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A Scientific Investigation of the Mind (The Dharma of Well-Being, Part 1)

A Wisdom Academy Online Course with Lama Alan Wallace

The Dharma of Well-Being, Part 1

In this series of online courses, Lama Alan Wallace invites you to investigate the causes of both genuine unhappiness and genuine well-being.

This course is entirely standalone but also the crucial first installment in Lama Alan’s Dharma of Well-Being series—we encourage new participants as well as participants of either of the other two courses to join our renowned and charismatic course leader as he delves into this profound material. 

Click here to enroll in parts 1, 2, and 3 of this course series together and save.

What You’ll Learn

  • the difference between happiness and genuine well-being
  • the three kinds of genuine well-being
  • the causes of suffering
  • the three tiers of unhappiness
  • the definition of kleśas 
  • the three poisons
  • the causes of genuine well-being
  • practices to help you on the path toward developing genuine well-being 
  • and more!

About this Course

In A Scientific Investigation of the Mind, you’ll start by looking into what genuine well-being is before delving into what it is not as Lama Alan explores the causes of suffering, mental afflictions, and unhappiness, along with the internal factors that often prevent us from being truly happy. He then turns to the causes of genuine happiness and offers skills, practices, and insights that will help you achieve genuine happiness and well-being in your own life. This foundation in experiential psychological insight prepares students for exploration of deeper insights in later modules.

Drawing on insights and methods from both the Buddhist tradition and Western psychology and philosophy, we think you’ll find this course a fascinating and deeply helpful resource.



Lesson 1: Introduction & Genuine Well-Being

In this first lesson, Lama Alan Wallace introduces us to the concept of genuine well-being and delves into how happiness and genuine well-being are different. He also reads from the Kandaraka Sutta to briefly review the Buddha’s teaching on the three kinds of genuine well-being.


Lesson 2: The Causes of Suffering

In this lesson, Lama Alan explores the causes of both stimulus-driven and genuine unhappiness. He outlines three tiers of unhappiness as taught by the Buddha, paying close attention to kleśas.


Lesson 3: The Contagious Nature of Mental Afflictions

In this lesson, Lama Alan explores the contagious nature of mental afflictions and how we can prevent the spread of our own mental afflictions.


Lesson 4: Developing Attention

In this lesson, Lama Alan explores the term “refractory period” and how it relates to mental afflictions before he delves into how developing sustained attention can help us on the path toward developing genuine well-being.


Lesson 5: The Inner Causes of Mental Distress

In this lesson, Lama Alan explores various ways mindfulness can be applied before diving into the three root kleśas, also known as the three poisons.


Lesson 6: The Nature of the Mind

In this lesson, Lama Alan explores consciousness and the nature of the mind before turning to how we can help to train the mind on the path to developing genuine well-being.


Lesson 7: The Inner Causes of Well-Being

In this lesson, Lama Alan introduces us to the four immeasurables as the source of genuine well-being. He touches on each of them, outlining how each is specifically related to genuine well-being, and teaches the traditional Indo-Tibetan liturgy associated with them. 


Lesson 8: Developing Genuine Well-Being

In this last lesson, Lama Alan delves deeper into how the four immeasurables relate to genuine well-being. He touches on Buddhaghosa’s teachings in The Path to Purification before exploring the characteristics and the near and far enemies of each of the four immeasurables.

About the Teacher

Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, Lama Alan Wallace, PhD, continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. Lama Alan, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted 14 years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H.H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford. Lama Alan later studied Dzogchen with Gyatrul Rinpoche, a senior teacher in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. With his unique background, Lama Alan brings deep experience and applied skills to the challenge of integrating traditional Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the modern world. Lama Alan is the author and translator of several books, including Düdjom Lingpa’s Visions of the Great Perfection, Stilling the Mind: Shamatha Teachings From Dudjom Linpa’s Vajra EssenceTibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up, Natural Liberation: Padmasambhava’s Teachings on the Six Bardos, and The Attention Revolution.