Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A Meditator's Guide to Burma!!!


Earlier this year, Pariyatti released Shwe Lan Ga Lay, or "The Golden Path," a meditator's guide to Burma/Myanmar. The Foreword clearly explains the book's intent:
Shwe Lan Ga Lay’s intended audience is very simple: those seeking liberation from suffering through the Buddha’s teachings. Our goal is to humbly assist readers in deepening their practice in Myanmar, the country where we believe the Buddha’s teachings have been best preserved. Shwe Lan does not aspire or pretend to be an instruction manual for practice or a textbook on Buddhist scriptures. Rather, it is a guide to point you in the direction of Myanmar’s many great meditation masters, monks filled with wisdom, and nuns who daily live out the Buddha’s teachings.

Shwe Lan Ga Lay has been a labor of love for all concerned from the get-go. The vast majority of work on Shwe Lan Ga Lay has been done by volunteers, who have received no remuneration of any kind for this project. Additionally, all financial dana goes strictly towards covering the basic costs of the project, and sales revenue is split between project costs as well as to further support Pariyatti’s mission.

The only thing Shwe Lan asks in return is this: at the time of undertaking any meritorious action—from meditating to offering dāna to cleaning a monastery toilet—we will be very happy if you have the volition to share your merit with the book’s contributors (and happier still if we hear from you in the process).

For those who find benefit from this Part 1 early release, and would like to help us continue the work, there are two ways you can do so. First, you can join Shwe Lan as a volunteer by sending an email to us. There is always work to do, and many types of skills are needed. In particular, we can use help in the following areas: artists, layout editors, map-making, photographers, copy-editors, scholars, web designers, translators, public relations, publishing, writers, researchers, and general volunteers are always welcome. The second way support can be shown is through financial dāna for the project, which can be offered through Pariyatti’s website.

Finally, if you have already been to Myanmar, or plan to go, and are willing to help us during (or after) your trip, please let the editorial staff know! There are always “on-the-ground tasks” that need doing. Additionally, if you come across information not included in this edition, do inform us. We are constantly on the lookout to update our content, and what we have now was provided by meditators/visitors just like you.

Many pairs of eyes—Burmese and non-Burmese alike—have passed over these pages. While greatly lengthening the creative process and Shwe Lan’s timeline, the goal was to ensure that Shwe Lan Ga Lay be as accurate and respectful a portrayal of Burmese Buddhist practices and traditions, as well as Burmese culture, as possible. 

Our next step is to distribute Part 1 in e-book and printed form, as well as to release Part 2, which features literally hundreds of pagodas, monasteries, and meditation centers where pilgrims and meditators and monastics may go for practice when visiting Burma/Myanmar. 

As this volunteer-effort has taken enormous work, and still requires more continued effort, support is graciously appreciated to ensure that we can continue this project. 

The following are excerpts from Part 1: