"This weekly group, meeting on Skype though videoconferencing, involves an ongoing exploration of the principles and practice of meditation, of mindfulness in daily life, and of the cultivation of insight.
"The first classes started a few days ago, and have been very successful. One participant said that she was surprised to find she experienced the best meditation she’d had in a long time. There was an abundance of humour".
The videoconferencing format allows the workshop participants to see and talk to one another, and Bodhipaksa reports that the format offered for genuinely warm connections to form, and he envisages strong bonds of closeness and intimacy developing as people practice with each other and share their lives. This will be helped by the fact that participants are being asked to make at least a three month commitment to the workshop.
The topics explored go well beyond introductory meditation, and will deal with such things as how to free the mind from the hindrances, how to cultivate jhana/dhyana, bringing mindfulness into daily life, and how to cultivate insight.
Bodhipaksa rather ambitiously says that his aim is to help participants become enlightened. Although he admits that not everyone in the workshop is currently aiming that high, he points out that Enlightenment is the purpose of all Dharma practice.
Each week there is a short talk, a guided meditation, and opportunity for discussion. Meetings last for 90 minutes. So far there have been participants from across the US, from Canada, Mexico, and the UK. The times of the classes have been chosen to allow people from as many timezones as possible to participate. The most difficult region to accommodate, Bodhipaksa says, is Australia and New Zealand.
There is no fixed charge for the workshop, and people are free to give what they can afford.
Bodhipaksa sees the workshop groups as a mission: “What I'm suggesting,” he says, “is a mutual commitment to generosity. I'll go out of my way to support the people I'm working with.” He’s offering to deal with students’ questions via email or phone calls, and to support their spiritual development in any way he can.
For further information on Bodhipaksa’s Skype meditation workshops, visit Wildmind at www.wildmind.org.