Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Mindworks

Sit : Love : Give

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Online courses: Frequently asked questions


Who teaches the courses?
How do the courses work?
Why pay for an online course?
What are the technical requirements?
Do I have to be online at a particular time?
When are the next courses offered?
How will I know when to start?

What is the course fee?
Is the course worth the price?
What if I can’t finish within the scheduled dates?
How much time does the course take?
What do I do after finishing the course?
More questions?

Who teaches the courses?

BodhipaksaOur meditation courses are taught by Bodhipaksa, who has been practicing Buddhist meditation since 1982, and has been teaching since the late 1980s.

Previously he taught meditation in the Religious Studies department of the University of Montana, and he has published several books and many guided meditation CDs. You can read more about Bodhipaksa, or what his students have said about his teaching.


How do the courses work?
Once you’ve signed up for a course you’ll be given a username and password that gives you access to the course materials. You’ll have access to online readings that will explain the details of the practices you’ll be learning, weekly audio guided meditations that you can download and play on your computer, and a class discussion forum in which you can ask questions and share your thoughts with your classmates. These resources are available 24 hours a day.

You’ll also have a limited opportunity to email more personal questions to your teacher, questions that you may not wish to share in a forum. For a fee you can have an unlimited personal dialog with your teacher. This option can be added while purchasing the course in our online store.

Why take an online meditation course?
The Wildmind site is full of excellent free advice, but many people find they lack the self-discipline to learn on their own. Learning meditation on your own in particular has the inherent limitation that it’s very difficult to see your own blind spots.

With a Mindworks course you have the extra support of a teacher and a structured syllabus to help support your intention to learn meditation or bring the ideas of Buddhism into your life. With this added encouragement it will be much easier for you to integrate these new skills and ideas into your daily life, allowing you to experience the benefits of a calmer mind, greater confidence, and more harmonious relationships.

You’ll also be part of a community of online learners, and can exchange ideas with them in the discussion forum.

What are the technical requirements?
You need the following:

  • an internet connection (this being an online course!)
  • a multimedia computer with speakers or headphones.
  • iPhone, MP3 player or other media player installed on your computer. Our guided meditations are available as MP3 files, which will play on any standard MP3 player or media player on your computer such as Windows Media Player or Quicktime.
  • a web brower such as Internet Explorer 6 or above, or Netscape 6 or above, or Opera, Safari, or Firefox.

Do I have to be online at a particular time?

The course is “asynchronous”, which means that you can log on and use the course materials at any time. The guided meditations and other course material, and the discussion forum are available at all times, so if you miss a day there’s no problem.

When are the next courses offered?
You can sign up for any course at any time by going to our secure online store, where you’ll find a list of start dates.

How will I know when to start?
Generally speaking, our courses begin on the first Monday of the month. On the first day of the course, we’ll send you an email with instructions on how to log in and get started.

What is the course fee?
Please see our online store for the current prices. If you genuinely can’t afford to the fees, please email us explaining your circumstances and telling us what you can reasonably afford, and we’ll do what we can to accommodate your needs.

Is the course worth the price?
Well, obviously we’re going to say it is, but our students do think the course is worth the money, as you can judge from the student quotes. The classes are moderated by an experienced meditation teacher, who provides personal feedback to all students in the discussion forum. Students find this advice very useful in making positive changes in their lives which lead to decreased stress, improved relationships, and greater happiness. This course really can be a life-changing event.

What if I can’t finish within the scheduled dates?

We understand that you’re busy. Sometimes you sign up for magazines, for example, and don’t have time to read them and the same kind of thing might happen with the meditation course. If you don’t have time to finish working through the material we’re happy to let you roll over to the next course to keep on working for free. If you’re unable to benefit from the extra time we’ll usually suggest that you take a “rain check” so that you can come back to the course when you have more time. We don’t want you to get stressed about learning meditation!

How much time does the course take?
The time investment varies for each course, but generally speaking you should be able to complete each week’s materials in a couple hours total, including reading, guided meditations, and participating in the forum. (You should check each individual course description for the actual time needed.) We realize that you’ve got a busy schedule, and these courses are designed with you in mind.

What do I do after finishing the course?
We offer courses in different subjects, ranging in level from beginner to advanced, so we hope you’ll want to continue your studies with us. Some students also choose to continue working with Sunada with private meditation coaching to keep their practice growing.

Everyone who completes all four of our meditation courses is eligible for a free Life Membership, which means that you’ll have access to the materials from all four meditation courses for life. You’ll also have free access to any new courses that are developed by Wildmind staff.

More questions?

If this page doesn’t answer all your questions, please use the comment form below. Or if your question is more personal and you dont want it published, feel free to use our contact form. Ask away!

Comments

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Comment from simoncdrew
Time: March 26, 2007, 2:31 am

Hello,

I’m interested in the life long membership option as the dates of courses do not always fit into my schedule. If I have access to the guided meditation files, does this mean that I can download them to my mp3 player so that I can practice during my lunch break at work etc.? (the computers at work do not have audio capability!)

Best wishes,

Simon

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Comment from Sunada
Time: April 4, 2007, 8:17 am

Hi Simon,

Yes, you can download the MP3 guided meditation files to any MP3 player, so using them during your lunch break would work just fine!

Sunada

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Comment from Paul Bedson
Time: May 29, 2007, 7:53 am

How do I actually enroll on individula clourses as a life member (I keep being directed through the on-line store route)?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: May 29, 2007, 8:02 am

Hi Paul,

To enroll in an individual course or as a lifemember (those are two different things) follow the links to our online store and pay for the option you’re interested in. We’ll then set you up in the appropriate class roster and you’ll be good to go.

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Comment from Paul Bedson
Time: May 29, 2007, 8:56 am

Hi Bodhipaksa,

First of all thanks for the quick response to my earlier question. However I don’t think I’ve made myself clear I’m afraid.

The problem I’m having is that, as a (recent) life member I don’t seem to be able to enrol on a course without being directed through the online store route where I’d have to pay again. Is there another means for me, as a life member” to “get on a course” without further charge? (sorry, this meesages sounds terribly formal and that’s not what I intended).

Paul

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: May 29, 2007, 10:48 am

Oh, I see now what you’re asking. Our lifemember program gives you access to all of our course *materials* but not to to the feedback and dialog with a teacher that people get when they’re enrolled in a course. So it’s a program of self-study that you can pursue without time limits and without being enrolled in a course. The enrolled courses on the other hand have a definite start and end date and do include interaction with a teacher.

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Comment from jodi
Time: July 29, 2007, 5:39 pm

Hi, I’m considering doing the “path of minfulness and love” course as I was inspired by a book by Bodhipaksa that I found at the library, called “A Step by step guide to meditation” which I’ve been working through on my own and found very helpful. I’m wondering though if the course will be too similar to the book? Regards, Jodi

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: July 29, 2007, 8:32 pm

Hi, Jodi,

Sunada would normally reply, but since she’s traveling to Japan early tomorrow morning I thought I’d step in.

I think a crucial thing to bear in mind about our courses is that they’re not principally about conveying factual information (although that’s important) but that they give you an opportunity to reflect on a daily basis with an experienced coach. Sunada will be able to answer questions that arise from your experience both of meditation and of the wider task of cultivating mindfulness and compassion in your day to day activities. I don’t think there’s any question that this is a beneficial thing to do!

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Comment from John
Time: September 12, 2007, 9:00 am

I would like to take a class on October 1. If I sign up now, would I be able to download the CD before the class ?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: September 12, 2007, 9:22 am

Hi John,

The MP3 files that are a part of the course aren’t available until the course actually starts.

If you do want to get started early we do have a CD available (Guided Meditations for Calmness, Awareness, and Love) that covers the same practices.

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

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Comment from Leila
Time: January 19, 2008, 6:54 pm

hi there

I would love to join the beginners course but i have missed the start date..is this a problem? do we have to stick to the strict timetable?

thanks
Leila

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 20, 2008, 8:00 am

Hi Leila,

Because of the interactive nature of the courses we can’t realistically have people joining more than three or four days after the start-date, but we do have a fresh batch of courses starting each month, usually on the first Monday.

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

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Comment from Neil
Time: February 13, 2008, 11:53 am

I am thinking of signing up for the introductory “”The Path of Mindfulness and Love” course. Are the guided meditations used in this course the same as those on either the “calmness, awareness and love” or “busy people” CDs? I have purchased the download of the former and was going to purchase the latter as well but don’t want to if I would be paying for MP3s that would come as part of the course anyhow.

Cheers,
Neil in Canada

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: February 13, 2008, 11:59 am

Hello Neil in Canada!
The guided meditations on the course are different from those on any of the CDs, although of course they cover similar ground.

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Comment from chris santos
Time: August 28, 2009, 10:09 pm

hi, just wanted to ask if zou give a certificate after finishing the course. thanks. please let me know. thanks.

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Comment from Fernando Calado-Lopes
Time: November 30, 2009, 4:07 pm

Living in Portugal, our currency is € euros. Can you accept payment in € euros or only in dollars?

Greetings

F

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: November 30, 2009, 7:40 pm

Hi Fernando,

Euros work just fine.

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

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Comment from Kim
Time: January 8, 2010, 6:37 am

Hello — I am planning to give an online course as a gift to my husband, but am wondering if he should take the Level 1 (introductory) course, or one of the Level 2 ones. He is familiar with Bodhipaksa’s “Mindfulness of Breathing” and (to a lesser extent) the “Lovingkindness” guided meditations (the ones that are about 25 minutes long), and has used the former in particular many times. He has also listened to Bodhipaksa’s CD of shorter meditations. And he has read several books by Jon Kabat-Zinn on meditation and Buddhism. Thank you very much for any guidance you can give!

Best, Kim

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Comment from Angie
Time: January 17, 2010, 4:49 pm

Hi there,
I am currently experiencing a fair amount of anxiety in my life, including for the first time ever some chest pain and shallow breathing (meaning often feeling like I can’t get a good deep breath). I am reading Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastophe Living and have realized meditation would be a very good thing for me, and in looking for an online course, I stumbled upon your site.

I have two questions: first, which course is considered the first or beginner course? And secondly, is it possible to pro-rate the Jan. course and begin it now, or would it be best to simply wait until Feb 1. I would love to begin now (this weekend even) and then take the Feb course as well.

I appreciate your advice and answers in advance!

Angie

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Comment from Angie
Time: January 17, 2010, 4:51 pm

I took took a second look and see that The Path to Mindfulness and Love is considered the first course. So I only need an answer to my second question
Thanks so much!

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Comment from Mark
Time: January 17, 2010, 6:17 pm

I’m interested in taking your meditation courses, starting in February. I’m wondering of the four courses need to be taken each following month. I have no problem with meditating each day, but it may be difficult to take a new course each month.

Thanks so much.

Mark

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Comment from Katie
Time: January 31, 2010, 4:11 pm

Hi, I am struggling with a food addiction and I was wondering if thi meditation course will help me work through it?

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Comment from Sunada
Time: February 1, 2010, 3:06 pm

Hi Katie,

Well, that’s a hard question to answer. It’s sort of like asking whether a hammer will help build a house. Yes, it’s a tool that’s tremendously helpful, but it’s not the whole story.

Meditation helps us to develop the skill of mindfulness — which among other things allows us to see our own habits, thought patterns, behaviors, etc. more clearly. So to the degree that you are willing to examine yourself closely and work through your own inner tendencies that have brought you where you are, then meditation will be very helpful. I do think this approach is the best way to deal with addictions of any kind, because it gets at the issue at the root. Any kind of therapeutic or medical process goes down the same road. Yes, it’s hard work to study oneself and change habitual patterns. And learning meditation won’t let you skip past that. But if you’re ready to take up that challenge, then mindfulness is one tool that I’d highly recommend you put in your tool chest.

Hope that helps!

Best wishes,
Sunada
http://www.mindfulpurpose.com

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Comment from Rachel
Time: March 25, 2010, 2:34 pm

Though a similar question was asked above, I’m sorry if I missed the answer. I have studied meditation for several years and have taken a class in MBSR training. I also own and use many of Bodhipaksa’s CDs. Unfortunately, I have had a hard time keeping up with my practice on a regular basis. I’m thinking I can start with the second class, but thought it would best to check with you first. Thanks!

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Comment from Sunada
Time: March 26, 2010, 10:50 am

Dear Rachel,
The intention of the Level 1 course is more than the basic steps of how to do mindfulness meditation. We typically also work though, especially through our interactions in the discussion forum, how to establish a regular practice, and discuss specific issues around what’s holding you back. The idea behind the course is to understand in a holistic way what meditation is, and how to bring it into your life in a way that works naturally and makes sense for you. Also the 2nd half of the course is learning the Metta Bhavana (the Development of Loving-kindness) — and it isn’t clear from your post whether you’re familiar with that practice. So based on what you say, I would recommend that you start with Level 1, even though you’re already familiar with how to do mindfulness meditation.

The Level 2 class assumes that you have some sort of regular practice in place. Its focus is exploring and working more deeply with the particular responses and issues you experience within your own sitting practice. So it would be far more valuable to you after you’ve been able to practice regularly for a while.

If you want to discuss this with me further, please feel free to email me at sunada@wildmind.org.

Best wishes,
Sunada

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Comment from Andrew
Time: September 6, 2010, 2:18 am

Hi Bodhipaksa,
In the FAQ you say that one should be able to complete each week’s materials in a couple of hours. But presumably you recommend daily meditation practice. I know this will probably differ a lot from person to person but can you give some idea of the time committment here?
Thanks, Andrew

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Comment from Sunada
Time: September 7, 2010, 9:49 am

Hi Andrew,
This is Sunada, the person who teaches the online courses. Really, it’s entirely up to you as to how much time you put into your meditation practice. But I know that’s not a helpful answer! The guided meditations are about 20 minutes long, so if you used them daily, well .. that’s how much time you might spend on sitting. On the other hand, we recognize that people lead busy lives, and 20 minutes daily may not be realistic. So we ask that you do what you can, and not get too worried about doing some “correct” amount. Some people feel very committed and do more than 20 minutes daily, and that also is up to you. Meditation is really about recognizing where we are now and taking realistic steps forward from there. The path is yours to follow with whatever commitment you wish to give it.

best wishes to you,
Sunada
http://www.mindfulpurpose.com

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Comment from Ashley.
Time: November 23, 2010, 7:53 pm

Dear Sunada (or Bodhipaksa),

Are the two level 2 courses very similar, or are they different? Do you think it would be beneficial to attempt both or that its not worth doing as they cover much of the same material? I’m torn between doing one level 2 course and then level three eventually or doing both the level 2 courses followed by level 3. Would that give me more grounding and experience for the 3rd level? Please advise.

Many thanks,

Ashley

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Comment from Sunada
Time: November 24, 2010, 12:38 pm

Hi Ashley,
The two Level 2 courses are completely different. There is no overlap between then. Change Your Mind covers specific methods for managing our own tendencies toward negative mental states and encouraging our positive ones. Awakening the Heart covers what is known as the Brahma Viharas practice — which is a set of meditations that are variations of the Metta Bhavana. As far as what courses to take when, how about if you just take one at a time, and see where it takes you? I’d suggest taking Change Your Mind, and then deciding at that point which course seems best for a next step. There is no right or wrong answer. Only what seems beneficial to you at that point in time.

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Comment from Ashley
Time: November 30, 2010, 6:01 pm

Thank you, Sunada! I think I’ll do exactly that. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up doing all four courses now that I know that there’s no overlap, but I’ll see.

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Comment from Stefanie
Time: February 27, 2011, 11:03 am

I am thinking of either taking your beginning class or enrolling in a MBSR course. So, here’s the question — how do I match my stress with a course? Thanks!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: February 27, 2011, 1:46 pm

Hi, Stefanie.

I’ll let Sunada reply to your question, but she’s on retreat this weekend so you won’t hear from her immediately.

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

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Comment from Sunada
Time: February 28, 2011, 1:19 pm

Hi Stephanie, I’m not sure I understand your question so I’m going to email you separately. Please stand by!
Best wishes,
Sunada

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Comment from Rick Wolfgang
Time: December 13, 2011, 8:38 am

I have been using the free online Realaudio version of both mindfulness and the loving kindness that you provide on your website. Thank you for making this available. I was wondering about the online course you are offering for $85 that covers these two introductory meditation trainings. Is this the same material (i.e. Bodipaksa’s voice and the four stages etc) that I have already done on the free site? I realize that there are other benefits but are the actual meditations the same ones used on the free site? Thanks again for sharing peace, happiness, and a path.

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Comment from Sunada
Time: December 13, 2011, 1:29 pm

Dear Rick,
The guided meditations for the course are different from the ones that are available for free on the public site — though they are in Bodhipaksa’s voice and go through the same practices. But really, the more important difference is the fact that you have a real human teacher (yours truly) here to guide you during the 4 weeks. Meditation is an art, not just a skill. What really makes a practice work is when you develop a deeper level of self awareness – seeing your own tendencies and habits, and how to work productively with them. We can learn how to manage negative tendencies without fighting them, and to encourage positive ones without clinging to them. This isn’t the kind of thing that can be learned through pre-recorded materials. So that’s really what you’re getting for your $85. An experienced teacher who can help you to make your practice truly your own. I hope that answers your question. If not, please fire away with whatever else you’d like to know.

Best wishes,
Sunada

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Comment from Donna Power
Time: January 30, 2012, 11:09 am

I am interested in participating in the level 1 meditation training. Is the book required for this course covered in the registration?
Thanks so much,
Donna

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Comment from Sunada
Time: January 31, 2012, 8:50 am

Hi Donna, There is no book required for the course. Everything you need is provided online via the course site. So I guess to answer your question, yes, it’s covered in the registration.

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Comment from Margaret
Time: July 31, 2012, 11:20 am

Bodhipaksa, greetings from the Empire of Montana! I’m a freelance writer and I write for a blog on mindfulness. I’m going to take this course to increase/improve my own mindfulness to accentuate my ability to communicate mindfulness principles to others. Question: may I have your permission to quote you, Sunada and points you make in the course? Plagiarism is unethical, illegal and certainly not a Right Action. You would be fully cited in APA style, which I’m sure you remember from your University of Montana days. Thanks so much for offering this great course!
Peace,
Margaret

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: July 31, 2012, 11:45 am

Sure! Thanks for asking.

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Comment from Donna
Time: August 1, 2012, 6:34 pm

Hello Sunada and Bodhipaksa,

I have taken your level 1 and 2 training and then purchased a life membership. I have studied metta your level two and love the practice. Your training is wonderful! You have lead me into a wonderful daily practice and I am discovering the benefits of regular meditation.
I want to say – at this time I am particularly taken with the meditation on the 6 elements. Thank you both for the work you do. How wonderful for me, in the sticks of British Columbia, getting such great opportunities to learn from others in the world.

I wish you wellness,
Donna

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Comment from Kim
Time: July 1, 2013, 2:25 pm

Do you have a course offered in July (level 1) or is the next in Aug 2013? Thank you!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: July 1, 2013, 8:11 pm

Hi, Kim.

The next course is in August, because I’m teaching at the University of New Hampshire for the next few weeks.

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

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Comment from Laurie
Time: April 12, 2014, 4:35 pm

Just to make sure – are the meditations in MP3 Audio format? My MP3 player doesn’t support MPEG-4 Audio format.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: April 12, 2014, 8:17 pm

Yes, they’re in MP3 format.

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