Free Bodhi Fund

Paying the Dharma forward

walking-buddha-1The Buddha really emphasized giving. In fact in you think about it we wouldn’t have any Buddhism today. The Buddha’s life, after his Awakening, was a life of giving. His time and his talent in communication was spent in giving people the tools they needed to become awakened. His energy was spent traveling around India, teaching.

The entire community of monks and nuns likewise gave their time and energy — their lives, really — in order to help others.

And if it wasn’t for 2,500 years of householders donating to the sangha, none of that teaching would have been passed onto us. It wasn’t just a question of lay Buddhists putting some scraps of food in the bowls of begging monks and nuns. It was a question of them donating robes, giving land to the sangha, having dwellings and monasteries built, paying for monuments to be erected, etc.

2,500 years of giving. And we’re the beneficiaries. I benefit. You benefit.

If you benefit from the work we do, please consider supporting Wildmind. Click here to make a one-time or recurring donation.

If you benefit from the work we do, please consider supporting Wildmind. Click here to make a one-time or recurring donation.

We’re asking for donations to our Free Bodhi project. The aim is to provide seed funding for a business manager for Wildmind so that I don’t have to do so much admin and can concentrate on teaching and writing. Lots of people tell me that the teaching and writing I do has made a positive difference to their lives, and I hope you’ll consider supporting us on this.

So we’re asking you to continue 2,500 year tradition, and to pay it forward. We’ve written, and continue to write, hundreds of articles on meditation. We’ve made structured guides to various meditation practices available. We run free guided meditation videoconferences and post the recordings on Youtube.

And next year we’ll be running an unprecedented year-long series of meditation events that we’re calling a Year of Going Deeper. We chose that title because the eight events we’re running will give you a complete guide to meditation practices that can take you all the way to Awakening.

Our Year of Going Deeper is going to be free. That’s our gift. What we’re asking is that you help support us — just as generations of practitioners before you have helped support other teachers — so that we can help enlighten the world.

Please donate to the Free Bodhi project on Indiegogo, and help support our work.

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Transforming self and world

dancerYears ago, when Bodhipaksa described what Wildmind was about, he expressed it along these lines: that our mission was to to benefit the world by promoting mindfulness and compassion through the practice of Buddhist meditation. Twelve years later, our intent is still the same.

Bodhipaksa wanted, and still wants, to have an impact on contemporary culture. He wants to show the benefits of meditation, and also make it easy for people to learn to meditate.

And that’s why this site is here. We have hundreds of pages of freely available meditation instruction, where people can walk themselves through structured guides to a variety of practices. And we’re constantly adding new materials on our blog. This year, for example, we’ve posted something like 100,000 words of guidance (the equivalent of a couple of books) along with several hours of recordings.

Here are some other highlights:

  • More than 1.5 million people visit our site each year.
  • Our most popular web page (not counting the home page) has been read by half a million people.
  • Our most popular blog post has been read more than a quarter of a million times.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people have learned to meditate here — for free.
  • We also publish guided meditation CDs, which help fund our activities, and those have reached hundreds of thousands of people as well.

For one thing, the way people are using the web is changing.

People want smaller, more easily-digestible chunks of information.

They want more multimedia content.

They want presentations that are more “app-like” and that work well on mobile devices.

They want more interactivity — like being able to track how many times they’ve meditated, or how much progress they’ve made in working through a program of instruction.

They want tools that mesh seamlessly with their daily lives — for example mindfulness reminders that pop up on their computer, cellphone, or tablet.

They also want more of a sense of community — a sense that they’re not practicing in isolation, but are practicing along with others.

These are all things we’re working on, or plan to work on. We see people’s embrace of mobile devices as an opportunity to help them integrate the practice of mindfulness and compassion into their daily lives.

But we need your help to take Wildmind to the next level. That’s why we launched the Free Bodhi project. We need to build a team around Bodhipaksa (a.k.a. “Bodhi” or sometimes “Mr. B.”) to be a kind of “amplification system.” We need to free him from his admin responsibilities so that he has more time to teach, and to write, and to develop new ways to bring mindfulness and compassion into our society.

So, please help Free Bodhi so that we can help make the world a more mindful and compassionate place.

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A guided meditation, and an invitation

bodhipaksaBelow is a guided meditation that I led on Saturday, at the closing of Wildmind’s contribution to the week-long Urban Retreat, led by the Triratna Buddhist Community. It’s a guided meditation on cultivating compassion, with a short talk at the beginning.

Now the invitation. Most of the guided meditations I lead and talks I give aren’t recorded. For example, back in February I led a retreat in Florida, and nothing was recorded. I’ve led workshops in Maine and Toronto, where again nothing was recorded. I intended to record the talks and meditations, but the trouble is that I get very focused on the act of communicating and forget to hit “record.”

So this is another good reason to support the Free Bodhi project. One of the things that will happen once I have more admin support is that I’ll have someone to take care of making sure that the recording equipment is set up and ready to go, and that the recordings are being made properly.

In fact even the kind of online event that’s in the recording above will happen more smoothly. At the moment I have to do all the set-up myself. In the half-hour before that guided meditation started I had to set up the Hangout, copy and paste links, send out invitations, choose the correct settings so that the graphics would display (I forgot to do that on the previous recording), and deal with people who were having technical difficulties getting into the hangout. It’s rather stressful doing all that, and I’d rather be focusing on how I’m going to lead the meditation and what I’m going to say in my introductory talk.

So in the future, the plan is to have Mark (who is lined up as my business manager and assistant) take care of all that for me. All I’ll need to do is show up and teach, which will be better for everyone involved — including you!

So please support the Free Bodhi project. Help free me up from admin so that I can concentrate on teaching. You’ll find that we are offering some great perks for donors to our project.

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A year of going deeper


A year of going deeperWe have exciting plans for next year. We kicked off 2013 with a 100 Day Meditation Challenge, and then continued with 100 Days of Lovingkindness. Lots of work went into these, and for the second event I managed, somehow (mainly by sleeping very little) to produce a blog post for every one of the 100 days.

I loved the focus that this gave to the blog and to our practice. Many, many people participated in these challenges and experienced big breakthroughs with their practice.

I also loved the fact that over the course of 100 days I managed to write 90,000 words on lovingkindness practice. That material is going to evolve into a book, for which I already have a publisher lined up. And that book, once it’s published, is going to end up reaching even more people. I love synergy!

Inspired by the good that came from these two events, I want to run even more special events in 2014. We’re calling this our Year of Going Deeper. So we’re running even more events, and this will give a wonderful focus to our practice. It will also lead to me developing a large body of blog posts and guided meditations that will be freely available as a gift to the world. And we’ll also end up with more books, CDs, etc.

Soon we’ll be announcing how these events will work, and how you can sign up for them (they’ll all be free, although donations are encouraged), but I want to give you a sneak peek at what’s coming up. Here’s the program we’ve put together:

  • Jan 1 – 28 Sit : Breathe : Love (A 28 Day Meditation Challenge)
  • Jan 31 – May 10 100 Days of Lovingkindness
  • May 13 – Jun 9 Sit : Breathe : Love (A 28 Day Meditation Challenge)
  • Jun 6 – Aug 10 60 Days to Jhana
  • Aug 13 – Sep 9 Sit : Breathe : Love (A 28 Day Meditation Challenge)
  • Sep 12 – Oct 23 42 Days: 6 Elements (An exploration of the 6 Element Practice)
  • Oct 27 – Nov 23 Sit : Breathe : Love (A 28 Day Meditation Challenge)
  • Nov 28 – Dec 25 4 Weeks of Insight

We decided that although a 100 day meditation challenge at the start of the year was a wonderful thing for those who participated, it was also daunting for many people, which meant that they didn’t even try. So we decided to start with a 28 day challenge in 2014 instead. The aim is to help people develop a habit of daily sitting.

And so that people don’t feel that they’ve “missed the boat” if they can’t get on board for the first challenge, we’re repeating the challenge throughout the year. The 28 day challenges will focus on mindfulness practice.

The program follows the traditional approach of exploring samatha approaches to meditation, which help us develop calm, concentration, and emotional positivity, before exploring vipassana (insight) approaches to meditating.

In the end what we’ll have is a whole program that gives you everything you need, meditatively speaking, to reach awakening.

I hope you find this program as exciting as I do.

But here’s the thing: I have way too much on my plate as it is. This program can only happen if I’m freed up from some of my administrative responsibilities so that I can concentrate on writing and teaching.

And that’s why we’ve set up the Free Bodhi project, where we’re raising seed money so that I can employ a business manager. We’re trying to raise enough to employ a business manager for six months. What about after that? Well, having a business manager (actually he has a name — Mark), will help Wildmind become more financially stable. Our publicity will be better, so that more people will attend the events I’ve been telling you about. And with more people, we’ll receive more donations. I’ll also be freer to develop books and CDs, which we’ll sell through our store and through Amazon. So within six months we project that we’ll bring in enough extra revenue to support Mark indefinitely.

There’s more I could say. I’ve been thinking much more long-term about Wildmind, and what we’re doing. But I’ll save that for another blog post.

In the meantime, I invite you to contribute to our Free Bodhi project so that the program above can become a reality.

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Why free Bodhi?

posterEarlier this year I got on a roll. We’d had a 100 Day Meditation Challenge, during which I managed to write blog posts for 35 days before having to drop down to posting every five days because I just had too much to do. Then we had our 100 Days of Lovingkindness, and somehow — mainly by having no more than 5 ½ hours of sleep a night, I managed to post every day. And some of those posts were recordings of guided meditations. I did it, but it was tough.

The 100 Days of Lovingkindness posts are still there, available as a resource. In fact I know some people are working through that series of posts together.

I’d like to do more of that kind of thing, but right now my time gets taken up by tasks that aren’t about writing and teaching. I spend a lot of time doing website maintenance, answering the phone, filing taxes, photographing things we’re going to sell on our store (that’s one way we fund Wildmind), Photoshopping those images, doing publicity, upgrading computer software, doing graphic design, handling student registrations for our online courses, etc. It actually amazes me that I manage to write anything. Some weeks I don’t.

My creative productivity is grinding to a halt. The problem is that organizations need organizing, and right now I’m the only person who can do that. Apart from me there’s one person who works part-time taking care of our online store, a bookkeeper who comes in twice a month, and Linda up in Toronto taking care of the news posts in our blog. I do everything else.

Next year we’d like to run a year-long program of meditation challenges and special events, like our 100 Days of Lovingkindness. I think it’s going to be a brilliant program. We’ll be posting information about these activities soon. But to produce all the material for these projects I need to be free of all this admin I’ve been doing.

I need a business manager.

And we’ve found the perfect guy — a former engineer called Mark, who has already done a few days of work with me. It’s been fantastic working with Mark. He’s really helping next years’ program to come together. He’s helping with publicity. He’s starting to take a whole bunch of tasks off of my to-do list.

But the trouble is we can’t afford to employ Mark for more than a few hours a week at the moment.

So what we’re trying to do is to raise $22,000, to cover the first six months of Mark’s wages, along with associated costs such as employers’ Social Security and Medicare.

Once Mark’s up and running full time, he’ll free me up so that I can not only write more materials that can be freely available, like the 100 Days of Lovingkindness posts, but he’ll also free me up to record more CDs and to turn more of my writing into books. And those kinds of things will bring in more income for Wildmind, so that we can cover Mark’s wage costs in the longer-term. So it all will be sustainable. We just need the seed money to get started.

I really need this in order to be effective as a teacher. And so I’m asking that you contribute to our Free Bodhi Fund. Now I know, there are many things you could contribute to. But not only will you be benefiting the hundreds of thousands of people who come to this site for spiritual guidance and nourishment, but you’ll be benefiting yourself quite directly, because we’re offering some great perks to our donors.

Please do check out our Indiegogo project, and help set me free to teach and write.

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