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


hello my name is David Johnson and I'm

here with Ponte Villa Ramsey he studied

history at the University of San Diego

he became a buddhist monk in Thailand in

1986 and has been in the robes ever

since he's trained in Thailand Burma and

Sri Lanka he's done many many retreats

in the Mojave saya doctor edition but

now has found his own path that has

taken him back to the teachings found in

the sutras themselves

he teaches retreats at his Missouri

Center in the US and conducts retreats

in Asia and around the world he's the

author of many books including his major

book on meditation life is meditation

meditation is life we'll be doing a

number of interviews so we won't cover

everything in this one discussion this

will be I believe the second one of a

number of them to come we'll move into

other areas and I also have a number of

questions from social media that have

been submitted well let me let me ask

you a more general question based on

what we just said here's a question from

I think it's Matt why should I meditate

what will I gain well you go from being

the suffering a lot and being

dissatisfaction with life the reason I

started meditating in the first place

was because I was depressed I was

suffering a lot I didn't like the way my

life was going although I was successful

I was unhappy with it and it was at a

time when there was a lot of Indian guru

coming to the country and I started

going to different groups and I'd ask

them about meditation well does this

help with being unhappy oh yeah you get

real happy when you do the meditation

but they didn't tell me how to meditate

they just said well just sit and

meditate and I wasn't satisfied with

that I went to the Theosophical Society

in San Diego with some friends and we

ran across practical Insight Meditation

now I'm a dumb American I don't know

anything about Buddhism I don't know

anything about what the meditation is

gonna actually give me or help me but it

had instructions in the meditation and I

knew I wanted to meditate so I was a

manager of a large store and I decided I

don't want to do this anymore and I went

off for two weeks just with this book

and practiced and I got to a place I

didn't understand so I started looking

for a teacher and I went to the end of

it I went to the end of a pasta and I

saw that it didn't didn't really help

with the suffering that I was having it

made it more apparent but it didn't

really help me overcome the suffering

yeah and that was the second question

the Buddha said life is suffering so

you're suffering and why does he say

that life is suffering this is well I

hear some people that life is such as

there is suffering in life and

that's a whole different ballgame I know

that the Burmese were very big on just

talking about suffering but in the suit

does one in particular it says there's a

wrong way to practice and there's a

right way to practice now this is what

the Buddha said the wrong way to

practice is to focus on suffering

everything is suffering the right way to

practice is focus on the cessation of

the suffering and what is the cessation

it's letting go of the craving the cause

of suffering and what's the way that you

do it you practice right effort you

practice using the six hours which I

just went through and it's when there's

a cessation of suffering what what is

that what does that lead to is that just

a kind of a well we all a deep

understanding of how this process works

and you start to see more and more how

this process of dependent origination

actually does work you know when I was

in Burma I was at Mojave Center for

eight months and there were a lot of his

books that he'd written and one of his

books was on dependent origination and I

started reading the introduction and he

said to it's very very hard to

understand dependent origination it's

very difficult and he wrote a book that

was very hard to understand and very

difficult but as I kept going back to

the sutras and finding more and more

about this it does

I started seeing that it's not so hard

to understand it doesn't have to be an

intellectual understanding it has to be

an experiential understanding and that's

what happens a lot with the sutas people

try to understand them just from

intellect instead of actually doing the

practice and following the instructions

that he gives well let me ask you this

what what is the goal of all this what

is enlightenment or awakening and white

why do I want it having more balance in

your mind and I'm talking about not just

less stress well the stress becomes less

as you stop identifying with them and

taking it personal and it's a real

interesting phenomenon to watch yourself

go from being highly emotional anytime

anything happens and you do this kind of

meditation and you start seeing that

there's more balance in your mind you're

recognizing how these things arise and

how you take them personally and you

start to use the six hours more and more

and you start using loving-kindness

meditation more and more an interesting

thing is just in the Magellanic ayah

there's four mentions of mindfulness of

breathing meditation

there's 11 different suta's that talk

about loving-kindness meditation which

do you think he taught more which did he

talk about more

so that gives you a clue and also he's

talking about jhana but he's not talking

about one pointed jhana he tried that at

the start of his search and he went to

the end of him

and he said this is not attaining

Nibbana yet he wanted to get to a place

that has deep peace and deep equanimity

and full understanding and loving


that's real not an intellectual exercise

so you talk about navona what what is

that it's a letting go of craving and

it's a purifying of the mind and you see

that in your own practice while you're

doing this with the letting go of the

craving you see the personality change

where you don't get so mad like you used

to where you don't get so sad like you

used to you don't get so depressed like

used so are you saying Ivana eliminates

these things eventually mm-hmm it's not

an over overnight phenomena so it could

take 10 20 40 years it can take as long

as it takes it depends on the person

that's doing it now I think me Bona

should be another discussion but it is

learning how to recognize craving using

your mindfulness how does this actually

occur when you start going deeper and

deeper in your meditation you see more

and more clearly how these links of

dependent and origination work and how

to let go of the craving

of it well here's another question what

will get back to the basics again the

Buddha lived over 2