Featured Course with James Baraz

Introduction to Insight Meditation

A 6-week class series to help you establish an Insight (mindfulness) meditation practice in your life and understand the teachings upon which mindfulness meditation is based.

View/listen to the recordings anytime until the end of February, 2024.

James Speaks about the 2023 Introduction to Insight Meditation Course

Sept. 12 - Oct. 17, 2023

Online via Zoom - Recordings Available within 48 Hours . View / Listen until January 31, 2024

6:30 - 8:30 PM Pacific Daylight / San Francisco Time18:30 - 20-30 / UTC-7  

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Each of the 6 sessions builds on the previous ones in both the unfolding of the meditation instructions as well as the content of the teachings. We’ll also explore how to apply these teachings in daily life.

"This course has introduced many people to meditation practice. If you're looking to establish a practice and understand the teachings upon which mindfulness meditation and the Awakening Joy course are based, I welcome you to join me."

James Baraz

2023 Dates and Topics for the Insight Meditation Course

Live Zoom sessions: 6:30 - 8:30 PM California Time (18:30 - 20:30 UTC-7) every Tuesday Sept. 12 - Oct. 17. All sessions are recorded and available within 48 hours. View/listen anytime until January 31, 2024.

  • September 12 - Session 1: The Power of Mindfulness

  • September 19 - Session 2: The Four Noble Truths

  • September 26 - Session 3: The Noble Eightfold Path

  • October 3 - Session 4: The Five Hindrances

  • October 10 - Session 5: The Four Divine Abodes (Heart Practices)

  • October 17 - Session 6: Bringing Your Practice into the World

How it Works

Each 2-hour Session includes a talk on the week’s focus, a period of guided meditation with instructions + time for interactive Q&A. You receive:

  • Video + downloadable audio-only recordings of each Live Zoom Session, including a guided meditation for each of the 6 topics. (It is not necessary to join the live sessions to take this course.)

  • Weekly practice letters, including a session recap and suggestions to support your meditation practice.

  • Access to course support to answer questions between sessions

  • Email Notification whenever new materials are posted. Materials remain available until January 31, 2024.

The Insight Meditation Course - Donation-Based

Offered in the Spirit of Dana (The Buddhist Principle of Generosity)

Finances for the Course

While there is no formal charge for the course, it is offered in the tradition known as dana (pronounced "dah-na"), a Pali word meaning generosity.

Dating back to the time of the Buddha, there has existed an interdependence between those who offer the teachings and those who receive them. According to the Buddha, generosity, or sharing what we have, is one of the central pillars of a spiritual life. The Buddha created a system to develop a quality of open-handedness whereby those who share the teachings are dependent on those who receive them. Monks and nuns go on daily alms rounds with a begging bowl, relying on the generosity of lay people for support in continuing their teaching and spiritual life. James has been offering these teachings on a dana basis for over 40 years through retreats and classes.

The suggested donation is US $150 for the course 

Each person’s situation is different. This suggestion is a guideline. You may give less or you may give more. The principle is that generosity should be a source of joy for you from a sense of appreciation for the teachings. You may choose one of the other options, depending on your situation. If you need to offer less for the course than the options provided or if you have any questions or concerns, email [email protected].

View Pricing Options

James Baraz


James' Teaching Schedule

James Baraz has been a meditation teacher since 1978 and leads retreats, workshops and classes in the U.S and abroad. He is the creator and teacher of the online Awakening Joy course, since 2003. He's also a co-founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. 

In recent years, he has  focused on dharma and climate change. He serves as an advisor to One Earth Sangha, a website devoted to Buddhist responses to climate change. 

His books include Awakening Joy with Shoshana Alexander, and Awakening Joy for Kids with Michele Lilyanna. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Jane, and has two sons and three grandchildren.

Sarah-Marie Hopf

Course Assistant

Sarah-Marie Hopf will be assisting James Baraz  during the live course sessions, as well as answering questions in-between sessions. 

Sarah-Marie is a mindfulness meditation teacher, an International Coaching Federation-certified integral leadership and development coach, and the founder of Thriving in a Noisy World. 

She's passionate about supporting growth-minded, purpose-driven individuals in their inner development journeys for the benefit of all. To her work, she brings experience at the intersections of leadership development and organizational change, human-centered design, and systemic social innovation. 

First discovering the dharma at age 13, Sarah-Marie is a seasoned mindfulness practitioner and regularly sits Insight Meditation retreats. She is a graduate of Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach's Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program and a certified mindfulness teacher through the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. A German/American, she’s currently based in Oakland, CA.

Praise for James' Intro to Insight Meditation Course

“I have a practice but with this course I have become much more reflective and aware. The building blocks keep stacking up.”

“I am reminded and re-inspired to meditate on a regular basis. The course has reconnected me with how right and grounding and refreshing it feels to sit with myself.”

“I am trying to appreciate the moment instead of the past or the future. Little by little I'm gaining ground. Also I am less reactive and more receptive. ”

“I have a much deeper understanding of the practice that facilitates and deepens its benefits on my life!”