Friday, 7 November 2014

Sitagu Sayadaw and President Obama


The great venerable monk Sayadaw U Nyanissara, more commonly known as Sitagu Sayadaw, is by far the most famous and well-known monk of Burma today. It is then no surprise that President Obama sought out a personal audience with the monk during his brief one-day visit to Myanmar in 2012. Now at Sitagu Academy, the innovative free Buddhist university run by U Nyanissara, this portrait with the American president hangs in a prominent place. As President Obama plans to return to visit the Golden Land next week, he may again take the time to consult and pay respects to the great monk.

For those students of S.N. Goenka, one may also remember their dear friendship over the years. U Nyanissara stayed at Dhamma Giri for three months many years ago, where he wrote a biography of Ledi Sayadaw, and he later led 500 monks in scattering Goenkaji's ashes in the Ayeyarwaddy River. It may be fitting that the first (and second) groups to hold meditation sittings in the new Sitagu Vipassana Center in the Sagaing Hills were pilgrims on the Pariyatti pilgrimage.