This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw
DHANET ' UD
O K LIB R A R
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Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc.
Part 1 — Basic Practice
Preparatory Stage Basic Exercise I Basic Exercise II Basic Exercise III Advancement in Contemplation Basic Exercise IV Summary 2 5 6 8 16 18 19 20
Part II — Progressive Practice Practical Vipassanā Meditation Exercises Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw A Biographical Sketch Appendix
Techniques of Meditation Rising and Falling Movement of the Abdomen
Mahāsī Sāsana Yeiktha Meditation Centre
Part I • Basic Practice
If you sincerely desire to develop contemplation and attain insight in this your present life, you must give up worldly thoughts and actions during the training. This course of action is for the purification of conduct, the essential preliminary step towards the proper development of contemplation. You must also observe the rules of discipline prescribed for laymen, (or for monks as the case may be) for they are important in gaining insight. For lay people, these rules comprise the eight precepts which Buddhist devotees observe on Sabbath days (uposatha) and during periods of 1 meditation. An additional rule is not to speak with contempt, in jest, or with malice to or about any of the 2 noble ones who have attained states of sanctity. If you have done so, then personally apologize to him or her or
The eight Uposatha precepts are: abstention from 1) killing, 2) stealing, 3) all sexual intercourse, 4) lying, 5) intoxicants, 6) taking food after noon, 7) dance, song, music, shows (attendance and performance), the use of perfumes, ornaments, etc., and 8) using luxurious beds.
There are four noble individuals (ariya-puggala). They are those who have obtained a state of sanctity: a. The stream-winner (sotāpanna) is one who has become free from the first three of the ten fetters which bind him to the sensuous sphere, namely, personality belief, sceptical doubt, and attachment to mere rules and rituals. b. The once-returner (sakadāgāmi) has weakened the fourth and fifth of the ten fetters, sensuous craving and ill-will. c. The non-returner (anāgāmi) becomes fully free from the above-mentioned five lower fetters and is no longer reborn in the sensuous sphere before reaching nibbāna. d. Through the path of holiness one further becomes free of the last five fetters: craving for fine material existence (in celestial worlds), craving for immaterial (purely mental) existence, conceit, restlessness, and ignorance.
he can talk to you frankly about your work in contemplation and give you the guidance he thinks necessary. hatred and delusion. This intensive course in insight training can lead you to such release. the Buddha.make an apology through your meditation instructor. It is helpful for your psychological welfare at this stage to 3 . The old masters of Buddhist tradition suggest that you entrust yourself to the Enlightened One. confess this offence to your meditation instructor or introspectively to yourself. for you may be alarmed if it happens that your own state of mind produces unwholesome or frightening visions during contemplation. You are to be congratulated on having the opportunity to take the same kind of training they had undergone. during the training period. So work ardently with this end in view so that your training will be successfully completed. and practising under the guidance of your instructor. had been taken by successive Buddhas and noble ones who attained release. This kind of training in contemplation. If in the past you have spoken contemptuously to a noble one who is at present unavailable or deceased. Also place yourself under the guidance of your meditation instructor. These are the advantages of placing trust in the Enlightened One. the Buddha. offers you for reflection. It is also important for you to begin your training with a brief contemplation on the ‘four protections’ which the Enlightened One. for then. which are the roots of all evil and suffering. the Buddha. based on the foundations of mindfulness (satipa hāna). The aim of this practice and its greatest benefit is release from greed.
bones. The fourth protection for your psychological benefit is to reflect on the phenomenon of ever-approaching death. perfect in knowledge and conduct. Dwell on some of its impurities. phlegm. mesentery. body-hair. tears. May they be released from suffering. serum. heart. marrow. intimate and indifferent and inimical beings be free from enmity. First. so also may my parents. such as stomach. nails. the Buddha is holy. synovial fluid.reflect on them. pus. excrement. pus. intestines. urine and brain. liver. phlegm. blood. reflect upon all sentient beings as the receivers of your loving-kindness and identify yourself with all sentient beings without distinction. nasal mucus. teeth. Buddhist teachings stress that life is uncertain. a welfarer. teachers. reflect upon the repulsive nature of the body to assist you in diminishing the unwholesome attachment that so many people have for the body. saliva. loving-kindness. lungs. 3 blood. diaphragm. the awakened one and the exalted one. intestines. Ponder on these impurities so that the absurd fondness for the body may be eliminated. kidney. disease and grief. preceptors. fully enlightened. Secondly. The subjects of the four protective reflections are the Buddha himself. skin. the incomparable leader of men to be tamed. As I am. stomach. flesh. the loathsome aspects of the body. sweat. spleen. lymph. devote yourself to the Buddha by sincerely appreciating his nine chief qualities in this way: Truly. bile. thus:May I be free from enmity. sinews. and death. teacher of gods and mankind. Thirdly. 3 The thirty-two parts of the body as used in body contemplation are: head-hair. 4 . disease and grief. world-knower.
and eventually.but death is certain. After a short time the upward movement of exhalation will become clear. then obtain a more comfortable way of sitting. For the beginner it is a very effective method of developing the faculties of attention. then place both hands on the abdomen to feel these rising and falling movements. disease. Then make a mental note of rising for the upward movement. You might feel more comfortable if the legs are not inter-locked but evenly placed on the ground. You are not concerned with the form of the abdomen. From this exercise you learn the actual manner of the upward and downward movements of the abdomen. life is precarious but death is sure. What you actually perceive is the bodily sensation of pressure caused by the heaving movement of the abdomen. falling for the downward movement. Your mental note of each movement must be made while it occurs. There is birth. suffering. To begin training. If you find that sitting on the floor interferes with contemplation. 5 . You will thereby come to know the movements of rising and falling of it. These are all aspects of the process of existence. If these movements are not clear to you in the beginning. take the sitting posture with the legs crossed. So do not dwell on the form of the abdomen but proceed with the exercise. without pressing one against the other. death. Basic Exercise I Try to keep your mind (but not your eyes) on the abdomen. old age. Now proceed with each exercise in contemplation as described. Life has death as its goal.
Just be totally aware of the movements of rising and falling as they occur in the course of normal breathing. you may be inclined to think. In view of this difficulty. and do not think of rising and falling as words. the manner of the movements will be clearer. other mental activities may 6 . The ability to know each successive occurrence of the mental and physical processes at each of the six sense organs is acquired only when insight contemplation is fully developed. because this procedure causes fatigue that interferes with the practice. “I just don’t know how to keep my mind on each of these movement. rising. falling.concentration of mind and insight in contemplation. you may find it difficult to keep the mind on each successive rising movement and falling movement as it occurs. Basic Exercise II While occupied with the exercise of observing each of the abdominal movements. Be aware only of the actual process of the rising and falling movements of the abdomen. The rising and falling movements of the abdomen are always present and therefore there is no need to look for them. Continue with this exercise in full awareness of the abdomen’s rising and falling movements. Never verbally repeat the words.’ Then simply remember that this is a learning process. Actually it is easy for a beginner to keep his or her mind on these two simple movements. As practice progresses. Avoid deep or rapid breathing for the purpose of making the abdominal movements more distinct. Since you are only a beginner whose attentiveness and power of concentration are still weak.
occur between the noting of each rising and falling. Thoughts or other mental functions, such as intentions, ideas, imaginings, are likely to occur between each mental note of rising and falling. They cannot be disregarded. A mental note must be made of each as it occurs. If you imagine something, you must know that you have done so and make a mental note, imagining. If you simply think of something, mentally note, thinking. If you reflect, reflecting. If you intend to do something, intending. When the mind wanders from the object of meditation which is the rising and falling of the abdomen, mentally note, wandering. Should you imagine you are going to a certain place, note going. When you arrive, arriving. When, in your thoughts, you meet a person, note meeting. Should you speak to him or her, speaking. If you imaginarily argue with that person, note arguing. If you envision or imagine a light or colour, be sure to note seeing. A mental vision must be noted on each occurrence of its appearance until it passes away. After its disappearance continue with Basic Exercise 1, by being fully aware of each movement of the rising and falling abdomen. Proceed carefully, without slackening. If you intend to swallow saliva while thus engaged, make a mental note intending. While in the act of swallowing, swallowing. If you spit, spitting. Then return to the exercise of noting rising and falling. Suppose you intend to bend the neck, note intending. In the act of bending, bending. When you intend to straighten the neck, intending. In the act of straightening the neck, straightening. The neck movements of bending 7
and straightening must be done slowly. After mentally making a note of each of these actions, proceed in full awareness with noticing the movements of the rising and falling abdomen.
Basic Exercise III
Since you must continue contemplating for a long time 4 while in one position, that of sitting or lying down , you are likely to experience an intense feeling of fatigue, stiffness in the body or in the arms and legs. Should this happen, simply keep the knowing mind on that part of the body where such feelings occur and carry on the contemplation, noting tired or stiff. Do this naturally; that is, neither too fast nor too slow. These feelings gradually become fainter and finally cease altogether. Should one of these feelings become more intense until the bodily fatigue or stiffness of joints is unbearable, then change your position. However, do not forget to make a mental note of intending, before you proceed to change your position. Each movement must be contemplated in its respective order and in detail. If you intend to lift the hand or leg, make a mental note intending. In the act of lifting the hand or leg, lifting. Stretching either the hand or the leg, stretching. When you bend it, bending. When putting it down, putting. Should either the hand or leg touch, touching. Perform all of these actions in a slow and deliberate manner. As soon as you are settled in the new position, continue
It is not advised that the meditator should use the lying posture except when it is time to sleep.
with the contemplation in another position keeping to the procedure outlined in this paragraph. Should an itching sensation be felt in any part of the body, keep the mind on that part and make a mental note, itching. Do this in a regulated manner, neither too fast nor too slow. When the itching sensation disappears in the course of full awareness, continue with the exercise of noticing the rising and falling of the abdomen. Should the itching continue and become too strong and you intend to rub the itchy part, be sure to make a mental note, intending. Slowly lift the hand, simultaneously noting the actions of lifting; and touching, when the hand touches the part that itches. Rub slowly in complete awareness of rubbing. When the itching sensation has disappeared and you intend to discontinue rubbing be mindful by making the usual mental note of intending. Slowly withdraw the hand, concurrently making a mental note of the action, withdrawing. When the hand rests in its usual place touching the leg, touching. Then again devote your time to observing the abdominal movements. If there is pain or discomfort, keep the knowing mind on that part of the body where the sensation arises. Make a mental note of the specific sensation as it occurs, such as painful, aching, pressing, piercing, tired, giddy. It must be stressed that the mental note must not be forced nor delayed but made in a calm and natural manner. The pain may eventually cease or increase. Do not be alarmed if it increases. Firmly continue the contemplation. If you do so, you will find that the pain will almost always cease. But if, after a time, the pain has 9
intense cold. firm in purpose. You might experience sensations of itching. 10 . unpleasant sensations of being pricked by sharp needles. When you resume contemplation you will have them again as soon as you gain in mindfulness. As you progress in mindfulness you may experience sensations of intense pain: stifling or choking sensations. If you continue with determination you will most likely overcome these painful sensations and may never again experience them in the course of contemplation. As soon as you discontinue the contemplation you may also feel that these painful sensations cease.increased and becomes unbearable. They are not manifestations of disease but are common factors always present in the body and are usually obscured when the mind is normally occupied with more conspicuous objects. or of small insects crawling over the body. With the continued development of contemplation the time will come when you can overcome them and they will cease altogether. These painful sensations are not to be considered as something wrong. become irresolute in contemplation and discontinue for some time. you will not come to any harm. Should you lose courage. you must ignore the pain and continue with the contemplation of rising and falling. biting. If you continue contemplation. When the mental faculties become keener you are more aware of these sensations. you may encounter these unpleasant sensations again and again as your contemplation proceeds. the thrust of a sharp-pointed instrument. such as pain from the slash of a knife.
thirsty. Should you intend to walk forward. This takes place because you feel the effect of sensory impression more intensely while in a state of concentration. Keep the mind intently on the act of standing up. It is important for you to be aware of every moment in each step from the beginning to the end when you walk. intending. When you look forward after standing up straight. When contemplating you may occasionally discover the body swaying back and forth.Should you intend to sway the body. Follow the same procedure if you find yourself shaking or trembling. Do not be alarmed. swaying. and mentally note standing. When you intend to stand. It occurs naturally in the course of good contemplation. While in the act of swaying. right. When you begin to step forward. walking. then knowingly note intending. Adhere to the same procedure when strolling or when taking walking exercise. then lean against a wall or post or lie down for a while. If swaying increases in spite of your making a mental note of it. When your mind is fixed in contemplation you may be startled at the slightest sound. seeing. Try to make a mental note of each step in two sections as follows: 11 . The swaying will cease if you keep the knowing mind on the action of swaying and continue to note swaying until the action ceases. note looking. enthusiasm or rapture. This is a symptom of the feeling of intense interest. If you are thirsty while contemplating. When contemplation is developed you may sometimes feel a thrill or chill pass through the back or the entire body. intending. notice the feeling. or left. Thereafter proceed with contemplation. neither be pleased nor wish to continue to sway. mentally note each step as walking.
When you turn round. withdrawing. When you have obtained sufficient practice in this manner of walking. dipping. down. note intending. When returning the cup. touching. or up. walking. If you remain standing for some time continue the contemplation of rising and falling. stopping. 12 .lifting. touching. walking. On arriving at the place where you will sit. returning. When you stop. When you bring down the hand. forward. When withdrawing the hand. lifting. pushing. intending. looking. lifting. be sure to make a mental note. When the cup touches the lips. touching. When bringing the cup to the lips. But if you intend to sit down. When dipping the cup into the water. When you swallow. When you go to sit down. When you stop walking. swallowing. bringing. taking. When you look at the tap or water-pot on arriving at the place where you are to take a drink. If you intend to turn round. putting. When you take the cup. seeing. putting. stopping. putting. When you touch the cup. On arriving at the place where you intend to stop. intending. When the hand touches the side of the body. then try to make a mental note of each step in three sections. When you walk forward. turning. When you stretch out the hand. stretching. bringing.
considerations. Perform these actions slowly. The state of sleep is the continuity of subconsciousness. be sure to notice each of these sensations. or any other sensation be felt. When you 13 . ideas. Sit down slowly. Notice all feelings. If you are unable to overcome the drowsy feeling. legs. You must notice every movement in bringing the hands and legs into position. all movements of hands. stretching. fatigue. itching. sleepy. If there is nothing in particular to note.arriving. lying. Then take as the object of contemplation every movement in bringing the hands. thoughts. Thereafter. turning. When sleepy. arms and body. Then resume the practice of contemplating the abdominal movements. This state of consciousness is feeble and therefore. While in the act of sitting down. make a mental note. Should you intend to lie down. put the mind on the rising and falling of the abdomen. touching. you must continue contemplating drowsiness until you fall asleep. continue with noting rising and falling. sitting. Then proceed with the contemplation of every movement in the course of lying down: lifting. When you turn to sit. It is similar to the first state of rebirth consciousness and the last state of consciousness at the moment of death. reflections. Take up again the usual contemplation of the basic object. legs and body into position. After you have gained sufficient concentration in contemplating you will be able to overcome drowsiness and you will feel refreshed as a result. putting. note intending. Should pain. unable to be aware of an object. and keep the mind on the downward movement of the body.
stretching. Because these occurrences are of brief duration they are not usually clear and therefore not noticeable. if on awakening you reflect on something. Perform the acts of washing the face or taking a bath in due order and in complete awareness of every detailed movement. But you should start with it when you remember that you are to contemplate. and thinking. for it is in the state of wakefulness that thoughts and sense objects become distinct. reflecting. legs and rump must be performed in complete awareness. for instance. When getting up from the bed. smelling. note thinking. it may not be possible yet for you to start contemplating at the very first moment of wakefulness. Continuity of subconsciousness remains during sleep — a fact which becomes obvious when you wake up. 14 . note intending. seeing. touching. tasting. If you prepare to move the body into position for rising. Since you are a beginner. rising. Each movement of the hands. Then proceed with the contemplation of rising and falling. revert to contemplating the abdominal movements. mindfulness should be directed to every detail of the body’s activity. hearing. you should become aware of the fact and begin your contemplation by a mental note. Do you intend to get out of bed? If so. looking. Contemplation should start at the moment you wake up. As you slowly rise.awake. the continuity of sub-consciousness occurs regularly between moments of seeing. note preparing. Are you thinking of the time of day when awakening? If so. For example. Should you remain sitting for any length of time.
touching. When you look at the food. You will make fewer omissions if you persist in your practice. handling objects. bringing. feeling cold. In the beginning of the practice there will be many omissions. looking. When straightening the neck. touching. touching. When withdrawing the hand. When placing the food in the mouth. Should the hand touch the plate. arranging. making the bed. be occupied with every detail of these actions in sequence. When you arrange the food. When swallowing the food. knowing.holding. You must attend to the contemplation of every detail in the action of eating. When you reach an advanced stage of the practice you will also to be able to notice more details than those mentioned here. When you bend the neck forwards. In the acts of dressing. When the food touches the mouth. closing. should the food be felt touching the sides of the gullet. When in the act of chewing. When the mouth closes. rubbing. When you bring the food to the mouth. swallowing. withdrawing. bending. touching. 15 . Do not waver in your effort. When you are aware of the taste. placing. straightening. Never mind. Perform contemplation in this manner each time you take a morsel of food until you finish your meal. chewing. opening and closing doors and windows. seeing. While swallowing the food.
falling. While engaged in the regular practise of contemplating bodily movements you need not be concerned with objects of seeing and hearing. When you make a mental note of sitting. Then revert to the initial procedure of noting only the two sections. continue with noticing these three sections. When you are lying down you should proceed with full awareness as follows: rising. If you are in the sitting posture. keep your mind on the erect position of the upper body. lying. falling. If you find this easy. At this time you will notice that there is generally a break between the movements of rising and falling. However. As long as you are able to keep your mind on the abdominal movements of rising and falling it is assumed that the purpose of noticing the acts and objects of seeing is also served. two or three times. fill in this gap with a mental note of the fact of sitting in this way: rising. Then return to the awareness of the abdominal movements. lying. falling. You may be able to prolong the basic exercise of noticing the abdominal movements. rising and falling.Advancement in Contemplation After having practised for a day and a night you may find your contemplation considerably improved. sitting. Suppose some person comes into your view. falling. Suppose you no longer find it easy to make a mental note of three or four objects in the above manner. note as seeing. then continue in this manner: rising. Make a mental note of seeing. sitting. two or 16 . lying. you may intentionally look at an object. Or when lying down: rising. sitting. Should you notice that a pause occurs at the end of the rising as well as at the end of the falling movement.
If so.three times and then resume attention to the rising and falling movements of the abdomen. which may then become less distinct and clear. such as the barking of dogs. leg or arm movements. But suppose you heard loud noises. thumb to thumb. make a mental note reflecting. two or three times. or where the hands are placed together. simply move the attention to sitting. or if you are lying down. If such reflections do occur. immediately make a mental note two or three times. and you are in the sitting position. If you fail to note and dismiss such distinctive sounds as they occur. the lips touching when the mouth is closed. loud talking or shouting. It is by such weakened attention that mind-defiling passions breed and multiply. touching. your mind should not be kept on the same part of the body but on different parts successively. 17 . then return to your basic exercise. and resume your usual contemplation on abdominal movements. to lying. There are several places of touch and at 5 least six or seven should be contemplated. or finger to finger. 5 Some of these points where the body sensation may be observed are: where thigh and knee touch. While contemplating touching. you may inadvertently fall into reflections about them instead of proceeding with intense attention to rising and falling. hearing. closing of the eyelids. Did you happen to hear the sound of a voice? Did you listen to it? If so make a mental note of hearing. Should you forget to make a mental note of body. You may feel at times that breathing is slow or that the rising and falling movements are not clearly perceived. touching. then again take up the contemplation of rising and falling. then mentally note forgetting. listening and revert to rising and falling. the tongue inside the mouth. When this happens.
then contemplate the feeling of being happy. This is the way in which you make a mental note of every item of mental behaviour as it occurs. anticipating. You might begin to feel lazy after deciding that you have made inadequate progress. doubtful. and if there are no intervening thoughts or perceptions to note. Are there occasions when you examine the object of contemplation in order to determine whether it is mind or matter? If so. Simply note the fact. then be aware of examining. you must be constantly occupied either with the basic exercise or with mindful attention throughout the day and during those night hours when you are not asleep. 18 . Do you regret that there is no improvement in your contemplation? If so. make such thoughts the subject of your contemplation. are you happy that your contemplation is improving? If you are.Basic Exercise IV Up to this point you have devoted quite some time to the training course. lazy. By no means give up. Before you gain sufficient strength in attention. or wishing. you should revert to the contemplation of rising and falling. In such a circumstance turn to contemplation of the thought. To reiterate. Conversely. the time of practice is from the first moment you wake up until the last moment before you fall asleep. attend to the feeling of regret. concentration and insight. Are you attempting to recall the manner in which the training was conducted up to this point? Yes? Then take up contemplation on recollecting. During a strict course of meditation. you may doubt the correctness or usefulness of this method of training. Do you anticipate or wish for good results? If so.
right. Kandy. down. you will be able to continue the contemplation day and night. to develop concentration to the initial stage of the fourth degree of 6 insight (knowledge of arising and passing away) and onward to higher stages of insight meditation (vipassanā bhāvanā). and so on. each step should be briefly noted as walking. Summary It has been emphasized during this brief outline of the training that you must contemplate on each mental occurrence. 6 Taruna-udayabbaya.On the degrees of insight knowledge see the Progress of Insight by the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw (Published by The Forest Hermitage. If. forward. be fully occupied with attention to the rising and falling of the abdomen. occasions arise when there is nothing special to contemplate upon. 19 . On the contrary.ā a . will be able in not too long a time. during the course of training. on each bodily movement large or small. walking or left. Sri Lanka). then. Upon reaching a certain stage of progress with contemplation you will not feel sleepy in spite of these prolonged hours of practise. When you have to attend to any kind of activity that necessitates walking. good or bad. on every sensation (bodily or mental feeling) pleasant or unpleasant. in complete awareness.There must be no relaxation. contemplate on each step in three sections. up. But when you are taking a walking exercise. The student who thus dedicates himself or herself to the training day and night.
the falling and awareness of it. sitting and awareness of it. mindfulness and concentration have improved. and so on and so forth. the meditator will notice the pairwise occurrence of an object and the knowing of it. This fact is stated thus in the Visuddhimagga: “For in proportion as materiality becomes quite definite. translated by Bhikkhu Ñānamoli). so the immaterial states that have that materiality as their object become plain of themselves too”. Through concentration attention (mindfulness) he knows how to distinguish each bodily and mental process: “The rising movement is one process. lifting and awareness of it. such as the rising and awareness of it. disentangled and quite clear to him. (‘The Path of Purification’. He realises that each act of knowing has the nature of ‘going towards an object.Part II • Progressive Practice When as mentioned above. bending and awareness of it. the knowing of it is another”. by dint of diligent practice. stretching and awareness of it. the clearer becomes the mental process of knowing it. he would reflect from direct experience thus: “There is the rising and the knowing it. should he be a simple man. or cognising an object. putting down and awareness of it. There is nothing else besides them. When the meditator comes to know the difference between a bodily process and a mental process. The words ‘man’ or 20 . the falling and knowing it.’ Such a realisation refers to the characteristic function of the mind as inclining towards an object. One should know that the more clearly a material object is noticed.
the meditator must note “reflecting. he would reflect from direct knowledge of the difference between a material process as object and a mental process of knowing it. he thinks that bodily movement is quicker than to the mind knowing it. Now. At to the beginning. because of omission to notice an intention. Though also at to the start of his practice.‘woman’ refer to the same process.ā a). To the meditator first notices that intention. and it is to that pair alone that the terms of conventional usage ‘being’. While contemplating one notices a material process as object and a mental process of knowing it.” Should he be a well-informed man. I or another. yet he cannot notice that state of consciousness distinctly. 21 . With further progress in meditation. he clearly notices to the consciousness consisting of to the intention to bend. then he notices to the particular bodily movement. intending” (for instance. there is no ‘person’ or ‘soul’. ‘man’ or ‘woman’ refer. mind appears to 7 The preceding section describes the ‘analytical knowledge of body and mind’ (nāmarūpa-pariccheda. man or woman”. at this more advanced stage. When such reflections occur. reflecting” and go on observing the rising of 7 the abdomen. So he notices first to the conscious state of an intention to make a bodily movement. thus: “It is true that there are only body and mind. and its falling. But apart from that dual process there is no separate person or being. to the conscious state of an intention is evident before a bodily movement occurs. he does notice “intending. ‘person’ or ‘soul’. at this advanced stage. Besides them there none such entities as man or woman. Now. to bend an arm). belong to the ‘Purification of View’.
notice to the touch sensation at to the left foot. ache. stretching. One sensation has hardly disappeared. Sometimes. sitting. with attention directed on to the particular spot where to the sensation occurs. then another arises. In to the same manner. an arahat. Then. notice to the touch sensation at several places. When no noticing of to the rising and falling is possible one should be aware of sitting and touching or lying and touching. He also notices to the arising in him of mental images such as to the Buddha. notice to the touch sensation at to the right foot (caused by its contact with to the ground or seat). etc. So he realises to the fact that mind knowing a bodily process is quicker than to the material process. in noticing 22 . cold. Touching is to be noticed alternatively. Then. He also clearly notices to the actual bending. stretching. hot” or “cold. For example. He experiences directly that a bodily process takes place after a preceding intention. standing. after noticing “sitting”. heat).” In contemplating regular and spontaneous bodily movements such as to the rising and falling of to the abdomen. after noticing “sitting”. it occurs to him that there can be no knowing without an object. to the rising and falling of to the abdomen is so faint that he finds nothing to notice. and so on. Again he knows from direct experience that to the intensity of heat or cold increases while he is noticing “hot. Again. as well as any kind of sensation that arises in his body (such as itch. going. he notices one after another continuously. To the meditator readily notices the intention of bending. and he notices them all accordingly.be to the forerunner. While noticing every object as it arises he is aware that a mental process of knowing depends on an object.
Intention and noticing result from previous experiences. While noticing objects as they arise these reflections are so quick that they appear to be automatic. stretching and so on. must note: “Reflecting. as conditioning factors. and continue noticing objects as usual. feelings (sensations) of all kinds are to the consequences of previous kamma in to the sense that material processes and mental processes take place ever since birth because of previous kamma. There is nobody to create this body and mind. follow mental processes of intending to bend. to the meditator comes to know clearly that seeing arises from to the contact of eye and visual object and hearing arises from to the contact of ear and sound. hearing through sounds. Further he reflects: “Material processes of bending.seeing. and all that happens has causal factors”. consciousness arises because there are objects to notice: seeing arises through visual objects. To the meditator. then. Such reflections come to the meditator while he is noticing any object as it arises.. ear etc. He does not stop doing so to take time to reflect. that in to the following existences body and mind 23 . He goes on to reflect: “One’s body becomes hot or cold because of to the element of heat or cold. and also because there are to the sense organs. to the meditator reflects further that body and mind in to the former existences were conditioned by to the preceding causes. hearing. eye. to the body exists on food and nourishment. recognising. recognising”. stretch and so forth. After having reflected that material processes and mental processes being noticed are conditioned by to the previous processes of to the same nature. reflecting.
finding oneself face to face with bloated dead bodies or skeletons.ā a). Such reflections must also be noticed and then contemplation should go 8 on as usual. swelling of one’s body. for example. allowing insight to progress unimpeded by an excess of such reflections. gardens. energetic noticing must be made of all these reflections. aches. When noticing is resumed. trees or woods. pagodas (dagobas) and images of to the Buddha. such as itching. covered with 8 The preceding section refers to ‘knowledge by discerning conditionality’ (paccayapariggaha. to the Buddha comes into to the scene in glorious radiance. dullness and stiffness. only causes and effects taking place. belonging to to the ‘Purification by Overcoming Doubt’. Again. heat. Be that as it may. buildings. If they are noticed with energetic concentration they fade away gradually. It should be taken for granted that a minimum of reflections will suffice here. 24 . such sensations will disappear. Such sensations arise in consequence of to the body’s natural sensitivity and are not to the symptoms of a disease. to the meditator may experience almost unbearable sensations. Such reflections will be many in to the case of persons with a strong intellectual bent and less in to the case of those with no such bent. If mindful noticing is stopped. Noticing them will result in their reduction to a minimum. meeting with beloved ones. a procession of monks in to the sky. and apart from this dual process there is no separate ‘being’ or ‘person’. When concentration is practised in an intensive manner.will result from to the same causes. they will reappear. to the meditator sometimes sees images of all kinds as if seeing them with his own eyes. hills or mountains.
then it is likely to linger on. cannot easily be noticed with sufficient clarity and detail. seeing to the denizens of to the hells and heavens. say about five to ten. seeing” until it disappears. they are mere images or imaginations. then through delight it will last a long time. If such thoughts come in. or to look closely into to the matter. fade away or break asunder. It will either move away. while contemplating as usual. These are nothing but creatures of one’s imagination sharpened by intense concentration. if to the meditator wishes to enjoy to the sight. they must be instantly noticed and dispelled. If to the object be induced deliberately. They are not to be welcomed and enjoyed. this will take several noticings. falling into pieces and reduced to a mere skeleton. These objects seen in to the course of contemplation are not real. So whatever object appears.blood. But purely mental processes. nor need one be afraid of them. Hence principal attention should be given to sense objects which can be noticed easily. At to the outset. However. whereas to the mind that sees those objects is a reality. “seeing. saying mentally. unconnected with fivefold sense impressions. become 25 . They are similar to what one comes across in dreams. In to the case of some persons they experience no extraordinary objects or feelings and. But when insight develops. So care must be taken not to think of or incline towards extraneous matters while one’s concentration is good. seeing in one’s body to the entrails and vital organs and even germs. to the object will disappear after a couple of noticings. or gets scared of it. and to those mental processes which arise in connection with sense perceptions. to the meditator should notice it.
all disappears. Now. while noticing one object. But in truth. At this stage. in to the sense of destruction. His reflection is quite in line with what is stated in to the Commentary to to the Pali Text: “All is impermanent. lazy”. Thus they have a clear knowledge of to the initial. At any moment we may die and everything is sure to come to an end. Nothing is impermanent. they notice to the new object that arises. This universal impermanence is truly frightful and terrible”. to the intermediate and to the final phases of every noticing. He reflects further. His perception is so clear that he reflects thus: “All comes to an end. There is a continuous arising and disappearing by which we are harassed ever and anon. “It is through ignorance that we enjoy life. painful in to the sense of terror. to the intermediate and to the final phases of to the object noticed.lazy. Again. His reflection agrees with to the commentarial statement: “What is impermanent is painful. there is nothing to enjoy. painful because of oppression by rise and fall”. but they did not notice clearly to the disappearance of to the previous object. This is dreadful indeed. they had to switch onto a different object that arose. only after cognising to the disappearance of an object. it is truly impermanent”. whether or not to the meditators come across extraordinary objects or feelings they know clearly to the initial. At to the beginning of to the practice. until they overcome it. nonexistence after having been”. At this stage when to the meditator becomes more practised he perceives in every act of noticing that an object appears suddenly and disappears instantly. experiencing severe pains he reflects thus: “All is 26 . They must notice this laziness thus: “lazy.
One cannot stop its process. Such a comprehension is not clear enough in to the case of one with less intellectual capacity or limited knowledge who pays no attention to a reflection but simply goes on noticing objects. Arising and disappearing. it is worthless. not self in to the sense of having no core. because there is no exercising of power over it”. no attention should be given to reflections. It is beyond one’s power. he concludes: “They too are constituted in to the same way: impermanent. This reflection agrees with what to the Commentary states: “He looks on pain as a barb. Even if no such reflections occur at this stage. It takes its natural course”. suffering that is unavoidable. which. comprehends all to the objects not yet noticed as being impermanent. by inference from to the direct experience of to the objects noticed. He further reflects: “This is a mass of suffering. in some cases. Having thus seen to the three characteristics by direct experience. painful and without a self”. may occur at every act of noticing. however. This reflection is quite in agreement with to the Commentary: “What is painful is not self. Such excessive reflecting. In respect of objects not personally experienced. But such a comprehension occurs often to one who yields to reflection. is an impediment to to the progress of insight. as a dart”. to the meditator. To the meditator must notice all these reflections and go on contemplating as usual. Hence. While giving more attention to to 27 . as a boil. comprehension will nevertheless become increasingly clear at to the higher stages.pain. all is bad”. subject to suffering. This is an inference from his present direct experience. and without a self.
concentration. a collective designation will be sufficient. but one should notice them generally.the bare noticing of objects. energy. At this stage one need not try to notice details of to the objects arising in quick succession. If one wishes to name them. namely. In a moment of in-breathing to the rising of to the abdomen presents itself in quick succession. to the meditator no longer reflects but goes on with noticing those bodily and mental objects which present themselves continuously. these are feelings hard to bear. To the meditator cannot possibly keep pace with to the quick succession of varied experiences if he attempts to notice them by name. to the meditator must. If one attempts to follow them in a detailed manner. also notice these reflections if they occur. to the mental process of noticing accelerates as if it becomes uplifted. Noticing has here to be done in a general manner. faith. Slight movements are felt spreading all over to the body. prickly sensations and itching appear in quick succession momentarily. one will get tired soon. To the important thing is 9 The preceding paragraphs refer to to the ‘knowledge of comprehension’ samasana. Quick succession is also evident in to the process of bending and stretching.ā a. After comprehending to the three characteristics. By and large. but 9 he should not dwell on them. and to the bodily and mental processes to be noticed also arise much quicker. In several cases. mindfulness. Then at to the moment when to the five mental faculties. however. are properly balanced. 28 . and to the falling also becomes correspondingly quicker. but with mindfulness. and knowledge.
29 . then one should revert to to the usual contemplation. At this stage.to notice clearly and to comprehend what arises. Only when one is not keen on this sort of noticing. to the usual contemplation focused on a few selected objects should be set aside and mindful noticing should attend to every object that arises at to the six sense doors.
With every act of breathing. touching’. ‘smelling. or ‘thinking. One should. heard. seeing’. thinking’. tastes. ‘tasting. The whole of one’s body constitutes a group of material qualities (rūpa). touched. ‘hearing. smells. in the beginning of one’s practice. or thinks. or thought of. 30 . begin with noting those events which are conspicuous and easily perceivable. Rangoon. therefore. Burma. tasting’. The practice of Vipassanā or Insight Meditation is the effort to understand correctly the nature of the mental and physical phenomena within one’s own body. It was translated from the Burmese by U Nyi Nyi. touches. one cannot make a note all of these events. These are clearly perceived whenever things are seen. tasted. This is the material quality known as the element of motion (vāyodhātu). Every time one sees. We must make ourselves aware of these mental phenomena by observing them and noting thus: ‘Seeing. the abdomen rises and falls — this movement is always evident. hearing’. smelt.Practical Vipassanā Meditation Exercises The following is a talk by the Ven. Mental phenomena are acts of consciousness or awareness (nāma). ‘touching. one should make a note of the fact. However. hears. and edited in 1997 by Bhikkhu Pesala. Physical phenomena are the things or objects that one clearly perceives around and within one. smelling’. Mahāsī Sayādaw (Aggamahāpa ita) given to meditators on their induction at Mahāsī Meditation Centre.
Breathe steadily as usual and note the rising and falling of the abdomen as they occur. Neither slow it down. not verbally. and falling when you breathe out. wandering’. If the movement is not evident by just noting it mentally. Do the same with the falling movement. what you name or say doesn’t matter. You will find the abdomen rising when you breathe in. which may be done by mentally observing the abdomen. You will tire if you change the manner of your breathing. Then return to the rising and falling of the abdomen. If you imagine meeting somebody. While noting the rising of the abdomen. ‘wandering. Your mind may wander elsewhere while you are noting the abdominal movement. and the falling as ‘falling’. note as ‘reaching. Similarly with the falling movement. If the mind reaches somewhere. In vipassanā meditation. keep touching the abdomen with the palm of your hand. do so from the beginning to the end of the movement just as if you are seeing it with your eyes. nor make it faster. The rising should be noted mentally as ‘rising’. note 31 . Do not alter the manner of your breathing. Note it mentally. either.One should begin by noting this movement. in which case you return to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. reaching’. This must also be noted by mentally saying. The movement and the mental awareness of it should coincide in the same way as a stone thrown hits the target. the mind stops wandering. When this has been noted once or twice. What really matters is to know or perceive. Do not breathe too vigorously. Note the rising movement in such a way that your awareness of it is concurrent with the movement itself.
note as ‘imagining’. has been living and thinking. Because we fail to note these acts of consciousness. I am feeling hot. we tend to identify them with a person or individual. If you plan. All of these sensations are dukkhavedanā (feeling of unsatisfactoriness) and noting them is vedanānupassanā. If you reflect. planning. Noting all these acts of consciousness is called cittānupassanā. Now I am uneasy with these unpleasant sensations. Then return to the rising and falling. ‘happy’. meeting’.as ‘meeting. Failure or omission to note these sensations makes you think. If you perceive. sensations of stiffness and heat will arise in your body. We then return to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. Actually. So we have to note each and every act of consciousness as it arises. I am in pain.” The 32 . If you imagine meeting and talking to somebody. I was alright a moment ago. ‘disheartened’. These are to be noted carefully too. no such person exists. from childhood onwards. “I am stiff. talking’. ‘planning’. whatever thought or reflection occurs should be noted. thinking. ‘perceiving’. If you imagine. We think that there is a person who. That is why we have to note these acts of consciousness and know them for what they are. When so noted. In short. knowing or perceiving. Similarly with sensations of pain and fatigue. ‘reflecting’. If you think. ‘thinking’. If you feel disheartened. ‘bored’. it tends to disappear. If you feel bored. If you feel glad. There are instead only these continuing and successive acts of consciousness. We tend to think that it is ‘I’ who is imagining. ‘glad’. When you have sat meditating for a long time. note as ‘talking. If you feel happy.
insight cannot result and there can be no attainment of the path (magga). On the appearance of such sensations one should not immediately change one’s posture. only a succession of one new unpleasant sensation after another. after which the meditator should return to noting the sensations of stiffness. of heat. If concentration cannot develop. the fruit of that path (phala) or nibbāna. just noting as ‘stiff. good concentration (samādhi) cannot develop. That is why patience is needed in meditation. There is really no ‘I’ involved. There is a saying.identification of these sensations with the ego is mistaken. hot’. Every time unpleasant contacts are encountered in the body. One should continue patiently.” This saying is particularly relevant in meditation practice. unpleasant sensations arise one after another. These sensations should be carefully and intently noted. If one shifts or changes one’s posture too often because one cannot bear the sensation of stiffness or heat that arises. pain and other unpleasant sensations. these sensations may tend to increase and lead to a desire to change one’s posture. One must be patient to meditate. heat. In the beginning of one’s meditation practice. Moderate unpleasant sensations will disappear if one 33 . heat etc. or of pain. “Patience leads to Nibbāna. This desire should be noted. stiff’ or ‘hot. It is mostly patience with unpleasant sensations in the body like stiffness. It is just like a continuous succession of new electrical impulses that light up an electric lamp. whether they are sensations of stiffness.
For instance. between a preceding state of concentration and a succeeding one. or if they become unbearable. If you move it. moving’. even intense sensations tend to disappear. If you raise the foot. note ‘dropping. moving’ and ‘touching. wanting to change’. Knowledge of the path and it fruition are attained only when there is this kind of accumulated momentum. If one raises the arm. One will. If the body sways. note as ‘moving. There must be no gaps. of course. whatever phenomena may arise. The meditative process is like that of producing fire by energetically and unremittingly rubbing two sticks of wood together to generate enough heat to make fire. note as ‘raising. note ‘raising. moving’. Only then will there be successive and ascending stages of maturity in the meditator’s understanding. between a preceding act of intelligence and a succeeding one. have to change one’s posture if the sensations do not disappear even after noting them for a long time. If you drop it. If one moves.notes them patiently. This change should be made gently and noted as ‘raising. without any interval between acts of noting. dropping’. raising’. swaying’. In the same way. the noting in vipassanā meditation should be continuous and unremitting. if a sensation of itchiness 34 . raising’. When concentration is strong. When there is no more movement. note ‘swaying. raising’. note ‘moving. One should then begin by noting ‘wanting to change. return to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. One then reverts to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. touching’. ‘moving. but continuity between a preceding act of noting and a succeeding one.
intervenes and the meditator desires to scratch because it is hard to bear. pulling and pushing. moving and stretching it. rising’. The same is the case with people suffering from backache who rise gently lest the back hurts and causes pain. only then will mindfulness. All the movements involved in the process of eliminating the itch should be noted. you should gently note as ‘rising. but first the desire to do so should be noted. in which case one reverts to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. with gentle and gradual movements. People in normal health rise easily and quickly. A meditator should behave like a weak invalid. As your body sways forward. and scratching movements. who do so slowly and gently. therefore. Not so with feeble invalids. So also with meditators. When rising. You should note the movements at the same time as making them. the meditator must do so gently like an invalid. eventually returning to the rising and falling of the abdomen. the itchiness will generally disappear. note it. If one perseveres. As you rise. especially the touching. the body becomes light and rises. They shoud make changes of posture gradually and gently. raising the arm. Focus your mind on this. at the same 35 . begin by noting your intention or desire to change. such as rising from the sitting posture. both the sensation and the desire to get rid of it should be noted. concentration and insight be clear. or abruptly. and note every movement closely. Whenever you change your posture. Begin. If the itchiness does not disappear. without immediately getting rid of the sensation by scratching. one may eliminate it by scratching.
standing’. one must behave as if one does not see or hear them. the meditator should do so slowly. seeing’. gently moving the arms and legs. When making bodily movements. rising’. One must be fully aware of the raising of the foot. bending or stretching them. when it is pushed forward. This is the manner of noting when one walks fast. dropping’ with each step. Not only this: though the eye sees. When rising from the sitting posture. When walking slowly or pacing up and down. Similarly. Similarly when the ear hears. It will be enough if you note thus when walking fast and walking some distance. whether with the right foot or the left foot. When walking. rising’. note as ‘looking. the meditator must act as if blind. You must be aware of all the successive movements involved. This noting will become easier after about two days. So whatever strange or striking things one may see or hear. note the steps. and when it is dropped. when the foot is dropped. the meditator’s concern is only to note. noting as ‘rising.time noting as ‘rising. Begin with noting the raising and dropping movements. note as ‘standing. merely noting carefully. One must walk noting as ‘raising. When looking here and there. one should do so gradually. Note each step taken. lowering the head and raising it up. While meditating. What one sees and hears are not one’s concern. 36 . from the raising of the foot to the dropping of it. three stages should be noted for each step: when the foot is raised. whether they are taken with the right or the left foot. one should be fully aware of the ‘heavy’ falling of the foot. When straightening up and standing.
When you are seated. the moving of it. If. it will suffice to note one or two movements only. wanting to sit down’. stiffness or sensation of heat arise in any part of your body.e. In the beginning. note the rising and falling of the abdomen. note the movements involved in arranging your legs and arms. note them. If a desire to lie down arises. dropping’ when walking slowly. lying down). note as ‘wanting to sit down. Then return to ‘rising. the stretching of the legs. as ‘raising. To note thus as you lie down is important. falling’. distinctive knowledge can come at any moment. you can gain distinctive knowledge (i. pushing forward. you want to sit down. the swaying of the body. knowledge of the path and its fruition). When concentration and insight are strong. In the course of this movement (that is. When actually sitting down. the listing of the body as one slowly prepares to lie down — all these movements should be noted. When there are no such movements of the body. The raising of the arm. left step’ when walking fast and ‘raising. note it and the movements of your legs and arms as you lie down. That was how Venerable Ānanda became an arahant. thus ‘right step. note attentively the ‘heavy’ falling of your body. while noting thus. the resting of the elbow on the floor. He was practising the whole night the form of 37 . It can arise in a single ‘bend’ of the arm or in a single ‘stretch’ of the arm. Venerable Ānanda was trying strenuously to attain Arahantship overnight on the eve of the First Buddhist Council. If when walking thus. dropping’.Then go on to noting the three movements as described above.
One should not relax one’s effort. lying’. Such attainment can come at any moment and need not take long. he attained Arahantship in an instant. the meditator should not stop the noting. That is why meditators should always note diligently. Realising that he had practised walking meditation to excess and that. A really serious and energetic meditator should practise mindfulness as if forgoing sleep altogether. he should practise meditation in the lying posture for a while. Although this went on until it was nearly dawn. noting. If there is no movement. ‘lying. Reaching these three successive stages of the higher path took only a moment. Remember this example of Venerable Ānanda’s attainment of Arahantship. return to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. right and left. While doing so and noting. Venerable Ānanda was only a stream-winner (sotāpanna) before he lay down. he had not yet attained Arahantship. thinking. One should go on meditating 38 . the mental desire to walk and the physical movements involved in walking. He sat on the bed and then lay down.” All movements involved in lying down and arranging the arms and legs should be carefully and unremittingly noted.vipassanā meditation known as kāyagatāsati. pushing forward and dropping of the feet. event by event. in order to balance concentration and effort. From the stage of a stream-winner he reached the stages of a once-returner (sakadāgāmi) a non-returner (anāgāmi) and an arahant (the final stage of the path). he entered his room. raising. Even when it is getting late and time for sleep. noting his steps. “this little lapse should not matter much.
However. If you meditate in the lying posture. one will fall asleep. if one’s eyelids droop. it is easy. as ‘drooping’. you soon become drowsy and easily fall asleep. if they become heavy or leaden. If mindfulness has the upper hand. If. one does fall asleep. one should note as ‘sleepy. one will not fall asleep. however. One should then note as ‘clear. they should meditate much more in the sitting and walking postures. but the really serious meditator should limit sleep to about four hours. That is why beginners should not meditate too much in the lying posture. The meditator who is really intent on attaining the path and its fruition should rest from meditation only when asleep. one 39 . the drowsiness may pass and the eyes may become clear again. noting the rising and falling movements of the abdomen. if real drowsiness intervenes. Four hours sleep is quite enough. in all waking moments. sleepy’. At other times. one may extend it to five or six hours. one should meditate in the lying position. If the beginner thinks that four hours sleep is not enough for health. Six hours sleep is clearly enough. When one feels sleepy.until one falls asleep. Noting thus. one should immediately resume noting. as ‘heavy’. When one wakes up. This is the ‘midnight time’ permitted by the Buddha. The time one is asleep is the resting time for the meditator. However determined one may be. One will then naturally fall asleep. clear’ and continue noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. if the eyes smart. as ‘smarting’. as it grows late and becomes time for sleep. It is not difficult to fall asleep. drowsiness is stronger. in fact.
There are then the acts of dressing. as many of them should be noted as possible. If one intends to get up from the bed. drops one’s arm and raises one’s head again. bends one head and puts the morsel into one’s mouth. all these should also be noted as precisely as possible. When one has one’s meal and looks at the table. One should note when one washes one’s face and when one takes a bath. handles it and brings it to the mouth. seeing. As the movements involved in these acts are rather quick.) 40 . one should revert to noting the rising and falling movements of the abdomen. looking. one notes as ‘sitting. of tidying up the bed. One should then note the movements one makes as one moves one’s arms and legs. When one raises one’s head and rises. If there are no such changes. (This way of noting is in accordance with the Burmese way of taking a meal. one should note the awakening state of mind as ‘awakening. awakening’. one should note as ‘looking. intending to get up’. rising’. of opening and closing the door. That is why. all of these movements should also be noted. all these movements should be duly noted. one should begin with noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. If one makes any movements as one arranges one’s arms and legs. one notes as ‘rising. one should note as ‘intending to get up. seeing’. When one extends one’s hand towards the food.should be noting continually and without let up. When one is seated. collects it and arranges it. as soon as one awakens. sitting’. Those who use fork and spoon or chopsticks should note the movements in an appropriate manner. If one cannot yet be aware of this. touches it.
I have mentioned so many things for the meditator to note. help overlooking some. dropping’ when walking slowly. Note also the sensations of stiffness. the swaying and straightening of the body. The beginner is likely to miss several things that should be noted. one will be able to note all of these events precisely. As one takes soup. Then return to the rising and falling of the abdomen. if there is nothing particular to note. 41 . When walking fast.When one chews the food. When sitting quietly. ‘left step’. should all be noted. knowing’. One cannot. of course. as they arise. all the movements involved such as extending the arm. but one should resolve to note them all. This is how the meditator should note when taking each morsel of food. but in brief. Then return to the rising and falling of the abdomen. aching and itchiness as they arise. chewing’. While noting thus and if the mind wanders. Note the same when you are lying down. handling the spoon. scooping with it and so on. Note also. one should note as ‘knowing. note as ‘right step’. pain. the bending and raising of the head. one should note as ‘chewing. but as one’s concentration deepens. there are only a few things to remember. the bending. stretching and moving of the limbs. To note thus at meal-times is rather difficult as there are so many things to observe and note. When one comes to know the taste of the food. as the food goes down one’s throat. just note the rising and falling of the abdomen. note the acts of consciousness that arise. one should note all these events. and as ‘raising. Then return to the rising and falling of the abdomen. As one relishes the food and swallows it.
the mind does not wander any more. With every act of noting. as the mind wanders here and there. only the physical object and the mental act of noting it. The physical object of attention and the mental act of noting occur as a pair.As one goes on noting thus. the act of mindfulness becoming almost simultaneous with the object of its attention. actually and personally experience these occurrences. There is in this occurrence no person or individual involved. In the beginning. one may miss many things. While noting the rising and falling of the abdomen one will come to distinguish the rising of the abdomen as physical phenomenon and the mental act of noting it as mental phenomenon. Thus the meditator will distinctly realise the simultaneous occurrence in pairs of these psycho-physical phenomena. one will be able to note more and more of these events. one becomes aware of every act of mind-wandering until. but one should not be disheartened. similarly with the falling of the abdomen. Every beginner encounters the same difficulty. the meditator will come to know clearly that there are only this material quality which is the object of awareness or attention and the mental quality that makes a note of it. This discriminating knowledge is called analytical knowledge 42 . and similarly with the falling of the abdomen. The mind is then rivetted onto the object of its attention. In other words. but as one becomes more skilled. The meditator will. the rising of the abdomen becomes concurrent with the act of noting it. in time. eventually. occurring in tandem.
ā a). All phenomena arise and pass away so rapidly that they do not last even for the twinkling of an eye. by knowledge by discerning conditionality (paccaya-pariggaha. one will see for oneself that what arises passes away after a short while.ā a. as one continues meditating. One will come to know this personally as one goes on noting.of mind and matter (nāmarūpa-pariccheda.ā a). Such conviction is called aniccānupassanā. Ordinary people assume that both the material and mental phenomena persist throughout life. There is no phenomenon that lasts for ever. dukkha and anatta.ā a). as the meditator continues. When. that is. from youth to adulthood. As one goes on noting.ā a. This will be succeeded. one will attain nibbāna. which is the beginning of insight knowledge (vipassanā. All the former Buddhas. which realises that all this impermanency is suffering.ā a.ā a. They constitute no individual or ego-entity. One will then become convinced of the impermanency of all such phenomena. which is just an aggregate of suffering. one comes to realise firmly that all these phenomena are anicca. following nobody’s will and subject to nobody’s control. In fact. Next. This knowledge will be succeeded by dukkhānupassanā. that is not so. Arahants and Ariyas realised nibbāna 43 . The meditator is also likely to encounter all kinds of hardship in the body. This is also dukkhānupassanā. It is important to gain this knowledge correctly. This realisation is anattānupassanā. the meditator will become convinced that all these psycho-physical phenomena are occurring of their own accord.
One should continue one’s meditation practice optimistically with this faith.by following this very path. One should therefore be content in the faith that one will attain these insights in the time specified above. which they themselves have never experienced before. Arahants and Ariyas have experienced! Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu! Well done! Well done! Well done! 44 . It will not be very long before they experience this knowledge for themselves. Arahants and Ariyas. Those whose perfections are exceptional may have these experiences within seven days. following the ripening of their perfections (pāramī). in fulfilment of their wish for attainment of knowledge of the path. it fruition and nibbāna. May you all be able to practise meditation well and quickly attain that nibbāna which the Buddhas. In fact. it may be within a month or twenty days of meditation practice. and that one will be freed of personality-belief and doubt. They should feel glad at the prospect of experiencing the noble kind of tranquillity brought about by concentration and the supramundane knowledge or wisdom experienced by the Buddhas. All meditating meditators should recognize that they themselves are now on this satipa hāna path. and thus saved from the danger of rebirth in the lower worlds.
prosperous and charming village lying about seven miles to the west of the historic Shwebo town in Upper Burma. At the age of six he was sent to receive his early monastic eduction under U Ādicca.The Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw A Biographical Sketch The Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw was born in the year 1904 at Seikkhun. He was a bright pupil. presiding monk of Pyinmana Monastery at Seikkhun. His parents. Ingyintaw-taik. were U Kan Taw and Daw Oke. Shin Sobhana continued his studies under Sayādaw U Parama of Thugyi-kyaung Monastery. a large. he was initiated into the monastic Order as a novice (sāma era) under the same teacher and given the name of Shin Sobhana (which means Auspicious). peasant proprietors by occupation. At the age of nineteen he had to decide whether to continue in the Order and devote the rest of his life to the service of the Buddha Sāsana or 45 . Six years later. making remarkably quick progress in his scriptural studies. When U Ādicca left the Order. The name befitted his courageous features and his dignified behaviour.
Sumedhā Sayādaw Ashin Nimmala acting as his preceptor. being especially interested in the Mahāsatipa hāna Sutta. however. His deepening interest in the satipa hāna method of vipassanā meditation took him next to neighbouring Thaton where the well-known Mingun Jetavan Sayādaw was teaching it. Sobhana next went to the city of Mandalay. Ven. He was ordained as a bhikkhu on the 26th of November 1923.to return to lay life. Ven. While teaching at Taungwainggale. Under the Mingun Jetavan Sayādaw’s instruction. Within four months he had such good results that he could teach it properly to his first three disciples at Seikkhun while he was on a visit there in 1938. Shin Sobhana knew where his heart lay and unhesitatingly chose the first course. His stay at Khinmakan-west Monastery for this purpose was. Sobhana) wanted him to assist with the teaching of his pupils. Within four years Ven. cut short after little more than a year when he was called to Moulmein. Sobhana went on with his own studies of the scriptures. Ven. to pursue advanced study of the scriptures under Sayādaws wellknown for their learning. Ven. The head of the Taik-kyaung monastery in Taungwainggale (who came from the same village as Ven. Sobhana passed all three grades of the Pā i scriptural examinations conducted by the Government. After his return from Thaton to Taungwainggale (owing to the grave illness and subsequent death of the aged Taik-kyaung Sayādaw) to resume his teaching work and to take charge of the monastery. Sobhana sat for and passed with distinction the Government-held 46 . Sobhana took up intensive practice of vipassanā meditation. noted for its pre-eminence in Buddhist learning.
It was not long before the Mahāsī Sayādaw’s reputation as a skilled meditation teacher had spread throughout the Shwebo-Sagaing region and came to the attention of a devout and wealthy Buddhist. On the 13th of November 1947. the Buddhasāsana Nuggaha Association was founded at Rangoon with Sir U Thwin as its first President. Sir U Thwin. Sobhana had to leave Taungwainggale and return to his native Seikkhun. After listening to a discourse on vipassanā given by the Sayādaw and observing his serene and noble demeanour.Dhammācariya (Teacher of the Dhamma) examination in June 1941. Ven. U Thwin wanted to promote the Buddha Sāsana by setting up a meditation centre directed by a teacher of proven virtue and ability. This was a welcome opportunity for him to devote himself wholeheartedly to his own practice of satipa hāna vipassanā meditation and to teaching it to a growing number of disciples. Sir U Thwin had no difficulty in deciding that the Mahāsī Sayādaw was the meditation teacher he had been looking for. an authoritative and comprehensive work expounding both the doctrinal and practical aspects of satipa hāna meditation. On the eve of the Japanese invasion of Burma. Sir U Thwin donated to the Association a plot of land in 47 . and with scriptural learning and the practice of the Dhamma as its object. The Mahāsī Monastery at Seikkhun (whence he became known as Mahāsī Sayādaw) fortunately remained free from the horror and disruption of war. During this period the Sayādaw’s disciples prevailed upon him to write the ‘Manual of Vipassanā Meditation’.
As the meditators grew in numbers. Rangoon. U Nu. during one of his sojourns at Seikkhun. In November of that year. Mahāsī Sayādaw came down from Shwebo and Sagaing to the Sāsana Yeikthā (Meditation Centre) at Rangoon. the Centre occupied an area of 19. on which a vast complex of buildings and other structures had been built. On 4th December 1949 Mahāsī Sayādaw personally instructed the very first batch of twenty-five meditators in the practice of vipassanā. In May 1949. for the erection of the proposed meditation centre. measuring over five acres. In 1978. After the Second World War. This work excels the average nissaya translation of this Sutta. From July 1951 the tape-recorded talk was played for each new batch of meditators with a brief introduction by the 48 . Sir U Thwin told the Association that he had found a reliable meditation teacher and proposed that the then Prime Minister of Burma invite Mahāsī Sayādaw to the Centre.6 acres. which is very important for those who wish to practise vipassanā meditation but need guidance. Meanwhile. on the personal invitation of the then Prime Minister. the Sayādaw completed a new nissaya translation of the Mahāsatipa hāna Sutta. it became too demanding for the Sayādaw to give the entire initiation talk to all the meditators.Hermitage Road. the Sayādaw alternated his residence between his native Seikkhun and Taungwainggale in Moulmein. Burma had regained independence on 4th January 1948. Thus began Mahāsī Sayādaw’s guardianship of the Sāsana Yeikthā at Rangoon. accompanied by two senior Sayādaws.
A unique feature of this Council was the editing of the 49 . The mission discussed the plan with the Primates of the Buddhist Sa gha of those two countries. In recognition of his distinguished scholarship and spiritual attainments. but extended to neighbouring Theravāda countries like Thailand and Sri Lanka. At the historic Sixth Buddhist Council. Mahāsī Sayādaw was honoured in 1952 by the then President (‘Prime Minister’) of the Union of Burma with the prestigious title of ‘Aggamahāpa ita’ (the Exalted Wise One). Soon after attaining Independence. Mahāsī Sayādaw played an eminent role. Thailand.Sayādaw. which was inaugurated with every pomp and ceremony on 17th May 1954. These centres were not confined to Burma alone. with four other Theravāda Buddhist countries (Sri Lanka. composed of Nyaungyan Sayādaw. the Government of Burma began plans to hold a Sixth Buddhist Council (Sa gāyanā) in Burma. Cambodia and Laos) participating. Mahāsī Sayādaw and two laymen. similar meditation centres were inaugurated in many parts of the country with Mahāsī-trained members of the Sa gha as meditation teachers. According to a 1972 census. For this purpose the Government dispatched a mission to Thailand and Cambodia. Within a few years of the establishment of the Sāsana Yeikthā at Rangoon. There were also a few centres in Cambodia and India. undertaking the exacting and onerous tasks of Osāna (Final Editor) and Pucchaka (Questioner). the total number of meditators trained at all these centres (both in Burma and abroad) had exceeded seven hundred thousand.
twelve Japanese monks and a Japanese laywoman arrived in Burma to study Theravāda Buddhism.commentaries (A hakathā) and sub-commentaries ( īkā). sound interpretation and skilful reconciliation of several crucial and divergent passages. Mahāsī Sayādaw was responsible for making a critical analysis. In 1955. A significant result of the Sixth Buddhist Council was the revival of interest in Theravāda Buddhism among Mahāyāna Buddhists. Also in 1957. at the instance of the Buddhist Association of Moji. At the request of the Government of Sri Lanka. Mahāsī Sayādaw undertook the task of writing an introduction in Pā i to the Visuddhimagga A hakathā. In the editing of this commentarial literature. as well as the canonical texts. Buddhaghosa. Ven. an eminent deputy of Mahāsī Sayādaw. the Buddha Sāsana Council of Burma sent a Theravāda Buddhist mission to Japan. The Sayādaw completed this difficult task in 1960. while the Council was in progress. his work bearing every mark of distinctive learning and depth of understanding. Mahāsī Sayādaw was one of the leading representatives of the Burmese Sa gha in that mission. By then the Sayādaw had also completed two volumes (out of four) of his Burmese translation of this famous commentary and classic work on Buddhist meditation. to refute certain misstatements about its famous author. The monks were initiated into the Theravāda Buddhist Sa gha as novices while the laywoman was made a Buddhist nun. a special mission headed by Sayādaw U Sujāta. Then. went there in July 1955 to 50 . in July 1957.
Ambedkar. This historic visit of the Burmese mission under the inspiring leadership of Mahāsī Sayādaw was symbolic of the ancient and close ties of friendship between these two Theravāda Buddhist countries. who had embraced Buddhism under the guidance of their late leader Dr. Following the completion of a meditation centre on a site granted by the Sri Lankan Government. The members of the mission next went on an extended tour of the island. a larger mission led by Mahāsī Sayādaw left Burma for Sri Lanka on 6th January 1959.promote satipa hāna meditation. A notable feature of the visit was the warm welcome received from members of the depressed classes. President of India Dr. via India. during which its members visited several holy places associated with the life and work of Lord Buddha. Mahāsī Sayādaw delivered an address in Pā i after Prime Minister Bandaranāyake and some others had spoken. Radhakrishnan. Rajendra Prasad and vice-president Dr. setting up twelve permanent and seventeen temporary meditation centres. They also gave religious talks on suitable occasions and had interviews with Prime Minister Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. Its 51 . Anurādhapura and Kandy. S. On Sunday 1st February. at the opening ceremony of the meditation centre named ‘Bhāvanā Majjha hāna’. visiting several meditation centres where Mahāsī Sayādaw gave discourses on vipassanā meditation. The mission was in India for about three weeks. They also worshipped at famous sites of Buddhist pilgrimage like Polonnāruwa. The mission flew from Madras to Sri Lanka on 29th January 1959 and arrived at Colombo on the same day. The mission stayed in Sri Lanka for over a year doing admirable work.
After he returned as a Buddhist monk to Indonesia. at the request of the Thai Minister for Sa gha Affairs. the Buddha Sāsana Council received a request to send a Burmese Buddhist monk to promote missionary work in Indonesia. we might describe Mahāsī Sayādaw’s missions to these countries as ‘Dhamma-vijaya’ (victory of the Dhamma) journeys. With thirteen other Theravāda monks. Mahāsī Sayādaw had sent Sayādaws U Āsabha and U Indavaµsa to Thailand for the promotion 52 .benefit to the Buddhist movement in Sri Lanka was a revival of interest in meditation. The meditator in question was a Buddhist teacher from Indonesia by the name of Bung An who had become interested in vipassanā meditation. Mr Bung An made such excellent progress that in little more than a month Mahāsī Sayādaw gave him a detailed talk on the progress of insight. a visitor to the Sāsana Yeikthā might have noticed a young Chinese man practising vipassanā meditation. Jinarakkhita. which seemed to have declined. Later he was ordained a bhikkhu and named Ven. as the preceptor and mentor of Ashin Jinarakkhita. It was decided that Mahāsī Sayādaw. In February 1954. Considering these fruitful activities in promoting Buddhism in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. As early as 1952. Mahāsī Sayādaw undertook such primary missionary activities as consecrating sīmas (ordination boundaries) ordaining bhikkhus. should go. particularly talks on vipassanā meditation. with Mahāsī Sayādaw as his preceptor. initiating novices and giving discourses. Under the guidance of Mahāsī Sayādaw and Sayādaw U Ñānuttara.
Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhimagga A hakathā and Ven. Abhidhajamahāra haguru Masoeyein Sayādaw. he undertook three more missions to the West (Britain. so they are vital for prospective meditation teachers. for one and a half or two hours daily. This nissaya was an exceptional achievement. Ven. completing it on 4th February 1966. regardless of his advancing age and feeble health. Mahāsī Sayādaw’s method gained wide acceptance in Thailand. Mahāsī Sayādaw began teaching these two works on 2nd February 1961. who presided over the Sa ghanāyaka Executive Board at the Sixth Buddhist Council. Dhammapāla’s Visuddhimagga Mahā īkā deal primarily with Buddhist meditation theory and practice. many meditation centres had been established and the number of Mahāsī meditators exceeded a hundred thousand. By 1960. though they also offer useful explanations of important doctrinal points. 1980 and 1981) preceding his death. the Sayādaw started writing a nissaya translation of the Visuddhimagga Mahā īkā. urged Mahāsī Sayādaw to teach two commentaries to the Sa gha at Sāsana Yeikthā.of satipa hāna vipassanā. The section on the different views held by other religions (samayantara) was most exacting since the Sayādaw had to familiarize himself with ancient Hindu philosophy and terminology by studying all 53 . Based on the lecture notes taken by his pupils. It was characteristic of the Venerable Sayādaw’s disinterested and single-minded devotion to the cause of the Buddha Sāsana that. Thanks to their efforts. Europe and America) and to India and Nepal in the three years (1979.
‘A Discourse on Sakkapa ha Sutta’ (published in October 1978). thus enabling those who are interested in the controversy to judge for themselves. Space does not permit us to list them all here. One may. namely. inexperienced and 54 .available references. imposed on all who come to practise at any of the Mahāsī meditation centres. practise ānāpānasati. however. It is not. but two learned Sayādaws brought out a book each in defence of the Sayādaw’s method. whereas the truth is that it had been approved several years before Mahāsī Sayādaw adopted it. It was mistakenly assumed that this method was an innovation of the Sayādaw’s. Mahāsī Sayādaw was severely criticised in certain quarters for his advocacy of the allegedly unorthodox method of noting the rising and falling of the abdomen in vipassanā meditation. Up till now Mahāsī Sayādaw has to his credit 67 volumes of Burmese Buddhist literature. but a complete up-to-date list of them is appended to the Sayādaw’s latest publication. including works in Sanskrit and English. by no less an authority than the mūla (original) Mingun Jetavan Sayādaw. At one time. and that it is in no way contrary to the Buddha’s teaching on the subject. This controversy arose in Sri Lanka where some members of the Sa gha. Mahāsī Sayādaw himself refrained from joining issue with his critics on this point. The reason for Mahāsī Sayādaw’s preference for this method is that the average meditator finds it easier to note this manifestation of the element of motion (vāyodhātu). if one likes.
who became a close disciple of Mahāsī Sayādaw. Among these meditators was a young American. He came and practised meditation at the Centre first as a lay meditator and later as a bhikkhu. Among the first meditators from abroad was former British Rear-Admiral E. spending several years with the Sayādaw learning the Buddhist scriptures and practising vipassanā. some seeking enlightenment for their religious problems and others intent on practising meditation under the Sayādaw’s personal guidance.unknowledgeable in practical meditation. Particular mention should be made of Anagārika Shri Munindra of Buddha Gayā in India. Since this criticism was voiced in the English language with world-wide coverage. silence could no longer be maintained and so Sayādaw U Ñānuttara of Kabā-aye (World Peace Pagoda campus) forcefully responded to the criticisms in the pages of the Sri Lankan Buddhist periodical ‘World Buddhism’. He subsequently published a book in France about his experiences and the satipa hāna vipassanā method. Robert Duvo.H. On his return to England he published a book entitled ‘An Experiment in Mindfulness’ in which he related his experiences in generally appreciative terms. a French-born American from California. Afterwards he directed an international meditation centre at Buddha Gayā where many people from the West came to practise meditation. Another foreigner was Mr. Joseph 55 . Shattock who came on leave from Singapore and practised meditation at the Sāsana Yeikthā in 1952. Mahāsī Sayādaw’s international reputation has attracted numerous visitors and meditators from abroad. publicly assailed Mahāsī Sayādaw’s method in newspapers and journals.
California. Some of the Sayādaw’s works have been published abroad. San Francisco. Sri Lanka. who has written a perceptive book on insight meditation titled ‘The Experience of Insight: A Natural Unfolding’. and ‘The Progress of Insight’ by the Buddhist Publication Society. Myanmar. he lived valiantly. his selfless and dedicated life on the 14th of August 1982. the inexorable law of impermanence terminated. with tragic suddenness. USA. Although it was the earnest wish of his devoted disciples that the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw might live for several more years and continue showering the blessings of the Buddhadhamma on all those in search freedom and deliverance. such as ‘The Satipa hāna Vipassanā Meditation’ and ‘Practical Insight Meditation’ by the Unity Press. U Nyi Nyi (Mahāsī Disciple and Meditator) Member of the Executive Committee Buddhasāsana Nuggaha Association Yangon. The Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw is profoundly revered by countless grateful disciples in Burma and abroad. 18th October 1978 56 . spreading the word of the Master throughout the world and helped many thousands and tens of thousands onto the Path of Enlightenment and Deliverance. Both of them were accomplished meditators. Kandy. Selfless and able assistance was rendered by U Pe Thin (now deceased) and Myanaung U Tin in the Sayādaw’s dealings with his visitors and meditators from abroad and in the translation into English of some of Sayādaw’s discourses on vipassanā meditation. Like a true son of the Buddha.Goldstein.
Mahāsī Sayādaw. when he bends or stretches (his limbs). savouring.he is aware of what he is doing. monks. when affected by a feeling of pleasure. a monk.” “And moreover. however it be placed or disposed. Likewise. monks. This is offered as an expanded aid in this meditation technique. he is aware thereof. or when he is standing. monks. sleeping.” “And moreover. Techniques of Meditation The Mahāsatipa hāna Sutta states: “And moreover. is aware of it thus: ‘I walk’. he knows what he is doing. a monk. the words of the Buddha. or keeping silence. standing. a monk is aware of it as ‘I feel a pleasurable feeling’. when he departs.” “Herein. he is aware that it is so. drinking. a monk reflects upon this very body.” “Herein. or when he is obeying the calls of nature . or takes the bowl. when he is eating. or returns. watching. when he is walking. talking. sitting. or if the thought is free from lust. with respect to the four elements. In going. a reference to the source from which all Satipa hāna meditation arose. when he looks at or looks away from. monks. or sitting. when he puts on the lower robe. he is aware when affected by a painful feeling. is 57 . the upper robe. chewing. if a monk has a lustful thought.APPENDIX Below is a concise excerpted translation from the Pā i of the Mahāsatipa hāna Sutta accompanied by a commentary from the author. or lying down. monks.
The material aggregate. “thinking”. hot. monks. in the truth of suffering of the four noble truths (sacca). “feeling stiff. Herein. Rising and Falling Movement of the Abdomen It is quite in agreement with the Buddha’s teachings to contemplate on the rising and falling movements of the abdomen. it has been stated in colloquial language thus: “rising” while the abdomen is rising. “falling” while the abdomen is falling. Here it should be noted that walking and so on are stated in common words instead of “being aware of the inner wind element manifesting itself in the movement of the limbs.aware that it is so. when a monk is aware of sensual desire he reflects ‘I have sensual desire’. sitting. “bending” while the limbs are bending. in the wind element of the four material elements (mahābhūta). 58 . a tactile object. “walking.” or “in pain” while one feels so. Such rising and falling is a physical process (rūpa) caused by the pressure of the wind element. Surely they are not otherwise. standing. or “knowing” while one is so engaged.” or “lying” while one is so doing.” In accordance with these teachings of the Buddha. in the tactile object of the twelve sense bases (āyatana). “stretching” while the limbs are stretching. in the body impression of the eighteen elements (dhātu). “reflecting”.” as is stated in the Pā i texts. a body impression and the truth of suffering are certainly objects for insight contemplation. The wind element is included in the material group of the five aggregates (khandhā). “wandering” while the mind is wandering.
monks. one is capable of extinguishing ill. to body and regard it in its true nature as impermanent. is quite in agreement with the Buddha’s discourses on khandhas.” “In him who knows and sees tactile objects as impermanent. as impermanent.” 59 . this view of his is right view.The rising and falling movement of the abdomen is therefore a proper object for contemplation. to the tactile objects and regard their true nature as impermanent. the pressure and movement experienced thereby is a manifestation of the wind element which is tactile.” “Apply your minds thoroughly. āyatanas. when a monk sees the body which is impermanent. being aware that it is but a movement of the wind element. and perceiving that rightly as such is quite in accordance with what the Buddha taught as briefly shown below.” “Herein. “Apply your mind thoroughly. subject to the laws of impermanence. monks. monks. suffering and unsubstantiality. when a monk sees tactile objects which are impermanent. dhātus and saccas. by detaching himself from and abandoning the tactile objects. However. such its passing away’. such is its genesis. While the abdomen is rising and falling. a monk reflects: ‘Such is material form. by fully knowing and comprehending. ignorance vanishes and knowledge arises.” “Monks. this view of his is right view.” “Monks. and while so contemplating.
a monk is aware of the organ of touch and tangibles.” “Whatever is an internal element of motion.“Herein. Thus it will be seen that the contemplation of the rising and the falling movement of the abdomen is in accord with the above discourses and also with the Mahāsatipa hāna Sutta (Dhātumanasikārapabba — section on attention to the elements). By means of perfect intuitive wisdom it should be seen of this as it really is. and whatever is an external element of motion. the wind element that causes the movement and pressure of the abdomen. comprised in the corporeality group. this I am not. 60 . is the truth of suffering. monks. just these are the element of motion. thus: ‘This is not mine. Again. this is not my self’.
with the Most Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw as its Principle Preceptor. (Rangoon) 11201 Myanmar (Burma) Telephone: (+95) 01 541971. Sāsana Either Road Yangon. The centre has prospered with up to 500 meditators (yogis) practicing intensive meditation daily at the centre. 1982. The most Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw started the teaching of the Mahāsī method of insight in 1947 and taught for 33 years until his death in August. Myanmar Information for Foreign Meditators Mailing Address: Buddha Sāsana Nuggaha Organisation No 16.Mahāsī Sāsana Yeiktha Meditation Centre. 289961 President: U Hla Kyaing The Meditation Centre: This meditation centre was opened in 1950. Yangon. 552501 Fax: 289960. There are over one hundred buildings on the ground for housing the meditation teachers and 61 . It is located on approximately twenty acres of quiet pleasant garden land in Hermitage.
towels. or about 20 minutes by taxi from the Tourist Centre in downtown Yangon. Accommodation: Boarding and lodging are free to foreign meditators for the period of their practice at the centre. Cases needing special attention will be treated at the State Hospital. but the Centre is open throughout the year to receive those who are prepared to undertake full-time Satipattana Vipassanā meditation for six to twelve weeks. but they may have sometimes to share. men as well as women and providing complete retreat facilities.meditators both monks. All rooms have bedding and mosquito nets. nuns and laity. vitamins and medicines. Location: The centre is only about 20 minutes by taxi from Yangon’s Mingaladon Airport. You should provide your own toiletries. All lay Yogis (meditators) are expected to observe the Eight Precepts throughout the length of their stay. and cushions if you need them. Meditators preferring treatment at a private clinic will themselves have to bear the necessary expenses. and 62 . Medical Care: There is a dispensary at the Centre for treatment of minor ailments open every Monday. Wednesday and Friday from 4 to 6pm. Programme of Meditation:There is no periodically scheduled or weekend Courses. Accommodation for Bhikkhus (monks). It is shown on tourist guide maps and there is a prominent sign board at the junction of Kaba-Aye Pagoda Road with Sāsana Yeiktha Road. Thilashins (nuns) and women meditators is separate and assigned on arrival. Wherever possible single rooms are provided for foreigners.
these will be explained by the Meditation Teacher at the time of induction. bath. N. a taperecorded talk on Satipattana Vipassanā Meditation. The observance of these moral Precepts conduces to the development of Vipassanā insight knowledge. At the time of their induction. method of practice and benefits derived therefrom is played for the new meditator. All instruction and discourses for foreign meditators will be through the medium of English which the prospective meditator should have at least at working knowledge.B. etc. Individual interviews with the meditation teacher are scheduled at regular intervals to enable the meditators to report their meditational experiences and to receive necessary guidance by their teacher for further progress. The Daily Programme of Meditation Practice: The day starts at 3 am and continues until 11pm with breaks for meals. In this way each meditator will receive personal attention and guidance throughout the entire course of meditation and will have the opportunity of gaining personal knowledge and experience of Satipattana Vipassanā Meditation through all stages of progressive vipassanā insight. its purpose. Dhamma talks will be given from time to time to the practising meditators by the senior meditation Teachers. 63 . In addition. Almost the entire day is spent in silent individual meditative practice alternating with group sittings in a meditation hall.