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


welcome to the

second day of


in 2015 in colombo


sitting next to me is

most vulnerable bhanteri miloranci


so today we begin discussing

the suttas from majjima nikaya so you

will be getting teachings directly from

the subtas

and from bantes insights

and the first suta that we are going to

discuss is

the sabbah sutra

the second

discourse in majima nikaya


thus if i heard on one occasion the

blessed one was living at sawatee and

jettas grove andeth and pindika's park

there he addressed the monks thus monks

venerable sir they replied the blessed

one said this


monks i shall teach you a discourse on

the restraint of all the distractions

listen and attend closely

i say that the destruction of the

distractions is for one who knows and


not for one who does not know nz

every time you hear the word wise or


we're talking about seeing

one of the real confusing words in

buddhism these days is mindfulness

i've asked many teachers what the

definition of mindfulness is

and one of the classic things that they

always say is

mindfulness means to be mindful

which is a waste of breath trying to

give a definition using the word you're

trying to

foreign what's the definition of


mindfulness is remembering to observe


mind's attention

which is a lot different than what other

people give the definition to me

this definition definitely points you


seeing and understanding the links of

dependent origination


you must remember that

the links of dependent origination are

the very essence of the buddha's


link has the four noble truths and three

characteristics in it


so seeing and understanding how the

links work is most important


you're made up of five different things

and these are called

you have a body


so when a painful feeling arises

this perception tells you it's a painful


how do you recognize grieving

how do you let cravings

this is very important

to understand

again almost

none of the teachers that i've run


can give you a clear definition of

craving and how it arises


is that tension and tightness that

happens in your

your brain has two lobes like this

there is a membrane that goes around

each lobe

every time you have a thought every time

there is a feeling every time there is a


there is

tension against the meninges


now it's not going to be a great big

feeling it's

sometimes very subtle

but as soon as you recognize that

craving you want to relax

and i have a lot of people ask me how do

you relax


let go of the muscles and


right after craving arises there is a

lot of thoughts

it's all of your stories all of your

opinions all of your ideas about why you

like or dislike something

and right after that arises then you

have your emotional tendencies

your sadnesses your depression your


your fears whatever it happens to be



right after that

you have

your actions

the birth of actions

where you get caught up in your

emotional things and you say things that

you wish you hadn't and did things that

you wish

one of the things that you have to


is that a lot of people these days they

complain a lot about stress

or depression

or anxiety


if you understand how this process works

you can learn how to use the six r's

and it will stop causing problems for


so you remember the six r's



that means you don't keep your attention

on the distraction

this is very important

if you have a painful feeling arise

and you keep your attention on that

painful feeling

it will get bigger and more intense

so what you have to do is just let it be

there without trying to control it

without trying to make it go away

the six r's are not to make things

happen it's not a form of control


well that's

your choice

so you have to understand that the six

r's are not going to make things go away

the six r's are just so that you can

relax the tightness in your head

in your mind



now you've just gone through the first

day of the retreat

and this is by far the hardest day of

the retreat

you got real sleepy


but it will get better from here on out

one of the reasons that i insist that

you smile is because it helps get your

energy up



you're now

fairly familiar with what sloth and

torpor is like



these five hindrances are not your enemy

to fight with

they are very important part of the

meditation and you should treat them as

your teacher



why is it your teacher because this is

every time you have a distraction arise

it is showing you

where your attachment is

what is an attachment

an attachment is


i don't

like it


want it to stop

now there

there is

an understanding in buddhism about

lust hatred and delusion

what is lust

i like it i want it

what is hatred

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

what is delusion


it's me it's mine so when you're talking

about lust

hatred and delusion you're talking about



distraction that arises

has craving

in it

and that's how you recognize

the distraction and your attachment to


so now you're starting to see how

important it is to use the six r's

because that way you let go of your



real interesting that when you let go of


your mind becomes clear your mind is

very very bright and alert

why is your mind pure because there's no

craving in

it and you bring that pure mind

back to your smile

and your object of meditation so you're


a clear

very pure mind back to your object of


and as you do this your progress starts

to become very fast in the meditation

so you can kind of see that the

importance of the six r's

is very real

and the six r's will carry you all the

way to

i've run across many monks that tell you

don't even try to attain nibana in this

lifetime it's it's impossible

and i'm here to tell you that that is

not true


learning how to

let go of distractions i don't care if

it's which one of the

hindrances it is it's all a distraction

is an important part

what is wholesome what is unwholesome

letting go of crazing is wholesome

holding on to craving is unwholesome


when you let go of craving you let go of

the false belief


so when you use the six r's

and your mind becomes very clear and

very bright and very alert

you don't have thoughts in your mind at

that time

and that's why your mind is pure


thoughts are not your enemy to fight

with just simply let them be


and smile come back to your objective



actually every distraction that arises

and starts to pull your attention away

from your object to meditation





so treat them with respect don't try to

push them away or stop them or make them

do something


they will keep coming up

until you see them as they actually are

and let them be without resistance


the reason that hindrances and

distractions arise is because of our

past actions

what we do with what arises in the

present moment dictates what happens in

the future

if you resist what happens in the

present moment if you fight with it if

you try to control it

if you try to make it different

you are fighting with the dhamma so


but when you use the six r's and allow

that distraction to be without keeping

your attention on it it fades away by


so now you can see even more the

importance of using the six arts

because it helps you to get rid of

hindrances when they arise

when you let go of a hindrance

you will feel a very strong

nice feeling of relief

right after this feeling of relief you

will feel a lot of joy


now there's five different kinds of joy


three kinds of joy arise for anyone at

any time when the conditions are right

the last two kinds of joy only arise


my the first kind of joy is like having

goosebumps and it's a very pleasurable



the next kind of joy is like a flash of


it's very strong but it's only there for

a moment and then it goes away


mathematicians get this kind of joy when

they figure something out and they go oh

wow look at that

that's great


the next kind of joy is like you're

standing in the ocean and you have a

wave of joy come over you

and then another wave will come over

so these kind of these three kinds of

joy can happen to anyone at any time

when the conditions are right

the next two kinds of joy only arise

through mental development


the next kind of joy is called uplifting

joy you feel very light in your mind and

light in your body and it's a very happy

excited feeling


this is the kind of joy that you

experience with the

awakening factor of joy

it doesn't have so much excitement in it

but it feels really good

now you see some buddha images that have

the eyes half open and they're looking


my and the buddha has a little smile on

his lips

the artist is showing you that the

buddha right then is experiencing the

all-pervading joy

with this kind of joy you can be sitting

and you have this very wonderful feeling

of joy

and all of a sudden your eyes open up

isn't that peculiar and you close your

eyes and a little while later your eyes

open up again

and then you close your eyes again and

they open up again so you say okay stay

open i don't care


now the kind the kind of joy that i'm

talking about when you let go of a



the uplifting joy


when that joy fades away you will feel

very strong tranquility


very very comfortable in your mind and

your body

that is what the buddha called sukkah or


and your mind stays on your object of

meditation with no effort at all

what i have just described for you is

the first jhana

almost everyone that talks about jhana

this is a different kind of jhana

when they're talking about drama they're

talking about deep absorption



when i talk about genre i'm talking

about a level of your understanding


when you get into the first jhana you're

starting to understand

a little bit about how dependent

origination works

foreign you need to have these

distractions arise every now and then

because they help you to go deeper into

your meditation

i have no problem with that i hope you


now it's important also to understand


in the sati patano suta it talks a lot


hindrances and how to let them go




okay when one

attends unwisely


distractions arise and

arisen distractions increase

so what this is basically saying is when

you don't use the six r's and you get

caught up in your

distraction you are attending unwisely

and causing yourself more suffering

there are distractions do not arise and

arisen distractions are abandoned


there are distractions that should be

abandoned by seeing


there are distractions that should be

abandoned by



how do you restrain distractions

by practicing the six arts

so anything that pulls your attention

away from the loving kindness to your

spiritual friend or yourself

is a distraction and you need to six are

obey mana

so this

this meditation is pretty simple when

you get right down to it

anytime your mind gets pulled away from

your object of meditation

when the buddha was teaching meditation

he could not teach a complicated kind of

meditation because people wouldn't

wouldn't understand

i practiced many different kinds of

meditation before i came across the

actual teaching of the buddha

and it was always complicated and

difficult to remember


so the whole point of this dharma talk

is to get you to understand that when a

distraction arises it is not your enemy

to fight with



the lighter you can keep your mind the

more that you smile

the easier it is to let go of

distractions and the more fun you start

to have with your meditations

now your meditation is going to be

easier and easier as time goes by


and i take loving-kindness meditation in

the four brahma-viharas

because your progress is so

much faster with this kind of meditation

than it is


an interesting thing is that

when the buddha was teaching meditation

he only mentioned mindfulness of

breathing eight times


so which kind of meditation do you think

the buddha taught most

and i know that there are a lot of

people that are very attached to doing

mindfulness of breathing


they aren't taught how to do it



so that's why i want you to do loving

kindness meditation because it takes too

long and too much effort on my part to

get you to stop

practicing your bad habits

so i give you the loving kindness

meditation as a new kind of meditation

that you haven't developed bad habits


the thing is you don't want to repeat it

to repeat the same thing over and over

and over again may i be happy may i be

happy may i be happy may i be happy

that is

just using a small part of your

attention while you think about other



but with what i'm showing you

it's a feeling meditation you have to

feel the wish

not just say the wish

you have to feel it and put that feeling

in your heart


so you don't verbalize

so much

but you still need to verbalize a little

at the very beginning


you will get to a certain place in the

meditation i will tell you to stop



so it's very important for you to follow

the directions that i give

don't just go off and do the way you

think it should be done


if you follow what i'm saying and you

smile all the time your progress is

going to be so fast you won't recognize



let go of your old ways of thinking

about the meditation because this is new

for you


and you will see for yourself how much

we need to get a clock in here so i can

see it's 7 22 7 20.

so what you need to remember is that

distractions when they arise are not

shove them out the door

the whole point of the buddha's teaching

is learning how to lovingly accept

whatever arises without resistance in

your mind

to open up your mind and allow instead

of close your mind and

do you have any questions

would you mind explaining

about welcoming

distractions and

not closing the mind a little bit i mean

my translation wasn't clear

for that part

because when you when you make it

translate it into sinhalese it says that

you welcome distractions you become

distractions and you use the six hours

okay you don't try to push it away



well every time your attention gets

pulled away from the loving kindness use

the six hearts

if it doesn't pull your attention away

you stay with your your object of

meditation ignore

even some thoughts

little tiny thoughts can come in

they don't pull your attention away

ignore they'll go away by themselves


this has to do



the balance of energy that you need to

stay with your object of meditation


when restlessness arises you're holding

on too tight to your object of


and you're using too much energy to stay

with it

so you have to back off

go ahead

thank you more to say


foreign let's say you have a good


and the next time you sit you want that

to come back


and your mind

wants it to happen and you put in too

much energy


so you begin to think well i should try

harder and put in more energy and you

make yourself even more restless

when actually what you need to do is

back off

and not try so hard

to make

that's a common mistake when people they

they get a little bit of restlessness

they think well i should

try harder

and that makes them even more restless

and that makes it even a bigger

hindrance when actually you need to

back off you need to relax a little bit

this is where laughing




awakening factor is


of your experience


how do you do that

that's an interesting question


and sloth and torpor comes up

you have to be able to see

what happened first what happened after

that what happened after that what

happened after


generally i'm going to tell you how it


first your mind starts to get a little

bit thoughty

and then you notice it and you snap up

so that you're really nice and straight

and you try to put in more energy and

before long it's all happening again


so when you first notice

those little tiny thoughts coming in

while you're with your object of


stay with your object of meditation and

don't get caught up in those thoughts


as you begin to take an interest in

how this process works you start putting

energy into watching and that makes the

sloth intorper go away

so the more interest you have in how

this process works that means


the easier it is to let it go


very close but i want to tell you that

if you sit with your back a little bit

straighter than is comfortable

then when your back starts to slump a

little bit you'll be able to see it more

easily and let go of that wrestling or

this sloth

now every time you let go of sloth and

torpor and you come back and you start


it's a different sloth and torpor than

the previous ones so it arises in the

same way

how does it arise


and you better become pretty pretty

familiar with both sloth and torpor in

restlessness because they're around

until you become an arahat


so when these two hindrances arise you

want to be friends with them and see how

they arise

and you need to learn to adjust your


in staying with your object of



as you start to go deeper in your


you start to learn to adjust the

energy a little bit at a time

not big jumps

that's why it doesn't work when you have

sloth and torpor and all of a sudden you

put in so much energy and then it just


one more thing with sloth and torpor i

noticed right after

when i was in burma right after


lunch about two o'clock in the afternoon

i would always get sloth


so that's when i would go take a shower

and it would wake me up


get your

body woke up again

okay anybody else have


it's pretty much up to you

but when you have a tendency to walk on

a path you're kind of entertaining

yourself and not staying with your

object as closely as you could

for me personally walking back and forth

is much better

because i stay with my object meditation


many distractions at all

back and forth without turning back

if you have sloth and tornberg you don't

turn around

if you don't have sloth and torpor then

you turn around you just walk back walk

this way turn around walk that way turn


so it doesn't matter to to point to

two points and you know work


another thing about sloth and torpor is

you don't want to be in a dark area

while you have sloth and torpor you want

to be where there's

light but not in the direct sun

and walking in the direct sun

can take away a lot of your energy so be

careful with that



okay anybody else have a question

okay what's the balance between walking

meditation and sitting meditation

because it seems easier to concentrate

on the object of

well that's okay

when your meditation is good

stay with that meditation until you feel

it's time to get up and get some


you might want to sit for an hour or an

hour and a half or even two hours

and then you feel like it's time to get

up from your sitting meditation


the walking meditation you want to walk

a little bit faster than normal

so you can get the blood circulating


and you're using that

also as the reminder for when you get

off retreat

when you're doing walking don't let your

mind ho hum around just stay with loving



and there are times when walking is

better than sitting so that you walk

longer but don't walk longer than 45


you'll get tired




you might sit

i had some students that sit three and

four hours very easily i had one suit

this one student that sat for 11 and a

half hours

the second time he ever tried meditation

made me very impressed

i forgot the beginning

of what they said

i did too





the student who said 11 and a half hours

is that clear


anybody else have a question

you all understand exactly what you're

doing right


the hindrances

they don't just come one at a time

they like to gang up on you


so you have a version with that


if you really get into your sloth and

torture you have

your greed

you're lust i like that i'm

uncomfortable with that

so you have to understand that you have

to let go of


keep it light

keep your mind light

laugh when you think you've had a


don't indulge in the problem and take it


try to

solve the problem

you can't solve it


doubt is about whether you are



so all you have to do is remind yourself

to do the six r's and you're doing it


and six are your thinking

about and the mental proliferation about

is this right is it not right

what am i supposed to do

well you're supposed to notice that

you're mentally proliferating and you're

caught up in your papancha


laugh and

let it go and 6r

anything else he said

i think

may suffering ones be suffering free and

the fear struck fearless be

may the grieving shadow of grief and may

all be finding

may all beings share this merit that we

let us acquire for the acquisition of

all kinds of happiness

it may means inhabiting space and earth