Welcome to

Mindfulness in Plain English

A Wisdom Academy Online Course with Bhante Gunaratana

Journey into mindfulness with the master: Bhante Gunaratana (known affectionately as Bhante G), author of Mindfulness in Plain English, a bestseller and #1 on The New York Times’s list of recommended meditation books.

About this Course

This course provides a comprehensive exploration of mindfulness, including topics such as how we can motivate ourselves to meditate, how to understand suffering, how to see impermanence, how mindfulness leads to true happiness, and much more.



Lesson 1: Identifying the True Meaning of Meditation

Bhante G (Bhante Gunaratana) introduces the course and addresses several key questions around the meaning of meditation (bhāvanā) and how to develop the proper motivation to engage in meditative practice. You’ll learn how meditation can transform your inner world and bring a welcome sense of peace and simplicity to your life.


Lesson 2: Overcoming Distraction and Confusion

Bhante G discusses the ultimate goals of meditation and the complex task of overcoming ignorance. He also outlines how to remedy mental wandering and “unite the mind with the present moment.” You’ll learn how ignorance yields suffering and how to begin reversing that process by using mindfulness to anchor the mind on the breath.


Lesson 3: Orienting the Body and Mind in Meditation

Bhante G provides an extensive overview of how to adopt and maintain a conducive bodily posture and prepare the mind for a meditation session. You’ll learn strategies for avoiding obstacles such as physical discomfort and mental tension, anxiety, distraction, overexcitement, and dullness. You’ll also discover how meditations on impermanence and the four sublime mental states (brahmavihara) can further complement your practice. 


Lesson 4: Managing Energy Levels as a Practitioner

Bhante G draws on the importance of a daily practice and emphasizes the role of motivational energy or enthusiasm in achieving optimal spiritual results. Delineating excessive and inadequate levels of effort, he sketches out what a balanced approach to taming the mind might look like. You’ll learn helpful tips for maintaining mindful focus throughout the day without succumbing to exhaustion or confusion.


Lesson 5: Addressing Obstacles to Practice

Bhante G teaches us how to apply direct antidotes to a range of mental states that are discordant with effective meditation, such as sleepiness, boredom, desire, and physical pain. He carefully distinguishes pain from suffering, explaining how only the former is ultimately inevitable. You’ll learn practical ways to keep your mind on track when encountering challenges in the course of your meditation session.


Lesson 6: Differentiating Mindfulness from Meditation

Bhante G identifies mindfulness (sati) as just one of many forms of meditation. He explains its key role—alongside clear comprehension (saṃprajanya)—in maintaining awareness of what’s happening at any given moment, without distortion. You’ll learn about the four foundations of mindfulness and how mindfulness can help us develop both a healthier sense of conventional self and a better understanding of the Buddhist notion of ultimate “selflessness.”


Lesson 7: Cultivating Mindfulness in Daily Life

Bhante G summarizes the key takeaways from the course and zeroes in on practical strategies for the everyday application of mindfulness, such as walking meditation and mindful speech. He also offers useful advice on dealing with difficult people, excessive craving, and resentment. You’ll learn how to create the conditions for greater inner peace and happiness in your day-to-day life.

About the Teacher

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana was ordained as a Buddhist monk at the age of twelve in Malandeniya, Sri Lanka. He is the author of Mindfulness in Plain EnglishEight Mindful Steps to Happiness, and several more books—including his autobiography, Journey to Mindfulness. He currently lives at Bhavana Society Forest Monastery in West Virginia.