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



if you've been practicing

meditation but been doing it in a

different way

please let go of the old way

of doing the practice and just do


it doesn't mix very well the old way

as compared to what we're going to be


we're going to be practicing something

that i call the six arts

now this is right effort

so it's real important

for you to get familiar with what this


the 6rs

are recognize when your mind

has a distraction in it where you're not

with your object of meditation anymore

and release the distraction

the rate the way you release the

distraction is by

not keeping your attention

on it this is real important

as soon as you release it then you relax

the tightness that's in your head

in your mind

that tightness is actually

how you recognize what craving is

and as soon as you relax that tightness

you'll feel like an opening up

of your mind

more alertness

your mind is going to be much more clear

agile and pure

because you let go of the craving

craving is the i like it i don't like it

mind and i'll explain that a little bit


as soon as you let that go then you

don't have any distractions in your mind

at all

and you can observe with the pure mind

and then what you need to do is

bring up something wholesome


the way that you bring up something

wholesome is

by smiling

now smiling a lot of people think it's

just here

but smiling is in your mind

and this gets to be as you go deeper

into the practice this

gets to be extremely important

as you smile with your mind

you stop trying so hard

and when you stop trying so hard

then you can observe how mind

actually works so with the smiling

is a kind of stepping back

from whatever the distraction is

but stepping back with a light mind

with the mind that's clear and observant

but light


as soon as you do that then you bring

that mind

back to your object to meditation

now your object to meditation is going

to be loving kindness

and i'll get get you the instructions in

just a minute

and then you repeat staying

with your object of meditation for as

long as you can

now these six r's

are things that need to be done

not just repeat in your mind

recognize release relax you have to do

each one of those

not verbalize them

and it's like rolling your r's

it's recognize release relax reach

re-smile return repeat

and it's a flow that you start to get


of doing right effort

now when you're practicing

loving-kindness meditation you first

start by sending loving and kind


to yourself

remember a time when you were happy

when that happy feeling arises it's a

warm glowing feeling in the center of

your chest

now a lot of you

don't or this is for the people that

haven't been

been here before

if you've already done a retreat with me

you'll start out by sending

loving-kindness to all beings in all


in the six directions and then all

directions at the same

same time but for the beginners

start by sending loving and kind

thoughts to yourself

get that happy feeling going

then when it's going

very nicely after five to ten minutes

then you switch over to a spiritual


a spiritual friend is someone that when

you think of them

and they're good qualities you really

like them

you sincerely do wish them well

stay with the same spiritual friend

all the time don't jump from one person

to another person to another person

a spiritual friend is someone of the

same sex

and they are alive

some men have asked me if they could use

the dalai lama

as their spiritual friend and my answer

to that

is is it

is he the same sex as you

and is he alive

but if you use the dalai lama it's a

little bit more difficult because you

only know

him by what you think of him and what


maybe see on the the internet or

something like that

but you don't know him personally

it's better to take a person that you do


personally that you respect

and you sincerely do wish them well

a lot of women when mother teresa was

alive they'd ask if they could do

send it to mother teresa but it's better

to send the loving and kind thoughts to

somebody that you know

it's a little bit easier that way

and it's your choice

now your mind is going to wander

you're going to start thinking about

other things

as soon as you recognize that your mind

is thinking about something else

then you've already recognized that your

mind is distracted

release the distraction by not keeping

your attention on it

relax a tightness caused by that


smile return to your object do your

spiritual friend and continue

staying with your spiritual friend for

as long as you can

so it doesn't matter how many times your

mind gets


i had a monk that was

practicing loving-kindness meditation

and he insisted on trying too hard

and he was pushing to stay

with that spiritual friend and not

not go away and he was doing it way too


and he suffered for a long time because

he wouldn't

listen to what i was saying

the thing is with the meditation

if you follow the directions

this is fun this is easy

and you learn how to let go of the


the let go of the pushing and trying too


this monk

was continually trying to oh i got to be

better than i

am i'm a monk i'm supposed to be better

and i kept telling him over and over

there is no supposed to be

he caused himself a lot of suffering

and every day he'd come and tell me how

restless he was

my mind won't settle down stop trying so


smile laugh with yourself

at trying too hard let go

of supposed to be my mind isn't supposed

to be this way

yeah it does it with your legs crossed


this is about learning how to be

mindful isn't that a wonderful word

these days

i just read an article

about what mindfulness isn't

and i thought that was kind of cute

there's people are using this word as

some kind of

catchphrase and they don't have a good

understanding of what mindfulness truly


everybody knows what the word is

but they don't know what the definition

is so i'm going to give you the


that works in all different


mindfulness is remembering to

observe how mind's attention

moves from one thing to another

how does it move

this is important that you understand


because like

my little monk friend he was trying to

make mine be the way he wanted it to be

and he suffered a lot

and he'd become frustrated and he'd be

even become

angry and he'd start accusing me of not

giving him the right directions

and i gave him the right directions same


every day

fortunately he was there for three


he actually did start to pay attention

after they stop


this meditation is supposed to be fun

i don't want to say supposed to be it

is fun

i want you to laugh

especially when you're caught by some

kind of a hindrance that you know you're

causing yourself some suffering

by trying to force it to be the way you

want it to be

laugh at yourself with that

the fastest way to let go of an


is by laughing

you go from i don't like this this isn't

the way i want it to be

to it's only this

now do i want to hold on to this and

make myself suffer or not

let it go

so laughing and smiling

and having fun

is an important aspect of the meditation

so the more you can have fun with this

and smile with how dumb your mind can be

we're all dumb and it's okay to be dumb

just don't indulge in it

relax into these things

stop trying to make yourself

be a particular way

observe what you're doing

how you're causing yourself the

suffering and

let it go

the definition of mindfulness

what that does is it makes you go in

deeper to see

how this process works because

this is a process this is a

psychophysical process that work

we call ourselves

now you're made up of five things okay

you have a physical body

you have feeling this is not emotion

feeling is feeling

feeling is pleasant feeling

painful feeling neutral feeling

you have perception perception

is a part of the mind that names

the feeling this

is pleasant this is painful this is


so perception is part of the mind that

puts the mental name

in your mind

you have thoughts you have consciousness

what we generally try to do and we get

we're real good at these these habits

is when a painful feeling arises

and we start wrestling i don't want that

painful feeling to be there

i don't like it you start

trying to think you're feeling away

but thoughts are one thing feelings or

something else

sometimes a feeling can arise and it

doesn't go away right away

so what it's only a feeling

is it your feeling did you ask that

feeling to come up

did you say well i haven't been

depressed or frustrated or sad for a


i might as well do that now no you're

not going to do

that nobody's that dumb

it arises because conditions are right

for it to arise

what you do with what arises in the


dictates what happens in the future

if you fight the present moment if you

try to change the present moment

if you try to make the present moment be

the way you want it to be

you can look forward to suffering a lot

and it's your choice it's what i told

that monk every day

why are you doing this to yourself why

don't you

learn and stop trying so hard

as i said eventually he did

but he caused himself six weeks of pain

the progress in this meditation is going

to be fast for you

if you follow the directions

don't add anything don't subtract


if you've been doing meditation for a

long time sometimes you're going to get

caught by not doing the 6rs

and your mind is going to slip into a

kind of one-pointed concentration

when it slips into a one-pointed

concentration you'll get

very blissful you'll get really happy

as long as you have that one pointed


but when you get out of that

then the hindrances are going to come

big time

and you're not going to like those and

you're going to wish oh i wish i could

get back into that beautiful state

the six r's are

let me put it this way the eightfold


is all eight folds

that are equal

but right effort is the first among the


right effort is the thing that if you

follow this and

practice it without resistance

without trying to change it without

trying to make it any different than it


it will lead to extreme

happiness and suffering

will stop


we cause ourselves immeasurable amounts

of pain

the buddha said that

we've cried so much in our our


that we could fill up the entire ocean

just with our tears of the pain we

caused ourselves

of the sadness that we took as this

is my sadness

and i'm not going to tell anybody why it


so what we have to do is be able to


that we're doing this to ourselves

and keep softening keep relaxing into it

keep using the six r's

the six hours will take you to our hot


the whole point of doing this meditation

the reason that you're here is so

you will change

from the old way of doing things

that causes his pain to a new way

where there is no more pain

letting go of that suffering

that depression that sadness whatever it

happens to be

and this is too simple

it's too simple to let go of this stuff

that's what a lot of people tell me

it can't be this simple

just recognize that you're distracted

release the distraction relax smile


that's too easy it's not always

easy but it

is that simple

when the buddha started out teaching

people meditation

if he would have started teaching you

some kind of complicated system

that was slow to get progress

how many people do you think would have

followed him

but today we have so many different

methods of meditation

and i i have friends that have been

practicing for as long as 50 years

55-0 years

doing the same practice

and not really progressing still having

the same hindrances

that when they started was a big problem

now it comes up it's not such a big

problem but it's still there

why is it coming back over and over and

over again

because you're not doing the meditation

and letting go of craving