Ven Bhante Vimalaramsi
Most Venerable Bhante Vimalaraṁsi Mahāthera was born in New York and grew up in Chicago and California. He did his first Insight meditation retreat in California at the age of 28, and subsequently became a Buddhist monk in 1986 because of his keen interest in meditation. He went on to Burma in 1988 to practice intensive meditation at the famous meditation center Mahasi Yeiktha in Rangoon. Bhante then traveled to Malaysia and practiced Loving-Kindness Meditation extensively for 6 months.
In 1990, Bhante went back to Burma for more Vipassanāmeditation, 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 was said to be the final result, he became very disillusioned with the straightVipassanā method and left Burma to continue his search.
He went to Malaysia again and began teaching Loving-Kindness Meditation. In 1995, Bhante was invited to live and teach at Brickfields, the largest Theravāda monastery in Malaysia directed by K. Sri Dhammanada. There, K. Sri was so impressed by Bhante’s knowledge that he had him take over some of his talk and teaching schedule at the temple.
Bhante subsequently met with a venerable Sri Lankan monk who told him that he was teaching meditation correctly, but to stop referencing the Vissudhi Magga and just use the Suttas.
Thus, Bhante then began to study the sutta texts more thoroughly and to 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 Ānāpānasati Sutta: A Practical Guide to Mindfulness of Breathing and Tranquil Wisdom Meditation”. This book has been revised and has now been published as “The Breath of Love”.
Bhante Vimalaraṁsi came back to the USA in 1998, and he has been teaching meditation throughout the country since then. In 2003 he co-founded the United International Buddha-Dhamma Society, UIBDS. UIBDS supports the Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center located near Annapolis, Missouri, USA, where he teaches meditation from May through October each year. The balance of the year is spent traveling around the world giving retreats and talks. He is the USA representative to the World Buddhist Council of Kobe Japan and was installed in 2007.