Saturday, 28 April 2018

Webu and U Ba Khin: An Extraordinary Friendship


Much has been written about the special Dhamma relationship between Sayagyi U Ba Khin and Webu Sayadaw. Here is Gustaaf Houtman's take on it:

"Nonetheless, good meditation teachers establish credibility with their pupils by demonstrating their knowledge of the scriptures. 
But U Ba Khin, whose Buddhist knowledge was primarily based on self-taught experience, needed to have his competence in scriptural learning confirmed by third parties, mainly by monks. U Ba Khin's knowledge of scriptural learning was established indirectly from famous learned monks such as the Webu Sayadaw and others, who appear every once in a while in the hagiography to sanction U Ba Khin's teachings as correct. His work `Scriptural learning is the basis of practice' recorded Webu Sayadaw's teachings, and visiting famous monks (in particular Webu Sayadaw himself) sanctioned it; this helped confirm U Ba Khin's teachings as scripturally correct. Above all, however, U Ba Khin's quality of scriptural learning was borrowed from his teacher lineage, the practice side of a lineage combining scriptural learning and practice earlier on. So though U Ba Khin advocated meditation as a layman for laymen, the monk was crucial to the U Ba Khin life as described in the hagiography; he sought permission to teach from monks, for his funeral monk's advice was sought, and so on."

Stay tuned for the upcoming Shwe Lan Ga Lay Part 2, the meditator's guide to Burma, in which we discuss the relationship and influences of these two great men in extraordinary detail, and how this affected the worldwide transmission of the Dhamma.