Episode 47 :: Ron Stillman :: Twelve Insights

| January 14, 2011 | 3 Comments

Ron Stillman

Today we speak about the Twelve Insights of the Four Noble Truths with our friend Ron Stillman.

One of the most overlooked aspects of our tradition, sometimes overshadowed by the unique strength of the Four Noble Truths, is another numerical designation of the Twelve Insights. These insights bring with them an expansion of how we understand and put the Four Noble Truths into practice. Each Truth has three Insights, one of explanation about what it is, that is must be understood, and that it has been understood.

When taken together, these Twelve Insights bring a depth and richness to the meaning and practicality to what is often misunderstood as the mere philosophical aspect, or dogmatic expression, of Buddhism.

Ron Stillman was raised as a Mormon, and began to question that tradition, eventually leaving it in search of a practice that resonated with him. His early experiences in vipassana retreats helped him learn that he could let go “of the story”. Through this practice and deep study of the Pali canon, Ron found himself questioning certain aspects of the teaching, and how they apply to our real world, daily lives. Ron is an active participant in study groups on Buddhist theory and practice, and is a contributor on The Secular Buddhist FaceBook fan page.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice snow cone. Flavor of your choice, but it’s winter, and I’m snowed in for the weekend, so snow cones for everyone!

:: Discuss this episode ::


“This teaching is something we need to do.” — Ron Stillman



Web Links


Music for This Episode

Shakuhachi Meditations

Shakuhachi Meditations

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez’s upcoming CD, Shakuhachi Meditations. The tracks used in this episode are:

  • Lady of the Snow

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Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

Comments (3)

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  1. Keren Dar Keren Dar says:

    Thank you for this podcast,
    I could relate to a lot of what Ron went thru, broken connection of family. Fundamental frameworks.
    Intuitive faith in a practice and gaining insights from those passages and choices in life.

    I thank you for this particulary I realise how fragile and frail life is,
    so many books so little time.

    There is a course in this very sutta comming up in my area;
    I was deliberating in attending;
    double translation from Sanskrit to English to Hebrew is kinda cumbersome;
    and it has helped me to focus where to put my energy and attention, given the vast material out there.


  2. Jennifer Hawkins Jennifer Hawkins says:

    Ok, so I actually followed the link, sat down, and listened to this one a couple of times (I have issues with concentration, so it’s hard to listen to a podcast like this and really absorb it all in one sitting, lol). Anyways, I’m glad I did. I hadn’t heard of the Twelve Insights yet.I had a hard time really following them in this format, but I went here:


    and really got a lot from this part:

    “The cessation of dukkha should be realized
    Ajahn Sumedho states: “To allow this process of cessation to work, we must be willing to suffer. This is why I stress the importance of patience. We have to open our minds to suffering, because it is in embracing suffering that suffering ceases. When we find that we are suffering, physically or mentally, then we go to the actual suffering that is present. We open completely to it, welcome it, concentrate on it, allowing it to be what it is. That means we must be patient and bear with the unpleasantness of a particular condition. We have to endure boredom, despair, doubt and fear in order to understand that they cease rather than running away from them.”[68]”

    In my case, I’m weary of investing in relationships because I don’t want to be hurt, but in order to experience the good, I have to be willing to face that initial suffering. Also, I kind of need to be less rigid in my thinking to begin with and to recall that all dukkha ceases because all is impermanent.

    (Ok, maybe it’s early in the morning where I am, I’m tired, and I’m babbling.) But my point is… thank you for bringing the Twelve Insights to my attention. I think I will get something transformative out of it. This was a good podcast, and I’m glad that you also made these discoveries and that they had such a big impact on your life too.

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