Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sayagyi U Goenka pilgrimage: A Visit to Saya Thet Gyi's


A British pilgrim meets children living near Anauk Monastery in Pyaw Bwe Gyi Village, the hometown of Saya Thet Gyi. It was also here where the great lay meditation master began to teach the practice, inviting lay people to come to his zayat to study under him. Although the numbers of students were never very high, he did manage to reach a middle-age government minister named Ko Ba Khin, who would go on to open a meditation center in downtown Rangoon and teach some of the Burmese and Shan elites of the post-war society, along with a number of prominent foreigners. While Saya Thet Gyi began his teaching at the family zayat, a nearby monk later became upset that a layman would dare to teach Dhamma. Not wishing to cause any discord, Saya Thet Gyi promptly left the site entirely and was hosted by the Anauk Sayadaw, whose monastery was found in a peaceful stretch of paddy field on the other end of the village. Saya Thet Gyi actually enjoyed this new site more, as it was much quieter and away from the village's thoroughfare. The very room where he instructed Vipassana, housed a beautiful old teak-style building, is visible today and one can pay respects and meditate in this historic site. While many foreign meditators today come to Pyaw Bwe Gyi to visit his zayat, few know about Anauk Monastery-- another of the benefits of joining a pilgrimage.

To read about the previous year's pilgrimage to Pyaw Bwe Gyi, see here!