Thursday, 11 February 2016

"Waking Up Is Hard Work": A Photographic Gift of Burma to Foreign Meditators

As Shwe Lan Ga Lay is entirely a dana project, American yogi Matt Richter has generously offered to give over one month of his time to helping the project in a unique way that will benefit all future meditators. He writes:

"On the night before his awakening, the Buddha sat beneath a bodhi tree and vowed not to move until he had become liberated from suffering. It is said that he attained enlightenment upon seeing the morning star in the eastern sky.

As I watch the sunrise after a month-long meditation retreat in Myanmar, I am humbled to realize how far it is to that goal. Waking up is hard work. 

I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude to this country for valuing inner work and offering foreigners like myself the opportunity to learn from its great meditative traditions. The teachings of the Buddha are very much alive here in the Golden Land.

Due to a stroke of luck or perhaps some unexpected karmic connections, I have been given a wonderful opportunity to assist with a book project on Burmese Buddhism. As a visual pilgrimage of sorts, I plan to spend an additional two months in the country photographing important monasteries, meditation centers and sacred sites. Many of these places have played a significant role in the spread of Vipassanā, or insight meditation, and have directly influenced the growing mindfulness movement in the West.  

The project, which is almost entirely run by volunteers, will eventually culminate in the definitive guidebook for readers interested in traveling to Myanmar to practice meditation.

If you are curious about Buddhism, Burmese culture, meditation or simply want a glimpse of possibly the most photogenic country I've ever been to, I invite you to follow along at #BurmaDhamma and @shwe_lan_ga_lay.  Donations to the project can be made at the link in my profile. The project is largely funded by dāna, the Pali word for giving, so any contribution goes directly to to covering the basic costs and has a huge impact. Part 1 of the book can also be downloaded for free! Thanks for looking! 🙏"

Note: the book can be downloaded freely here, also the page where one may make any financial donations.

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