Sunday, 17 April 2016

Funeral Services for Sayadaw U Pandita

Word has come that the great Sayadaw U Pandita has passed away during Water Festival in a Bangkok hospital. Also known as the Shwe Taung Gon Sasana Yeiktha Sayadaw, he was born on July 29, 1921, and so was 94 when he passed away. As his hometown was Bago (Pegu), his body will be moved there for cremation after a large ceremony at Panditarama on April 20th. The cremation ceremony will take place in Bago on one pm on April 22nd. Foreign yogis who wish to pay their respects and attend the ceremony may request permission from the monastery to do so.

Sayadaw U Pandita lived through times that scarcely another being can imagine. He saw his country during Colonial British times, Japanese occupation, independence, military dictatorship, and fledging democracy. Perhaps more importantly, his life intersected with the great patipatti movement of the 20th century; perhaps more than "intersecting;" his energy, wisdom, and enthusiasm in so small part pushed this movement along to become what it was.

U Pandita was the student of Mahasi Sayadaw, and hand-chosen by him as one of three monks to respond to the Sri Lankan government's requests in the 1950s for trained Burmese monks to go to the island and teach Dhamma to the people. From there he began traveling internationally and to the West often, where his English ability allowed him to deliver these essential teachings of liberation to yogis around the world (and took a number of trips to International Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, to lead courses there). By the time of his passing, Panditarama had become one of the great centers and traditions of Myanmar, with a loyal and dedicated following around the world, including branches in six foreign countries. The great monk's life of Dhamma and service to Dhamma literally touched millions of beings. May he be happy and liberated!

As The Lion's Roar reported, Joseph Goldstein issues this statement following his passing:

So many of us here are saddened to hear of Sayadaw U Pandita’s passing. He was such a powerful influence in all of our lives, urging us on to realize our highest aspirations. His great service to the Dhamma is inestimable. It feels like the passing of an era.


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