be offered as three daylong workshops (Saturdays: February 9, March 16, April 13, 2019) perfect as a series to deepen your practice or complete teachings as standalone daylong workshops so feel free to take one, two or all three.


The registration fee includes teacher support. If you wish to give more in addition to the registration fee, the total (registration fees and additional contributions) will be shared between NYI and the teacher(s).

Note About Registration:

If you have questions about your registration (cancellation policy, membership discount, email confirmation, etc.), please read our FAQs. If your question is not addressed in the FAQs, please email

New York Insight Meditation Center is offering a new structure for registration. Members receive 15% off of the Sustaining Rate via a code provided in the membership email confirmation.

NYI is committed to ensuring that our programs are available to all, regardless of ability to pay. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. No financial assistance application is needed when registering for a program.

We offer new sliding scale fees, and ask that you choose the highest fee you are able to afford based on your financial means. The Sustaining rate represents the actual program operating cost. If you can afford this level or higher, you assist our efforts to offer reduced rates and support ongoing financial assistance. If you are unable to pay the Base Fee, you can set up a payment plan or let us know how much you are able to pay at this time by emailing



Andrew Olendzki

Andrew Olendzki, PhD, is a Buddhist scholar, teacher, and writer living in Amherst, MA. He spent 25 years in Barre, Massachusetts, at both the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and has taught at Amherst, Brandeis, Hampshire, Harvard, Lesley, and Smith colleges. He is the author of Unlimiting Mind: the radically experiential psychology of Buddhism (Wisdom 2010), writes regularly for Tricycle magazine, and and is the founder of the Integrated Dharma Institute, an online educational resource. He is currently a professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, and Director of it graduate program in Mindfulness Studies.

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