Friday, 22 January 2016

A Glaring Omission


Shwe Lan Ga Lay's underlying mission has been to illuminate and discuss the Dhamma as it is practiced in the Golden Land of Burma (Myanmar). Although Burmese Buddhists are greatly welcoming to the foreign meditator, and eager to share the wealth of the Buddha's teachings, due to recent history, the country has been rather inaccessible for some time. As it now opens up for investment, tourism, and other opportunity, we hope that its Dhammic venues may also open to foreign spiritual seekers, and that Burma's greatest export may benefit the many suffering people around the world. 

Bhikkhu Agga recently found an example of the startling lack of knowledge available about the country when trying to access it from abroad. He noted that the current Wikipedia entry for Mogok Sayadaw comes up with no information. A separate search for his Pali name, U Vimala, brings one to a very basic biography (of which much of what is written is not accurate to begin with). By comparison, this is about three times smaller than the entry for the one-hit-wonder American rapper Young MC, who had only a brief moment of stardom nearly three decades ago.

Mogok Sayadaw was one of Burma's greatest monks, a part of the patipatti movement in the postwar era, a reputed Arahant (fully enlightened person), and a key member of the so-called Golden Generation of monks and meditation teachers (which also included Thae Ingu Sayadaw, Mahasi Sayadaw, Webu Sayadaw, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, Sun Lun Sayadaw, etc.). What is more, the Mogok technique is the most popular tradition today in Myanmar, with over 800 Mogok monasteries in the country alone. That such a paucity of information is available about this highly historically important individual who single-handedly spread the Dhamma to literally millions of practitioners is, if not surprising, then highly unfortunate. Just as many Burmese venerate the great work of Mogok Sayadaw today, so also may foreign yogis who yearn for liberation, even if they practice according to different lineages, traditions, and techniques. 

For those who wish to learn more about the Burma-Dharma, consider downloading the free version of Part 1. For those who would like to support our volunteer project, more help is always needed, and will greatly appreciated for the benefit of future readers.