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Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:22 pm
by Khalil Bodhi
Hi All,

I have heard some criticisms of late of Bhante Vimalaramsi and would be interested in hearing why some people have an issue or issues with him. I haven't heard him personally attack any other teachers so would appreciate links to the same if possible. In addition, his techniques seem sound to me but I may be wrong. I ask because I have been experimenting with his teachings so I am personally invested in knowing all there is to know about him as a teacher. Metta.

Mike

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:11 pm
by Brizzy
I am personally considering doing a retreat in March with Bhante Vimalaramsi, so I to am interested. I don't think Bhante makes any direct criticism of other modern teachers, though he did abandon Mahasi training. Bhante is also very dismissive of a lot of commentarial teaching and the practices founded upon them. Personally I think he teaches very practically and relates the practice he teaches very well to the suttas.

Metta

:smile:

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:21 pm
by 2600htz
Hello,

I imagine most of the criticism comes because he doesn´t agree with some instructions of the Visuddhimagga and he openly talks about it, so its to be expected that the ones who agree with those instructions will reply his statements, creating a discussion. It would be weird if that didn´t happend.

Personally i think he is a really good teacher, but u might look other topics where the subject is discussed in this forum.

With metta.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:05 pm
by tiltbillings
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... imalaramsi" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... imalaramsi" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:16 pm
by befriend
read my post called breakthrough in the general theravadan section. bhante vimalaramsi teaches from the suttas not from commentary. there is a relax step that is a huge component of the meditation. when you relax the tension in the mind, you are letting go of craving. as is taught by buddha, buddha says "tranquilizing bodily formations" i was doing this TWIM as bhante teaches tranquil wisdom insight meditation doing metta, and had an insight about non self. it is samatha and vipassana yoked together. bhante vimalaramsi does not teach samatha first, and then vipassana. it is a see for yourself meditation. try it before you make an opinion on it.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:35 pm
by tiltbillings
befriend wrote:read my post called breakthrough in the general theravadan section. . . .
I have read it. A couple of things. If you find his method works for you, then certainly wholeheartedly work with it, and you certainly do not need to pay any attention to what I or anyone else has to say, if you do not want to. One thing, however, to keep in mind is that there are those who have worked with the methods that Vimalaramsi criticized and have found them to be as efficacious in their lives as you have found Vimalaramsi's methods to be in yours. That is just one of those interesting things that helps put things into some sort of perspective.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:35 pm
by befriend
tilt billings are you talking from experience when you critique bhante vimalaramsi have you meditated with his instruction? i have had insights into nonself which made me see that my hunger was not self. this is from doing metta with the relaxation step. it is samatha yoked with vipassana. try it dont try it do whatever you want, but you should know critisizing things you dont know about is ignorant.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:37 pm
by Brizzy
I read your posts on the above links with interest, so does calling Bhante's video 'crap on so many levels' fall in line with the first part of your signature?

Metta

:smile:

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:43 pm
by tiltbillings
Brizzy wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... imalaramsi" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... imalaramsi" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I read your posts on the above links with interest, so does calling Bhante's video 'crap on so many levels' fall in line with the first part of your signature?

Metta

:smile:
If it offended you, my apologies. I would have to say I was offended by Vimalaramsi's rather unfortunate dismissal of other teaching monks as well as his distortion of Buddhaghosa, and one certainly could characterize my response as an intemperate reaction. If you want to continue to litigate this issue, please do so in the thread in question. There is no need to repeat all of this over again in this thread.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:53 pm
by tiltbillings
befriend wrote:tilt billings are you talking from experience when you critique bhante vimalaramsi have you meditated with his instruction? i have had insights into nonself which made me see that my hunger was not self. this is from doing metta with the relaxation step. it is samatha yoked with vipassana. try it dont try it do whatever you want, but you should know critisizing things you dont know about is ignorant.
There is really nothing new or unique in what Vimalaramsi is teaching here in terms of meditation practice, but keep in mind, I am not criticizing his practice instructions. I am criticizing his distortion of the Buddhaghosa story and his rather flippant dismissal of other teaching monks. One could easily say to you, if you have not done these other practices, you cannot criticize them, but also keep in mind that things are never that simple.

If may be that there is nothing wrong at all with the other teacher's method. While the other teachers method work for others, it may not work for you. Or it is maybe a matter of connecting with a particular teacher on a personal level that makes the difference, but that does not mean that other teachers are of lesser capabilities or understandings.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:29 pm
by tiltbillings
This PM might help clarify my pointed criticism:
I personally couldn't care less about Buddhaghosa's teachings and if they do or they don't fit into the Buddha's teachings.
That is not the issue. The issue I responded to in the talk I transcribed is V's gross distortion of the Buddhaghosa story in order to impeach Buddhaghosa teachings, which basically is an ad hominem attack and it lacks intgerity. Also, the snide, flippant attitude towards other teachers, both in terms what was said, how it was said and the body language. It also comes across as self-aggrandizing. It is all there in the video. That is the crap to which I am referring.

The issue here, for me, is not that he is rejecting the commentaries. Ven Nanananda goes straight to the suttas, rejecting commentarial explanations, and Ven Bodhi often calls the commentaries into question, all of which is fine with me.

Do you see my point here? You do not have to agree with it, but it would be nice if you got the point I am trying to make in my criticism of V.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:37 pm
by Khalil Bodhi
Tilt,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question with great links and by pin-pointing your problem with Bhante V. I, too, find it troubling but do like the technique. You mentioned you were familiar with other teachers who employ a similar "smile and relax" method and, if you happen to remember them and don't mind sharing their names I'd appreciate it.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:06 pm
by ancientbuddhism
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Hi All,

I have heard some criticisms of late of Bhante Vimalaramsi and would be interested in hearing why some people have an issue or issues with him. I haven't heard him personally attack any other teachers so would appreciate links to the same if possible. In addition, his techniques seem sound to me but I may be wrong. I ask because I have been experimenting with his teachings so I am personally invested in knowing all there is to know about him as a teacher. Metta.

Mike
What criticisms have you heard? I don’t have time to watch youtube or read all the buzz, but I have met bhante on occasion at saṅgha functions and had conversations with him. His pragmatic interpretation of ānāpānasati has been useful for some. My only criticism would be that the interpretation is a bit too narrow with reference to its greater context in the Nikāyas.

With reference to 'attacks on other teachers', he can be rather outspoken with criticisms of other teachers (and lack of scholarly evidence in some assertions), I just hope these aren’t with regard to private matters within the saṅgha community.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:09 pm
by Khalil Bodhi
Hi ancientbuddhism,

The main criticisms are I heard were with regard to his approach to other teachers and the commentaries. Nothing to do with his observance of the patimokkha. Mettaya.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:03 pm
by ancientbuddhism
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Hi ancientbuddhism,

The main criticisms are I heard were with regard to his approach to other teachers and the commentaries. Nothing to do with his observance of the patimokkha. Mettaya.

When he broke from his connection to Burmese Vipassanā to form his own sutta based method this could have been done without throwing rocks at the commentaries or other traditions, as this only wastes time and detracts from what one is offering, in my opinion. But because his criticisms of the commentaries lack accuracy (and criticism of traditions requires the same), his credibility is lost on some, even though he does aim at the same culprit (as some have here on DW recently) – that of a contemplative method based on a commentarial mindset, rather than the Buddha’s teachings.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:44 pm
by Khalil Bodhi
Hi ancientbuddhism,

Thank you for your post and your opinion. Mettaya!

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:07 am
by Brizzy
Hi Tilt,

Having stated that this subject should not be pursued on this thread, you then go and further it, using my pm!
Since you saw fit to use a portion of my pm on your post, I thought it only fair to post the full message to put it in context.
Hi Tilt,

No need to apologise, I am not offended at all. I would point out though, that if I have ever put up a post that said 'Goenka talks crap on so many levels', I would certainly not be in a position to pm you now. Even this pm is a result of what would happen if I made the above comments in a posting.
Having said that I do not think it should be a free for all, but there should be a balance in what one 'school' is allowed to say about the other and what another 'school' is not. I think one of the main causes for contention is that people of my ilk are concerned that the Buddha's teachings are being/have been changed. I personally couldn't care less about Buddhaghosa's teachings and if they do or they don't fit into the Buddha's teachings. I would much prefer to refer to the original suttas and have contemporary teachers, who I can relate to, to explain things. I don't see the point of having contemporary teachers explaining a commentary that is meant to explain the suttas. There seems to be one level to many there. It might make people think that the Buddha was a poor teacher.

Metta
Your contention is that you have issue with.........
V's gross distortion of the Buddhaghosa story in order to impeach Buddhaghosa teachings, which basically is an ad hominem attack and it lacks intgerity. Also, the snide, flippant attitude towards other teachers, both in terms what was said, how it was said and the body language.
This is your contention, not fact.

Metta

:smile:

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:25 am
by tiltbillings
Brizzy wrote:Hi Tilt,

Having stated that this subject should not be pursued on this thread, you then go and further it, using my pm!
Since you saw fit to use a portion of my pm on your post, I thought it only fair to post the full message to put it in context.
And it was not identified as being your msg and full context makes no difference to my point.
Brizzy wrote:Your contention is that you have issue with.........
V's gross distortion of the Buddhaghosa story in order to impeach Buddhaghosa teachings, which basically is an ad hominem attack and it lacks integrity. Also, the snide, flippant attitude towards other teachers, both in terms what was said, how it was said and the body language.
This is your contention, not fact.
And it is a contention that I supported by V's own words and actions: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 40#p117352 And as I said, if you wish to re-litigate this, then please use the older thread. And again as I said, you do not have to agree with me, but the point of what I said in the PM was that my complaint about V was not his dismissal of the commentaries. It is, rather, as I said, his unnecessarily prejudicial dismissal of other teachers and his distortion of the Buddhaghosa story. Now, if you want to discuss these issues further, take it to the thread linked in the msg.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:54 am
by tiltbillings
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Tilt,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question with great links and by pin-pointing your problem with Bhante V. I, too, find it troubling but do like the technique. You mentioned you were familiar with other teachers who employ a similar "smile and relax" method and, if you happen to remember them and don't mind sharing their names I'd appreciate it.
The "smile and relax" I first heard it talked about by Joseph Goldstein during a 3 month reteat in the 70's. He said he got it from Munindra-ji.

Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:21 pm
by Khalil Bodhi
Nice. Thanks for that. Merry Christmas!