How the Mind Works

An online course with Thupten Jinpa

If you’ve ever wished for teachings on Buddhist psychology that are accessible and yet capture richness and depth, including insights applicable to everyday life, this course is for you.

Explore the great landscape of the mind through Buddhist psychology in this extraordinary course. Your guide is Thupten Jinpa, renowned scholar, translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and one of the world’s leading experts on Buddhism.

This is a precious opportunity to explore your mental and emotional life in depth with one of the world’s leading experts on Buddhism.

As you deepen your understanding of how your mind works, you’ll find out how to develop greater continuity between meditation and daily life.

Read on for more information or click the button below to save your seat today.

This course started on September 29, 2023, but you can join at any time.

Please note that the Q&As are only available for the first live run of the course from September – December 2023.

*This course is not included in the Holiday Sale.

Your tuition fee helps support Wisdom’s nonprofit mission so we can create more amazing courses for you. Thank you! For more about our terms, please see the Wisdom Academy FAQ.

Course Benefits

Study with Thupten Jinpa

This course provides the rare and extremely valuable opportunity to study with Thupten Jinpa. Jinpa is world-renowned as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s translator as well as being a translator of Buddhist texts, writer, and scholar of the highest distinction.

This course provides the precious chance to benefit from Jinpa’s vast understanding, including the chance to ask him practice questions during our 3 live Q&As.

Discover an inspiring and practical map of your mind

Working with the mind can feel overwhelming. Whether it’s on the cushion or during other activities, it can be discouraging or difficult to work with the deluge of thoughts and emotions that can arise.

What many of us are missing is a map. As you journey through the course, you’ll also be taking a journey through your own mind, with this list of “mental factors” as your map and Thupten Jinpa as your guide.

Understand your emotions in relationships

In this course, you’ll learn how to reduce the mental qualities that cause suffering and cultivate those that are helpful. Understanding the mental factors can save you significant time and energy in trying to understand and work with your day-to-day mental experiences and your relationships with others. As you learn, you’ll explore important topics like the role of attachment in relationships.

Learn how to reduce the mental qualities that cause suffering and cultivate those that are helpful

Understanding the mental factors can save you significant time and energy in trying to understand and work with your day-to-day mental experiences.

Watch the Trailer

Lesson Plan


Lesson 1: Abhidharma Psychology: Key Ideas and Insights


Lesson 2: Asanga’s List of 51 Mental Factors: General Points and The First Five Factors


Lesson 3: Five Object Determinate Factors


Lesson 4: Eleven Virtuous Factors


Lesson 5: Applying the Factors – Ethical Life and Meditative Practice


Lesson 6: Six Root Afflictions


Lesson 7: Twenty Secondary Afflictions


Lesson 8: Awareness, Regulation, and Applying the Antidotes


Lesson 9: Four Variable Factors and Summary of Key Points


Lesson 10: Applying Insights in Practice and Everyday Life

The mind is the one deciding factor in our happiness or suffering.

In this course, Jinpa interprets and explains the most important nuances of the mental factors, which are functions of the mind including everything from dullness and rage to diligence and wisdom.

Providing an overview of Buddhist psychology that can be traced right back to the Buddha himself, this course provides direct, immersive access to vitally important teachings that we need for the path to liberation.

*This course is not included in the Holiday Sale.

You’ll explore the nuances of and interconnections between facets of the human experience such as feeling, discrimination, and volition.

You’ll also learn about the dynamic connections that exist between mental factors key to ethical living and meditation practice, such as intention, attention, aspiration, mindfulness, and concentration.

Understanding our mind is the key to transforming our life. The insights from Buddhist psychology have tremendous potential to shed light on the workings of our own minds. Enroll today to illuminate your mind and cultivate greater freedom in your daily life.

Click the button below to join in today!

*This course is not included in the Holiday Sale.


What You’ll Learn

*This course is not included in the Holiday Sale.

Why study the mental factors?

The teachings on the mental factors unlock the mysteries of how our minds work. When we have a recurring thought, experience a difficult emotion, or find ourselves repeating certain habits, there are underlying causes and conditions.

When you understand how your mind works, you can better direct it in alignment with your values and goals. For example, as you’ll learn in this course, one of the benefits of cultivating virtuous factors is that it gives us a sense of agency and self-mastery. Knowing this, we can develop even more motivation for cultivating virtuous factors.

Asaṅga’s list of 51 mental factors is an incredibly rich treasure trove of insight into your own mind. Enroll today to explore its potential with Thupten Jinpa.

Click the button below to get access to this remarkable learning experience.

*This course is not included in the Holiday Sale.

Course Schedule

• Friday, September 29: Lesson 1 released
• October 6: Lesson 2 released
• October 13: Lesson 3 released
• October 20: Lesson 4 released
October 23, 6 PM EST: Q&A #1 (takes place over Zoom)
• October 27: Lesson 5 released
• November 3: Lesson 6 released
• November 10: Lesson 7 released
• November 17: Lesson 8 released
• November 17, 6 PM EST: Q&A #2 (takes place over Zoom)
• November 24: Lesson 9 released
• December 1: Lesson 10 released
• December 4, 6 PM EST: Q&A #3 (takes place over Zoom)

Please note that we may have to reschedule Q&As due to unforeseen circumstances, but this is our current planned schedule. Enrolled students retain access to course materials after the course ends.

*This course is not included in the Holiday Sale.


• How much does it cost? Tuition is $397 USD. Your tuition fee helps support Wisdom’s nonprofit mission so we can create more amazing courses for you!

• When does the course start? Please see the course schedule above.

• Will I lose access? No, you will retain access even after the last lesson has been released, so you can return to the teachings whenever you like!

• Are there any live components? For the first live run of this course, September – December 2023, there will be three live Q&As with Thupten Jinpa. More information on the Q&As can be found below.

Jinpa draws from Asaṅga’s list of 51 mental factors, a highly influential “map of the mind” in Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Why Take This Course

Here are just some of the reasons you might want to take this course!

1. If you want the opportunity to study your mind in depth with Thupten Jinpa.

2. If you want to understand how afflictions work in the mind so that you can free yourself from them.

3. If you want to find out how to cultivate virtuous mental factors such as aspiration, concentration, and wisdom.

Meet Your Teacher

Thupten Jinpa Langri was educated in the classical Tibetan monastic academia and received the highest academic degree of Geshe Lharam (equivalent to a doctorate in divinity). Jinpa also holds a BA in philosophy and a PhD in religious studies, both from the University of Cambridge, England. Since 1985, he has been the principal translator for the Dalai Lama, accompanying him to the United States, Canada, and Europe. He has translated and edited many books by the Dalai Lama, including The World of Tibetan BuddhismEssence of the Heart Sutra, and the New York Times bestseller Ethics for the New Millennium.

Jinpa has published scholarly articles on various aspects of Tibetan culture, Buddhism, and philosophy, and books such as Songs of Spiritual Experience: Tibetan Poems of Awakening and Insight (coauthored) and Self, Reality and Reason in Tibetan Thought. He is the editor of the Library of Tibetan Classics. He serves on the advisory board of numerous educational and cultural organizations in North America, Europe, and India. He is currently the president and the editor-in-chief of the Institute of Tibetan Classics, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to translating key Tibetan classics into contemporary languages. He also currently chairs the Mind & Life Institute and the Compassion Institute.