Around 2011, I created a new website, Mindfulness Training Course, and started an online Mindfulness Training Course (MTC). Around 80 people per year or more worldwide participated in the Course for the next five years. There were also weekly groups meetings in city centres or homes using the Course as a foundation for weekly mindfulness practices.
Nathan G. and Anne A. kindly engaged in the administrative work. In 2016, I published a book, THE MINDFULNESS MANUAL. Drawing from the written notes, teachings and practices for the Course work, I put together the book available as a 130-page paperback, as well as an e-book.
I based the Course and the book on the Buddha’s teachings in his classic discourse on the Four Applications of Mindfulness – the body (including breath), feeling tones, states of mind and the Dharma (application of core teachings).
In 2016, I shifted from the MTC to a 12-month Mindfulness Teacher Training Course (MTTC).
The first six months of the fourth MTTC comes to its completion this week (late May 2022). Ulla and I, the teachers, receive a €200.00 Euros registration (about €2.00 per week each) to cover running costs, preparation for the MTTC including payments for services to others, software etc. After that, we rely totally on donations.
MTTC ranks as one of the most affordable teacher training courses available. You might think all participants would be pleased that we extend trust in the kindness and generosity of the participants, rather than the payment-for-services model.
It is not always the case. Occasional complaints come in.
One Example of a Complaint about our Donation Model
Here is one example from two or three years ago. I received an email from a MTTC participant complaining of the invitation by Ulla or myself to participants, every four to six weeks, to offer us a donation. The participant regarded it as a pressure on everyone to give money. I responded we give a small reminder, spoken or written, every few weeks. Our approach enables a wider range of people to receive the training since we do not make a fixed fee payment.
As in the first email, the participant continued his criticism. I replied with more details of the benefits to make teachings as affordable as possible. He still was not satisfied with my answers and wanted me to stop referring to donations. He said I would not have to mention donations if people paid upfront from the start.
I agreed. In a Zoom call, I told the participant I would make an exception for him. He can ignore all future requests for a donation, delete any emails mentioning a donation and instead pay for the MTTC.
I made a short check, via Google, on some of the fees for a 12-month mindfulness teacher training course on zoom. The most expensive I found cost $6900 and the cheapest course cost €2400. I told him I would make the cost €2400.00 for our 12-month training
We were halfway through the 12 months. I thanked him for his €200 registration which would cover the first month. I invited him to send €1000.00 to our MTTC PayPal to cover the cost for the next five months. He could then transfer €200.00 per month for the last six months of training.
He told me he would stick to listening to or reading our invitation to offer a donation.
End of story.
Britain’s senior mindfulness teacher,
is the author of
The Mindfulness Manual,
The Spiritual Roots of Mindfulness
Mindfulness in Everyday Life.