Thursday, 27 February 2014

Burma Yatra #2, Day 16: "Webu Sayadaw was right, as always..."

Happy Pilgrims arrive in Sagaing

The following excerpt was written by an American yogi about the pilgrimage in Burma. To read about the previous day with Burmese nuns in Sagaing, go here. To read about the first pilgrimage group's experience as they explored Sagaing, see here. You can also consider joining a later pilgrimage in Burma.

In a scene harkening back to the Buddha's time, pilgrims gather under the pleasant shade of a tree to take in a translated Dhamma discourse of a local Sayadaw

"Last night, a few pilgrims, sheparded by the kind European monk and accompanied by U Silananda, completed an evening of the sitter's practice at a local monastery in the Sagaing Hills.

The cave, carved into a cliffside, is where a reputed arahant is said to have spent many years. It has a sweet supportiveness to it, a refreshing change from the jangling at Ingyinbin.

The monastery next door had Patthana chanting on loudspeaker 24-7. According to the Sayadaw, this is only the second time this has happened in twenty years. Fortunately we had some good practice at Ingyinbin, where at times three separate loudspeakers from the eight villages would be going off at the same time.

As one Sayadaw said, "to come to Sagaing, you always needed two things: water and sila." Before the last generation, small Sagaing monasteries only survived by storing rain water during the Rainy Season, and having to have a big enough tank for it last throughout the year. For this reason, all of the Sagaing Hills monasteries today still have these old water tanks on their grounds.
The sit was quite sweet. The evening started with a 7pm group sit and a discourse by Goenkaji, and was punctuated by a midnight and 5am group sit. At around 1am, the weather outside was so lovely (warm with a gentle breeze and full moon) that a few of us sat outside for a bit.

Although there were some good tussles with drowsiness during the extended sit, most of us felt surprisingly fresh in the morning.

Webu Sayadaw was right, as usual..."

To read about the following day in Mingun, see here.

Following are more pictures of the pilgrims' experience in the Sagaing Hills. Click any to enlarge them.

A Sayadaw received visitors, including and American monk (far left), who have come to pay respects and offer dana.
Pilgrims are treated to a special Question and Answer section with a Sayadaw from the Sagaing Hills
The beautiful sites among the Sagaing Hills, around which the one day meditation course took place

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