Thursday, 18 October 2018

Sutta Study with Dr. Nandamālābhivaṃsa

The following message concerns registration in the free sutta course led by one of Myanmar's premier monastic scholars.


2019 Feb - Sutta Course by Venerable Sayadaw Dr. Nandamālābhivaṃsa

Dear Dhamma friends,Hope this mail finds you very well and happy in the Dhamma.

This is Bhikkhu Rāhula and Caraṇapālī (Heidi) writing concerning Rector Sayadawgyi Dr. Nandamālābhivaṃsa’s coming English Dhamma Course in February 2019.

Below are some details of the course:

Topic: Pārāyana Vagga

Date: 7th- 20th Feb, 2019 (please arrive the latest on the 6th evening)

Location: Dhammavinaya center, Hlegu [near Yangon]

Language: English

Open to: International Dhamma students who are interested and have some basic Dhamma knowledge

If you are interested in joining the course please fill in and submit the following form.

Registration for limited spaces will be opened until end of January 2019 on a first-come first-serve basis, once the course if full, applications will be kept in waiting list.

After submission, if you need to edit or update any information on your form such as the date of arrival or departure, you can come back to this email and click edit response to update your information.

If you have any trouble filling in the form or if you need a visa sponsorship letter, please kindly contact us at:

Thank you very much for your attention.

Sending our best regards and looking forward to seeing you in the course.

Bhikkhu Rāhula & Anāgārika Caraṇapālī

See here for more details:

Saturday, 6 October 2018

"The Meditator's Guide to Burma, Part 2".... moves to layout!

The Meditator's Guide to Burma, "The Golden Path" or Shwe Lan Ga Lay, was begun in April 2013, originally believed to only take a few months in duration to complete. Envisioned as 14 separate chapters, the dana project was intended to help spiritual seekers find access and gain understanding to some of the country's special Dhamma locations.

In 2015, Part 1 was released, with four completed chapters, providing a cursory look at planning and arriving in the Golden Land. As the years stretched on and the core team of volunteer contributors persevered in the work, the five new chapters included in Part 2 took shape as something above and beyond-- clocking in at nearly three times the site, the team undertook intensive research to provide unprecedented access and information about important Burmese and Shan Buddhist sites far outside of the normal tourist-- and even known meditator-- path.

As Jenny Phillips, creator of The Dhamma Brothers comments, "A Myanmar Guide for Dhamma Seekers, with its hauntingly beautiful photographs, is much more than a travel guide. It becomes a deeply experiential inner map toward finding wholeness beyond our limited sense of self in a world of impermanence and interdependence.” Or as the American nun Sayalay Daw Candavatī, creator of the documentary, The Golden Land of Myanmar, puts it: "You, dear reader, dear seeker, have a treasure before you. This book is a gift of untold blessings as you step into the world of a unique spiritual journey that is found with such depth in Burma. You have no idea how much this book will help you."

Four main regions are included in this work... Shan State, Around Mandalay (see above image), Around Yangon, and Mandalay. Each region is then broken further in terms of towns and districts, uncovering a plethora of pagodas, caves, meditation centers, monasteries, nunneries and much more which give a different glimmer into the wealth behind Myanmar's nearly 1,000 year Buddhist history. From anecdotes to monastic biographies to poetry to history recounted to original artwork and photography, there is certainly something in these pages for everyone.

Hundreds of pages are devoted to such topics as the lineage behind S.N. Goenka, particularly Webu Sayadaw, Saya Thet Gyi, and Ledi Sayadaw; the early days, education, and first teachings of Mahasi Sayadaw in Seikkhun; the unique development and practice of dhamma as found among the Shan people; the ethno-religious connotations behind such historically significant sites as Maha Muni Pagoda and the five Buddha images of Inle Lake; the development of Buddhist monastic education as practiced at Mahagandayone Monastery in Amarapura, and much more.

The volunteers behind this effort seek no renumeration, and the electronic copies will be freely available when layout is completed. However, no physical copy is as yet possible, and donors interested in helping in this area are encouraged to write at

May all volunteers be happy, peaceful and liberated!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Spring Break... Forever?

Kory Goldberg describes his experience upon encountering Myanmar Spring Breakers during this Dhamma pilgrimage:

“We visited [Thanboddhay] pagoda and had a great spontaneous meeting with a group of 300 college students. Unlike the stereotypical partier college students in the West, this bunch of kids was gentle and child-like and infused with Dhamma—so much so that they wanted to take refuge in the Triple Gem and recite the Five Precepts together!” 

An Inyinbin Funeral

“When we arrived in the village center, we came across a large float built to hold a coffin. Venerable Yassa's aunt had recently died, and he was back in Ingynbin from Mandalay to participate in the funeral procession and practice the asubha contemplation. One of the pilgrims asked the monk of twenty-five rainy seasons how he felt. He admitted that he felt sad, but he did not cry since he had so much Buddhist practice under his belt. He said he felt happy also at this moment, for he had helped to teach Dhamma to his aunt, and he knew that she had lived a pure and virtuous life.

The procession itself was neither solemn nor sad, but rather festive with lots of joking and laughter... The float was then disassembled, the body removed from the coffin and placed on to the pyre. We then all moved to a nearby site where we were all given lychee juice while taking refuge in the Triple Gem and five precepts, followed by an asubha-based discourse.

Initially, I felt bad that we were given the seats of honor at a funeral of a person we did know and that the translations stretched out the event for our sake, but when realizing that all the locals were so pleased to have us there, all such thoughts vanished. As the chanting and discourse commenced, the smell of burning flesh wafted through the air. When the discourse was over, we met Yassa's cousin [the deceased’s son], also a monk, and uncle who we met earlier. This time, however, the elderly farmer was no longer grinning from ear to ear as the direct realization of what was happening began to sink in. His son, the monk, looked devastated, despite wearing the armor of a bhikkhu. We then walked over to watch the corpse burn and reflect on the vulnerability of life and inevitability of death.” Kory Goldberg, Canadian yogi

Monday, 30 April 2018

Playing in the Rain, in the (muddy) footsteps of Saya Thet Gyi

“I was in Yangon when Cyclone Nargis hit in 2008. It was terrible. As soon as I could, I headed to Pyaw Bwe Gyi to see how Saya Thet Gyi’s tazaung had fared. The dock on Yangon River had been torn away but was still—barely—standing. It will sound like I’m making this up but I swear I’m not: passengers literally had to crawl from the twisted wreckage of the dock onto the upper story of the ferry, because there were only a couple feet of empty space where the two came together. When I got to Pyaw Bwe Gyi the tazaung was in fairly good shape, although the village itself was not. The most curious thing was this Spanish yogi who had been there through it all. He hardly seemed to register what had taken place. He was continuing with his self-course undisturbed, and said that he had been taking his morning walk to breakfast when the worst of the cyclone struck. He found it rather amusing that my friend and I were making such a big to-do about the whole thing.” –American expat in Yangon, 2008

Below, village children play outside of Anauk Monastery, where Saya Thet Gyi taught until 1945.

Institute of Dhamma Education in the Sagaing Hills

Please note the following important announcement from Bhikkhu Rāhula, Caraṇapālī in the Sagaing Hills:

Dear Venerables and Dhamma friends,

Hope this message finds you well and happy in the Dhamma.

This is to inform you that due to the schedule of Sayadawgyi, the coming IDE Dhamma course on "Theragāthā and Therīgāthā" will be postponed to February 2019 tentatively.

(dates are to be confirmed)

There will be no course in the coming November, 2018. We will inform you as soon as we have updated information concerning the next course. Please contact us to reserve a place in this course.

With much mettā,

Bhikkhu Rāhula, Caraṇapālī

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Webu and U Ba Khin: An Extraordinary Friendship

Much has been written about the special Dhamma relationship between Sayagyi U Ba Khin and Webu Sayadaw. Here is Gustaaf Houtman's take on it:

"Nonetheless, good meditation teachers establish credibility with their pupils by demonstrating their knowledge of the scriptures. 
But U Ba Khin, whose Buddhist knowledge was primarily based on self-taught experience, needed to have his competence in scriptural learning confirmed by third parties, mainly by monks. U Ba Khin's knowledge of scriptural learning was established indirectly from famous learned monks such as the Webu Sayadaw and others, who appear every once in a while in the hagiography to sanction U Ba Khin's teachings as correct. His work `Scriptural learning is the basis of practice' recorded Webu Sayadaw's teachings, and visiting famous monks (in particular Webu Sayadaw himself) sanctioned it; this helped confirm U Ba Khin's teachings as scripturally correct. Above all, however, U Ba Khin's quality of scriptural learning was borrowed from his teacher lineage, the practice side of a lineage combining scriptural learning and practice earlier on. So though U Ba Khin advocated meditation as a layman for laymen, the monk was crucial to the U Ba Khin life as described in the hagiography; he sought permission to teach from monks, for his funeral monk's advice was sought, and so on."

Stay tuned for the upcoming Shwe Lan Ga Lay Part 2, the meditator's guide to Burma, in which we discuss the relationship and influences of these two great men in extraordinary detail, and how this affected the worldwide transmission of the Dhamma.