Which Mahasi centre should I go to in Myanmar?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Which Mahasi centre should I go to in Myanmar?

Postby pho » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:30 pm

I am from Sydney, Australia. I am thinking of going to do some intensive Mahasi practice in Myanmar but not sure which centre should i go to as there are many such centres available.
I will go in March 2014.I did contact Sydney Panditarama in Smithfield but the Burmese on the phone did not speak English well ? Another Mahasi centre in Sydney is the Insight Meditation Blue Moutains but i havenot contacted it yet.

Please advise me. Thank you.
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Re: Which Mahasi centre should I go to in Myanmar?

Postby Ben » Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:45 pm

Greetings pho,

The Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha in Yangon seems to be the main Mahasi centre that western lay yogis attend in Myanmar for this tradition.
Here is the website: http://www.mahasi.org.mm/

If you are more inclined to the teachings of Panditarama Sayadaw, then Panditarama Shwe Taung Gon Sasana Yeiktha in Yangon: http://www.panditarama.net/
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: Which Mahasi centre should I go to in Myanmar?

Postby pho » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:17 am

Thank you very much for your help.

Metta,
Pho
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Re: Which Mahasi centre should I go to in Myanmar?

Postby Goob » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:15 pm

If one were to summarize in only a few sentences the main differences between Mahasi Sayadaw's and Sayadaw Pandita's approach and method, what would they be? SP was a student of MS right?
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Re: Which Mahasi centre should I go to in Myanmar?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:27 pm

richard_rca wrote:If one were to summarize in only a few sentences the main differences between Mahasi Sayadaw's and Sayadaw Pandita's approach and method, what would they be? SP was a student of MS right?

The Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw died 31 years ago today on August 14th 1982

Any teachers who are teaching that method are all his disciples, including the Sayādaw U Paṇḍita. They should all be teaching the authentic method.

Each meditation teacher will have his/her own style, but the Mahāsi method is well documented in the books on my web site. Read a few to prepare yourself for your trip, and read "In This Very Life" too if you have the time and stamina. I recommend it as the best book available on the Mahāsi method.

Which style of teaching suits you best depends on your temperament. I was happy at Chanmyay Yeikthā (Happy Monastery!) more than at the main Mahāsi centre in recent visits, but it's still a good place to practice. Teaching is via interpreters. Chanmyay Sayādaw speaks good English. I haven't ever practised at Paṇḍitārāma, but Sayādaw U Paṇḍita was one of my meditation teachers back in 1979, when he was still at the Mahāsi Yeikthā. His discourses were a delight.
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Re: Which Mahasi centre should I go to in Myanmar?

Postby fijiNut » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:26 am

pho wrote:I am from Sydney, Australia. I am thinking of going to do some intensive Mahasi practice in Myanmar but not sure which centre should i go to as there are many such centres available.
I will go in March 2014.I did contact Sydney Panditarama in Smithfield but the Burmese on the phone did not speak English well ? Another Mahasi centre in Sydney is the Insight Meditation Blue Moutains but i havenot contacted it yet.

Please advise me. Thank you.

Hi Pho, I was at the Smithfield Center just last Saturday. Call during 9.30-11am and ask to speak to Sayadaw U Pannathami

Sayadaw U Pannathami, also a Nayaka Sayadaw, practiced meditation under the guidance of the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw and Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita. He speaks English very well and has guided meditators in retreats in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Nepal, the U.K., and the USA. Sayadaw spends most of the year living and teaching in Australia. http://www.saddhamma.org/html/teachers.shtml

He will be leading a 30 day retreat in September 2013 at the Smithfield center. If you can't attend 30 days, you can also attend blocks of 10 days at a time.


Here is a link to their website (but this hasn't been updated in a while).
http://www.panditaramasydney.org/

If you are keen on going to Burma, try the 60 day special retreat at Sayadaw U Pandita's centre in Burma.
http://www.saddhamma.org/html/retreat.shtml

I will be attending 30 days in Burma 1/12/2013 to 2/1/2014. :namaste:
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Re: Which Mahasi centre should I go to in Myanmar?

Postby pho » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:56 pm

Hello FijiNut,

Thank you so much for your information. I will certainly contact Smithfield Center today.
I may do 30 day retreat in September.

Metta,

Pho
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Re: Which Mahasi centre should I go to in Myanmar?

Postby ksitiputra » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:31 pm

Normally English speaking people go to Panditarama (Shwe Taung Gon Sasana Yeiktha) or Chanmyay Yeiktha. Sayadaw U Pandita may not be in Yangon in March next year, as he normally goes to Singapore for a ten day annual retreat, then he would be in Taiwan from April to May for another annual retreat there. But Beelin Sayadaw (who is another renowned sayadaw from Mahasi tradition) may be interviewing yogis at Panditarama Forest Centre in Bago, he can speak English.

If you go to Chanmyay, you may stay at their Hmawbi center, it is more quiet as compared to Yangon center which situated next to the main road of the Kaba Aye district. They have teachers that speak English, so communication won't be a problem. There is another Mahasi center that could cater English speaking yogi, also located in Yangon, named Saddhammaransi Yeiktha. but their Sayadaw passed away in 2011, it is smaller as compared with Panditarama and Chanmyay.

For Chanmyay and Mahasi Yeiktha, foreign yogis sit at a different meditation hall from locals, while Panditarama put all men in one meditation hall.

As I notice, Panditarama's techniques slightly differ from Chanmyay in the following ways:

1. Chanmyay practices metta prior to vipassana (first few days purely metta), Panditarama sticks to vipassana alone.

2. Panditarama note in three sections during walking meditation - "left, right"; "lifting, dropping" & "lifting, pushing, dropping"; exactly 20 minutes each. Chanmyay skipped "lifting, dropping", they start with "left right" for about 15 minutes then gradually increases to three, six, seven or eleven steps accordingly, depend on teacher's instruction.

3. In walking meditation, Chanmyay would mentally note different phenomena aside from lifting, pushing, dropping when they arise, say thinking, hearing and so on. Panditarama do not make mental note to phenomena other than those appear on the foot, but ask the yogi to bring his mind back to his foot once he was distracted. Another thing is Chanmyay emphasizes the observation of intention before lifting and so on, but Panditarama does not stress too much on that, I didn't get any instructions to observe more than three steps in all my Panditarama retreats.

4. In sitting meditation, both are similar but Chanmyay has a particular rule of thumb: "knowing mental phenomena are more important than physical phenomena", they do not require yogis to stick to the abdomen if other phenomena are obvious. Panditarama doesn't have that saying and seems to stress more on concentrating to the rising and falling of the abdomen, I saw many yogis would try very hard to stick to their abdomen, though they can note other phenomena if they appear, they tend to go back after a few noting. My dhamma friends who practiced at both centers also think Panditarama stress more on concentration comparably.

5. Chanmyay's walking and sitting sessions are about equal, Panditarama's sitting sessions are more than walking, only 3-4 hours walking per day at Yangon center.

There are also some slight differences in reporting which are quite insignificant, just report as detailed and clear would do. Both centers have trained many great teachers, you may try both out to see which style suits you better. If you have the chance to meet Sayadaw U Pandita, prevent looking into his eyes or stare at him directly during conversation, he dislikes it and would consider that as not mindful, also avoid using hand gestures while speaking, he always say: "speak with your mouth, not hand." He is famous for being strict and demanding (like a warrior as described by Jack Kornfield), but his energy field is really powerful, serene and peaceful, so is Chanmyay Sayadaw.

May you have a nice journey in Burma!
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