Saturday, 28 June 2014

A Visit to Webu Monastery in Kyaukse

A life size statue of Webu Sayadaw depicts the venerable monk in a palanquin that was actually used during his lifetime. This is set next to a large Dhamma Hall where Webu would preach, before which, he always played his own recording of him chanting the Maha Sumaya Sutta, which is an invitation to devas and other celestial beings.

Kyaukse has a very important place in the story of the Venerable Webu Sayadaw. It was in Kyaukse that the venerable monk reemerged after several years of intense meditation practice, the details of which even his biographers are not clear about and which may never be satisfactorily unearthed. Webu Sayadaw would go on to reside in this area for much of the rest of his life, although when the Webu Monasteries at Ingyinbin and Shwebo were established he would stay here only for the Rains Retreat. It is also believed he attained the third stage of liberation in Kyaukse, and later gained full liberation back in his native village of Ingyinbin. U Ba Khin met Webu for the first time here, and soon after he taught his first student, the train station attendant, upon Webu Sayadaw's advice.

As Webu began to get more known throughout the country, many lay supporters sought him out and monks came here hoping to learn under him, causing this center to slowly grow into its present size, a 200-acre monastery compound. U Ko Lay ordained twice at this Kyaukse center, once in 1960 and once several years later. While the old sites of significance from Webu Sayadaw’s life are still standing on the grounds, much of the original construction has been abandoned in favor of a newer monastery where monks, nuns, and lay people currently reside. Today the monastery grounds are also home to over fifty pagodas.

This is the stone stairwell leading to the San Kyaung building, where many artifacts from the First and Second Webu Sayadaw are kept. Included here are relics, paintings, original alms bowls, and other such items. 
Foreign yogis mediate inside the very cave where Webu Sayadaw spent many of his days-- and nights-- when he first came to the Kyaukse area.

A Canadian yogi ascends the stairs to San Kyaung. Above his head one can see placards hanging. One of these was sponsored by Sayagyi U Ba Khin, and his name and family and address are listed as well.

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