The Whole Path

Sharon Salzberg leads us through the meditator's journey.

Have you wondered what the purpose of mindfulness really is? What is it that meditators awaken to? How does being kind to others promote our own wellbeing? Walk a path to freedom of mind and heart with Sharon Salzberg's new six-part online course.

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To progress along the Buddhist path it's important to understand where we are going, and how the stages of our journey fit together. There's no better guide to this terrain than Sharon Salzberg, a much-loved meditation teacher who has been instrumental in bringing the practices of lovingkindness and insight meditation to the West.

This course covers each aspect of the Buddha's eightfold path. We'll learn how ethical conduct can be a source of strength and self-respect. We'll use this foundation of integrity to support our meditation practice, and Sharon will explain the nuances of key practices such as the development of mindfulness and concentration. With heightened stability and attentiveness, we will look deeply into the nature of our experience. Such clear seeing will allow mind and heart to open to the Buddha's transformative wisdom.

This path is a practical training and an ongoing program of development. Participants will benefit from Sharon's years of teaching experience as she relates ancient Buddhist wisdom to contemporary life. Guided meditations will provide clarity and support for your practice, and there will be authentic reflections and inquiries to deepen and integrate meditative insights.

Course Curriculum

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  Unit 1: Ethics as a Source of Self Respect
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  Unit 2: The Five Precepts
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  Unit 3: Concentration
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  Unit 4: Mindfulness
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  Unit 5: The Three Characteristics
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  Unit 6: A Life of Wisdom
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  Course Summary
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What Does the Course Involve?

This is a 6-unit course. You are invited to study at your own pace and will retain access to the course for as long as you need. Each lesson will offer roughly 45-60 minutes of video teachings. There will also be prompts for reflection, optional quizzes, FAQs, and a communal discussion board. As part of your training, Sharon will suggest at-home practices and contemplations and a program of guided meditations for you to explore from unit to unit.

Unit 1 | Ethics as a Source of Self Respect

Ethical conduct is inherently worthwhile but it also turns out that respecting others lays the foundation for our own happiness. How we act and how we speak to people is not separate from the rest of our life, including what we encounter in our meditation practice. In the first unit, Sharon will show how ethical conduct supports a healthy view of ourselves and, in doing so, supports our meditative development.

Unit 2 | The Five Precepts

The Buddha recommended that lay practitioners abide by five simple guidelines. These precepts protect the mind from turbulence and remorse that can easily derail meditation. They also provide us with an opportunity to reflect on our values and to train our self-discipline in ways that gently support our wellbeing.

Unit 3 | Concentration

Attention has become a rare commodity in the 21st century. Our minds are pulled in all directions by technology, family commitments, and work. However, we can learn to gather our scattered mental energies and settle them, find tranquility, and empower ourselves to take action. Steadiness and clarity of mind can be pleasant and peaceful in their own right but they also give our minds the focus and energy to look at the nature of our experience unequivocally. Sharon explains how concentration arises and can be cultivated.

Unit 4 | Mindfulness

The ability to really know what it is we are experiencing is a critical ingredient for deep insight to arise. For all the attention mindfulness has received in recent years, the qualities and purpose of this mental factor often remain mysterious. Mindfulness essentially involves a clean and clear perception that is not distorted by bias. Rather than ruminating on fears from our personal history or drifting into the future, we see life as it is in the present moment. Sharon will help us understand and apply mindfulness as we bring receptivity and a kind, curious awareness to our practice.

Unit 5 | The Three Characteristics

Wisdom unfolds naturally when we see clearly. Through mindfulness, the Buddha saw that all experiences have three characteristics. Seeing these characteristics for ourselves is decisive. We begin to loosen up. We don't take life quite so personally. Sharon explains the significance of these characteristics and how they free us.

Unit 6 | A Life of Wisdom

With these insights, we see so much more of who we are and how connected we are to others. This inevitably leads to the development of greater love and compassion in our lives. And this feeds back into our ethical lives in a virtuous cycle. So in committing ourselves to this path, we must decide how we will live. How will we show up for others? Toward what purpose will we work? How will we embody wisdom and lovingkindness in our lives?

Sample: The Healing Power of Concentration

"One of the most powerful things we can keep in mind is that our attention will wander. It's in letting go and coming back that we experience the art of concentration."

Who this course is for

The Whole Path is suitable for both long-term meditators and beginners. Those who have been practicing for a long time will benefit from Sharon's nuanced description of this path and how its various elements fit together as part of a lifelong journey. This will also provide a great starting point for beginners, who will be supported by Sharon's clear guidance and an active, helpful community.

The course does not require knowledge of any special terms or techniques, and everyone is welcome to participate regardless of their prior experience. Beginners and experienced meditators alike will appreciate Sharon's clarity and precision but also the warmth and humor she brings to spiritual life.

6 hours of high-quality video

Immerse yourself in the healing vision of the Buddha's eightfold path.

Guided meditations

Let Sharon guide your practice as we explore mindfulness and concentration in meditation.

Life practices

Training takes place on and off the meditation cushion. Sharon offers small tasks and inquiries to integrate practice and life.

A complete vision

Ever wondered where mindfulness sits in the Buddhist path to freedom? This course shows you how everything fits together.


Troubleshoot your practice and understanding of the path with Sharon's straightforward answers to common questions.

About Sharon

Sharon Salzberg is a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher, and New York Times bestselling author. She has played a crucial role in bringing meditation and mindfulness practice to the West and into mainstream culture since 1974, when she first began teaching. She is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts and the author of nine books including New York Times bestseller Real Happiness; her seminal work Lovingkindness; and most recently, Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection

Known for her down-to-earth teaching style, Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them instantly accessible. She is a regular columnist for On Being, a contributor to the Huffington Post, and hosts her own podcast, The Metta Hour. For more information, visit


"Sharon has the experience, knowledge, wisdom & compassion to really connect with people. Excellent course content and delivery."

"I loved this course! I've been practicing meditation for many years, but Sharon's explanations are so clear and wise, I learned many new things."

"This was my first introduction to Sharon Salzberg's teaching, and I couldn't have been more satisfied. She's practical, kind, and down-to-earth. I really feel like I understand the framework of The Whole Path now."

"Sharon is an amazing teacher. She expresses complex teachings succinctly and with great care. I learned so much from this course and am thankful for it and for Sharon’s willingness to share her wisdom."

"Excellent course. Great insight into meditation and mindfulness techniques! Sharon is a wonderful teacher and very knowledgeable." 

"This course was the perfect antidote for dealing with difficult times; and even more importantly, helped instill the qualities needed to live our lives more skillfully as we move forward."