Context: Throughout this transcript, Bhante Vimalaramsi is the speaker unless otherwise indicated.


I'm gonna give some basic instructions

most of you have already done a retreat

so you know the instructions that I'm

still going to give them to you anyway

for everybody that has practiced with me

before and you've gotten into the aroo

pajamas now what I want you to do is

start by doing the six directions with

lovingkindness your mind will jump up as

it needs to to the different levels of

meditation and you'll get into

equanimity and neither perception nor

non-perception very quickly but still

start out with six directions of

loving-kindness and let your mind go

from there it knows what it's doing

so for people that have not come and

done a retreat I want you to start by

sending loving and kind thoughts to

yourself remember a time when you were

happy and when that happy feeling arises

it's kind of a warm glowing feeling in

the center of your chest so as soon as

that feeling arises then you make a wish

for your own happiness now this is very

important you have to feel the wish that

you're making okay you feel you wish

yourself happiness what does it feel

like to be happy

you wish yourself joy what does it feel

like to have joy you wish yourself peace

and calm what does it feel like to be

peaceful and calm bring that feeling put

it in the center of your chest and

radiate that feeling now every morning

before you start doing any meditation

you're going to be taking the six the

eight precepts and the three refuges

these are exceptionally important to

keep you're doing it as a reminder to

keep these precepts without breaking

them if you break one of the precepts

it's going to affect your meditation in

a negative way and you'll have a lot of

restlessness so it's very important to

keep the precepts without breaking them

if you do happen to break one of the

precepts forgive yourself for making a


take the precepts again with the

determination that you're not going to

break it again a simple thing in Burma

there was a a Korean monk that came and

he ordained as a terawatt a monk and the

tera vaada monks eat during the noonday

meal but not in the evening the Mahayana

monks they eat in the evening now when

this month first came to the center he

was able to sit for three to four hours

without any problem at all then he

became a terawatt a monk and he started

just breaking one

tiny rule he was eating a meal in the

evening and that caused guilt to arise

in his mind because he knew he shouldn't

do it by the end of the three months

retreat he could not sit more than 15

minutes because of that guilty feeling

of knowing that you broke a precept so

it's real important to keep the precepts

and pay attention to them okay after

about ten minutes of sending loving and

kind thoughts to yourself then you start

by sending loving and kind thoughts to a

spiritual friend a spiritual friend is

somebody of the same sex and they are a

life not a member of your family you do

the family members later stay with the

same spiritual friend all the time your

mind is going to wander and that's okay

wandering mind occurs because in the

past you've broken one of the precepts

okay that's why wandering mind and

restless mind occurred and that's okay

for it to be there it has to be okay

because that's the truth so it's real

important for you to understand that

anytime you try to resist the truth

anytime you try to push the truth away

or make it be the way you want it to be

that is the cause of suffering

and that will keep coming back at you

until you six are enough to let it go

now the six arts you recognize when your

mind is distracted you release the

distraction you release the distraction

by not keeping your attention on it you

relax the tightness caused by that

distraction the tightness in your head

in your mind now your mind is made up of

two different lobes like this and

there's a bag around them the each lobe

called the meninges every time you have

a thought every time there's a feeling

every time there's a sensation your

brain expands a little bit and it causes

tension and tightness in your mind so

when you relax you're letting go of that

tension and tightness the tension and

tightness is craving it's the I like it

I don't like it mind if it's a pleasant

feeling that comes up your mind says I

like that if it's a painful feeling that

comes up I don't like it now that's the

nature of craving nature of craving is

to occur very quickly and keep coming up

it's not particularly strong you can let

go of the craving fairly easily but it

keeps coming back so you have to be able

to notice that tightness and relax into


don't make a big deal out of it if you

make a big deal out of it you're

focusing too much on it and that made

that makes it come back more and more

and more the next part of the six RS is

to bring up something wholesome which is


keep your mind light don't get involved

with nonsense stuff opinions ideas likes

or dislikes if you make a big deal of it

it's going to keep coming back it's

going to keep causing you suffering it's

just nonsense stuff and I mean that

literally non sense it's just your mind

grabbing on to something and saying this

is the way it's supposed to be I don't

like it if it's not this way well that's


because you're fighting with the truth

why fight with the truth it only causes

you suffering well it doesn't match the

way I think things are supposed to be so

that's your opinion that doesn't have

anything to do whether it's true or not

it's just your opinion so smile

keep your mind light and bring that

smiling light mind back to your object

to meditation your spiritual friend so

stay with your spiritual friend as long

as you can without forcing it to stay

there don't use too much energy don't

try to control it and make it stay there

let mine do what it's going to do your

job is just to be mindful and what does

that mean oh there's so many different

definitions of mindfulness is

unbelievable that that's turned into a

pet word but the definition of

mindfulness I'm going to give you works

hundred percent of the time

mindfulness is remembering to observe

how mind's attention moves from one

thing to another how does it move not

why does it move that's what most people

interested in mindfulness they're into

their fly and that psychology we don't

care about psychology with this we care

about the Dhamma the truth how does this

process work when you start recognizing

how it works you start seeing that it is

part of a process that is impersonal

it's not me it's not mine it's not my

ideas its observing how the process

arises how it passes away so using the

six R's will take you all the way to

final Nibbana takes you all the way


means a state of no fire no heat one of

the expressions that has come back from

the 60s is isn't that cool and that's

what you want your mind to be cool you

want your observation to be cool seeing

it as impersonal

not taking things personally anything

you take personally

that's hot because the fire of craving

is there so staying with your spiritual

friend in a calm non-demanding way and

using the six ARS to come back to your

spiritual friend is very important now

when I say smile I want you to use the

six R's and smile I don't care what

you're doing I don't care if you're

taking a shower I don't care if you're

eating I had somebody that was eating

their their meal and attained nirvana

while they were eating

keep your mind light make this into a

game the biggest problem that people

have especially if they've done other

kinds of meditation is they're told by

their teachers you've got to try harder

well no you don't you have to try less

heart because when you try harder you're

trying to control and this isn't about

control it's about letting go of control

so you can see things without being

attached to them now there's a lot of

people in Asia this trip that I just got

through making that they've been doing a

lot of different kinds of meditation and

I found out that almost all

them we're suffering

they were happy now why are you doing a

meditation if it doesn't help you to be


if it doesn't give you relief what's the

point of the meditation so what I had

them doing was I had them doing

forgiveness meditation because they were

holding on to a lot of past actions

where they did something that they felt

guilty about and they have to let it go

sometimes it was anger sometimes it was

sadness sometimes it was anxiety doesn't

matter what it is the content of those

thoughts and feelings is not important

the letting go of them is important now

there was a man that was doing a I was

teaching him how to do a forgiveness

meditation from he was from Russia and

he wrote back and he said in Russian we

don't have a word for forgiveness so I

said well come up with a word that makes

sense and then next day he wrote back

and he said we have a word for

acceptance and I said that's perfect

that's what forgiveness is is learning

how to accept past mistakes without

beating yourself up and he did quite

well in his retreat because of that so I

just got through reading a book by me

breezing ttan and he wanted to come up

with a word an American word that really


and he thought about it for a long time

and you know what word he came up with

bummer and it works

oh that suffering bummer but what

happens in your mind when there's a

bummer tight like a rock it's not

supposed to be like that I don't like

that I don't want it to be that way

there's a lot of judging and condemning

that we do that is very subtle and we

don't see that tightness that comes up

and we start identifying with those

thoughts in those feelings and taking

them personally your job is to improve

your mindfulness so you can let go of

all of that I stuff I want it to be the

way I want it to be who wants it that


I want it that way who's causing

themselves suffering me I'm doing it to


you can't blame somebody out there for

your opinions and your ideas if they

don't match you have to learn to have

true equanimity equanimity is a real

important part of this practice having

balance developing disenchantment which

is a very finer degree of equanimity

when people come and they they talk to

me about their experience and I think as

they probably have

just experience nirvana one of the

questions I ask is when you see food

does your mind get excited when you see

your favorite food does your mind get


no no excitement at all probably have

that experience the disenchantment is

the finer finer degree of equanimity

that is very close to the experience of

Nevada now a lot of people have this

idea that attaining navona is going to

take lifetimes there's a lot of monks

that'll tell everybody oh it's going to

take you at least a thousand lifetimes

to attain nirvana so why even work

towards it

I give 10-day retreats I don't give

retreats because they're not needed most

of the time and the first retreat I gave

in Indonesia there was 34 it might have

been 36 I don't remember how many people

it was but there was 29 experiences of

nirvana and it didn't a retreat is it

possible in this lifetime absolutely

anyone that experiences even the first

jhana can experience Nirvana now what is

me bond I mean it means getting rid of

the heat you don't have anymore

doubt as to what the path is about you

know this is the right path you know

that practicing rites and rituals don't

lead to navona now a lot of people in

Indonesia and Malaysia both they've been

practicing chanting since they were

little tiny kids and even up to now they

keep chanting every day and they come

for a retreat I tell them can't chant

during the retreat they get upset by

that yeah but I want a chat I feel

peaceful when I Jen you can do when you

get off retreat right now is the time to

work on developing mind but understand

that just doing the chanting is a write

in ritual and that's not going to lead

to navona but if you like doing it it's

your choice I'm not the dictator here

all I do is elucidate what the Buddha

said you can do whatever you want when

you get off retreat but if you follow

the directions that I'm giving you right

now you will be successful to what

degree is up to you up to your mind I

don't know I'm not a fortune-teller

can't tell you what I for sure whether

you're going to experience this or that

it depends on you and how well you

follow the directions if you smile a lot

you're going to be reasonably successful

with your meditation and I mean smile

with your mind

if you have a critical thought something

happens and you don't like it if your

mindfulness is not sharp you're going to

take it personally and get carried away

with it if you your mindfulness is sharp

you'll see that tightness in your mind

start to happen and relax and let it be

and when you do that enough your mind

becomes pure enough then you're going to

experience navona it really does work

this way another thing that's going to

happen for you is there's going to be a

change in your perspective you're going

to see more and more clearly how things

really work and you're not going to be

taking them as personally so you're

going to be having more balance in your

mind all the time

colors become brighter and clearer and

everything that you see and you think

about becomes more clear so this is a

really important aspect of the

meditation be willing to change that's

what this meditation is all about

changing letting go of your old bummer

ways of doing things and causing

yourself pain and developing more fun

happy way of doing things it's truly

remarkable as a teacher to be able to

sit down and see people change in a 10

day period from super grumpy

- smiling all the time

now that's the people that are following

the directions precisely exactly and you

get an instruction every day at the

interviews so it's pretty easy this is

the simplest path that I know of where

people are successful and it really does

work when I was in Malaysia they've been

practicing maja si de Poisson uh for Oh

40 or 50 years and they say they're

they're convinced that's the only way

and I went to the temple that I started

up when I first became a monk and now

they have Oh 1