Bhante Gunaratana: A Special Teaching on Mindfulness
In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Bhante Gunaratana, renowned meditation teacher, Buddhist monk, and author of the now-classic Mindfulness in Plain English, published by Wisdom. Born in Sri Lanka, Bhante Gunaratana was ordained at the age of twelve in the Theravada tradition. In this episode, we hear “Bhante G” (as he is affectionately called by his students) recall his early years as a precocious young monk. After suffering the tragic loss of his photographic memory when he was a teenager, Bhante G regained his mental faculties by teaching himself meditation, despite being forbidden by monastic rule. Drawing wisdom from his own experience, Bhante G shares the value of studying meditation directly from the suttas. In this extraordinary teaching, you’ll hear Bhante G recall the words of the Buddha himself as he explains the very heart of an effective mindfulness or meditation practice. Bhante G encourages a more complex understanding of central terms as bhāvanā, or cultivation, sati, or mindfulness as pre-conceptual awareness, the five aggregates, as well as the term vipassana itself. He also reminds us why sīla, samādhi, and paññā—or morality, concentration, and wisdom—are inextricably bound to one another within mindfulness and meditation, and also shares his thoughts on the wisdom of non-labeling. As part of this special episode, you can also listen to a guided meditation led by Bhante G available below.
About the Interviewee
Bhante Gunaratana was ordained at the age of twelve as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, earned his PhD in philosophy from The American University, and has led meditation retreats, taught Buddhism, and lectured widely throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is the president of the Bhavana Society in High View, West Virginia, where he lives.