Showing posts with label meditation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meditation. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Breath of Love - About the Author

The Breath of Love
Most Venerable Bhante Vimalaramsi Mahàthera

About the Author

Most Venerable Bhante Vimalaramsi Mahàthera
became a Buddhist monk in 1986 because of his
keen interest in meditation. He went to Burma
in 1988 to practice intensive meditation at the
famous  meditation  center,  Mahasi  Yeiktha  in
Rangoon. While there, he practiced meditation
for 20 to 22 hours a day for three months and
16 hours a day for 5 months. Because of some
social unrest, all foreigners were asked to leave the country. So
Bhante  traveled  to  Malaysia  and  practiced  intensive  Loving-
kindness Meditation for 6 months.
In 1990, Bhante went back to Burma for more intensive Vipassanà
meditation,  for  14  to  16  hours  a  day,  at  Chanmyay  Yeiktha  in
Rangoon. He practiced for 2 years, sometimes sitting in meditation
for as long as 7 to 8 hours a sitting. After two years of intensive
meditation and experiencing what they said was the final result,
he became very disillusioned with the straight Vipassanà method
and left Burma to continue his search.
He went back to Malaysia and began teaching Loving-kindness
Meditation.  In  1995,  Bhante  was  invited  to  live  and  teach  at
the  largest  Theravàda  monastery  in  Malaysia.  This  Sri  Lankan
monastery offered public talks every Friday evening and Sunday
morning  where  300  to  500  people  would  attend.  Bhante  gave
talks every other Friday and on every Sunday.
While staying there he had the opportunity to meet many learned
monks, and Bhante questioned them at length about the Buddha’s
Teachings.  He  found  out  that  the  straight  Vipassanà  Burmese

method  of  meditation  is  taken  from  a  commentary  written  a
thousand  years  after  the  Buddha’s  death,  called  the  Visuddhi
Magga. This commentary is not very accurate when compared
directly with the sutta teachings. Bhante Vimalaramsi then began
to study the sutta texts more thoroughly and practice meditation
according  to  these  texts.  After  a  three  month  self-retreat,  he
came  back  to  Malaysia  and  wrote  a  book  on  the  Mindfulness
of Breathing called “The ânàpànasati Sutta – A Practical Guide
to Mindfulness of Breathing and Tranquil Wisdom Meditation”.
There  are  now  over  1,000,000  copies  distributed  worldwide  in
multiple  languages.  This  book  is  currently  used  as  a  practical
study guide for meditation teachers and their students.
Bhante Vimalaramsi came back to the U.S. in 1998 and has been
teaching meditation throughout the country since then. In 2003
he cofounded the United International Buddha-Dhamma Society.
UIBDS supports the Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center located
near  Annapolis,  Missouri,  USA,  where  he  teaches  meditation
from May–October each year.
In  2008  he  officially  announced  the  birth  of  the  Buddhist
American  Forest  Tradition  in  Annapolis,  MO.  This  is  the  first
Buddhist American Forest Tradition study center on American
soil  where  all  teaching  and  work  is  done  using  English  as  the
primary language and the core teachings rely on the Pàli Canon
directly with the Vissudhi Magga used as an additional reference
support. The Tradition actually began in 2005.
International  monks  now  come  there  to  improve  their  English
and  study  more  deeply  the  meditation  and  sutta  studies.  An
active  ordination  program  is  available  where  both  men  and
women are trained equally.

About Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center
United  International  Buddha-Dhamma  Society  (UIBDS)  and
Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center (DSMC) are located on 103
acres  of  forested  land  located  in  the  Ozark  Mountains  of  Iron
County (near to Annapolis) in Missouri, USA.
DSMC’s  goal  is  to  be  open
all  year  round.  At  present
it  usually  houses  from
10–20  students  at  a  time
between  the  months  of
May  15–October  15  each
year for meditation training
and  Buddhist  studies.  In
winter it is open for visitors
and  there  are  small  group
retreats.  The  main  teachers
usually teach abroad during
the coldest time of the year. This helps to raise money for further
buildings  at  the  center.  Presently  there  are  cabins,  dining  hall
and kitchen, library, and a new Dhamma hall is going up in 2012.
There are beautiful walking trails and flat areas for walking near
the main halls. There is a lay area for meditators and a separate
monastics living area.
June–October  full  moons  serve  as  the  center’s  Rains  Retreat
period each year. Monastics may come in for a May to September
Rains  Retreat  if  they  let  us  know  in  advance.  We  do  offer  an
Dhamma English support program.
In  this  Buddhist  tradition,  Rains  Retreat  is  when  monks  and

nuns stay in one place to give Dhamma talks and teach people
meditation.  They  also  practice  their  own  meditation  deeply  at
this  time.  Each  year  various  monastics  who  also  support  the
goals of this program visit from different traditions. Often times
they  will  offer  to  teach  Buddhist  history,  Chanting,  and  Pàli
classes  while  in  the  center.  From  over  23  countries  around  the
world, students and faithful lay people come to investigate early
Buddhist teachings and they stay from 2 weeks to 3 months at a
time upon by approval by the teacher.
There is also an active ordination program for men and women
for equal training. It is a sincere forest training which is received
and  there  will  be  opportunities  in  the  near  future  for  study
abroad at a university in Sri Lanka which is now partnering with
the DSMC project in 2012.
DSMC  is  dedicated  a  religious  center  sheltered  by  United
International Buddha-Dhamma Society. UIBDS is a Missouri 501
(c) (3) non-profit corporation set up for the purpose of Religious,
Charitable and Educational works.
DSMC  provides  a  support  place  for  people  to  come  and  hear
early  Buddhist  texts  taught  in  English  by  a  master  meditation
teacher,  Most  Venerable  Bhante  Vimalaramsi  Mahàthera  and
Sasana Dipika Sister Khema who have both taught this Buddha-
Dhamma internationally over recent past years.
In  the  center  you  will  study  and  practice  early  foundation
teachings  recovered  from  the  very  earliest  Buddhist  texts  that
survived.  Center  monastics  offer  free  counseling  support  for
people. Daily meditation is practiced and many supports are in
place to help students keep their practice going in life.
After  14  years  of  investigation  work,  at  DSMC,  it  has  been

confirmed  that  the  Buddha  recovered  something  extremely
unique that leads directly to a reduction of suffering and, if the
teachings  and  meditation  are  pursued  more  deeply,  following
the  precise  instructions,  this  training  can  lead  to  an  eventual
total cessation of suffering in this lifetime.
The center teaches a simple meditation practice based on Right
Effort as found in the early texts. The practice is called Tranquil
Wisdom Insight Meditation, TWIM for short. TWIM is easy and
fun to learn and is appropriate for anyone within the bounds of
any religion.
This teaching is easy to understand and immediately effective.
The practice transfers very well into daily life to help us lighten
up,  smile  more,  and  become  happier.  It  is  so  progressively
interesting that it invites deeper inspection and people really do
want to ‘come and see’ and understand more.
There  is  no  question  that  Buddhist
teachings make life easier. They provide
a  clear  understanding  of  how  the  mind
works.  As  you  discover  how  things
actually  operate,  then  quite  naturally,
as  you  calm  down,  you  will  tend  to  act
in  more  compassionate  ways  towards
people in daily life.
Training at the center uses the Majjhima Nikàya as a main text for
guidance during your training. Students who practice in earnest
and want to progress well are encouraged to follow the advice of
MN-95 The Canki Sutta when coming to the center to study. In
that sutta there are 12 steps key to making good progress. MN-15
describes the best student for the teacher to put time and energy
into training. The proper outcome of your training is described

in MN-21. It is worth it for you to investigate these suttas before
coming to train.
At the center, students
and  monastics  alike
are challenged to test
their  understanding
through  their  own
investigation  for
verification  of  any
spoken  truth  they
hear  in  a  Dhamma
talk.  If  their  results
match  the  results
described  within
the  suttas,  then
they  are  considered
the  Buddha’s  teaching.  If  not,  then  its  time  for  open  Dhamma
discussion and re-evaluation.

More Information
We  encourage  you  to  visit  our  website  at  www.dhammasukha.
At  the  website  you  will  find  a  lot  more  information  about
Dhamma talks, how we teach at the center, books that can help
you,  articles,  and  more  information  about  how  to  contact  our
center in Missouri.
If  you  need  help,  you  can  write  to  Rev.  Sister  Khema  at She will forward you to whomever can
help you best.

Please make arrangements to come into the center by April 15 if
possible so residences can be carefully planned for you.
The  address  of  Dhamma  Sukha  Meditation  Center  and
Anathapindika’s Park is:
Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center
8218 County Road 204
Annapolis, MO 63620 USA  
Office Telephone: (573) 546-1214 (please leave a clear message)
Training Questions:

The Breath of Love - Glossary of Study Terminology

The Breath of Love
Most Venerable Bhante Vimalaramsi Mahàthera

Glossary of Study Terminology

Appearing in the order of training
This glossary offers assistance with a working terminology for
the TWIM practices.
This chapter has been put in the back of the book to assist the
beginner  and  for  solving  any  mix-up  in  understanding  for  the
experienced  practitioner.  The  definitions  for  terminology  used
in  this  book  for  training  appear  more  or  less  in  the  order  that
you  will  have  to  deal  with  them  as  you  learn  the  practice  of
Buddhist  Meditation  shows  us  how  mind’s  movements
actually work. It reveals the true nature of things by uncovering
the  impersonal  moment-to-moment  process  of  Dependent
Origination and the  Four Noble Truths. The Buddha-Dhamma
specifically shows us where we get caught by suffering, how this
manifests first, the exact cause of it and the way out.
This journey can sometimes be difficult but it also can be magical
and fun as the changes become apparent in your life and people
begin to notice the change for the good in you.
As we study this, we need to understand clearly some working
definitions of certain training terminology. From the beginning
one  learns  to  do  this  practice  ALL  THE  TIME.  So  the  precise
definitions  of  terminology  are  very  important  if  we  are  going
to use this practice as our key to opening this doorway to Peace.
Some  of  these  definitions  may  be  slightly  different  from  what
you have heard in other places. As you read further in this book,

make  sure  the  author  and  you  are  on  the  same  page  with  key
words, because this training is pretty important.
Meditation (bhàvanà)  –  observing  the  movements  of  mind’s
attention moment-to-moment, object-to-object for the purpose of
seeing clearly the impersonal process of Dependent Origination
and the Four Noble Truths.
Mindfulness (Sati) – ‘Remembering’ to observe the movements
of mind’s attention all the time.
Awareness (sampaja¤¤a)  –  Understanding  what  mind  is  doing;
meaning whether its releasing what is arising, or getting involved
with it? Is it Recognizing the movements of mind’s attention, or
is it moving into craving and clinging? Is it Releasing, Relaxing,
Re-smiling  and  then  Returning  to  the  object  of  meditation  to
continue mindfulness?
Object  of  Meditation  –  Any  object  of  meditation  we  choose
is  to  become  the  home-base  for  re-centering  during  our
meditation.  The  information  we  seek  will  not  be  found  in  the
object of meditation we observe but rather it is our recognition
of the impersonal Process of Dependent Origination that leads
to our knowledge and vision. This occurs around the object of
Hindrances (nivarana)  –  unwholesome  tendencies  that  begin
with  an  arising  feeling  that  is  the  same  as  any  other  feeling
and therefore, it should be treated in the same way during the
meditation by Releasing them and not placing mind’s attention
on them in any way. By denying them mind’s attention they will
become weak and fade away.
Jhàna – The definition here for ‘Jhàna’ in Buddhist terms is a “stage

of meditation through understanding” (the interconnectedness of
the ‘Four Noble Truths and Dependent Origination’) and seeing
how mind actually works”. A Jhàna is a level of understanding;
stage of the meditation path.
Craving (tanhà)  –  the  weak  link  in  the  process  of  Dependent
Origination  which  manifests  as  tension  and  tightness  in  mind
and body as it is first appearing.
The  common  definition  for  the  word  “Craving”  is  ‘to  want  or
desire’,  but  there  is  much  more  to  this  word.  According  to  the
Buddha there is a definite pattern with everything that arises.
For instance, in order “to see” there is a set way things happen.
First, there must be a functioning sense door such as the eye. Next
there must be color and form. When the eye hits color and form
then eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of these three things
is  called  eye-contact.  With  eye-contact  as  condition  eye-feeling
arises.  (Feeling  [Vedanà]  is  pleasant,  painful  or  neither  painful
nor pleasant and this is either physical or mental feeling.) With
eye feeling as condition, then eye-craving arises.
Now ‘Craving’ (tanhà), in all of its many different forms of seeing,
hearing,  tasting,  smelling,  bodily  sensations,  and  thoughts,
always arises as being a tension and tightness in both mind and
body. ‘Craving’ (tanhà) always manifests as the “I like it or I don’t
like  it”  mind  and  can  be  recognized  as  tension  or  tightness  in
both one’s mind and body. This is where we come to understand
the importance of the Buddha’s instructions about consciously
tranquilizing one’s mind and body.
When  the  meditator  has  any  kind  of  distraction  arising,  that
pulls their attention away from their object of meditation, then
a  feeling  immediately  arises,  and  next,  right  after  that  the  “I

like  it....  I  don’t  like  it”  [craving-tanhà]  mind  arising.  This  is
sometimes seen as a big gross tightness and sometimes as a very
subtle tightness or tension in mind and body.
As  ‘Craving’  (tanhà)  is  the  cause  of  suffering  (the  Second
Noble  Truth)  what  the  meditator  must  do  is  softly  let  go  of
that  tension  or  tightness  (i.e.  relax)  and  this  must  consciously
be done. It doesn’t happen automatically as is demonstrated in
the meditation instruction given to us by the Buddha. We then
gently redirect mind’s attention back to the object of meditation
(this step is the Third Noble Truth or the cessation of craving or
suffering). In practical terms this relaxing is the most important
and major step that the Buddha discovered, revealing clearly the
Fourth Noble Truth- that is ‘the way’ leading to the Cessation of
The Buddha saw that when ‘Craving’ (tanhà) was let go of; mind
became clear, open, and very observant. He saw that the thinking
mind  did  not  arise.  The  thinking  mind  in  Buddhism  is  called
‘Clinging’ (Upàdàna).
So,  when  a  teacher  says  something  like  “Cling  to  Nothing”
they are actually saying to ‘stop thinking about things and just
observe’. This is good advice as far as it goes. Actually it would be
better to say “Crave Nothing” but that would be misunderstood
because the question would arise of ‘how are we supposed to do
“Crave Nothing” means ‘to notice and let go of the tightness or
tension in one’s mind and body before it arises’.
How does one do this? When one sees a ‘Feeling’ arise, if they
relax  at  that  very  moment,  then  the  ‘Craving’  (tanhà)  won’t
arise. ‘Craving’ (tanhà) is the weak link in the cycle or process of

Dependent Origination. It CAN be recognized and let go of, and
when it is released then the ‘Clinging’ (Upàdàna) won’t arise.
One thing that has become popular today is the putting together
of  these  two  words,  ‘Craving/Clinging’  and  I  think  it  helps  to
cause even more confusion. Craving’ is the “I like it ... I don’t like
it”  mind  and  ‘Clinging’  is  all  of  the  thoughts,  ideas,  opinions,
and concepts why mind likes or dislikes a feeling when it arises.
These  are  two  very  different  and  separate  parts  to  the  process
of  how  things  work.  Putting  them  together  just  makes  one’s
understanding of this process, even cloudier.
Some teachers today define ‘Craving and Clinging’ as ‘Grasping’.
And as I just explained that moves away from the more precise
definitions  that  the  Buddha  showed  us  within  his  teaching.  To
eliminate clinging is not to eliminate suffering if craving is the
root cause.
No-self (anattà)  –  Impersonal  Nature;  Impersonal  perspective.
An absence of taking anything personally which occurs during
life. Seeing things purely as they are.
To do this in life, you don’t have to stop using the pronouns in your
language! And you don’t have to try to disappear. Promise!
Delusion (moha)  –  In  some  Buddhist  traditions  the  word
“delusion” (Moha) is linked up with two other words which are
‘Lust’  (lobha)  and  ‘Hatred’  (dosa).  Together  these  three  words
are sometimes called “the three poisons” and this actually is a
reasonable way to look at them.
But there can be some confusion about what “delusion” (Moha)
actually means. The Buddha meant something a little bit different
every time he used this word.

According  to  the  suttas  the  word  ‘delusion’  (Moha)  most  often
means ‘to see whatever arises as being a personal self’ (atta). Or
we  can  say  that  ‘Delusion’  (Moha)  is  seeing  things  through  the
false (deluded) idea of a self (atta). In other words, one takes all
feelings or sensations to be a part of the “I”, “Me”, “My”, “Mine”
(atta) identification. In Buddhism, that is delusion.
Serenity (samatha) – Here again is another word to look at. In Pàli
the  word  is  ‘Samatha’.  The  meaning  of  ‘Samatha’  is  tranquility,
serenity, peacefulness, or stillness.
Often the common popular definition is a strongly one-pointed
type  of  concentration,  absorption  concentration,  or  ecstatic
concentration. This specific definition of serenity or tranquility
certainly  implies  a  different  type  of  “collectedness”  than  the
deeper types of absorption or ecstatic ‘concentration’.
The goal of absorption or ecstatic concentration is to have mind
stay on only one thing as if it were glued to it (to the exclusion of
anything else), By comparison, ‘Samatha Collectedness’ implies
to have a mind that is still, serene, and calm, but alert to whatever
the shifting or moving mind does moment-to-moment. Of course
Samatha/Vipassanà (which is the standard way it is described in
the suttas (see MN 149:10 where they are always linked together)
leads to the total liberation of mind by seeing and recognizing
how the Four Noble Truths interact with Dependent Origination.
The Bodhisatta experienced firsthand, Samatha/Vipassanà leads
directly  to  the  end-result  of  Nibbàna  and  absorption  or  ecstatic
concentration does not.
Insight (Vipassanà) – This word has a surface meaning which is
‘seeing things as they truly are’.
According to the Buddha’s the definition goes much deeper than

that. It means ‘Insight’ or understanding. But understanding into
what? Realizing the impersonal nature and deep understanding
of  the  Four  Noble  Truths  and  ‘HOW’  Dependent  Origination
actually  occurs  with  everything  that  arises  and  passes  away
(anicca) in one’s mind and body. This is Buddhist Insight. In other
words,  one  gains  a  deeper  and  deeper  understanding  (in  each
stage  of  Jhàna)  of  the  impersonal  process  of  ‘HOW’  mind  and
body arises through truly seeing and understanding (knowledge
and  vision)  of  the  Four  Noble  Truths  interconnection  with  the
ongoing process of Dependent Origination.
When one can see clearly this process in all of existence, they will
experience an unshakable knowledge that this is the right path
to  follow.  Mind  begins  to  see  clearly  that  whatever  arises  and
passes away (anicca) and that this is a part of a definite process
leading us to a deep understanding that everything going on is a
part of an impersonal pattern (anattà).
These  ‘Insights’  can  occur  at  any  time  whether  one  is  sitting
in  meditation  or  doing  their  daily  activities.  They  are  quite
profound when they occur.
‘Insights’ are like finding a lost part to a puzzle and this is where
the true “aha!” experiences happen.
Wisdom (pa¤¤à) – there are many phrases within the suttas using
the word ‘wisdom’ and they usually turn out to be concerning
in  some  context  ‘the  impersonal  process  of  Dependent
Anytime  the  words  ‘Wise  Attention’  or  ‘Wisdom’  is  seen  in
the  suttas  they  are  referring  to  the  understanding  of  the  Four
Noble Truths and the process of Dependent Origination. Other
such phrases appear as: “He sees with Wisdom”, “Seeing with
Wisdom”, “… and his taints were destroyed by his seeing with

Wisdom…”, ”Wisdom”, or “He is Wise”.
If we can remember such instances are referring to understanding
the  Four  Noble  Truths  and  the  process  of  D.O.  as  we  read
the  various  suttas,  then  our  minds  will  open  up  to  a  new
understanding  of  how  this  process  and  the  Four  Noble  Truths
are at the core of the teaching of the Buddha.
Concentration (samàdhi)  –  The  Pàli  word  actually  means
the  unification  or  bringing  together  of  mind.  The  word
‘Collectedness’ appears to be more functional for success in the
meditation  rather  than  the  word  ‘Concentration’.  In  the  West
people  take  the  word  ‘Concentration’  to  mean  a  kind  of  deep
one-pointedness  of  mind  or  an  absorbed  mind  and  this  is  not
what the Buddha was trying to get across. Before the time of the
Buddha there were many words that described deep absorption
or  one-pointedness  of  mind.  But  the  Buddha  made  up  a  new
word. “Samàdhi”. Samàdhi describe a completely different way of
seeing  and  experiencing  Jhàna.  After  the  Buddha’s  Parinibbàna,
because this word was very popular, the Brahmins of that time
changed  the  definition  of  ‘samàdhi’  back  to  mean—‘strong
one-pointedness’. But, the Buddha was showing that there is a
difference between a ‘Collected Mind’ and a strongly absorbed
or ‘Concentrated Mind’.
The  words  ‘Collected  Mind’’  (Samàdhi)  give  us  the  idea  of  a
mind that is composed, calm, still, and very alert. This kind of
mind observes whenever mind’s attention shifts from one thing
to  another.  A  ‘Concentrated’  mind,  on  the  other  hand,  means
that  mind  is  stuck  on  one  thing  to  the  exclusion  of  anything
else  that  may  try  to  arise.  So  a  ‘Concentrated’  Mind’  by  this
definition loses full awareness and mindfulness (Sati) of what is
happening in the present moment because it is only seeing the
one thing it is pointing at. This statement also refers to “access or

neighborhood  concentration”  (upacàra  samàdhi)  and  “moment-
to-moment concentration” (khanika samàdhi). Why?
The simple answer is there is no tranquilizing of mind and body
before  the  meditator  brings  their  attention  back  to  the  object
of  meditation.  Because  of  this,  there  is  no  lowering  of  tension
in  mind  or  body  or  seeing  of  how  the  Four  Noble  Truths  and
Dependent Origination actually work. One does not realize how
craving (tightness and tension) is brought back to the meditation
This  is  why  when  the  teachers  of  straight  ‘Vipassanà’  tell  their
students  that  ‘Absorption  Concentration’  won’t  ever  lead  to
Nibbàna,  they  are  100%  correct.  Any  kind  of  practice  which
divides ‘Samatha Meditation’ and ‘Vipassanà Meditation’ into two
different practices, can’t possibly lead one to Nibbàna. Why?
Because mind has the need to be calm, composed, and clear, while
it is in a Jhàna, in order to see clearly the interconnectedness of
the Four Noble Truths and Dependent Origination. This is why
the practice of straight Vipassanà has some serious students. The
Buddha taught us to practice ‘Samatha/Vipassanà’ together and
this  is  the  difference  between  commentary  based  meditation
practice and the sutta approach to meditation.
The  results  of  these  two  practices  are  different.  One-pointed
‘Concentration’ is not the same kind of mental development that
the Buddha shows us. The Buddha taught us to tranquilize our
mind and body every time mind’s attention shifts from one thing
to another. The ‘Collected Mind’’ is not so deeply one-pointed
that  the  force  of  one’s  ‘Concentration’  causes  mind  to  stay  on
one object of meditation, even if that attention ‘Concentrates’ on
something momentarily.

The  ‘Collected  Mind’  is  able  to  observe  how  mind’s  attention
goes  from  one  thing  to  another,  very  precisely.  There  is  much
more  full  awareness  of  both  mind  and  body  here  than  with  a
deeply  ‘Concentrated’  one-pointed  mind  or  absorbed  mind’.
This  is  why  I  choose  to  use  the  word  ‘Collected’  rather  than
‘Concentrated’’  mind.  By  using  the  word  “Collected”  there  is
less confusion about the kind of meditation that the Buddha is
referring to and it is easier to understand the descriptions given
in the suttas.
The words listed here are a good start for you with which to
work on this approach to the meditation.

The Breath of Love - Forgiveness & Walking Meditation

The Breath of Love
Most Venerable Bhante Vimalaramsi Mahàthera

Forgiveness Meditation
A great tool for life’s little toolbox!

Forgiveness Meditation can be a useful tool. It is a part of Loving-
kindness Meditation. It can help open the heart and mind if there
seems to be any blockage in the beginning of your practice.
Forgiveness  Meditation  can  be  used  when  someone  dies  and
there  seems  to  be  a  great  overwhelming  grief.  It  helps  relieve
depression  very  much  and  can  rebalance  a  person.  Any
accompanying  suffering  that  might  follow  any  catastrophic
event can be helped by forgiveness work
One thing about Loving-kindness Meditation is that you cannot
give what you do not have. We spend more time with ourselves
then anyone else while we are alive and sometimes we need to
forgive and love ourselves before we can give anything to others.
Forgiveness can help with many other memories from the past
that  you  might  be  attached  and  which  can  be  blocking  your
progress in the Loving-kindness Meditation.
Therefore, the Forgiveness Meditation is a way of opening yourself
up to the possibilities of true healing so that you can send love to
yourself and to others. This is a soft gentle way of learning how to
lovingly-accept whatever arises and to leave it be, without trying to
control it with thoughts.
Sometimes  in  our  lives  there  can  be  a  feeling  of  letting  someone
down  by  not  doing  enough  to  help  them.  Of  course,  this  is  just
mind  saying  “I  should’ve  been  better;  I  could’ve  done  better;  I
would’ve done better; I failed and I am not worthy and because of
that I should suffer even more”.
Forgiveness Meditation is not ever to be used as a club to beat away
a feeling of sadness, anger, frustration, or any other kind of feeling.
Once  again,  the  Forgiveness  Meditation  is  a  soft  gentle  way  of
learning how to lovingly-accept whatever arises and to leave it be,

without trying to control it with your thoughts.
Of course, these unwholesome blaming kinds of thoughts and feelings
don’t have anything to do with reality. We don’t need to blame ourselves
for our friends or a family member’s decision to take their own life, to
die, or to dive into depression, anxiety, or anger. It is always a difficult
situation to have to cope with such circumstances and there are a few
things that you can do for yourself and others around you in the case of
a death or suicide. This can help the deceased person as well.
Forgiveness Meditation Instructions
This meditation is done by sitting down and beginning the process
of forgiveness by forgiving yourself for:
1] not understanding,
2] for making mistakes,
3] for causing pain to myself or anyone else,
4] for not acting the way I should have acted.
The way you do this practice is by first forgiving yourself. This is
done by taking each of these four statements, one at a time, such
as “I forgive myself for not understanding” and saying it over and
over again.
You then place that feeling of forgiveness in your heart and radiate
that feeling of soft acceptance to yourself.
The  thing  is,  mind  is  tricky  and  you  will  sometimes  have  huge
resistance  to  forgiving  yourself.  You  will  come  up  with  all  kinds
of thoughts to distract or blame yourself. But when you see mind
taking off and thinking unwholesome things, then gently 6R those
thoughts and feelings, while gently redirecting your attention back
to forgiving yourself again.

Sit with that feeling of loving-acceptance for as long as it lasts.
Then,  make  the  statement  again  to  help  the  loving-acceptance
last even longer.
Mind will naturally have a lot of “yes, but... yes, but... yes, but…”
interruptions and try to distract you and condemn you and make
you feel guilty or sad or angry or whatever it wants to do.
This  is  where  patience  needs  to  be  cultivated.  Softly  allow  those
distracting  (hindrances)  to  be  there  and  then  gently  bring  your
attention  back  to  forgiving  yourself.  Do  this  softly  with  the  6R’s
practice cycle.
Of course your mind will naturally go to the person who died or
committed  suicide.  When  that  happens  then  softly,  gently,  start
forgiving  them  for  1]  not  understanding,  or  2]  making  mistakes,
or 3] for causing pain and suffering to themselves and to you, or 4]
for not acting in the way they should have acted. Forgive them for
See them in your mind’s eye and look into their eyes and forgive
them. Keep repeating one of these statements (whichever one that
seems most appropriate at the time), or you can make up your own
statement of forgiveness if it seems right.
It is best not to get involved with a story with that person in your
own mind. It is best to forgive them by using the same statement
over and over again. “I forgive you for _______.”
Then, place that forgiveness into your heart with the person who died
and stay with that feeling or forgiveness for as long as it lasts. At first
this may not be for very long, to be sure, so, whenever mind becomes
distracted, softly, gently, 6R that distraction and start over again.

After  a  period  of  time  (during  that  sitting),  then  change  things
around and hear that person forgiving you for _______. Still look
into  their  eyes  and  hear  them  say  “I  forgive  you  too.  I  really  do
forgive you”.
Completing the Circle
This Forgiveness Meditation starts by forgiving yourself, forgiving
another person, and then, you hear them forgive you too. This is a
complete circle.
This practice will eventually make things change in your mind so
there will not be any guilt, frustration, sadness, anger, or making
excuses for making mistakes and then feeling hard about yourself.
Making  excuses  about  anything  means  that  one  doesn’t  take
responsibility for their own actions and this is a subtle attachment
to be forgiven and let go of also.
There will develop a loving-acceptance and a true feeling of love
toward  that  person  who  caused  so  much  pain.  The  pain  will
diminish until there is only a memory of that person without any
experience of grief.
Now,  this  is  the  sitting  meditation,  but,  there  is  still  more  to  the
meditation and that is to forgive everything and everybody, all of
the time.
Expanding Forgiveness into Your Life
You can use forgiveness as your only object of meditation along with
smiling. Forgive yourself for bumping into something or, if cooking,
for cutting yourself or burning yourself or making mistakes. 
Put forgiveness into everything all of the time!

Forgive thoughts for distracting you. Forgive others for distracting
you.  In  short  forgive  everything  all  of  the  time.  When  walking
from  one  place  to  another,  forgive  yourself  and/or  others.  Any
tiny  distraction,  forgive  it.  Forgive  yourself  for  not  remembering.
Forgive yourself for making mistakes. Forgive every thought, every
memory. Forgive every pain that arises. 6R and forgive ALL OF THE
TIME!!! If you forget to forgive something, then forgive yourself for
forgetting! Then, start again.
Do  you  see  what  I  mean?  It  may  take  some  time  before  mind
begins  to  let  go  of  this  attachment,  but,  patience  leads  to Nibbàna
  I  have  helped  people  in  this  type  of  situation  and  for  some  of
them it has taken as long as one year of doing nothing else but the
Forgiveness  Meditation  before  they  finally  let  go  of  the  suffering
and pain. This doesn’t mean that they still didn’t have the memories
of what happened. They did. But they could reflect and remember
without having any pain or suffering arise anymore. Therein lies
the true healing!
So please, if you want to do this type of meditation for yourself, it
would be best to get in touch with me, and stay in touch at least for
a little while so I can help you to stay on the path and get it firmly
Grief  is  very  strange  stuff  because  it  will  come  up  for  periods  of
time, even six months or a year after the event took place, and strong
sadness, frustration, anger etc can arise for no apparent reason. This
is why it is necessary to keep this practice going for quite some time
so the attachments will eventually let go.

Walking Meditation
To accompany Breath, Loving-kindness,
or Forgiveness practices.

Walking Meditation Instructions
First of all, when you practice the TWIM approach to meditation,
Walking Meditation is specifically used for exercise and it is to
be done in between your sitting meditation sessions to keep your
blood flowing so you have good energy for your investigation.
The first thing is that it’s very important to remember:
SMILE all the time while you walk!
Stay with your object of meditation the entire time!
Do not put your attention on your feet!
Remember you are doing this for exercise
and walk at a normal pace.
Don’t look around; keep your eyes in front of you.
Stay with your object of meditation the entire time you are walking.
Keep your eyes down to the ground about 6 feet in front of you
while  you  walk.  Do  not  look  around  you  with  any  particular
interest or take a nature hike and forget your meditation.
Now,  one  thing  that  happens  during  retreats,  and  it’s  very
frustrating to me, but I can’t get people to stop doing it, is that
you’ll  be  sitting  on  the  floor  and  you’ll  say  to  yourself,  “Well,
I’m uncomfortable.” It may have been 45 minutes or an hour or
something like that and then, you suddenly get up off the floor,
and sit in a chair.
 If you get up from the floor and just go to a chair and sit, what
happens is that your mind starts to dull out because you haven’t
got  your  circulation  going  so  well.  So,  don’t  do  that!  Instead,
please get up and begin walking.
The Walking Meditation is every bit as important as your sitting

meditation. You don’t have to do the Walking Meditation super
slowly,  you  can  walk  at  a  normal  pace.  Just  remember  to  stay
with  your  object  of  meditation  AND  relaxing  all  the  time.
Consider  this  as  practice  for  continuing  the  meditation  as  you
move around in your daily life.
Now,  at  first  the  Walking  Meditation  is  going  to  be  somewhat
difficult  because  you’re  not  used  to  it.  In  life  you  are  used  to
walking around or going from here over to there. You’re used to
thinking this and thinking that and ho-humming around.
This Walking Meditation is a very important aspect to training
that  helps  to  break  old  habits  of  thinking  instead  of  radiating
Loving-kindness  while  you’re  moving  in  life.  With  this  kind
of  walking  you  want  to  keep  your  meditation  going  on  your
spiritual friend from the time of your sitting, as you are getting
up, and going outside to walk or, if you are using another object
of meditation, you want to keep this going.
Walk no less than 15 minutes after 30 minutes of sitting meditation.
When  your  walking  is  good,  walk  longer.  You  can  walk  up  to
45 minutes. That is the maximum time. I don’t think any longer
than that is really useful because you get tired after that.
After you do your walking with your spiritual friend or on the
breath, as the case may be, come in, sit down again and continue
to do more sitting meditation.
Please understand that it is best that you sit no less, and this is
sitting, not just sitting and walking—just sitting—no less than 6
hours a day during retreat times. Sit for no less than 30 minutes
each time you sit and sit longer if you have a good sitting.

The Breath of Love - Radiating Love to a Spiritual Friend

The Breath of Love
Most Venerable Bhante Vimalaramsi Mahàthera

Radiating Love to a Spiritual Friend

After sending loving and kind thoughts to yourself for about ten
minutes,  then  begin  sending  loving  and  kind  thoughts  to  your
“spiritual friend”. A “spiritual friend” is someone who, when you
think of them and their good qualities, it makes you happy.
This  is  a  friend  who  is  of  the  same  sex,  they  are  alive,  and  not  a
member of your family. This is for right now. Later, you will be able
to send Loving-kindness to all of the members of your family. But
for  this  training  period  please  choose  a  friend  that  you  love  and
Once  you  start  sending  Loving-kindness  to  your  spiritual  friend,
please don’t change to another person. Stay with the same spiritual

friend until you get to the third meditation stage (Jhàna). As you are
sending a sincere wish for your own happiness and then, mentally
you say, “As I wish this feeling of peace and calm (happiness, joy,
whatever) for myself, I wish this feeling for you, too. May you be
well, happy and peaceful.” Then start radiating this feeling of love
and peace to your friend. It is quite important for you to feel the
sincere wish and that you place that feeling in your heart.
You also visualize your friend in your mind’s eye. For example, you
can visualize your friend as if they are in a photograph or you can see
them moving around as if in a movie. For some people visualizing
can be somewhat difficult because they don’t realize that one can
visualize with words as well as pictures in their mind. Saying your
friends name and using some words that help to see that person in
your mind’s eye is fine! The exact visualization doesn’t matter. But
when you see your friend, see him or her smiling and happy. This
can help to remind you to be smiling and happy too!

The  visualization  can  be  somewhat  difficult.  It  can  be  cloudy,  or
fuzzy, or a long distance away. It can be there for just a moment and
disappear. That’s all right. Don’t try too hard because it will give
you  a  headache.  You  want  about  75%  of  your  attention  spent  on
the  feeling  of  Loving-kindness,  20%  (more  or  less,  depending  on
what is happening) on making a sincere wish and feeling that wish
in your heart. This helps the feeling for your friend’s happiness to
grow. Only about 5% of your time should be spent on visualizing
your friend. As you can see, the Feeling of Loving-kindness is by far the
most important part of the meditation, and the visualization is the
least important part. But still put a little effort into the visualization.
Eventually, it will get better and easier.

This is a smiling meditation. While you are sitting and radiating love to
your spiritual friend or to yourself, smile with your mind. Even though
your eyes are closed during the meditation, smile with your eyes. This
helps to let go of tension in your face. Put a little smile on your lips and
put a smile in your heart. Smiling is nice and most helpful to practice
all of the time, but especially when you are sitting in meditation. The
more we can learn to smile the happier mind becomes.
It  may  sound  a  little  hokie,  but  scientists  have  discovered  that
the corners of our mouth are very important. The position of the
lips corresponds to different mental states. When the corners of
your  lips  turn  down,  your  thoughts  tend  to  become  heavy  and
unwholesome. When the corners of your lips go up, mind becomes
more uplifted and clear so that joy can arise more often.
This  is  important  to  remember  because  a  smile  can  help  you  to
change your perspective about all kinds of feelings and thoughts.
So  try  to  remember  to  smile  into  everything  that  arises  and
everything that you direct your mind’s attention to. In other words,
smile as much as you can into everything.

Dullness of Mind
The more sincere and enthusiastic you are in sending Loving-kindness
to  yourself  and  your  spiritual  friend,  the  less  you  will  experience
sleepiness or dullness of mind. When sleepiness or dullness occurs,
your body may begin to slump. This is the only time that you can
move your body to straighten up. But don’t do this too often, either.
If you see your mind starting to dull out, then take more interest
in  your  friend;  see  him  or  her  doing  things  that  you  truly
appreciate. For example, you can visualize times that they were

helpful and generous, or times when they made you happy and
you laughed with them. This can help to increase your interest
and energy, and then the dullness will subside.
Please,  once  you  begin  this  meditation,  start  by  sitting  for  30
minutes.  The  first  ten  minutes  you  send  Loving-kindness  to
yourself. The rest of the time, send love to your spiritual friend
(remember  to  use  the  same  friend  all  of  the  time).  When  your
meditation becomes better and you feel more comfortable, you
can sit for a longer periods of time (whatever is appropriate for
you  with  your  time  constraints).  But,  don’t  sit  for  less  than  30
minutes a day in the beginning! Sit more if you have the time.
Active Meditation
This is not simply a passive meditation to be practiced only when
you  are  sitting  in  a  chair  or  on  a  cushion.  It’s  a  meditation  to  be
practiced all of the time, especially when you do your daily activities.
So many times we walk around in a mental haze of random nonsense
thoughts.  Why  not  try  practicing  Loving-kindness  Meditation
whenever we can possibly remember? When you are walking from
your house to your car, or your car to your job, what is your mind
doing? Ho-humming probably about more nonsense thoughts.
This  is  the  time  to  notice  what  your  mind  is  doing  in  the  present
moment and to let go of these distracting thoughts. Relax the tightness
in your head/mind and wish someone happiness! It doesn’t matter
who you send loving thoughts and feelings to in your daily activities.
It  can  be  to  the  person  walking  next  to  you,  your  spiritual  friend,
yourself, or all beings. The key words here are to “send love”, smile,
and feel that sincere wish. Try to do this as much as possible during
the day. The more we focus on sending and radiating loving and kind
thoughts, the more we affect the world around us in a positive way.
As a result, your mind becomes uplifted and happy. Nice!

Benefits of Loving-kindness
There are many benefits to practicing Loving-kindness:
1. You sleep peacefully.
2. You wake up peacefully, easily, and mind is very alert.
3. Disturbing dreams do not occur. 
4. People like you.
5. Animals like you.
6. You are protected by the Deva.
7. You are not affected by misfortune from, fire, poison, and 
8. Meditation progress is faster with this meditation than any 
other meditation.
9. Your face becomes radiant and beautiful.
10. You die with a mind free from confusion. 
11. If the stage of sainthood if not reached during this lifetime, 
one will be born in a Brahmà world.
When  you  practice  Loving-kindness,  your  mind  goes  deeper
in  meditation  and  more  quickly  than  with  any  other  type  of
Actually,  the  Buddha  mentioned  Loving-kindness  Meditation
well over 100 times and he taught the “Mindfulness of Breathing”
meditation  only  8  times  in  the  suttas.  So,  you  can  see  just  how
important he thought it was.
Loving-kindness and Nibbàna
The  practice  of  Loving-kindness  Insight  Meditation  can  lead  you
directly to the experience of Nibbàna if you follow all of the Brahmà
Vihàras precisely. The Brahmà Vihàras include the practice of Loving-
kindness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity. This is mentioned many
times in the suttas which are the original discourses of the Buddha.

Many times other teachers will say that this practice alone doesn’t
directly lead the meditator to the experience of Nibbàna. But, when
Loving-kindness  Insight  Meditation  is  practiced  as  part  of  the
Brahmà  Vihàras  (the  heavenly  abodes),  it  will  take  the  meditator
“automatically”, without changing the meditation instructions, to
the material (Råpa Jhànas) and immaterial realms (Aråpa Jhànas) up
to the realm of nothingness. All of the Brahmà Vihàras actually arise
by themselves.
This  opens  the  path  for  you  to  experience  the  realm  of  “neither
perception nor non-perception” and “the cessation of perception,
feeling,  and  consciousness”  which  happens  right  before  you  see
and  truly  understand  how  the  impersonal  links  of  Dependent
Origination  and  the  Four  Noble  Truths  occur.  When  this  is  seen
and  fully  understood  it  is  such  an  eye-opening  experience  that
Nibbàna takes place.
There is a very special sutta called “The Simile of the Saw” (sutta
number  21,  Majjhima  Nikàya)  which  shows  the  usefulness  of
practicing  Loving-kindness  in  your  daily  life.  In  order  to  attain
Nibbàna you must decide to change old unwholesome habits of acting
and speaking into the wholesome habits of having equanimity and
Loving-kindness  towards  everyone  you  see  or  think  about.  This
sutta  shows  how  to  practice  your  meditation  during  your  daily
activities and this simple instruction leads to true happiness all of
the time.
It says:
“There are these five courses of speech that others may use when
they address you: Their speech may be timely or untimely, true or
untrue, gentle or harsh, connected with good or with harm, spoken
with a mind of loving-kindness or with inner hate. When others
address you their speech may be timely or untimely; when others
address you their speech may be true or untrue; when others address

you their speech may be gentle or harsh; when others address you
their speech may be connected with good or with harm; when others
address you their speech may be connected with loving-kindness or
with inner hate.”
“You should train thus: “My mind will remain unaf fected, and I shall
utter no evil words; I shall abide compassionate for their welfare,
with a mind of loving-kindness, without inner hate. I shall abide
pervading that person with a mind imbued with loving-kindness;
and starting with them, I shall abide pervading loving-kindness to
the all-encompassing world with a mind that is abundant, exalted,
immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will.”
“If  you  keep  this  practice  in  mind,  do  you  see  any  course  of
speech,  trivial,  or  gross,  that  you  could  not  endure?  Therefore,
you  should  keep  this  advice  in  mind  always  and  that
will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.”  
This is a good reason to remember to smile all of the time. There are
many advantages to smiling and one of the main reasons is because
smiling  will  show  you  what  true  mindfulness  is.  Another  reason
is when you smile a lot, joy arises very easily while you are doing
your daily activities. When joy arises, mind is exceptionally bright,
clear, alert, and agile. It is easy to see when mind starts to get pulled
down into unwholesome states and with that mindfulness present
it becomes very easy to 6R and come back to smiling.
I hope these instructions are helpful and that by practicing in this
way  you  will  benefit  greatly  and  lead  a  truly  happy  and  healthy

The Breath of Love - Loving-kindness Meditation

The Breath of Love
Most Venerable Bhante Vimalaramsi Mahàthera


One of the favorite things I like to do with students who have ever
practiced the breath meditation without the 6R’s, is to ask them to
take Mettà as their object of meditation while they learning TWIM
first.  I  do  this  because  it  is  easier  for  them  to  progress  without
having to break old bad habits from a previous practice, before they
can learn to 6R smoothly.
IF they are not progressing extremely well, later on, they can decide
to go back to the breath. But usually students do not because of how
much emphasis the Buddha placed on practicing this meditation in
the texts. The Loving-kindness Meditation was practiced far more
often then the Breathing Meditation. When bad habits are already
operating with breath mediation it makes is very hard to investigate
a new practice. If their cup is full they have to empty it before they
can taste something new. If you can learn Loving-kindness from an
empty cup, you are in great shape with a beginner’s mind.
 So, right up front, I am going to suggest that you try TWIM in this
way and let the breath or any other practice go for awhile; at least for
two weeks to a month to see what can happen. When you practice,
please follow the instructions VERY carefully and exactly.
Now,  these  instructions  were  given  by  me  on  July  3,  2000,  at  the
Washington  Buddhist  Vihàra  in  Washington,  DC  and  to  this  day,
they  have  not  changed  much  at  all.  They  include  the  practice  of
“Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation” (TWIM) and the practice of
the “Four Foundations of Mindfulness” at the same time.
These instructions may be a little different than what you are used
to, because this I have followed the instructions given in the suttas
very  closely.  If  you  practice  in  this  way,  the  end  results  can  bring
great benefit to you and all other people around you. This, in turn,
will bring true happiness in your daily life.

Loving-kindness Meditation
When  practicing  Loving-kindness  Meditation,  you  first  start  by
sending loving and kind thoughts to yourself. Begin by remembering
a time when you were happy. When the feeling of happiness arises,
it is a warm glowing or radiating feeling in the center of your chest.
Now,  when  this  feeling  arises,  make  a  very  sincere  wish  for  your
own happiness and feel that wish. “May I be happy”... “May I be
filled with joy”... “May I be peaceful and calm”... “May I be cheerful
and kind”, etc.
Make any wholesome sincere wish that has meaning for you, feel
the  wish  in  your  heart,  and  radiate  that  smiling  feeling.  The  key
word  here  is  “sincere”.  If  your  wish  isn’t  a  sincere  wish,  then  it
will turn into a mantra, that is, it may become a statement repeated
by rote, with no real meaning. Then you would be on the surface
repeating the statement while thinking about other things. So, it’s
really important that the wish you make for yourself, and later for
your spiritual friend, has real meaning for you and uses your whole
undivided attention. You then feel that wish and put that smiling
feeling into your heart and radiate it.
Don’t continually repeat the wish for happiness: “May I be happy...
may I be happy... may I be happy... may I be happy”. Make the wish
for  your  own  happiness  and  feel  that  wish  when  the  feeling  of
Loving-kindness begins to fade a little.
Relax Tension
The following step is a very important part of the meditation:

After every wish for your own happiness, please notice that there
is some slight tension or tightness in your head, in your mind. Let
it go. You do this by relaxing mind completely then smiling. Feel

mind open up and become calm, but, do this only one time.
If the tightness doesn’t go away, never mind, you will be able to let it
go while on the meditation object (your home base).
Don’t continually try to keep relaxing mind without coming back
to  the  home  base.  Always  softly  redirect  your  smiling  tranquil
attention back to the radiating of happiness.
One problem that many meditators seem to have is that they try too
hard! This meditation needs to be done with a soft relaxed mind,
not pushing or making mind stay on the Loving-kindness. If you
try too hard then it will cause you to have a headache. So please do
this Loving-kindness lightly, have fun with meditation, and smile
a lot. The more you smile, the easier the meditation becomes, and
your mindfulness will improve by leaps and bounds.
How to Sit
When  you  sit  in  meditation  please  do  not  move  your  body  at  all.
Sit with your back nicely straight, but not rigid. Try to have every
vertebrae stacked comfortably one on top of the other. This position
has the tendency to bring your chest up a little, so it can be easier to
radiate the feeling of love and the wish.
Sit with your legs in a comfortable position. If you cross them too
tightly, the circulation in your legs may stop, causing your legs to
go to sleep and this becomes very painful. If you need to sit on a
cushion or even in a chair, that is okay. If you sit in a chair, however,
please don’t heavily lean back into it. Leaning heavily back stops
the energy flow up your back and can make you feel sleepy. Just sit
in a comfortable way.
The  most  important  part  of  this  is  to  sit  completely  still.  Please

don’t move your body at all while sitting. Don’t wiggle your toes;
don’t wiggle your fingers; don’t scratch; don’t rub; don’t rock your
body; don’t change your posture at all. In fact, if you can sit as still
as a Buddha image, this would be the best! If you move around, it
becomes a big distraction to your practice and you won’t progress
very quickly at all.
While you are sitting, radiating the warm—glowing feeling of Loving-
kindness in the center of your chest, making and feeling the sincere
wish,  and  feeling  that  wish  in  your  heart,  your  mind  will  wander
away and begin to think about other things. This is normal.
Arising Thoughts
Thoughts are never your enemy! So, please don’t fight with them
or try to push them away or try to suppress them. When a series
of  thoughts  come  up  to  take  you  away  from  your  meditation
object, notice that you are not smiling or experiencing the feeling
of  Loving-kindness  and  making  a  wish  for  your  own  happiness.
Then, simply let go of the thought. This means to let the thought be
there by itself without keeping your attention on it. Even if you are
in mid-sentence, just let go of the thought, don’t keep your attention
on it, let it be there by itself. This is done by not continuing to think
the thought, no matter how important it seems at that time.
At this point there is another very important step:
Notice Tension
Notice the tightness or tension in your head/mind, now relax.
There are two halves to everyone’s brain. There is a membrane
called the “meninges” surrounding these two halves. Every time
a  thought,  feeling,  or  sensation  arises  this  membrane  tightens
around the brain.

This tightness is how craving (tanhà) can be recognized and let go
of. This is also called the cause of suffering or the “Second Noble
Truth”. Relaxing this tightness is the way of letting go of craving
which  is  called  the  cessation  of  suffering  or  the  “Third  Noble
Truth”! Feel the tightness open. The brain (a part of the body) and
mind feels like it expands and relaxes. It then becomes very tranquil
and calm.
At this time there are no thoughts and mind is exceptionally clear,
alert, and pure because now there is no more craving or clinging.
Immediately  smile  and  then  bring  that  soft  smiling  mind  back  to
your  object  of  meditation,  that  is,  the  feeling  of  Loving-kindness
and making and feeling the wish for your own happiness.
It doesn’t matter how many times your mind goes away and thinks
about  other  things.  What  really  matters  is  that  you  see  “HOW”
your mind has become distracted by a thought. The same method
holds  true  even  for  any  sensation  or  emotional  feeling  that  pulls
your attention to it. In that case just notice “HOW” the movement
of mind’s attention occurs, “HOW” mind becomes distracted, and
let that distraction go.
Now, relax the tightness or tension in your head/mind, softly smile
and redirect your calm attention back to the object of meditation.
Strengthen Awareness
Learn to let go of any distraction, make a wish for your happiness,
and  then  relax  the  tightness  caused  by  the  movement  of  mind’s
attention,  and  redirect  your  smiling  tranquil  attention  back  to
the  feeling  of  being  happy.  Every  time  you  return  to  the  Loving-
kindness  and  make  that  wish  and  smile,  you  are  strengthening
your  mindfulness  (observation  power).  Please,  don’t  criticize
yourself because you think that you “should” do better, or that your

thoughts, feeling, sensations and emotional feelings are the enemy
to be squashed and destroyed.
These kinds of critical hard-hearted thoughts and feelings contain
aversion,  and  aversion  is  the  opposite  of  the  practice  of  “Loving-
Acceptance”. Loving-kindness and Loving-Acceptance are different
words that say basically the same thing. So please be kind to yourself.
Make this a fun kind of game to play with, not an enemy to fight
The  importance  of  relaxing  the  tightness  or  tension  after  every
thought,  sensation,  or  emotional  feeling  can’t  be  stated  enough.
When you let go of this tightness you are letting go of craving. It
is very important to understand this because craving is the cause
of all suffering. This tightness or tension is where our wrong idea
about ego-identification occurs. This is how the personal perspective
(wrong view) arises.

Craving and Ego-Identification
Craving and the false idea of a personal “self” (“I”, “Me”, “Mine”)
always manifests as tightness or tension in your head/mind. When
you  let  go  of  tightness,  what  you  are  actually  doing  is  letting  go
of  craving  and  the  false  idea  of  a  personal  “self”.  You  are  letting
go of “ego-identification” with all of the thoughts, bodily feelings,
sensations,  and  emotional  feelings,  opinions,  concepts,  etc.  that
arise. This is referred to as clinging (upàdàna). When you let go of
this tightness in mind (craving) you don’t have clinging arise, which
means that all these thoughts, opinions, concepts, ideas, and stories
about  why  you  like  or  dislike  things  won’t  arise  to  disturb  mind
and  pull  your  attention  away  from  relaxing  and  having  fun  with
your  meditation.  This  is  how  you  purify  your  mind  and  become
happier and more uplifted, all of the time!

While you are sitting still, there may be some sensations that arise in
your body. You may feel an itch, heat, tension, a feeling of coughing
or wanting to sneeze, or pain. Please don’t move your body at all.
When such a feeling arises, your mind will immediately go to that
feeling, let’s say an itch or cough.   You  don’t  have  to  direct
mind, it goes by itself. The first thing mind does is think about the
feeling: “I wish this would go away.”... “I want this to stop bothering
me.”...  “I  hate  this  feeling.”...  “Why  doesn’t  it  just  go  away?”...  “I
want this to stop.”
Every  time  you  entertain  these  kinds  of  thought,  the  sensation
becomes bigger and more intense. It actually turns into an emergency
in your mind. Then you won’t be able to stand it anymore, and you
have  to  move.  But  the  instructions  are:  don’t  move  your  body
for  any  reason  at  all.  Watch  the  movements  of  mind’s  attention
So what can you do? You need to open up and allow the feeling to
be there, without trying to change it or make it go away:
Opening Up
First, notice that your mind’s attention has gone to the itch or cough,
etc.,  and  the  thoughts  about  that  sensation.  Now,  let  go  of  those
thoughts, simply let them be there without keeping your attention
on them. Next notice the tightness in your head/mind and relax.
Every time a sensation (or emotional feeling) arises, it is only natural
for mind to wrap a mental tight fist around it; this tight mental fist
is aversion.   So, open up and allow the itch (or emotional feeling)
to be there. Remember that it is okay if the tightness doesn’t go away
The  “Truth  (Dhamma)  of  the  present  moment”,  is  that  when  an

itch or any other sensation arises, it is there. What you do with this
Dhamma  dictates  whether  you  will  suffer  more  unnecessarily  or
not. Resisting the itch and trying to think it away, trying to make it
different than it is, produces more both subtle and gross pain.
Five Aggregates
We have five different things or bunches of things that make up this
mind/body process, they are called the Five Aggregates.
They are:
Physical Body (1.  kàya)
Feeling (2.  vedanà)
Perception (3.  sannà)
Thought (formations—4.  sankhara)
Consciousness (5.  vinnàna)
As  you  can  see  feelings,  are  one  thing  and  thoughts  (formations)
are another. If you try to control your feelings with your thoughts,
the  resistance  that  you  have  to  this  feeling  causes  it  to  get  bigger
and more intense. In fact, it becomes so big that it turns into a true
emergency (real un-satisfactoriness—dukkha), and you can’t stand
the  sensation  (or  emotional  feeling)  anymore.  Then  you  have  to
move. While you are sitting in meditation, if you move your body
even a little bit, it breaks the continuity of practice and you have to
start over again.
Letting go of the thoughts about the sensation (or emotional feeling)
means  that  you  are  letting  them  be  there  by  themselves  without
keeping  your  attention  on  them.  The  want  to  control  the  feeling
with  your  thoughts  is  only  natural,  but,  it  leads  to  immeasurable
amounts of suffering! It also means that you are letting go of craving
when you relax, which directly leads to the cessation of suffering.

Next, you notice the tight mental fist wrapped around the sensation,
and,  let  go  of  that  aversion  to  it.  Simply  allow  the  itch  or  cough
(sensation or emotional feeling) to be there by itself. See it as if it were
a bubble floating in the air and let the bubble float freely. Whichever
way the  wind blows,  the  bubble  will  float  in  that  direction.  If  the
wind  changes  and  blows  in  another  direction,  the  bubble  goes  in
that direction without any resistance at all.
This  practice  is  learning  how  to  lovingly-accept  whatever  arises
in the present moment. Now, again notice that subtle tightness or
tension  in  your  head/mind,  relax,  smile,  and  softly  redirect  your
gentle  loving  attention  back  to  the  feeling  of  radiating  love  from
your heart and making a wish for your own happiness.
The 6R’s:
The  true  nature  of  these  kinds  of  feeling  (which  includes  both
mental and emotional feelings), and sensations are that they don’t
go  away  right  away.  So,  your  mind  will  bounce  back  and  forth
from your object of meditation and to that feeling (that is smiling,
radiating the feeling of love, and then making and feeling a sincere
wish for your happiness). Every time this happens you use the 6R’s
which are:
*Recognize – *Release – *Relax – *Re-smile – *Return – *Repeat
The 6R’s is the way to remember this practice:
Recognize:  Be  alert  or  mindful  with  what  arises  in  the  present
moment.  Recognize  any  distractions  that  pull  mind’s  attention
from the meditation object.
Release: Let go of any thoughts, sensations or emotional feelings.
Remember its O.K. for that thought, sensation, or emotional feeling

to  be  there  because  that  is  the  truth  (Dhamma)  of  the  present
moment. Allow the thought, sensation, or emotional feeling to be,
without trying to make it be anything other than it is.
Relax: Relax the tightness! Let go of the tight mental fist around the
feeling and let it be. Tranquilize both body and mind.
Re-Smile:  Remember  that  this  is  a  smiling  meditation  and  it  is
helpful to smile as much as possible.
Return:  Come  back  to  your  object  of  meditation  by  gently  re-
directing  your  tranquil  attention  back  to  radiating  the  feeling  of
love,  making  a  sincere  wish  for  your  happiness,  and  feeling  that
wish in your heart.
Repeat:  Continue  on  with  your  meditation  of  radiating  Loving-
kindness,  making  and  feeling  the  wish,  and  visualizing  your
spiritual friend for as long as you can.

The Breath of Love - True Knowledge and Deliverance

The Breath of Love
Most Venerable Bhante Vimalaramsi Mahàthera

Fulfillment of True Knowledge and Deliverance

41]  “And  how,  Monks,  do  the  Seven  Enlightenment  Factors,
developed  and  cultivated,  fulfill  true  knowledge  and
42] “Here, Monks, a Monk develops mindfulness enlightenment
factor,  which  is  supported  by  seclusion,  dispassion,  and
cessation, and ripens in relinquishment.
The term “supported by seclusion” means that one must gain
the  lowest  Jhàna  (meditation  stage).  As  was  stated  above,  the
description  of  the  first  Jhàna  starts  with  “to  be  secluded  from
sensual  pleasure,  then  to  be  secluded  from  unwholesome
states”.  At  that  time,  mind  is  alert  and  stays  on  the  object  of
meditation with clarity, i.e. no distractions.

If a distraction begins to arise, mindfulness recognizes that and
lets it go. Next, the description says the happiness experienced
comes  about  by  being  born  of  seclusion.  This  is  how  the
mindfulness enlightenment factor is supported by seclusion.
Dispassion means mind is free from attachments and clinging, i.e.,
not thinking or analyzing. Gaining to the fourth Jhàna (meditation
stage) means to reach a stage of having an imperturbable mind,

or  a  mind  that  has  such  strong  equanimity  that  it  becomes
dispassionate. This is how the mindfulness enlightenment factor
is supported by dispassion.
Cessation  here  means  the  ceasing  of  defilements  and  ego-
identification with what arises.

Being  mindful  is  a  term  that  always  had  a  kind  of  slippery
meaning  and  it  is  not  what  most  people  think.  Its  meaning  is
very  simple and precise when  it  is seen as observing  mind, or
attention,  or  alertness  of  attention.  Being  truly  mindful  means
to see what mind is doing at all times, then let go of the things
that cause tension to arise in the head, relax and tranquilize both
body  and  mind.  It  includes  observing  how  this  whole  process
works and allows it to be, without getting involved in the drama
of things. Not getting involved with the drama of things means,
to not identify with, or take personally this impersonal process
or try to control the present moment.
‘Being mindful’ means ‘to lovingly open one’s mind and let go
of all identification with that distraction, then relax the tension
in the head and in mind’, so that one can see things clearly and
calmly. Whenever you try to resist or control what is happening
in  the  present  moment,  at  that  time,  you  are  fighting  with  the
‘Dhamma’ or ‘Truth of the Present Moment’.
This fighting with the reality of the present moment causes so
much un-satisfactoriness and suffering to arise. However, when
you  are  mindful  and  see  clearly  that  this  is  just  phenomena
arising and passing away, you can open up and accept it, without
hardening your mind or resisting in any way. This time, joyful
interest is very important because when mind has some joy in it
there is no anger, jealousy, aversion, fear, or anxiety, etc.

Joyful interest helps the meditator to have the proper perspective
to impersonally see what happens in the moment. When mind is
uplifted, you see that whatever arises is just part of a continuing
process which you can learn from. Joy causes mind to be uplifted,
which is why it is an enlightenment factor and very important to
one’s practice. Also, when joy is in your mind, you are pleasant
to be around.
Remember, the acronym that is very helpful to use is DROPSS.
It stands for Don’t Resist Or Push, SMILE and Soften mind and
accept everything when it occurs, because that is the ‘Dhamma
of the Moment’.
When you continue on with your practice, mind will eventually
attain to the higher and more subtle stages of meditations (Aråpa
Jhànas). At that time, mind experiences the realm of ‘nothingness’.
This is what is called cessation. It is called this because there is
nothing more to watch outside of mind. When you experience
the realm of ‘nothingness’, mind is watching nothing. But mind
is  still  there  and  the  different  enlightenment  factors  can  arise
along with the five aggregates which are affected by clinging.
Also, some hindrances can still arise and knock you out of that
exalted state. Thus, there is nothing for mind to watch outside of
itself, and yet, there is still lots to see. This is how the mindfulness
enlightenment factor is supported by cessation.
When you experience the realm of neither-perception nor non-
perception,  and  keep  opening  and  relaxing  mind,  eventually
you  will  experience  the  cessation  of  perception  and  feeling
(Nirodha-Samàpatti). During this occurrence, you will not know
this turning off of consciousness because you have no perception
or feeling at all! This is the only stage of meditation where this
phenomenon occurs. This meditation state is still mundane; it is

not the Supramundane Nibbàna yet.
How  can  you  know  what  is  happening  without  perception  or
feeling?  It  is  only  when  the  perception  and  feeling  come  back,
and  if  mindfulness  is  sharp  enough,  will  you  can  see  directly,
each and every link of Dependent Origination forwards, one by
one  as  they  occur.  Even  this  is  not  the  Supramundane  State  of
The links are:
When ignorance arises, then formations arise;
when formations arise, then consciousness arises;
when consciousness arises, mentality-materiality arises;
when  mentality-materiality  arises,  then  the  six-fold  sense  base
when the six-fold sense base arises, contact arises;
when contact arises, feeling arises;
when feeling arises, craving arises;
when craving arises, then clinging arises;
when clinging arises, then habitual tendencies arise;
when habitual tendencies arise, birth arises;
when birth arises, then old age, death arises.
After this arising phenomenon ends, and at that point, you will
experience  the  cessation  of  the  Dependent  Origination,  which
goes like this:
When ignorance ceases, formations will not arise;
when formations cease, consciousness will not arise;
when consciousness ceases, mentality/materiality will not arise
when the six-fold sense base ceases, contact will not arise;
when contact ceases, feeling will not arise;
when feeling ceases, craving will not arise;
when craving ceases, then clinging will not arise;

when clinging ceases, then habitual tendencies will not arise;
when habitual tendencies cease, birth will not arise;
when birth ceases, old age and death, sorrow lamentation, pain,
grief, and despair, cease.
That is the end of the whole mass of suffering.

The  seeing  of  Dependent  Origination  both  forwards  and  in
reverse order leads mind to the attainment of the ‘Supramundane
This  is  where  there  is  a  major  change  in  your  outlook.  Your
mind  at  that  time  becomes  dispassionate  about  the  belief  in
a  permanent  everlasting  ego  or  self.  You  see  from  first  hand
experiential  knowledge,  that  this  is  just  an  impersonal  process
and there is no one controlling the way phenomena arise. They
arise because conditions are right for them to arise. In Buddhist
terms, this is called ‘anattà’ or not-self nature of existence.
You  also  realize  that  no  one  can  possibly  attain  sainthood  by
the practice of mere chanting words or phrases or suttas, or the
practice of having rites and rituals done for you by someone else
or by yourself. You have no more doubt about what is the correct
path  that  leads  to  the  higher  stages  of  purity  of  mind  towards
Arahatship. This is how you become a Sotàpanna and attain the
true path of purification.
There is no other way to attain these exalted stages of being. It
is  only  through  the  realization  of  the  Noble  Truths  by  seeing
Dependent Origination. Merely seeing the three characteristics
will  not  now,  nor  ever  be  the  experience  which  leads  to  the
‘Supramundane Nibbàna’.
This is why all of the Buddha’s appear in the world, to show the
way to realizing the Four Noble Truths.

He develops the mindfulness enlightenment factor….
The investigation of experience enlightenment factor ...
the energy enlightenment factor...
the joy enlightenment factor...
the tranquility enlightenment factor...
the stillness enlightenment factor...
the equanimity enlightenment factor,
which  is  supported  by  seclusion,  disenchantment,  dispassion,
and cessation, which ripens in relinquishment.
ânàpànasati Sutta:
43]  “Monks,  that  is  how  the  Seven  Enlightenment  Factors,
developed  and  cultivated,  fulfill  true  knowledge  and
Since this sutta describes the Four Foundations of Mindfulness
and the Seven Enlightenment Factors, the author will conclude
with  the  last  part  of  the  Satipatthàna  Sutta.  This  is  taken  from
the Majjhima Nikàya sutta number 10, sections 46 to 47. It says:
46)  “Monks,  if  anyone  should  develop  these  Four  Foundations
of Mindfulness in such a way for seven years, one of two fruits
could be expected for him: either final knowledge here and now,
or if there is a trace of clinging left, non-return.”
This  means  attaining  to  the  state  of  being  an  Anàgàmã  or  non-
“Let alone seven years, Monks. If anyone should develop these
four foundations of mindfulness in such a way for six years... for
five years... for four years... for three years... for two years... for
one year, one of two fruits could be expected for him: either final
knowledge  here  and  now,  or  if  there  is  a  trace  of  clinging  left,

“Let alone one year, Monks. If anyone should develop these Four
Foundations  of  Mindfulness  in  such  a  way  for  seven  months...
for  six  months...  for  five  months...  for  four  months...  for  three
months...  for  two  months...  for  one  month...  for  a  half  month
...,  one  of  two  fruits  could  be  expected  for  him:  either  final
knowledge  here  and  now,  or  if  there  is  a  trace  of  clinging  left,
“Let  alone  half  a  month,  Monks.  If  anyone  should  develop
these Four Foundations of Mindfulness in such a way for seven
days,  one  of  two  fruits  could  be  expected  for  him:  either  final
knowledge  here  and  now,  or  if  there  is  a  trace  of  clinging  left,
47) “So, it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘Monks,
this is a ‘direct path’ …
Some  translations  say  ‘This  is  the  only  way’,  but  that  doesn’t
say it in the correct way—a direct path or way, says this much
more clearly and with less confusion.
… for the purification of beings, for the surmounting of sorrow
and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and grief, for the
attainment  of  the  true  way,  for  the  realization  of  Nibbàna—
namely, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.’
That  is  what  the  Blessed  One  said.  The  Monks  were  satisfied
and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.”
This is a pretty big claim which is not made up by the author.
He is only reporting what is in the suttas. When you are serious
about the practice of developing mind through the ‘Tranquility’
of the ‘Mindfulness of Breathing’, you can reach the final goal.
When you reach the first pleasant abiding (the first Jhàna) and
if you continue on with their practice, you have the potential to

attain either the stage of ‘Anàgàmã’ or ‘Arahat’. This is what the
Buddha said. If you are ardent, and continues without changing
or stopping in your practice, then surely you will reach the goal
which is described.
Again,  remember  that  the  only  way  to  attain  the  Supramundane
Nibbàna is by realizing Dependent Origination both forwards and
in reverse order. There is no other way because this is the seeing and
realizing of the Four Noble Truths which forms the main teaching of
the Buddha. Great fruits and benefits accrue to those who practice
according to the instructions prescribed by the Buddha.
SâDHU... SâDHU... SâDHU....
If  there  are  any  mistakes  in  this  book,  the  author  takes  full
responsibility  and  requests  that  these  mistakes  be  pointed  out
to  him.  The  sincere  wish  of  the  author  is  that  all  who  practice
meditation, will continue on with their efforts until they reach
the highest and best state possible, that is, the attainment of Final
Liberation, the Supramundane Nibbàna.
May all those who are sincere, know and understand the Four
Noble  Truths  and  Dependent  Origination  through  direct
knowledge, attain the highest goal. May all practitioners of the
Buddha’s path, realize all of the links of Dependent Origination
quickly,  and  easily  in  this  very  lifetime;  so  that  their  suffering
will soon be overcome.
* * * * * * *
The author would like to share the merit accrued by the writing
of this book with his parents, relatives, helpers and all beings so
that they can eventually attain the highest Bliss and be free from
all suffering

Sharing of Merit
May suffering ones be suffering free
And the fear struck fearless be.
May the grieving shed all grief
And may all beings find relief.
May all beings share in this merit
That we have thus acquired
For the acquisition of
all kind of happiness.
May beings inhabiting space and earth
Devas and Nagas of mighty power
Share in this merit of ours.
May they long protect
the Buddha’s Dispensation.
Sàdhu! Sàdhu! Sàdhu!
[1] The author refers to the ânàpànasati Sutta, which includes
the  Four  Foundations  of  Mindfulness,  as  well  as  the  Seven
Enlightenment Factors.
[2] See Thus Have I Heard. The Long Discourses of the Buddha,
translated  by  Maurice  Walshe,  Wisdom  Publications  (1987),
[3]  See  Mahàsaccaka  Sutta,  sutta  number  36  of  Majjhima
[4] This means all nine of them! They are the four material Jhànas,
the four immaterial Jhànas and the cessation of perception and
[5]  Here,  the  word  ‘Jhàna’  carries  the  meaning  of  absorption
concentration (appanà samàdhi), or access concentration (upacàra
samàdhi)— This is the stage right before mind becomes absorbed

into the object of meditation. These are the standard definitions
as given by other teachers.
[6] In this context, it only means absorption (appanà samàdhi) and
not access concentration (upacàra samàdhi).
[7] Some meditation teachers call this momentary concentration
or moment-to-moment concentration (khanika samàdhi)
[8] Notice the plural form of the word sutta—this means seeing
the agreement many times.
[9] This ceremony marks the end of the rains retreat where the
Bhikkhus  gathered  together  to  confess  any  slight  wrong  doing
which they may have committed.
[10] This refers to talking and idle gossip. The Bhikkhus waited
patiently,  and  quietly  doing  their  own  meditation  practices  of
expanding the silent mind and having clear mindfulness while
waiting for the Buddha to speak.
[11]  This  refers  to  mindfulness  of  the  body,  mindfulness  of
feelings,  mindfulness  of  consciousness,  and  mindfulness  of
mind objects.
[12]  For  example,  see  Mahàsakuludayi  Sutta,  sutta  number  77
and Anupada Sutta, sutta number 111. Both of these suttas are
found in the Majjhima Nikàya.