Waking Up America

This is a collection of talks given by Venerable “Luangpor” Pramote Pamojjo on his visits to America in the summers of 2012 and 2013. The talks were translated live by Jess Peter Koffman and edited afterward. Due to the nature of live translation, some content from the original Thai version may be absent and some content may be briefly expanded upon for the benefit of newcomers.

It’s a very monumental moment when people outside of our Buddhist country become interested in the Buddhist teachings. It gives us the opportunity to expand this beautiful knowledge, these beautiful teachings across the globe.

Don’t create an image in your mind of Buddhism being just about rituals and ceremonies. Buddhism is not just about rituals and ceremonies. If we study the truth of the Buddhist teachings, we’ll see that actually Buddhism is a field of study about how to develop our mind so that it can be free of suffering. Of course, there are rituals like bowing, flowers, ceremonies and all these different types of things. Yet the essence of Buddhism is about how it is that we free our mind from suffering once and for all.

If we truly understand the Buddhist teachings, what it is that the Buddha is truly teaching us, then it won’t take long in order to remove suffering from our mind. It doesn’t matter what our religion or our rituals are. If we study the Buddha’s teachings and follow them correctly, we’ll be able to free ourself from suffering. If we practice, our belief system becomes irrelevant.

I’m asking for about an hour here to talk about the essence of what the Buddha’s teachings are.

It isn’t a difficult thing to study one’s own mind. When I started practicing at seven years of age, I learned to practice making my mind quiet and still using the in and out breath. Watching the in-and-out breath, I was able to make my mind quiet. Then I would go into the world and do my daily activities and my mind would get busy again. So, I would go back and get quiet and calm, and sure enough, when back in the world, the mind got busy and stressed. It was for about 22 years that I only practiced this. I would just waver back and forth between having a busy and restless mind and then doing some meditation and making a quiet and a still mind. I didn’t get to the essence of the teachings of how to free oneself from suffering.

When I was 29 years old, I finally met my teacher that developed me further. His name was Luangpu Dune or Venerable Grandfather Dune. He told me that it’s not difficult to practice the Buddhist teaching. He said all we have to do is instead of being just a thinker and someone that is always fabricating stories in one’s mind, we come to study the mind itself and see what the mind is doing. We learn to study the mind. That’s what he taught me, to watch and study my own mind.

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