Level 1: Taking Refuge

Taking responsibility for a clear mind is the foundation of the Buddhist path

Holding an umbrella in the rain - an image of protecting all beings from suffering under the umbrella of the Buddha's activity

What You’ll Gain in Level 1: Taking Refuge

Understand the true meaning of taking refuge

Recognize that which is a genuine source of support

Realize what it means to fully awaken

Let go of attachments and better flow with what is

Begin or strengthen your meditation practice

Learn Buddhist meditation with the M7 program

Courageously turn your attention inward

Make the choice to know and befriend your own mind

Prerequisite: none

Roadmap of Buddhist Fundamentals course highlighting taking refuge as the foundation of the path

The 1st Stage in Your Journey to Liberation

The Journey to Liberation begins with taking refuge, a wish to seek shelter from our often painful or unsatisfactory lives. Learn why our habitual sources of refuge fail, and where to go instead for genuine, lasting support. Your journey of Buddhist study begins with authentic meditation practices, enhanced by foundational Buddhist philosophy.

  • Understand why Buddhism prioritizes direct experience over faith
  • Learn how to discern between blind faith and intelligent faith
  • Relate taking refuge to taking responsibility for our own future
  • Appreciate why present-moment mindfulness is a form of refuge
  • Advance your meditation practice with expert Buddhist instruction
  • Gain an understanding of key Buddhist terms and philosophies

Ways to Get Started

Whether you select Level 1 as a single course, the Journey course bundle or gain full access to all our courses with a Premium Membership, our progressive online courses will inspire your progress on your path. Not sure where to begin? Sign up for Level 1 as a single course – upon request we can apply the fee to the bundled course series later.

Level 1: Refuge


billed once

Take refuge in spiritual practice, a genuine source of meaning, well-being and connection

Journey to Liberation 9-Course Bundle


billed once – lifetime access

Commit to the Buddhist path of wisdom and compassion with an in-depth 126 day course series, to bring inspiration and insight to your practice

Mindworks Premium Membership

$225 / year

Billed annually

Gain full access to all journeys, courses, live events and features with a premium membership

Mindworks Premium Membership

$25 / month

Billed monthly

Gain full access to all journeys, courses, live events and features with a premium membership


Your Level 1 Mind Trainers

Get to know the dharma teachers who will lead you to new possibilities as you progress on your Journey of Liberation.

Trinlay Rinpoche is a meditation master who teaches philosophy and the benefits of meditation on Mindworks

Trinlay Rinpoche

Accomplished Meditator and Buddhist Scholar

Bart Mendel is the architect of Mindworks progressive meditation system.

Bart Mendel

Founder and Chief Meditation Officer

Lama Jampa Thaye, Meditation Master and Scholar

Lama Jampa Thaye, PhD

Meditation Master and Buddhist Scholar

Dr. Stephen Dansiger teaches meditation and addiction recovery at Mindworks

Stephen Dansiger, PsyD

PsyD, MFT, therapist and meditation teacher

Reverend Joseph Rogers is a specialist in addiction recovery and teaches meditation to aid recovery

Reverend Joseph Rogers

Chaplain and Meditation Instructor for Recovery

Khaydroup Podvoll is a Mind Trainer on Mindworks who teaches the benefits of being in the present moment

Khaydroup Podvoll

Contemplative Practitioner, Meditator & Teacher

Sara-Mai Conway is a Buddhist writer who bases her writings and teachings on her Buddhist practice and experience

Sara-Mai Conway

Writer and Meditation Instructor

David is a happy meditator with Mindworks

David – Accountant

Thank you so much for the Journey to Liberation. I am very excited. Love your website and teachers…meditation has already changed my life. Forever grateful!

An image of a meditator on the Buddhist path for Mindworks

Brian Anderson – Management Consultant

Thanks for this wonderful content! I’m enjoying it and it’s making a difference in my life and those around me. Mindworks has done a great job of synthesizing and structuring the Buddhist path, which has been key to my progress.

A very happy meditator for Mindworks

Bobby – Community Engagement

Mindworks has made a profound difference to my life, especially when going through hard times. During a recent traumatic event, I was level-headed and a pillar of compassion for those around me who were also experiencing the trauma. I ascribe this to the revelations and changes that have come from my meditation practice. Thank you, Mindworks!

Tom Epler is a meditator who has learned the benefits of practice

Tom Epler – Writer

Mindworks practice has helped me to discover space around my thoughts and emotions. I’m also learning to respond thoughtfully and not react habitually. The courses are nicely structured and are presented by a thoughtful, experienced, and diverse team of trainers. Mindworks is a very accessible way to establish, maintain, and deepen your practice.

Up Next on Your Journey

Immerse in the Buddhist teachings – a complete path to freedom, joy and benefit to yourself and others

4 lotuses growing in water - an image signifying the Buddha's 4 noble truths

Level 2: Noble Truths

Understand the essential first teaching given by the Buddha

Ringing the gong - it's time to meditate!

Level 3: Meditation

Deepen your practice with a strong foundation in Buddhist meditation

Image of 3 beautiful swans, signifying the 3 trainings of Buddhism

Level 4: 3 Trainings

Traverse the Buddhist path with discipline, meditation and wisdom

image of metal balls, symbolizing karmic cause and effect

Level 5: Karma

Understand karma as a tool to transform your life experience

A man's hand with light arising, a symbol of the reminders in Buddhism to practice the path

Level 6: 4 Reminders

Renew your motivation to practice with the 4 essential wisdoms


Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need to practice spirituality?

What does it mean to be on a spiritual path?

What are the three jewels of Buddhism?

What is intelligent faith?

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