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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby Mr.SeanStewart » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:28 pm

Hey Dhama Family,

I am planning to visit burma this week and i have been reading about the political situation and the corruptions in burma which is making me feel a bit uneasy, i have couple of questions coming up...

First, I was born in Iran originally and have canadian citizenship but in my passport says i was born in Tehran, Iran, so I just like to make sure im safe going to burma, though im not muslim nor have any involvement/interest in any type of politics( I will find out tomorrow if i even get my meditation visa successfuly)

2nd concern, is regarding my Visa: I have applied for my meditation visa, chanmyay school has been kind enough to sponsor me and i am suppose to pick up my visa tomorrow at 3:30pm.

However im planning to visit few different schools of meditation including pau-auk school and also visit the city area as a tourist. I told this to the lady working at the counter in Burma Embasy in thailand when i was getting my meditation visa, and She said that i can still travel around with my meditation visa, I want to make sure that this is true and im allowed to do this? I want to get more awareness around this subject to make sure i dont get in any trouble by their authorities,

What are the rules on my meditation visa? ideally i would want to study with different teachers for at least few days/ weeks before I staying long term with them.

Thank you for all your support i really appreciate it
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Re: Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:28 pm

When I went to Myanmar several years ago I went on a meditation visa.
You will be fine travelling around. There are some rules regarding the meditation visa. The most important one is to not get involved in any politics and to abide by the laws of Myanmar.
The fact that you were born in Tehran and are a Canadian citizen is irrelevant. You will be fine.
kind regards,

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: Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:04 am

Mr.SeanStewart wrote:I have applied for my meditation visa, Chanmyay school has been kind enough to sponsor me and i am suppose to pick up my visa tomorrow at 3:30pm.

However im planning to visit few different schools of meditation including pau-auk school and also visit the city area as a tourist. I told this to the lady working at the counter in Burma Embasy in thailand when i was getting my meditation visa, and She said that i can still travel around with my meditation visa, I want to make sure that this is true and im allowed to do this? I want to get more awareness around this subject to make sure i dont get in any trouble by their authorities.

I see something wrong with getting a meditation visa by applying to one meditation centre, then using it to travel around and visit other centres.

By sponsoring your meditation visa, the centre is undertaking some responsibility for you, and they cannot do that if you're not staying there. You are expected to practice meditation seriously during your stay.

I recommend checking with the Chanmay centre before making plans to go anywhere else. Visiting the Shwedagon pagoda or the Chatthasangayana cave at Kaba-Aye is unlikely to be a problem, but staying just a few days before heading off to another meditation centre would be very rude.

If you want to do the tourist thing around Mandalay/Pagan or Inle lake, complete your meditation course first for most of your planned stay in Burma, then spend the last week or so travelling.
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Re: Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby Mr.SeanStewart » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:24 am

Ben wrote:When I went to Myanmar several years ago I went on a meditation visa.
You will be fine travelling around. There are some rules regarding the meditation visa. The most important one is to not get involved in any politics and to abide by the laws of Myanmar.
The fact that you were born in Tehran and are a Canadian citizen is irrelevant. You will be fine.
kind regards,

Ben


Hi Ben thank you this helps alot,

Im curious approximately how much money do you suggest i bring for 3 months stay if im planning to leave on budget and staying at monasteries mostly.

also how do you manage to keep your money safe, i was planning to separating them in to 3 different parts
one backpack, one small wallet and one hidden soem where else, but the trick is to keep the american dollars new

thanks again
Last edited by Mr.SeanStewart on Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby Mr.SeanStewart » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:28 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Mr.SeanStewart wrote:I have applied for my meditation visa, Chanmyay school has been kind enough to sponsor me and i am suppose to pick up my visa tomorrow at 3:30pm.

However im planning to visit few different schools of meditation including pau-auk school and also visit the city area as a tourist. I told this to the lady working at the counter in Burma Embasy in thailand when i was getting my meditation visa, and She said that i can still travel around with my meditation visa, I want to make sure that this is true and im allowed to do this? I want to get more awareness around this subject to make sure i dont get in any trouble by their authorities.

I see something wrong with getting a meditation visa by applying to one meditation centre, then using it to travel around and visit other centres.

By sponsoring your meditation visa, the centre is undertaking some responsibility for you, and they cannot do that if you're not staying there. You are expected to practice meditation seriously during your stay.

I recommend checking with the Chanmay centre before making plans to go anywhere else. Visiting the Shwedagon pagoda or the Chatthasangayana cave at Kaba-Aye is unlikely to be a problem, but staying just a few days before heading off to another meditation centre would be very rude.

If you want to do the tourist thing around Mandalay/Pagan or Inle lake, complete your meditation course first for most of your planned stay in Burma, then spend the last week or so travelling.


Hey Thanks you for suggestion, I understand what you mean.

The truth is my main purpose to visit burma is to find the proper teacher and then commit to the teaching very seriously, as far as my stay there is no planed duration for my stay, they mentioned i can come and give it a try for 10-20 days, which i am eager to do. I will ask the embassy today see if i can get more details on this. thanks again for your help
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Re: Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:07 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:If you want to do the tourist thing around Mandalay/Pagan or Inle lake, complete your meditation course first for most of your planned stay in Burma, then spend the last week or so travelling.


Which is what I did. Before my meditation visa was granted, I had to submit an itiniary to the Dept of the Propagation of the Sasana. My 'tourist thing' was actually two short pilgrimages before and after my thirty-day meditation course which I did with teachers within my tradition and accompanied by local trustees of IMC Yangon and SN Goenka's centres in Yangon, Mandalay and Monywa.
kind regrds,
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
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Re: Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:37 am

Mr.SeanStewart wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Mr.SeanStewart wrote:I have applied for my meditation visa, Chanmyay school has been kind enough to sponsor me and i am suppose to pick up my visa tomorrow at 3:30pm.

However im planning to visit few different schools of meditation including pau-auk school and also visit the city area as a tourist. I told this to the lady working at the counter in Burma Embasy in thailand when i was getting my meditation visa, and She said that i can still travel around with my meditation visa, I want to make sure that this is true and im allowed to do this? I want to get more awareness around this subject to make sure i dont get in any trouble by their authorities.

I see something wrong with getting a meditation visa by applying to one meditation centre, then using it to travel around and visit other centres.

By sponsoring your meditation visa, the centre is undertaking some responsibility for you, and they cannot do that if you're not staying there. You are expected to practice meditation seriously during your stay.

I recommend checking with the Chanmay centre before making plans to go anywhere else. Visiting the Shwedagon pagoda or the Chatthasangayana cave at Kaba-Aye is unlikely to be a problem, but staying just a few days before heading off to another meditation centre would be very rude.

If you want to do the tourist thing around Mandalay/Pagan or Inle lake, complete your meditation course first for most of your planned stay in Burma, then spend the last week or so travelling.


Hey Thanks you for suggestion, I understand what you mean.

The truth is my main purpose to visit burma is to find the proper teacher and then commit to the teaching very seriously, as far as my stay there is no planed duration for my stay, they mentioned i can come and give it a try for 10-20 days, which i am eager to do. I will ask the embassy today see if i can get more details on this. thanks again for your help


In which case, I would recommend that you go on a tourist visa, do a ten or 20 day course to try it out and then return on a meditation visa once you a clear what you want to do.
When I sat at Dhamma Mandala in Mandalay, as part of my visa requirements, my passport was collected at the start of the course and stayed with the Dept of Immigration until the end of the course. I concur with Bhikkhu Pesala who indicated that it would be rude to move about from one centre to the other. In fact, you might find it extremely difficult if not impossible.

As for how much money to take - when I went the exchange rate on the black market was approx 880 kyat = $US1.00. As you know, the Vipassana Meditation Centres (SN Goenka) are run on a pure volitional donation basis. To be honest with you, I can't remember how much money I took with me. One thing that I didn't realize is that there was a meditation visa fee that I had to pay when I left Myanmar. It wasn't much but it was a surprise. I was pretty careful with my belongings and never felt at threat.
There's actually a discussion forum on Lonely Planet's web site and that will have up to date information on Myanmar, exchange rates and costs.
kind regards,

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: Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby Mr.SeanStewart » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:21 am

Thanks Ben, I think its a bit late for that now, iv already got my visa and flight booked tomorrow.

I have emailed my sponsor and let him know about my plans and asked him for his suggestion, well see what happends :)

thanks again
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Re: Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:22 am

All the best, Sean.
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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Ben
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Re: Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby BlackBird » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:00 pm

A question for those who keep tabs on Burmese issues. I would have thought the visa difficulties would have eased up since the political situation has improved? Are the changes in the government only on the surface or has meaningful change been established?

All the best for your travels btw Sean.

metta
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Re: Saftey questions for visiting Burma (myanmar)

Postby Mr.SeanStewart » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:57 am

quick update for any one who cares, iv arrived in yangon for a few days, no problem, they seem to be super cool, not many tourists here but i feel safe.

Tonight im traveling to Pa-Auk forest and staying there for a while before i come back up north to attend mahasi school for a month or so.

Thanks again for all your support talk soon
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