Saturday, 20 September 2014

Panditarama Forest Centre

Built on more than 100 acres of forest and containing three natural lakes, this center, presided over by Sayadaw U Pandita, has beautifully landscaped gardens and other areas (including one long terrace) conducive to walking meditation. The site was originally covered with bamboo groves, and then replanted as a rubber plantation. Some of the buildings are a bit rustic, although renovations are currently underway that will allow each meditator his or her own individual room or cabin, with an adjoining bathroom.

The area of where this center now sits was quite important to U Pandita’s own early spiritual training. He first studied as a young monk at the nearby Mahabodhi Forest Monastery. For many years, he thought of building a forest meditation center in this area, and in recent years he was able to fulfill that dream, creating a center that now welcomes large numbers of Burmese and foreign yogis. As one yogi shared, “The stillness, clean air, freshwater springs, and fertile land create almost perfect conditions for a meditation center.” 

Monks on alms round in Hmawbi

The center serves nutritious vegetarian fare and freshly made local juices in the evenings. Hse Gone Center usually conducts 60-day silent meditation retreats each winter, during which the Sayadawgyi himself stays at the center to monitor progress and deliver daily Dhamma talks. In the words of one yogi, these are “based on Sayadaw U Pandita's deep practical experience and understanding of the Theravada Buddhist canon… [they] provide yogis with the practical and theoretical information they need for intensive satipaṭṭhāna vipassanā meditation practice.”

Yogis can get to the Hse Gone center by taxi, and can inquire about other transportation options from the center. For public transport, take the public bus towards Bago and get off at Sae Mi Gone Hill around 10th Mile; the center is just under two miles away from there. The telephone is 0949450787, 095300885, 095302500.

Novices study the scriptures

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