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Dr Rewata Dhamma
4 Dec. 1929 - 26 May 2004
THE JOYFUL TRAVELLER
Aggamahapandita Rewata Dhamma A biographical sketch and partial bibliography
Rewata Dhamma pages 3-15
Globalising Spiritual Values pages 16-19
A Partial Bibliography pages 20-26
© Yann Lovelock 2005
HE young Rewata’s beginnings were unremarkable. Born to U Lu Khin and his wife Daw Pyant Gyi, he was brought up in the village of Thamangone on the banks of the Irrawaddy in Burma. He was a lively lad with an enquiring mind that was to get him into trouble at times. It was the custom then to give a child a protective tattoo against snakebite. No sooner had the youngster received his than he decided to test it by holding his wrist out invitingly to the first snake he came across. Naturally it bit him. The world very nearly lost an influential teacher right then, for the snake was poisonous and there was no medical doctor in the Hanthada township. But there was a native healer who used mantras instead and that did the trick. For all that the Hanthada district was largely agricultural, there was a high standard of literacy there. Thamangone had a junior school set up by the imperial authorities as well as three monasteries where children had traditionally gone for an education. Rewata came of a devout family and it was to the latter than he went at the age of five, ordaining as a novice when he was twelve. At first he did not apply himself to his studies and misbehaved. Eventually his teacher complained to his mother who, instead of scolding him, was quietly sorrowful when she next came to visit him. So ashamed was he that he became the most diligent of students. At the age of twenty he took full ordination as a monk. Some of the things he learned were not among the kind of attainments most Westerners associate with a monastic training. So delicious were the meals he cooked for one of his teachers that he was sent into the kitchen whenever he came back visiting, even after taking higher ordination. Another of these teachers tried performing the rainstopping ceremony connected with the cult of Arahant Upagutta. The result of his offerings and invocations was a downpour so severe that the shrine was washed into the river, much to his young assistant’s amusement. Needless to say, this episode was not recorded in the pamphlet he was later to write on the subject for the Dhammikarama monastery in Penang. On the other hand, those he practised among did gain the supernormal powers that come from jhanic concentration. Wishing to visit a fellow monk in hospital, Rewata asked a companion if he knew whereabouts in it he was. He received a detailed description of how to find the bed which he immediately disregarded on learning that the one he asked had not been to the hospital himself. Nevertheless, his scepticism was given a jolt on discovering that the bed was exactly where he had been told. On another occasion he was invited to a Sangha meeting that was to decide where to dispose of the body of a teacher who had recently died. He sat down in a silence broken only by the clicking of rosaries. An hour passed and he began to wonder when the discussion was going to begin. Then everyone got up. ‘That’s decided then,’ he was told, though not a word had been said. Pursuing more orthodox learning, the young student passed the highest examination in scriptural studies at the age of 23. Partly as a result of his attainment, he was included among the young monks who helped with arrangements for the 6th General Sangha Council, held in Yangon between 1954-6. He was then given a state scholarship
to study in India and went to the Sanskrit University in Varanasi. It was at this period that he added ‘Dhamma’ to his name when applying for a passport. After taking his Shastri (BA) Degree in Mahayana Buddhist Philosophy, he went on to gain an MA in Sanskrit in 1964 and a PH.D in 1967. He was now proficient in Hindi and began to write in that language. One of his books, a translation of the Ahidhammatha Sangaha with his own commentary, was awarded the Kalidasa prize from the Hindi Academy as one of the outstanding books of the year in 1967 and is still a standard textbook. He also edited a three-volume edition of The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga) with commentary, published like the first by the Sanskrit University. In 1969 was appointed Chief Editor of the Encyclopaedia of Buddhist Technical Terms and later edited the Paramita magazine in Hindi and English. In 1964 another event took place that was later to have important repercussions. In that year the young academic came into possession of the Burmese royal relics. Thibaw, the last Burmese king, had been exiled by the British to India in 1886 and took with him this family treasure. At the beginning of the twentieth century two Burmese monks visited him at Ratanagiri and were entrusted with a portion. One of those monks, U Kitti, passed them on to U Arsaya, another Burmese monk resident in India. Shortly before his death, U Arsaya passed them on in his turn to Ven. Rewata Dhamma. Residence in India gave him the opportunity to come into contact with all sorts of people. He was on the committee that welcomed the Dalai Lama after his flight to India in 1969 and struck up a lasting friendship. He told the story that at their first encounter His Holiness asked who was the senior monk in the room. On hearing it was Dr Rewata Dhamma, he immediately got up and offered his seat. Indeed, he was to repeat this offer on later occasions, but Bhante never accepted. ‘He was the ruler of Tibet and I was just a humble monk,’ he explained. Nevertheless, he honoured the Dalai Lama for this observation of the monastic rule. Dr Rewata Dhamma also seems to have been friendly with several exiled Tibetan monks then studying in India, some of whom he was to come across again in the West. More significant for his future was getting to know Frieda Bedi, who took the robe as a Karma Kagyu nun under the name of Sis. Palmo. Eventually she joined the entourage of His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa XVI, the head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, and brought Dr Rewata Dhamma to his notice when the question of setting up a Buddhist Centre in Birmingham came up. The lay meditation teacher S.N. Goenka lived in India too. Of Burmese origin, he belonged to a business family that was proud to support him in his work. In those days over forty years ago there were few in the West who knew of him yet. Having heard of Dr Rewata Dhamma’s reputation as an Abhidhamma scholar, Goenka approached him for tuition. Bhante made a bargain with him that he would do so in return for being instructed in Goenka’s meditation method. There were those who frowned on a monk’s going to a layman for teaching but Bhante did not care. For him
learning something new was more important than his personal dignity. On account of this, Dr Rewata Dhamma was accredited as a teacher of the method and over the years was made welcome at Goenka’s centres on three continents. Among others that Bhante got to know at this time was the eleven-year old Aung San Suu Kyi, the future leader of the democractic movement in Burma, whose mother was then ambassador to India. More curiously, he was asked by the Prime Minister, Indira Ghandhi, to go to Peking in 1974 and attend the deathbed of Prince Sihanouk’s mother. His secret objective while there was to get China’s support for a peace conference to be held in India following its recent nuclear tests. Although improvements in Sino-Indian relations did not come until two years later, one can date from this point the beginning of his involvement in peace-making and reconciliation. It was late in 1974 too that Dr Rewata Dhamma received the invitation to head a Buddhist centre in England but, in view of his commitments, he turned it down. U Nu, an ex prime minister of Burma then in Indian exile, came to hear of this and persuaded the reluctant academic to change his mind. Long before he left Burma, U Nu recalled, it had been foretold that the young monk would settle in the West. Dr Rewata Dhamma had supposed that his coming to Varanasi was what had been meant. Now he was persuaded that Britain rather than India was his ultimate goal. He therefore left for Birmingham in 1975. To start all over again in a strange land required both courage and humility. Bhante was then approaching middle age and, though his reading knowledge of English was good, he never learned to speak it well. He had no monastery to go to and very few friends in this new country. Then there was the wide contrast between the tropical climate to which he was accustomed and the uncertain English weather. Bhante once remarked that it was a great teacher of impermanence and gave the most convincing of Dhamma lessons. Had he not already been convinced of this cardinal truth and a loyal son of the Buddha, he would never have come in the first place. At the time he arrived, there were few monks settled outside London. Dr Rewata Dhamma was therefore a pioneer of what has become commonplace today. At first he stayed in a separate flat at Vajira Bailey’s Soto Zendo on the outskirts of Birmingham. Then a flat was provided for him at the Oakenholt meditation centre at Farmoor, just outside Oxford, which the Saw family was then directing. It was there he was to come across Aung San Suu Kyi again (by then married to a lecturer at the university), as he recalled many years later in an interview for the Japanese magazine This Is Yomiuri: ‘The very first time I met Aung San Suu Kyi was during the early 1960s at the Deer Park in Isipatana, near Varanasi, where the Buddha Gotama preached his First Sermon. Suu Kyi had come to Varanasi with her mother, Daw Khin Kyi, the Myanmar ambassador to India at that time. They were there to perform personal religious duties. I and my fellow monks thought ourselves quite fortunate to be able to meet the family of the late Gen. Aung San, who was the hero of the struggle for Myanmar's independence from the British. Suu Kyi's mother generously invited the monks to come to visit her residence in New Delhi, so whenever I went there, I would visit Daw Khin Kyi and I used to see her daughter from time to time. The one thing I did notice about Aung San Suu Kyi
was that, despite her youth, she was already a remarkably determined and selfpossessed person. In 1978 I met her again, this time in Oxford when His Holiness the XVI Karmapa came to visit the Buddhist Center at Oakenholt, where I was living at the time. Aung San Suu Kyi, her husband and their two small sons were among the guests. She spoke to me in Burmese and told me she was Aung San's daughter and gave me her address in Park Town, Oxford, where I used to go and visit her from time to time. Whenever I was lecturing in Oxford she would always come by bicycle to see me. My first impressions of her character as a young girl remained unchanged as I came to know her somewhat better over a period of about five years.’ Dr Rewata Dhamma had been met on arrival at the airport by Samsari Lal who, along with his extensive family, was to become a lifelong supporter. Mr Lal had been responsible for building up the Ambedkar movement in Birmingam over many years and in this had been supported by Ven. Dr Saddhatissa of the London Vihara, who had officiated at the mass conversion of 5,000 people at West Bromwich Town Hall in 1973. Their interest in Dr. Rewata Dhamma was that he too had worked for the welfare of former untouchables while in India. Under the wing of Dr Saddhatissa, he participated in the monastic encounter between Eastern and Western monks at Praglia Abbey near Padua in the autumn of 1977 and again in 1979. Articles based on his talks began appearing in The Maha Bodhi, of which society Dr Saddhatissa was a leading member. The two often visited each other’s viharas and Dr Rewata Dhamma always spoke of Dr Saddhatissa with reverence as his teacher in England - as he had been for a short while in India too. Late in 1976 a flat was found for Dr Rewata Dhamma in the north Birmingham suburb of Handsworth, by which time he was well integrated into the Buddhist life of the city and of Wolverhampton. 1978 saw him hold his first Buddha Day in a neighbouring school hall and make it an ecumenical event. On one side of the stage was Ven. Sadhatissa, leading a group of Theravadin monks from his vihara in Chiswick. On the other side was Kalu Rinpoche, the Karmapa’s tutor, leading a party of Tibetan monks. As Bhante was to recall many times after that, the original form of Buddhism practised in Burma had been Vajrayana and it has left behind many traces in the popular practice there. Tibetans and Burmese belong to the same racial grouping; every now and then, as he listened to discourses from visiting Tibetan teachers, Bhante once told me, there were words he recognised as the same in his own language. Later in 1978 he moved to a terraced house in Carlyle Road, Edgbaston, and established what was then called the West Midlands Buddhist Centre. This was unique, since it was under Karma Kagyu sponsorship and the only place in the world where the Theravada and Tibetan traditions flourished under the same roof. There was also a close connection with those practising Soto Zen that has remained to this day. When the then American incumbent of Throssel Hole Priory came to lead a meditation retreat, those practising the Tibetan and Theravadin ways joined them too for a spot of wall-gazing. The spirit of those times has contributed to the continuing ecumenical co-operation among Buddhists in Birmingham. ‘Our golden bridge’ was how the Karmapa described Bhante when he came to bless the house in November that year.
Among early visitors to the centre was Revd Roger Hooker, another fellow student from Bhante’s time at Varanasi. He had also moved to Birmingham and was eventually to become inter-faith advisor to the Anglican Bishop. In the old days in Europe, we are told, scholars from different countries used to converse together in Latin, the common language of the learned. But these two bronzed travellers from the East immediately began talking to each other in Sanskrit, dropping later into Hindi for a good long gossip. Another notable guest was Mahasi Sayadaw in 1979. When he moved on to Oakenholt and presided over a large-scale ordination, Bhante lost his lay attendant, who decided to take the robe from this distinguished teacher. He is known now as Ven. Pesala.
Dr Rewata Dhamma is standing on the left; towards the centre are Mahasi Sayadaw and Ajahn Chah
Mahasi Sayadaw continued on to the Netherlands and Switzerland with Bhante to translate for him. On his second visit to Oakenholt in 1981, a Mahasi Vipassana Association was set up with Dr Rewata Dhamma as its principal. His vihara was then counted among the affiliated Mahasi Meditation Centres. Next year Oakenholt was to host a further event in which Bhante played a principal part, aided by yet another acquaintance he had first made in India; this was a Czech professor of Psychology named Mirko Fryba, then living in Swiss exile. At the time Dr Fryba was visiting Oxford University and took part in an International Conference of Buddhist Studies which was attended also by the Sinhalese scholars Ven. Walpola Rahula and Dr Saddhatissa. These he persuaded to participate in an Abhidhamma Seminar in Oakenholt, to which Dr Rewata Dhamma had invited the Burmese scholar U Thittila Sayadaw as chief guest. Also attending was his old friend U Nyanissara, known as the Sitagu Sayadaw, and the veteran Sinhalese Mahanayaka Balangoda Ananda Maitreya, who was visiting England that year. The seminar continued for five half-days. Each was devoted to a particular theme, introduced by Bhante and followed by a panel discussion and questions from participants. After the first general lecture by U Thittila, Dr Fryba gave a report on teaching the Abhidhamma to Western psychologists, which opened a sort of East-West encounter on the psychotherapeutic use of mind-process analysis that was obviously enjoyed by all the Western academicians attending. Dr Rewata Dhamma’s other contribution to the seminar was a lecture on “The Fundamental Forces of the Mind”.
Even using Oakenholt for seminars and well attended meditation retreats, the premises in Carlyle Road had grown too small for those living there and in 1981 Dr Rewata Dhamma set up the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara a few doors down the road. From there he journeyed to lead retreats and teach Buddhism at a growing number of centres in Europe. A Karma Kagyu centre run by Shamar Tulku first invited him to Switzerland to lead meditation retreats. In that country he connected with Mirko Fryba, a fellow disciple of Mahasi Sayadaw, who had set up the Swiss Dhamma Group and now began inviting Bhante to lead regular retreats. Eventually Matthias Barth (a nephew of the respected theologian Karl Barth) took over the organisation of these retreats and began a 25-year association with Dr Rewata Dhamma. Much the same sequence of events happened in Belgium. Bhante was originally invited to lead a retreat in Brussels by disciples of Akong Rimpoche. There he contacted those interested specifically in Insight Meditation who at first came to his ten-day retreats in Birmingham. Eventually he encouraged Marie-Cécile Forget to found Dhamma Group Brussels in 1986 and led two or three retreats there a year. But it was Mirko Fryba who brought him to Central Europe after the downfall of Communism. At his invitation he led several meditation retreats in the Czech Republic and became the spiritual patron of the International Buddhist Foundation in Prague, an institution that looks after more than ten local groups in Central Europe and co-ordinates the activities of the Ayukusala Sangha in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland. In 2003 this culminated in Bhante acting as Preceptor to four Czechs who took higher ordination in the Mahasi Sasana Monastery in Yangon. Another country that Bhante visited frequently was the Netherlands, where he led retreats at the Thai Vihara in Amsterdam. He often mentioned two Dutch people he knew in particular. One was a retired Roman Catholic Bishop who lived in a simple room with no furniture but cushions and matting. On one wall there was a crucifix, on the other a statue of Buddha on a shelf. ‘Both are important,’ he explained; ‘the one taught us how to face suffering, the other how to overcome it.’ Among Bhante’s meditation students was a former nun who had converted to Buddhism. She was the youngest in the convent and eventually they asked her to return to look after the aged sisters. ‘But I’ve become a Buddhist now,’ she explained. ‘That’s all right,’ she was assured. ‘You can carry on your Buddhist practice - just so long as you keep the convent going.’ Bhante was invited to the heart of Catholicism himself and led a meditation retreat for Franciscan monks at their headquarters in Assisi. Asked how he viewed their founder, he replied, ‘A saint is a saint, whatever religion he professes.’ Afterwards he went on to Rome and was introduced to Pope Paul VI. Another friend of his living in Italy was Lama Gangchen Rimpoche, whom he had known for ten years in India. A further link between them was that Gangchen came from a long line of healers, as had Bhante’s own father. Now he had taken Italian nationality and it was with him that Bhante stayed in Milan when the UN Buddha Relics were displayed in that city in 2002. In the United States Dr Rewata Dhamma had several contacts who invited him over. Jack Kornfeld and Joseph Goldstein were disciples of Mahasi Sayadaw who taught meditation on the East Coast. On the West Coast was a fellow missionary monk from Burma who invited him regularly to Los Angeles. He would lead retreats over there at least once a year and occasionally lectured as well. Among the universities he visited
were Columbia, Harvard, Macomb, Champagne and Berkeley. Eventually invitations began to arrive from South and Central America too. He first took a retreat in Brazil in 2000; in 2004 he was invited to the fifth anniversary celebrations of the Mexican Centro de Theravada. From the 1980s on he took a prominent part in promoting peace and human rights world-wide, attending conferences in Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Australia, and addressing various sections of the United Nations, culminating in the Millennium Peace Summit at their New York Headquarters. Among the bodies he was invited to join in an executive capacity were The World Conference for Religion and Peace and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. As leader of the International Buddhist Peace Mission he visited Cambodia in 1989 and Sri Lanka in 1990. When rioting against the Ne Win regime began in Myanmar he was asked by Amnesty to serve as their advisor. He also set up the Burma Peace Foundation with David Arnott to help the victims of and refugees from this agitation and visited some of them in North-West Thailand. When the direction of the Foundation turned to political agitation, he withdrew again. His aim was always to serve the Buddha’s teaching by helping people, not to add to the clash of ideologies. While passing through New York in 1993, Dr Rewata Dhamma talked to Francesc Vendrell, director of political affairs for South Asia and the Pacific countries in the United Nations, and suggested that, instead of confrontational demands, the Buddhist way of doing things would be to engage in dialogue with the Myanmar government. Vendrell then arranged for him to meet various diplomats in Washington who asked him whether he would be prepared to undertake that task. As someone who had renounced his citizenship twice, the second time to take British nationality, he was not exactly Myanmar’s favourite son. There were times when he doubted whether he would ever be allowed to return. Nevertheless, an invitation from the State Sangha Mahanayika Council arrived soon afterwards and in May 1994 he set off to see the country he had not visited in over thirty years. It was not only his monastic superiors with whom Sayadaw conferred. He talked over the situation with several ex-politicians and eventually discussed the advisability of releasing Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest with a senior member of government. He got no agreement and, on reporting this to Francesc Vendrell and other diplomats, was asked why the Government would not even talk to the democratic leader. After all, hadn’t Dr Rewata Dhamma said that dialogue was the Buddhist way of negotiation? So in August he flew back to the homeland he had not seen in so many years for another week and talked to his Government contact the afternoon of his arrival. No difficulties were raised and he was granted permission to visit Suu Kyi for as long as he liked. His account of their interview is as follows: “She told me that she was not angry and added that ‘when you keep anger and animosity in your mind, it is like keeping a cobra in your heart and this is very dangerous.’ Another point she made was that she herself did not need to be freed, as she was living in a very comfortable house, but she wanted freedom granted to those people who had been detained in jails throughout the country. She also said that if she could have dialogue with the Government then her personal freedom was not a matter of necessity. On the subject of democracy, she also spoke her mind, saying that democracy was not something you can beg from someone else; rather, it is something you had to build for yourself.
“In the course of the rest of our conversation, she also said that because her father had been the founder of the Myanmar Army, she regarded all members of the military as her brothers. To my mind, this is absolutely true as she was brought up in her father's home in which the army and army life was a predominant feature, so it was quite easy to understand how from an early age she could regard the military as her ‘family.’ After she told me of her feelings about the army, I told her that even members of the military Government regarded her with respect because of her late father's and her family's strong links with the army. So whatever differences and problems she and they had could indeed be solved as brothers and sister. She answered me by saying that only the Myanmar people could understand Myanmar's problems, and so whatever differences we had must be sorted out among ourselves.” Although discussions did eventually take place between the two, Suu Kyi was not released until the following summer. In the meanwhile Dr Rewata Dhamma’s profile was high and he took the opportunity to declare his vision of responsible statesmanship at the Asian Leaders Conference in Seoul that December. It was very much in line with other talks given in the previous years, complaining that even in Buddhist countries people were more interested in the ritual and cultural aspects of their faith and monks were neglecting to teach the true practice, without which there can be no social stability or welfare. In conclusion he begged those in attendance “to work in your countries for the true practice of Dhamma and its application to genuine social development. If the central human values of compassion and loving kindness were actually practised in our countries, we would soon find a solution to our problems, and our people would not be sacrificed on the altars of ‘security’ or economic ‘development’.” Another dream was coming to fruition as Dr Rewata Dhamma was busying himself in this way. Some ten years after arriving in the UK, he had begun to think of setting up a Buddhist academic institution that was to be, in his words, ‘the launching pad for Buddhism in Britain’. He was, after all, an academic; so too was his mentor Dr Saddhatissa; and it was to yet another that he eventually passed on the direction of the vihara after deciding to retire. But his plan hinged on building at first a fit resting-place for the relics of which he was custodian - left behind on U Nu’s shrine when he came to Britain. The negotiations took years but in the end Birmingham City Council provided a site. This was consecrated in 1990 in the presence of the Tai Situpa for the Karma Kagyu school and of Rev. Master Daishin for Soto Zen. In the years following, Dr Rewata Dhamma was frequently away, not just teaching and attending conferences but raising money from Myanmar families abroad to build a traditional pagoda. Construction began in 1994 but then it was discovered that the nature of the ground dictated specially deep foundations and only the base had been built before funds ran out. Once more donations came in, the walls went up. Now it was found that the architect, more used to building mosques, had not allowed for the great weight of the spire above the dome and a change of design was necessary. It was not until 1998 that it was completed. Named the Dhammatalaka Peace Pagoda, it
emphasised its founder’s mission to bring not simply inner tranquillity but peace at a practical level. As a sign of this, a chunk of the infamous Berlin wall was housed along with the relics. Bhante, providentially as always, happened to be there as the wall was being demolished and had scooped up that memento of man’s inhumanity to man. It was in this crowded decade too that Dr Rewata Dhamma blossomed again as a writer. In the years before, articles had been appearing here and there; some but not all were transcriptions of talks he had given. Now that he was a speaker on the international conference circuit, these talks began to be published not simply in periodicals but included as part of a variety of books. Several were also translated into Italian, Spanish, French and German and published separately. Finally he completed his first book in English. This was his erudite commentary on The First Sermon of the Buddha, published initially by Dhamma-Talaka Publications in 1994. Eventually Wisdom Publications (U.S.) saw the merit of his work and reissued a thoroughly edited version three years later as well as negotiating its translation into French the year following. Because of his very busy schedule it was not until 2001 that his next major work appeared, again from Dhamma-Talaka. This was The Buddha and his Disciples, a subject visited often enough by others but here treated in a novel way. The actual scriptural discourses associated with the disciples (who include nuns and laywomen and well as men) appear as part of the text. Even before its publication, Sayadaw was writing another book that was edited ready for press by the autumn of 2002. A manual of meditation methods titled Emptying the Rose-Apple Seat and eventually published by Triple Gem in the U.S.A., author’s copies of it did not reach Dr Rewata Dhamma until shortly before his death. By a stroke of irony, the several parcels of commercial copies arrived at the vihara the day after he died. After 1994, Dr Rewata Dhamma was a frequent official visitor to Burma. As often as not, he would fulfil his other obligations in Asia at the same time. In 1998 he attended the opening of the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University in Yangon, to which he was appointed Visiting Professor; on the way there, he gave a talk on “The Contribution of Buddhism to the World of Art and Architecture” at the four-day Buddhist Conference at Sarnath in India. Next year he attended the reinstallation of the parasol at Shwedagon Pagoda and was at the biannual meeting of the World Buddhist Sangha Council (of which he was a Vice President) in Sri Lanka. In March of 2000 Sayadaw was awarded the title of Aggamahapandita by the Burmese Government. For this he found himself back in the Pasana Cave, the meeting hall specially built for the Sixth Buddhist Council. Each of the 249 senior monks receiving titles at the Awards Convocation was given a white umbrella and accompanied by an attendant carrying his name on a plaque. The cave, designed to hold 2,500, easily accommodated the 500 monks present, the other half of them sitting in tiers around the edge of the cave. Those receiving titles, of whom Sayadaw was 17th in seniority, were seated on the stage and in front of it. Each of them was
presented with a certificate and seal from the Head of State. Several lay people, all in traditional dress, also received awards. After the ceremony the monks circumambulated the cave and received offerings and requisites from the lay people. Back in Birmingham, he received the congratulations of his devotees on Buddha Day and installed his certificate in the pagoda. In that same busy year, Sayadaw was invited to Brazil to teach and lead a retreat at the Nalanda Buddhist Centre in Belo Horizonte; he also paid a short teaching visit to São Paulo on the way. Later he attended the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders in the U.N. Headquarters and gave a paper on “Globalising Spiritual Values”. In December he was back teaching at the Missionary University. His devotee Dr Mar Mar Lwin took the opportunity to visit her family there and organise a special birthday dana at the Karaweik Palace in Yangon attended by 75 monks and 200 lay people, among them the Chief of State and several other Government members. In Britain too he was kept busy giving talks to various groups in universities and centres as well as attending a variety of civic and other meetings. In 2002 he was invited to the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace and spoke to various members of the royal family. This was the year in which he was very occupied supervising the building of the new Sangharama monastery on the pagoda site. The most distinguished visitor to come and look at this and the pagoda in April that year was Goenkaji. The two old friends also made arrangements to meet in Burma at the beginning of 2003 and go on pilgrimage together along with 500 of Goenkaji’s students. While there too he consulted with the State Sangha Council about the choice of his successor in Birmingham, who agreed on the name of Ven. Uttaranyana. Returning to Europe, Sayadaw went to pay homage to the UN Buddha Relics when they were exhibited in Geneva and later in Milan. In the latter city he arranged for them to come to Dhammatalaka Pagoda in two months’ time. After presiding at this, he flew directly to Brazil to take a retreat and then give a 2-day Abhidhamma course. Also during that autumn he took a 3-day Abhidhamma course in Switzerland and a 4-day retreat in Belgium before leaving for Asia. His first stop was in India where he attended a seminar in Sarnath on “World Unity in the Buddha’s Trinity”. Here Home Minister L. K. Advani declared that the Buddha ‘did not announce any new religion. He was only restating with a new emphasis the ancient ideals of the Indo-Aryan civilisation.’ Dr Rewata Dhamma rose immediately and protested: ‘Buddhism may have started in India, but it is a completely different religion from Hinduism. We are not happy that the entire seminar is more on how Buddhism is a part of Hinduism.’ Other monks from Tibet and South-East Asia expressed their anger too at what even the Indian media reported was a ‘blatant attempt to trivialise and subordinate Buddhism into a minor variant and derivation of Hinduism’.
Following this, Sayadaw attended a meeting of the World Buddhist Sangha Council in Indonesia and then went on to the 200th anniversary of the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple in Penang, Malaysia. He rounded off the trip with a visit to various temples in Singapore and got back to Birmingham at the beginning of January, 2004. In March he led two retreats in Switzerland and then left for a month’s teaching tour in California and Mexico. He returned in time for Buddha Day, or rather for several. As well as his own in Dhammatalaka Pagoda he was also at London Vihara’s. That year too, Buddhists had been invited to chant in front of the magnificent Gupta-style standing Buddha in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Here Dr Rewata Dhamma headed bhikkhus from his own and the Thai viharas as well as two Tibetan lamas and two monks from the Vietnamese temple in Handsworth, all of whom chanted according to their own traditions. Not long afterwards, Dr Rewata Dhamma joined members of Birmingham Faith Leaders Group in signing a pre-election declaration against racism in Birmingham Peace Gardens. Here he was photographed by the Birmingham Post with hands joined in respect before the post at its centre that reads ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’, probably and most fittingly the last official photograph taken of him. For Sayadaw was at last to pay the cost of his energetic schedule and passed away quietly in his sleep early in the morning of 26 May. On his death certificate the cause given is heart failure and, since the medical authorities seemed content with that, no one asked for a post mortem. Many of the doctors among his Myanmar devotees, however, knowing that flying causes deep vein thrombosis, especially in the old, were privately of the opinion that he died of an embolism.
After two days lying in the pagoda, Sayadaw’s body was taken for embalming. The remembrance service on 4 June drew many more people than the pagoda could hold, including some 70 monks from many countries. Following the cremation, the ashes were kept in the pagoda until the month was up and then scattered from a boat into the River Avon near Stratford at a small private ceremony. He left behind plans still
to be fulfilled: raising money to upgrade the school in his native village; building a Dhamma Hall to supplement the vihara’s teaching function; the publication of his most ambitious book, Process of Consciousness and Matter, which he had just completed. Fortunately, he had left behind many grateful disciples and devotees who were resolved that this work shall be carried on. All Dr Rewata Dhamma’s activities were in the service of spreading the Dhamma, but this was as much by setting an example as by actual teaching. Wherever he went, his gentle, humorous and compassionate demeanour won him friends and esteem. What he emphasised over and over was that the teachings should be applied in our day to day life, that practice rather than veneration was the most important thing. Again, practice encompasses not just the development of the mind through meditation but the cultivation of the Four Sublime States of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. He was quick to realise that from this point of view, the Buddhist training was applicable in any religion and much of it was already part of their own teaching. This made him particularly effective in the field of inter-faith dialogue since he did not see the others as competitors but as fellow walkers of the way. As the tributes began to come in after Sayadaw’s death, a quality in him that many stressed was his unfailing kindness. He genuinely went out of his way to make those with whom he was in contact happy. When one is at peace or feeling content, he used to teach, one should share that feeling as an act of loving-kindness. After returning from Myanmar with his Aggamahapandita certificate, for example, he immediately set about planning to give certificates of his own to senior disciples who had helped him over the years, making them Patrons of the Vihara. In 2003, following the veneration of the UN Buddha Relics, he made special awards to Samsari Lal, Vajira Bailey and John Maxwell of the Karma Kagyu Trust, paying tribute to their work for the Dhamma in Birmingham and the help they had given him, especially during his early days in the city. Then in Brazil he made Ricardo Sasaki, his retreat organiser there, a Master of the Teaching (Dhammachariya). In 2004 one of his last acts was to invite Marie-Cécile Forget and Matthias Barth to the Buddha Day celebrations and give them the title of Meditation Master (Kammatthanacariya). This is a single example among many of the way he put his teaching into practice personally. It was in addition the fruit of his belief that, as Ven. Boddhidhamma put it in a memorial note on his ‘home teacher’, those with the privilege of having a greater opportunity to practise also had a duty to share what they gained by it. Sayadaw’s sense of humour was another quality that many warmed to. It could be sly at times, like the way he sometimes referred to the English as ‘aborigines’, having discovered the root meaning of the word. But he also had a real feeling for fun. Attending a birthday celebration for Ven. Somboon at the Wolverhampton Vihara, a monk five years his senior, he explained that his birthday fell on the same day ‘but I’m not celebrating mine because I’m too young’. At a dana some time later he remarked that celebrating one’s birthday wasn’t a particularly Buddhist practice; since the teaching is that we die and are reborn each moment, there would be rather too many to celebrate! His own appreciation of humour was almost child-like. If a thing was funny once, it always stayed funny to him. He could never finish the story of how a saintly man was sent to hell by accident, it made him laugh so much. Another devotee remembers that he invariably chuckled whenever the old Office Assistant, a face fashioned from a paper clip, appeared on his computer screen.
Yet another characteristic remarked on in many tributes was Dr Rewata Dhamma’s unfailing helpfulness. Whatever request was made of him, he tried to satisfy. Even before he became so well known internationally, you could never be sure where he was. In many ways he fulfilled the function of an English parish priest in looking after the welfare of his devotees. He might be visiting someone ill – indeed, he eventually became chaplain at several hospitals long before the concept of multi-faith chaplaincy became the norm. He might be trying to heal a broken marriage. He might be blessing a new house or helping set up a new vihara. He might have dropped in on the local vicar, with whom he had a longstanding friendship; or he might be attending a session of the university court, an interfaith meeting, an educational advisory board. If it was none of these, then he was somewhere in Britain or abroad, leading a meditation retreat, lecturing on the Abhidhamma or giving a simple talk on his preferred subject, ‘Buddhism in daily life’. All these activities made of Sayadaw, as others have remarked, an ideal monk. But if he exemplified the ideal it was because he was, paradoxically, not a typical monk. The circumstance of having left the Myanmar ecclesiastical establishment at an early age meant that he was free from the jockeying for position which he occasionally deplores in his writing. Circumstances also conspired to free him from the academic establishment to which he had transferred, which was a greater wrench, and start all over again in a new country. Indeed, Dr Rewata Dhamma’s career is a powerful proof of the Buddha’s teaching that we are not the prisoners of our karma, that we can make free choices and shape our own future. Sayadaw was able to accomplish what he did because he had made himself free of the personal considerations that constrain most of us, monastic or lay. As he preached in and out of season, the Buddha’s core teaching concerns itself with liberation: from ignorance, from moral taint, from the concept of self. The possibilities of this training, the consequences of liberation, even if short of the final attainment of Nibbana, are what the course of his own life has to teach us.
May his valuable example be long remembered!
G LOBALISING S PIRITUAL V ALUES
(Delivered by Dr Rewata Dhamma at the Millenium Summit of World Religious Leaders, August, 2000, United Nations Headquarters, New York)
E MEET at the end of a century of unending violence. Despite an increased sense of our mutual interdependence, despite the improvements in communications and means of transport that have shrunk the globe, despite the best efforts of individual religious and political leaders, we are still unable to lessen violence, let alone prevent the horrible act of war. The United Nations itself, set up at the end of a world conflict in order to decrease such disasters and the conditions that contribute to them, can hardly be said to have achieved the best of success in that aim so far. One reason for this state of affairs must be that statesmen too often pay only lip service to the humanistic values of the U.N. Charter. Their actions show them far more concerned with the pragmatism of power. They speak of and champion Democracy and Human Rights without ethical values. Political gain and economic profit are their main priorities. But it is a condemnation of us as effective religious leaders that politicians are so often able to profit by stirring up religious hatred and strife. If we conferred together more often, if we were truly united in respect for each other’s faith and teachings, we should be a little nearer to a solution to some of the problems now facing the world.
The Buddha’s insight into the origin of suffering was that its main cause arises from attachment. This is a manifestation of our preoccupation with ourselves to the virtual exclusion of the good of others. We are slaves to self-gratification through our attachment to sense pleasures. We define ourselves through the views and opinions we hold (including religious doctrines) and are exposed to the temptation of intolerance. Substituting rites and ritual for true spiritual discipline, we become selfrighteous. Finally, our insistence on the autonomy of the self makes us lose sight of our duty even to those closest and dearest to us, let alone to our neighbours, humanity or the globe. It is attachment that blinds us to our real nature and to the effective solution to our ills. According to the Buddha, the causes of suffering are inescapable, they form the basis of all we experience, but there is a way of going beyond it. The words in the books for this three-fold way translate as Morality, Meditation and Wisdom. In practice this means self-control, mental discipline and the ability to see all sides of a problem or situation. In this way attachment is weakened and finally overcome. As
important, however, is that this way of restraint and insight is the necessary training for attempting to put into practice whatever proposals come out of our meeting here. There is a story about Gandhi that he delayed advising a child not to over-indulge a liking for palm sugar until he had mastered that liking in himself. In the same spirit, we too must learn to govern ourselves before we lay down solutions for others! And even then there is a further cultivation for the mind. Buddhists call this set of meditations the Four Sublime States. They consist of ceasing to discriminate between any forms of being and of sharing in their experience. The first stage is to cultivate unlimited well-wishing towards all beings; then compassionately sharing in their suffering and standing ready to alleviate it; next unreservedly rejoicing in the happiness of others; finally, developing a non-judgmental acceptance of each individual, recognising our essential oneness of experience. Wisdom and insight are not enough. There must also be a sense of involvement before harmony in society can truly be promoted
We can probably agree that all faiths share common moral values and that in general their aim is to diminish self-centredness. Interfaith activities such as that in which we are presently engaged are also necessary if the changes we propose for the common good are to be at all effective. In putting forward the suggestions that have been invited from us, it should also be borne in mind that the qualities I have already mentioned are the foundation on which they must be based. I therefore endorse the second of the purposes given for calling this meeting, namely the formation of an International Advisory Council of Religious and Spiritual Leaders for the United Nations. But I would go further and say that the calling of interfaith councils to advise those in government is necessary at a national as well as at the inter-national level. Until there is a readiness to listen to such advice at the national level, we can hardly expect such advice to make an impact on those who serve their national governments in this place. Until there is a general acceptance of the implications of that ethnic, cultural and religious pluralism that the United Nations has championed from its beginning, we shall get nowhere. Setting an example to others by adopting this proposal, then, is only a beginning. Indeed, it will generally be regarded as simply a cosmetic gesture, a mere gimmick, unless the extension of this idea to national and regional spheres of government is also encouraged as part of the U.N.’s work in keeping world peace. It is there, after all,
that action is taken for social improvement, diminishing conflict and encouraging harmony. It is there that the example should most importantly be set. Changing human nature takes time and in any case is best pursued at the personal level, as the example of Gandhi indicates. But the encouragement of insight into human nature and of the resolution to transcend it is most effective when one is young. For this reason, education is of vital importance in achieving a viable platform for giving peace a better chance in future generations. Kurt Hahn recognised this when, inspired by the work of the U.N., he set up the first of what were to become the United World Colleges to promote international understanding and a listening attitude among students from all nations. More of such institutions should be encouraged and given the financial support to make them viable. Students should be exposed there, as part of the curriculum, to the spiritual values of all the faiths. But, equally important, it should be part of the vision of such establishments to encourage scrutiny of the very act of teaching, to test whether the teachers, lay or religious, practise what they teach. From the Buddhist perspective, we would like to see emphasised also that, while ceremony has a part to play in religion, putting what is taught into practice in daily life is even more important. With regard to the declaration for peace which is the primary purpose of our gathering, I would wish to see as part of its text the plea that a less one-sided political and economic view is taken of human suffering. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that we should declare ourselves as opposed to the naked materialism and greed that lies at the heart of the false religion of politics and economics and, indeed, of socalled globalisation. Then, in addressing ourselves to individual governments, we should make clear that suffering and need should be recognised wherever it occurs and aid be offered to all, rather than simply to the friends of whatever regime is in power. Let me sum up by saying that we need to take religion out of the holy buildings and shrines and into the streets. It is only in this way that we can hope to change the present political and economic priorities and open up hearts to the spiritual dimension. The United Nations needs the kind of consultation with religious and spiritual leaders that is envisaged. But not until these leaders and their disciples are seen to be living up to the ideals they teach will their message be heeded.
Note: The formation of a World Council of Religious Leaders was one of the stated goals of the Millennium World Peace Summit. The objective of this Council was to serve as a resource
to the United Nations and its agencies around the world, to nation states and other international organisations, offering the collective wisdom and resources of the faith traditions toward the resolution of critical global problems. The launching of this World Council took place in Bangkok on June 12th-14th, 2002, at Buddhamonthon and at UNESCAP. Participants adopted a Charter that outlines key areas in which religious leaders can play an active role in reducing conflict and addressing the critical needs of humankind. Its mission statement reads: The World Council of Religious Leaders aims to serve as a model and guide for the creation of a community of world religions. In the spirit of service and humility, it seeks to inspire women and men of all faiths in the pursuit of peace, justice and mutual understanding. It will undertake initiatives to provide the spiritual resources of the world's religious traditions to assist the United Nations and its agencies in the prevention, resolution and healing of conflicts and in the eradication of their causes and in addressing social and environmental problems. By promoting the practice of the spiritual values shared by all religious traditions, and by uniting the human community for times of world prayer and meditation, the World Council seeks to aid in developing the inner qualities and external conditions needed for the creation of a more peaceful, just and sustainable world society.
Berlin 1992: Dr Rewata Dhamma, Sangharakshita and Thich Nhat Hanh
A PARTIAL BIBLIOGRAPHY OF DR REWATA DHAMMA
Anuruddhacariya’s Abhidhammatta Sangaha with Sumangala Samitthera’s Abhidhammattha Vibhavantika, edited and revised by Bhandanta Rewatadhammathera. Bauddha Swadhyaya Satra, Varanasi, India, 1965. [Hindi language] Anuruddhacariya, Abhidhammattasangaha I-II, with Hindi translation & Abhidharma-Prakasini commentary. Critically edited, translated & commented by Bhadant Rewatadhamma and Ram Shankar Tripathi, Varanasi Sanskrit University, India,1967. Buddhaghosâcariya, Visuddhimaggo I-III, with Paramatthamañjusatika of Bhadantacariya Dhammapala. Edited and revised by Dr. Rewatadhamma, Varanasi Sanskrit Univ., India, 1969-72. [Hindi language] The First Sermon of the Buddha. 1st ed. Dhamma Talaka Publications, Birmingham, 1994. 2nd ed. as The First Discourse of the Buddha, Wisdom Pbls, Boston, USA, 1997. Limited preview at Google Books: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Zk6T4B2sYK0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+first+disc ourse+of+the+buddha+++rewata+dhamma&source=bl&ots=Yt53jaoul4&sig=eZZ9bn2n4c5C NxdW1vIhT_zNtg0&hl=en&ei=SI5UTN7qHtXT4gbF1YSnBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=resu lt&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false French translation by Tancrède Montmartel as Le premier enseignement du bouddha, le sermon de Bénarès. Eds Claire Lumière, Saint-Cannat, France, 1998. Maha Paritta: The Great Protection. Dhamma Talaka Pbls, Birmingham, 1996. The Buddha and his Disciples. Dhamma Talaka Pbls, Birmingham, 2001. Emptying the Rose-apple Seat. Triple Gem Pbls, Chino Hills CA, USA, 2003. 2nd ed. The Buddha Educational Foundation, Taipei, Taiwan, 2005; EN201. [15,000 copies for free distribution] The Buddha’s Prescription – selected talks and essays - ed. Yann Lovelock. Triple Gem Pbls, Chino Hills CA, USA, 2005. Process of Consciousness and Matter – ed. Dr Ottaranyana. Triple Gem Pbls, Chino Hills CA, USA, 2007. Web version available at http://host.pariyatti.org/treasures/Process_of_Consciousness_and_Matter.pdf. [German translation in preparation] Caminho para a Libertacão (The Way to Freedom) – talks edited and translated into Portugese by Ricardo Sasaki. Edições Nalanda, Belo Horizonte/MG, Brazil [in preparation].
An Introduction to the International Burmese Buddhist Sangha Organisation. Birmingham Buddhist Vihara, 1985. For the introduction under the title The Buddhist Missionaries see http://www.nibbana.com/mission.htm 20
Introduction to Buddhism. Birmingham Buddhist Vihara – 4 editions 1985-1992; reissued, Dhammatalaka Pbls, Birmingham, 1996. Web version at http://www.bbvt.org.uk/PDF/Intro_to_Buddhism.pdf Portuguese translation by Ricardo Sasaki as Uma Introducão ao Buddhismo, Edicões Nalanda, Belo Horizonte/MG, Brazil, 2010. Buddhism – Rights, Justice & Responsibilities. Birmingham Buddhist Vihara, 1993. A French version, Bouddhisme – droits, justice et responsibilités, trans. Christine de Ryck and MarieCécile Vandergucht, is published in the same format (Dhamma Group Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 1993). Web version at http://www.bbvt.org.uk/human%20right.html Arahant Upagutta. Dhammikarama Temple, Penang, Malaysia, 1996. The Buddha. Dhamma-Talaka Pbls, Birmingham, 2001. [3 extracts from The Buddha and his Disciples and The First Sermon of the Buddha, limited edition of 100 copies] Sermon at the Funeral of Dr Daw Yee [original Burmese language version for presentation at Dr Rewata Dhamma’s funeral], Birmingham Buddhist Vihara, 2004; also an English version, trans. by Kyaw Thinn.
3. Contributions to books
Monachesimo Cristiano, Buddhista, Indù. Incontro interreligioso sulla vita monastica. Editrice Missionaria Italiana, Bologna, Italy, 1978. [Report of the inter-religious monastic encounter at Praglia Abbey]. “La Sangha Buddhista”, pp. 88-92; “Risultati Pratici della Meditazione Vipassana” (“The Practical Results of Vipassana Meditation”, see under 4), pp. 161-8, now on this site - http://www.risveglio.net/corsi/corso_vipassana.html. Radical Conservatism – Buddhism in the Contemporary World (articles in honour of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa’s 84th birthday). International Network of Engaged Buddhists, Bangkok, Thailand, 1990. “Buddhism and the Environment”, pp. 156-161. Einheit in des Vielfalt: Buddhismus im Western. Deutsche Buddhistiche Union, Munich, Germany, 1992. “Buddhismus – Rechte, Gerechtigkeit und Verantwortung” (trans. of Buddhism – Rights, Justice & Responsibilities), pp.19-36. Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, the Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Acariya Anuruddha. Buddhist Publication Soc., Kandy, Sri Lanka, 1993; reprint by DharmaNet Dharma Book Transcription Project, 1995; reissued BPS Pariyatti Ed’s, 1999; 3rd edition 2007. Introduction and explanatory guide by Bhikkhu Bodhi & U Rewata Dhamma. Introduction to the Abhidhamma at http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/abidama1.htm; the complete edition is available on Google Books: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hxopJgv85y4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22Comprehe nsive+Manual+of+Abhidhamma%22&source=bl&ots=DSOdwD4TT&sig=kAREnhY5Pp1mBZUyTjFRePSByLM&hl=en&ei=PByBTP7vDMGr4AaHrtj4Cw&sa=X& oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false Our World, how it came into being and our responsibility for it, papers presented at the second interfaith symposium, ed. Frank Whaling. Dzalendra Publishing, Samye Ling, Scotland, 1994. “The Buddhist Abhidhamma, the world and human responsibility” [prototype of The Human and Environmental Crisis], pp. 106-23.
Religions for a Just Economic Order, ed. Guenther Gebhardt. Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, Switzerland, 1997. “Buddhism and Economic Justice”, pp.44-7. Web version at http://www.nibbana.com/councils.htm#BUDDHISMEco . Studies in Inter-Religious Dialogue. Pharos, Kampen, Netherlands, 1997. “What I Expect of Friendship with Christians”, pp.48-55. Web version at http://www.nibbana.com/rdhamma3.htm Proceedings of the First World Buddhist Propagation Conference. Kyoto, Japan, 1998. “Buddhism for the Future Generation” (with facing Japanese translation), pp.109-13; “Buddhism in Myanmar” (with facing Japanese translation), pp.183-8. Also the cased hardback commemorative book with the respective essays on pp. 383-92, 393-8, with facing translations. Toward an Environmental Ethic in South-East Asia. Buddhist Institute, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 1998. “The Human and Environmental Crisis”, pp. 37-51. Web version at http://www.bbvt.org.uk/human%20and%20environmental%20crisis.html Socially Engaged Buddhism for the New Millennium: essays in honour of Ven. Phra Dhammapitaka on his 60th birthday. Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand, 1999. “The Human and Environmental Crisis”, pp. 483-97. Vipassana : A Universal Buddhist Meditation Technique, ed. D.C. Ahir. Delhi, India, 1999. Ch. 2, “An exposition of Vipassana meditation”. Pranamalekha: Essays in honour of Ven. Dr. Medagama Vajiragnana on his 75th birthday. Ed. Ven. Wilaoye Wimalajothi, Ven. Mawathagama Pemaloka, Ven. Uduhawara Ananda and Sanath Nanayakkara. London Buddhist Vihara, 2003. “Traditional Wisdom & Modern Knowledge”, pp. 225-32. Web version at http://www.nibbana.com/rdhamma1.htm Meeting Buddhists, ed. Elizabeth Harris & Ramona Kauth. Christians Aware, Leicester, 2004. “Meditation: Samatha & Vipassana”, pp.206-14.
3(a) An unrealised project
In January 2000, Dr Rewata Dhamma signed a contract with Könemann Verlagsgesselschaft (Cologne, Germany) for his part in an extensively illustrated book provisionally titled Buddhismus, to be edited by food and wine writer André Dominé. This consisted of an introduction to Theravada (Lehre, Überlieferung und Entwicklung des Theravada) covering The Pali Tipitaka; The Vinaya; The Arahanta (since published on the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara website - http://www.birminghambuddhistvihara.org/arahanta.html ; The Buddhist Councils (published by the webzine Dhamma Journal http://www.nibbana.com/councils.htm) and The Theravada School. So far as we know, this was never published and the firm went bankrupt in 2003.
“The Practical Results of Vipassana Meditation”. The Maha Bodhi (Calcutta, India) 85/8-10, Aug-Oct. 1977, pp.264-9. [See Monachesimo Christiano for Italian translation] “Bliss Through Buddhism”. The Middle Way (London), 54/2, August 1979, pp. 76-80. “Vipassana Meditation”. The Maha Bodhi (Calcutta, India) 89/4-6, April-June 1981, pp.124-8. Reprinted in Samadhi (Journal of the London Buddhist Vihara) Issue 24, May 2004. Available online at http://www.londonbuddhistvihara.org/samadhi/May2004.htm “A Meditation Course: the first lesson”. The Maha Bodhi (Calcutta, India) 89/7-9, July-Sept. 1981. [Early version of what was re-edited in Emptying the Rose-Apple Seat pp. 63-9] “A Meditation Course: the second lesson”. The Maha Bodhi (Calcutta, India) 90/1-3, JanMarch 1982, pp. 31-5. [cf. Emptying the Rose-Apple Seat pp. 70-6] “The Fundamental Forces of the Mind”. Buddhist Forum (London Buddhist Vihara), 14/2, 1982, pp. 80-9. Reprinted in The Maha Bodhi (Calcutta, India) 92/7-9, July-Sept. 1984, pp. 137-45. [This was the paper given by Dr Rewata Dhamma at the Oakenholt Abhidhamma Seminar in 1982] “The Theravadin Perspective on Life after Death”. The Maha Bodhi (Calcutta, India) 93/1-3, Jan-March 1985, pp. 2-8. “Teaching for the Many”. Middle Way (London) 66/3, Nov. 1991, pp. 155-9. ; Spanish translation by Bertha Imaz, “Buddhismo para todos”, at http://www.dhammavihara.org/cmbt/fdd/pdf/conf.pdf. A re-edited version appeared in Lotus (Birmingham Buddhist Vihara) 14, Winter 2004, pp.1, 4-6. Web version at http://www.bbvt.org.uk/lotus_arch/Lotus14.pdf “Sunyata-Emptiness and Self-Emptying-Kenosis”. Middle Way (London) 68/2, August 1993, pp. 77-84. Web version at http://www.nibbana.com/rdhamma2.htm “World Peace”. Buddhist Himalaya (Nagarjuna Institute, Lalitpur, Nepal) ) 5/1-2. 1993. Also available on their web site at http://buddhim.20m.com/5-5.htm “What I expect of Friendship with Christians”. Current Dialogue (World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland) 30, December 1996. [See Studies in Inter-religious Dialogue] “Was ich von der Freundschaft mit Christen erwarte “[trans. of What I expect of friendship with Christians by Gisela Köberlin]. Dialog der Religionen (Gütersloh, Germany) Sept. 1996. Available on the Buddhist-Christian Studies web site - http://www.buddhist-christianstudies.org/hamburg.htm] “Ce que j’attends de l’amitié avec les chrétiens” [trans. of What I expect of friendship with Christians]. Voies de l’Orient (Brussels, Belgium) 63, April 1997, pp.32-40. “Buddhism in Myanmar” [prototype for various versions of the essay of this name]. Middle Way (London) 74/2, August 1999, pp.114-7. A further expanded version appeared in Lotus (Birmingham Buddhist Vihara) 13, Summer 2004, pp. 7-10.
“Paths of Purification”. Lotus (Birmingham Buddhist Vihara) 6, Autumn 2002, pp. 7-8. [cf. Emptying the Rose-Apple Seat, pp. 120-4]. Web version at http://www.thisismyanmar.com/nibbana/rdhamma4.htm “Buddhism & Social Justice”. Lotus (Birmingham Buddhist Vihara) 11, Winter 2003, pp. 3-5. An expanded version of Buddhism & Economic Justice.; “Traditional Wisdom & Modern Knowledge”. Lotus (Birmingham Buddhist Vihara) 12, Spring 2004, pp. 5-8. [Edited version of the paper given at the 1991 Samye Ling Interfaith Symposium] “Globalising Spiritual Values”. Lotus (Birmingham Buddhist Vihara) 15, Spring 2005, pp. Talk given at the Millennium Summit of World Religious Leaders, United Nations Headquarters, New York; web version at http://www.birminghambuddhistvihara.org/globalising%20spiritual%20values.html
5. Web publication only
“Buddhism, Human Rights and Justice in Burma” [Speech delivered at the Church Center for the UN, New York, November 1989. The text was slightly updated in subsequent editing]; available on the Burma Library web site http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs08/Rewata_DhammaBuddhism_Human_Rights_and_Justice_in_Burma.pdf “Dhamma, Ethics and Human Rights”. [Talk given at the Asian Leaders Conference. Seoul, S. Korea, December 1994, Burma Library web site http://www.burmalibrary.org/reg.burma/archives/199506/msg00111.html “The Contribution of Buddhism to the World of Art and Architecture” [talk given at the Buddhist Seminar, Sarnath, Varanasi, India: November 1998, on the Dhamma Journal web site - http://www.nibbana.com/rdbudart.htm
6. Taped talks
Series 1 RD1 Metta Bhavana + Vie quotidienne RD2 L'effort de développer la sagesse RD3 Les trois connaissances profondes RD4 Paticca Sammupada RD5 Les cinq khandas RD6 Introduction au stage RD7 Samatha-Vipassana RD8 Les cinq facultés RD9 Les quatre chemins RD10 Satipatthana RD11 Les sept vissuddhis RD12 Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta, Pañña RD13 Les quatre bases de l'attention dans les traditions RD14 Les quatre nobles vérités (Oct.2003, n°3) RD15 Sati et Sampajañña RD16 Les cinq empêchements RD17 La première noble vérité RD18 Le désir, cause de Dukkha RD19 Vipassana, pourquoi, comment RD20 Pañña RD21 Comprendre l’univers Dhamma Group Brussels tapes, Namur, Belgium, 1992-2003. [The A side of these is the original English, the B side contains the French translation by Marie-Cécile Forget] Series 2 RD 1 The eightfold path. Sila-Samadhi-Pañña. 5 Precepts. Meditation instructions 2003 RD 2 Different meditation techniques. 5 Hindrances. Concentration. Effort and awareness RD 3 Vipassana-Samata, Pañña, Karma etc. RD 4 The four noble truths RD 5 The five hindrances RD 6 Karma and rebirth: Enlightenment RD 7 Intro. to Mahasatipathana Sutta. Contemplation of body RD 8 Contemplation of the body RD 9 The four elements: Contemplation of feelings, of mind and of mind objects RD 10 Contemplation of mind objects RD 11 The Four Noble Truths RD 12 Metta meditation RD 13 Chanting RD 14 Closing talk, Beatenberg 2003 Dharma Tapes, Ebertswil, Switzerland, 2005.
7. Interviews & Discussions
First International Meeting Between Mahayana and Theravada. [A dialogue convened by the Dalai Lama in which Dr Rewata Dhamma led the Theravada side and played a leading role in the conversation]. Boeddhayana (‘s-Gravenhaage, Netherlands 3/5, 1979, pp.37-64. Emptiness and Compassion: A panel discussion at the European Buddhist Union Congress on 27th September 1992 with Sogyal Rimpoche, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dr. Rewata Dhamma and Sangharakshita. Clear Vision Trust Video, Manchester, UK, [66 mins]. Meeting with Dr Rewata Dhamma, interviewed by Sam Lwin, Dhamma Yoksom (Yangon, Myanmar) 10, 1994, pp.18-21 [Myanmar language]. Birmingham Sayadaw, Dr Rewata Dhamma [interview with Khit San Win on Jan. 22, 1995], Pan Myotitya, Yangon, Myanmar, 1995 [booklet publication in Myanmar language]. The Background to Aung San Suu Kyi’s Release from House-Arrest [article originally written for the October 1995 issue of “This Is Yomiuri”, a monthly magazine published by The Yomiuri Shimbun], available on the web at http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/reg.burma/archives/199509/msg00166.html Birmingham Sayadaw Dr Rewata Dhamma, interviewed by Aung Thinn, Nawaday (Yangon, Myanmar) 8-9, 2000, pp.55-62 [Myanmar language]. Shining example of peace. ‘In the third of its series on faith leaders, Dr Rewata Dhamma tells Jo Ind about Buddhism in Birmingham’. (Features, The Birmingham Post (England), 1/16/2003. Available at
(Revised and updated as of 1 September, 2010)