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



we good to go

so how many newcomers do we have


so this practice that you're going to be

doing for the next 10 days

is a loving kindness practice starts

with love and kindness

and the quickest way to get to love and

kindness into mindfulness

is through the smile

so you're going to see a lot of emphasis

on smiling

and that means that

everywhere you go whatever you do

make it a point

to smile

in your heart

on your face and in your mind

keep your mind uplifted

smiling is the quickest way to be


and what does it mean to be


mindful doesn't mean mindfully walking

mindfully eating

mindfully taking a shower and all of

these things

it's about paying attention to what's

going on in your mind

in other words

mindfulness is remembering to observe

how mind's attention

moves from one

object to the other

that's the basic definition of


so this practice that you're going to be

doing will engage in mindfulness

and your object when you begin will be

loving kindness

so how do you do the practice

you sit in a chair or sit cross-legged

whatever works for you doesn't matter

sit relatively straight keep your spine


and you want to close your eyes keep

your eyes closed for the beginning of

the meditation


it allows the mind to become that much

more collected

keep a smile on your face in your mind

and in your heart

keep things relaxed keep things



now you can use statements like may i be


may i be filled with love and kindness

may i be free of suffering whatever

works for you

and if you want you can visualize

something that makes you happy a

wholesome image like

holding a puppy or a baby in your arms

or whatever works for you

or maybe a wholesome memory something

that makes you happy

and once you feel this warmth in your


this warmth in your chest that's the

feeling of loving kindness

once you feel that let go of the

verbalizing of may i be happy and so on

let go of the wholesome imaging let go

of the wholesome memories

and stay with that feeling

and stay with that feeling as long as

you can

for the first 10 minutes

after 10 minutes you switch over to a

spiritual friend

spiritual friend is somebody who is


who is of the same sex

who you know

who you admire who you respect

it could be anyone but not a family

member not a relative

so if there's somebody that you think

about that brings a smile to your face

that makes you uplifted go with that

person as long as they're alive same sex

and not a family member

and some people like to visualize their

spiritual friend they like to visualize

that the feeling of loving kindness is

going out to them

and they see them smile they see them

laugh they see them happy and they

rejoice in that

some people are not as

visually focused as others


you could just

know that the spiritual friend is in

your mind and keep them in your heart

and let them bask in that feeling of

loving kindness

but let them bask in the feeling of meta

and you want to stay with that for the

duration of the meditation practice for

as long as you can

now whether you're sending

loving-kindness to yourself staying with

that or sending loving-kindness to your

spiritual friend

what will inevitably happen

is you will get distracted

and that's okay

distractions are your friends

distractions are

your teachers

they're called hindrances

and they

shed light

on where your attachments are that shed


on where your resistance is

so when you see them

don't push them

don't resist them

don't try to push them down don't try to

suppress them

how do you deal with hindrances

it's through right effort

and right effort is constituted by

the six r's





return and repeat

so say with your your with your object

of meditation you're sending yourself

loving-kindness you feel the

loving-kindness things are going great

you start to feel that warmth and you're

staying with it for some time

and then suddenly you're thinking about

something else you're thinking about you

know did i leave the stone stove on

before coming to this retreat did

something happen i wonder how this

person is you know all kinds of thoughts

will happen and that's okay

if you

recognize that you got distracted that's

the first step

recognizing now the mind is no longer

with its object of meditation

so a distraction is anything that pulls

your attention fully away

from the feeling of loving kindness

so that means that sometimes there will

be thoughts in the background

while you are with the feeling of loving

kindness it'll just be like wisps you

know of thoughts here and there in the


let them be

don't have to engage with them

they will go away on their own because

they don't have your attention to give


but if your mind becomes fully

distracted that is to say your mind

becomes distracted which is it fully

is now somewhere else and thinking about

something else

no longer with the object of meditation

then when you recognize that you are

distracted bring your attention back to

the mind and body

this is the next step that's releasing

releasing your attention on the


bringing it back to the mind and body

the third step is to relax

and what are you relaxing

you're relaxing the tightness and

tension in the mind and body

tightness and tension is a manifestation

of craving

of tanha

craving is understood as that which

says i like it

or i don't like it or i want it or i

don't want it or i am it

so it manifests as this contraction

in the mind and in the body

so you relax

you intentionally relax the body let go

you know this is keeping things tight

right and you just let go

and you feel the relief from that that's

the relaxed step

letting go of the tightness and tension

keeps the mind open keeps the mind


and you actually in that moment

experience a mundane form of nibana of

letting go

having let go now you come back to your


so as i said in the beginning of the

practice you're staying with the smile

if you're if you notice that the smile

is still there great

keep it going if you notice that you're

no longer smiling

bring up the smile

once you have the smile

come back to the feeling of meta

and you don't need to

re-emphasize any kind of imagery or

re-emphasize any kind of verbalization

just come back to the feeling in the

heart you don't have to start from

ground zero you don't have to start from

having to verbalize just stay with the


and stay with it for as long as you can

having stayed with it for as long as you

can you get distracted again

so what do you do

you repeat

so you repeat the six hours again

so anytime your mind becomes distracted

you six are you don't fight the


you don't try to control the distraction

you don't identify with the distraction

you don't do anything just acknowledge

it's there all right here's a


now you just gently bring your attention

back to the mind and body which is the

anchor for being present

then you relax the tightness and tension

that's there in mind and body


come back to the smile notice if you're

smiling you're smiling keep it going if

you're not smiling

bring up the smile

return back to the feeling and repeat

that's what you have to do so this whole

process of meditation this is a very

based meditation

meaning you really feel the loving

kindness it's not about verbalizing not

about using

chance or mantras to bring up the

feeling it's staying with the feeling


as you do this you want to also do this

while you're doing anything else that is

to say even while you're eating your

food at breakfast or lunch

stay with the feeling

when you're walking now this is the

walking meditation when you're walking

around you stay with the feeling you

walk you don't have to walk mindfully

you don't have to walk slowly

paying attention to the steps

what you are paying attention is to the

feeling of loving kindness

so you're paying attention to

that feeling and you're walking


so look around you look ahead of you and

just walk as you would in the park or

wherever you're walking


don't get distracted by the birds don't

get distracted by the flowers don't get

distracted by the butterflies

don't get distracted by the dogs running

around or the cats or snakes and this

and that

just stay with your object the moment

you start to see that you get distracted

now you recognized mind is distracted no

longer with the feeling

you recognize that

you release your attention from that

bring it back to mind and body relax the


come back to the smile

and return back to the object

and this is not a process of

repeating okay

now i'm recognizing okay now i'm

releasing okay now i'm relaxing okay now

i'm re-smiling you just do it

just let it flow as soon as you see that

the mind is distracted that's already

recognizing it now you're bringing your

attention back to mind and body that's

already releasing

now you're letting go of the tightness

and tension that's already relaxing now

you pay attention to this pay attention

to the smile that's already smiling

then you come back to your object that's

already returning

so it should take you no more

than four or five seconds to do the

whole six hours

and as you get better at better better

and better at doing the six hours it'll

take you less and less time to do it

within one or two seconds you're back

with your object

using the six hours

so this is going to be emphasized a lot

throughout the retreat

most of the questions you guys are going

to have the answer to it is going to be

six hours

how do i deal with this six are it what

do i do when this happens six are it

all right so

you're probably going to get sick and

tired by the seventh or eighth day

hearing about the six hours but by that

time hopefully it becomes part of your

mind part of your practice

so some practical things

in terms of what to do on this retreat

when you go back to your cabins and you

go to sleep make a determination in your

mind make an intention that

you're going to do two things number one

let's say you have to get up at

five o'clock or 5 30

let's say it's five o'clock

make a determination that you're going

to get up at 4 57 or 502 or 4 58

and see how well you hit that time

the second part is

make a determination that when you get

up you're going to smile

you're going to wake up with a smile on

your face as soon as you do that now

you're mindful

now you're recognizing how mind's

attention is moving from one thing or

the other and keep that smile going

bring up the feeling of loving kindness

and keep it going wherever whatever it

is you're doing whatever miniscule thing

you might be doing whatever mundane

thing you might be doing keep your

attention on the loving kindness stay

with that feeling

and keep zigzaring anytime you get



this is a silent retreat so you want to

keep to your practice

uh you know be very practical you need

to talk to somebody about something

passing the salt or you know getting

some water whatever it might be

that's okay

but don't talk about your practice to

others don't talk about what's going on

with you or asking them what's going on

with them

this does two things one it takes you

away from your own practice and two

it takes the other person away from

their practice so maintain noble silence

this is what is one form of noble


so keep

as silent as possible

that way

your verbal formations which we'll talk

about later on in this retreat

are basically ceased you don't have to

think about what you need to say you

just stay with the feeling of loving



try to stay on the property sometimes

what happens is people get very

eager about the walking practice they

get off the property and start walking

up and down the road

it's a dangerous thing to do because

cars can come in and suddenly you become

like bhaiya you know you get gored by a

car and

that's it

that's the end


stay on the property and walk around

here there's a lot of space plenty of

space to walk around

and uh

yeah you're gonna take the precepts


you're gonna take the

eight no you're gonna take eight

precepts tomorrow

so we're going to talk about the

importance of precepts uh tomorrow's

dharma talk but understand that when you

take them

take them with the commitment to keep


right take take them with a commitment

to maintain them

because that's really going to keep your

practice going really successfully it's

going to keep your mind uplifted it's

going to keep your mind meditative it's

going to keep your mind


so the more you keep the take the

precepts and keep them

the easier your meditation is going to


now for people who have already done the

practice who are doing the six

directions start with loving kindness in

each direction for about four to five


each direction

and then radiate loving-kindness in all

directions and then let that gradually

go into compassion

or if it goes all the way to equanimity

directly that's fine too might go to

compassion than joy than equanimity

and stay with that and then gradually go

into quiet mind and stay in quiet mind

for as long as you can

and if you're doing the advanced

practice practice of the sick of the six


then when you're doing the walking


keep radiating loving kindness keep

radiating whatever comes to be


joy equanimity whatever it might be and

if mind goes into quiet mind while

you're walking fine stay with that as



stay with uh loving kindness in the

beginning for the first

couple of minutes at least so that the

mind has something to do because the

idea of trying to go into quiet mind yes

the mind is quiet but there's all of

this activity that's going on

and you're not really fully in quiet

mind so you need the

you need the practice to start with

loving kindness or any of the brahma


going into different directions so

you're balancing your energy

so that you're balancing your energy

balancing your tranquility

balancing your collectedness and then

you can eventually get to quiet mind

is there anything else that i'm missing

all good huh yeah

if somebody has trouble bringing up the

feeling of loving kindness

they should come see me and i'll tell

them but just as a general instruction

stay with the smile if you can't bring

up the feeling of loving kindness you

can stay with the smile

and we'll talk more about that if you

have any concerns about that

let me stress don't try too hard

don't try too hard

whatever effort you think that you need

do that by half

and then you can always

go a little more if you need to but

that is a general tendency two things


two barriers to the practice generally

that people have

they try too hard

which means

they're pushing for the feeling of

loving kindness

and when the loving kindness doesn't

come up they try too hard their mind

becomes constricted becomes too

concentrated and now you're no longer

doing the practice now you have a lot

more restlessness now you have

anxiousness now you have

aversion now you have irritation and all

these things coming up

so don't try too hard don't push

and the second part is accepting

whatever is happening including yourself

except that okay this isn't working

come back to the six hours see what


don't beat yourself up

don't get upset by at yourself or at the

practice or anything for that matter

just accept things as they are the more

you do that with a smile

the easier mind becomes uplifted and the

easier it's able to bring up that

feeling of loving kindness

and don't overthink things

i have to say this because yesterday we

went to see top gun too right top gun

maverick and this is this it's a great

movie i recommend wholeheartedly but

there was an interesting uh piece of

advice that the main character gives

he says

don't think just do it

right and what that means really in

terms of practice or in terms of

anything that you're doing when you are

in the flow of the practice

don't doubt yourself

if you overthink what's going on what

happens now you're engaging the mind

with doubt

and now that flow stops

once you are with the feeling of loving

kindness whatever it is

just stay with that don't overthink do i

need to stick start now am i doing this

correctly what's going on you know all

of these thoughts if you start to

recognize if you start to see those

six are those come back to the feeling

of loving kindness and just let the

feeling flow

just let the practice flow

so all you have to do here is bring up

the feeling of loving kindness whatever

it might be whether you're doing the

advanced practice or the beginning


bring up the feeling

stay with it keep observing it

and 6r whenever you get distracted

that's really the gist of the practice

whether you're doing it as a sitting

meditation walking meditation while in

the shower eating your food petting the

dog whatever it might be

stay with the feeling

6r when you get distracted

any questions


if you can't bring up the feeling and

only have is the smile

can you do you focus on the smile do you

wait for the feeling to come out

not waiting for anything not focusing on

anything just stay with the smile


eventually things will start to change

if you're still having trouble then

we'll talk about that

but don't don't focus on anything

the focus is the the other bad uh bad

words starting with f

just keep things light keep things

collected as we say

so if you have trouble bringing up the

feeling stay with a smile for the time

being and then we'll talk about it at

your interview tomorrow if anybody has


few words yep uh

sitting in the night

yeah that can happen so

sometimes you know your practice goes

really well and

you have all this energy in the night

and you might wake up at 2 a.m 3 a.m

whatever it might be

and if you feel like you want to sit

then get up from bed

and sit

sit for however long your energy is

there and stay with the feeling keep the

practice going

and then go to sleep whenever you feel


so if you feel like you want to practice

in the night time completely fine

when we go to bed um


fall in sleep with the object meditating

like this

yeah you could try that

you could just stay with the feeling of

loving kindness and let the mind rest in


and you fall asleep eventually

anything else

i think one thing is don't meditate in

the dark

oh yeah

because i'll come back and i'll find the

lights are all off and people are

sitting in here


it's like

tending towards


keep the lights on even i mean the front


you don't have to have the backlight all

these lights but these lights here yeah

yeah because if you meditate in the dark

what's going to happen you're going to

start to

become drowsy and fall asleep

so keep the lights on

both literally and figuratively

so what i mean by figuratively is

be mindful

keep observing what's going on with your

mind's attention

uh because the lights will keep you

awake the lights will keep you

you know right there with the meditation

if you keep the lights off there's a

tendency that mine just wants to go to


all right let's share some marathon

may suffering ones be suffering free may

the fear strike fearless be

may the grieving shed all grief and may

all beings find relief

may all beings share this merit that we

have thus acquired for the acquisition

of all kinds of happiness

may beings inhabiting space and earth

devas and nagas of mighty power share

this merit of ours

may they long protect the buddha's