myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

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myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby jennyl » Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:30 am

hi all,

I read a few posts from a couple of years ago, about getting a meditation visa for Myanmar, from the embassy in Bangkok.
I was hoping someone might have some up to date info as to whether this was possible, and if there is a fast one-day or same-day service, like there is in Kuala Lumpur?

Any info would be very gratefully received.
thanks
jenny
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:54 am

Greetings Jenny
You'll only need a meditation visa if you intend to stay longer than the 28 day tourist visa.

Before I went to Myanmar in 2010 I obtained a meditation visa through the embassy in Canberra. Some American co-practitioners who I met in Yangon did get their visa via the embassy in Bangkok, though they only had a tourist visa.
In your situation I would contact the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok and ask them directly.
Wishing you all the best,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby jennyl » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:55 am

thanks ben.
The embassy in Bangkok aren't replying to me!
The Monastery i am going to be doing retreat in says there are new, strict rules about staying and that u need a Meditation Visa now, and a tourist visa isn't acceptable. Or at least legal. I know all the embassies do give the meditation visa, but I'm hearing most take several months to process, and so far I've only heard that KL take 2 days..... i was just wondering about bangkok as I'll be there in 2 weeks and it will save me having to fly to KL.

Anyhow, thanks for replying!
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:39 am

I'm in the same boat as you.

Schwe Oo Min meditation centre advised they can't accept people with a tourist visa at the moment and that you can get a meditation visa in 3-4 days if you go to Kuala Lumpur, I saw another meditation centre recommended Singapore for that.

I think every other embassy it will take 2 to 4 months, including Bangkok, I'd be surprised if you get a reply by email.

I see on the Pa Auk web site it implies they are still accepting people with tourist visa, but that may not be the case.

I was last in Burma 2.5 years ago and the government were reportedly raiding centres looking for people on tourist visas.

I'm probably going to have my retreat in Thailand this time instead.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby jennyl » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:47 am

I'm off to shwe oo min too, and think i'm gonna have to go to KL to get the visa!! \
thanks for taking the time to reply
:buddha2:
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby convivium » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:29 am

take the boat (in bkk) to a place pronounced "toxin" to get to the burmese embassy. have the right photos ready and find out their hours and you'll be set, as an american, as long as you say you're a tourist.
why do you want to practice in burma not thailand? what are you expecting that's not in thailand?
most of the monasteries require a government letter for you to board there.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:44 am

convivium wrote:take the boat (in bkk) to a place pronounced "toxin" to get to the burmese embassy. have the right photo ready and find out their hours and you'll be set, as an american, as long as you say you're a tourist.


She needs a meditation visa not a tourist visa.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby convivium » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:56 am

when i was there (at bkk embassy) a year ago, they did have something like a meditation visa. something stopped me from applying for it though; it was more of a process, most likely to say the least. but in any case, you need a to get a government 'sponsorship' letter for the particular monastery. unless you really want to study something more exclusive like pa-auk or mogok sayadaw or some very specific mahasi 'disciple' then it's probably better to go to burma as a 'tourist', and practice in thailand (unless you have some fetish about practicing in burma). really it's just more ascetic most of the time, and government regulations make things harder. edit: i don't know the precise details, but all the monasteries i wanted to stay at asked for "a government sponsorship letter." the point i am making is that one should not show up expecting to do retreats (without knowing in advance that the monastery is accepting tourists w/out any letters/special visas) without clearing it with the govt. first. also there are great, and often more accommodating, e.g., mahasi-lineage centers all over thailand (including bangkok and chaing mai).
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:32 am

convivium wrote:when i was there (at bkk embassy) a year ago, they did have something like a meditation visa. something stopped me from applying for it though; it was more of a process, most likely to say the least. but in any case, you need a to get a government 'sponsorship' letter for the particular monastery. unless you really want to study something more exclusive like pa-auk or mogok sayadaw or some very specific mahasi 'disciple' then it's probably better to go to burma as a 'tourist', and practice in thailand (unless you have some fetish about practicing in burma). really it's just more ascetic most of the time, and government regulations make things harder. edit: i don't know the precise details, but all the monasteries i wanted to stay at asked for "a government sponsorship letter." the point i am making is that one should not show up expecting to do retreats (without knowing in advance that the monastery is accepting tourists w/out any letters/special visas) without clearing it with the govt. first. also there are great, and often more accommodating, e.g., mahasi-lineage centers all over thailand (including bangkok and chaing mai).


I believe she probably already has the sponsorship letter, just as I do, what we don't have is 2 to 4 months to wait for the processing of the visa.

Wanting to be with somebody one considers to be ones main teacher is not a fetish.

Unfortunately the Burmese government is not predictable and what was acceptable a couple of years ago may not be acceptable today so it's easy to get caught without enough lead time,
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby convivium » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:01 pm

if you have a sponsorship letter then you can probably stay with a tourist visa for a month.
if you can't stay on the center for some reason without the equivalent of a meditation visa, which wasn't the case when i was there (though i never had a sponsorship letter to be sure), then you could stay at a guesthouse and visit the monastery by day. which center in what city? good luck!
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:29 pm

convivium wrote:if you have a sponsorship letter then you can probably stay with a tourist visa for a month.
if you can't stay on the center for some reason without the equivalent of a meditation visa, which wasn't the case when i was there (though i never had a sponsorship letter to be sure), then you could stay at a guesthouse and visit the monastery by day. which center in what city? good luck!


The monastery is currently not accepting people on tourist visas.

Staying at a guest house and visiting during the day isn't much of a retreat, but I guess it's an option if one really wants to have an interview with their teacher rather than find somewhere else in Thailand.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby convivium » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:39 pm

i think i called that center (shwe oo min) when i was in yangon, from a listing in the lonely planet. if i'm right, then they have an auxiliary center for westerners, specifically. in which case, the sayadaw might not be there. so it might be to your advantage, if that these intuitions are right, to just go as a tourist and visit the monastery by day; it might be what you have to do anyway to get interviews. just something to look in to [edit: i might be conflating it with the shwe oo min paya, but it was something like 'the international center']
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:56 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
convivium wrote:if you have a sponsorship letter then you can probably stay with a tourist visa for a month.
if you can't stay on the center for some reason without the equivalent of a meditation visa, which wasn't the case when i was there (though i never had a sponsorship letter to be sure), then you could stay at a guesthouse and visit the monastery by day. which center in what city? good luck!


The monastery is currently not accepting people on tourist visas.

Staying at a guest house and visiting during the day isn't much of a retreat, but I guess it's an option if one really wants to have an interview with their teacher rather than find somewhere else in Thailand.


If its possible to get a meditation visa in KL in a three or four-day turn-around, then I recommend you do so. The opportunity to practice intensively is worth the headache.
with metta,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby jennyl » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:32 am

thanks to all for your replies and suggestions.
Yep, I do have a sponsorship/invitation letter, and I agree Ben, the opportunity to practise intensively there is a real pull for me, so i think it is worth the side trip to Kuala Lumpur.....
I am happy to share my experiences with anyone considering a similar thing!
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:41 am

Hi Jenny,
I look forward to hearing about it.

When i went a couple of years ago I applied for a meditation visa through the embassy in Australia.
The process was long and quite arduous. If I have any advice for you - or anyone else applying for the meditation visa - ensure that you have all your documentation organized well ahead of time.
I was in Myanmar for six weeks, most of which I spent at Dhamma Mandala outside of Mandalay on a 30-day vipassana course. There should be a thread in the meditation forum where i detailed what I had to do to get a meditation visa. it might be worth reviewing if you haven't already done so - though some of the info may not be quite relevant to your situation. I also kept a close eye on Lonely Planet's forum "Thorn Tree". I made contact with some others who went to Burma to meditate but at the time I didn't make contact with other people seeking a meditation visa. however, you might be lucky and meet someone on Thorn Tree who can give you more up to date info on applying for a meditation visa in Bangkok or KL.
with metta,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:47 am

jennyl wrote:thanks to all for your replies and suggestions.
Yep, I do have a sponsorship/invitation letter, and I agree Ben, the opportunity to practise intensively there is a real pull for me, so i think it is worth the side trip to Kuala Lumpur.....
I am happy to share my experiences with anyone considering a similar thing!


Yes, if you have time to post back and confirm that you were successful getting the visa in KL that would be good just in case I end up going myself in early december.

One thing that concerned me was the only place I found a copy of a meditation visa application form was the web site of the embassy in the USA, it looks like one has to just about write ones whole life story.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:27 am

Goofaholix wrote:One thing that concerned me was the only place I found a copy of a meditation visa application form was the web site of the embassy in the USA, it looks like one has to just about write ones whole life story.

Hmmm....
That definitely wasn't my experience.
I'll see if I can find an electronic copy of my application.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby olia_lia » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:48 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
jennyl wrote:thanks to all for your replies and suggestions.
Yep, I do have a sponsorship/invitation letter, and I agree Ben, the opportunity to practise intensively there is a real pull for me, so i think it is worth the side trip to Kuala Lumpur.....
I am happy to share my experiences with anyone considering a similar thing!


Yes, if you have time to post back and confirm that you were successful getting the visa in KL that would be good just in case I end up going myself in early december.

One thing that concerned me was the only place I found a copy of a meditation visa application form was the web site of the embassy in the USA, it looks like one has to just about write ones whole life story.

Dear Goofaholix
You can find a form on the UK Myanmar embassy site http://myanmarembassyuk.website.orange.co.uk/
I have submitted my application in the middle of September. Still waiting for approval...

Regards and Metta
Olga
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:26 pm

olia_lia wrote:You can find a form on the UK Myanmar embassy site http://myanmarembassyuk.website.orange.co.uk/
I have submitted my application in the middle of September. Still waiting for approval...


Thanks for that, it's very different from the one I found on the US embassy web site and the australian embassy web site just has the entry visa page without the second page for meditation.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby householder » Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:21 am

Do get the right visa. I stayed in a monastery in Pyin U Lwin on a non-meditation visa whilst doing volunteer work in the monastery, and the local authorities were not happy, although the sayadaw assured them I would be going a couple of days later (which I was going to anyway) so they let it slide.

It's damn hot here now and it's meant to be cool season, so I wish you all the best!
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