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First annual Wisdom and Mindfulness retreats for westerners in Myanmar
by Alan Clements, The Buddhist Channel, July 14, 2015
Yangon, Myanmar -- Myanmar’s renowned Mahasi Meditation Center will launch a first-ever Western yogi meditation training for lay-teachers, first-time and experienced meditators.
First annual Wisdom and Mindfulness retreats for westerners in Myanmar, January 3-17, 2016 and January 24-February 7, 2016
Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha-Yangon (MSY), in partnership with the Buddha Sasana Foundation-USA/Canada (BSF), is hosting two rare meditation retreats (January 3-17, 2016 and January 24-February 7) specifically for Westerners interested in training in the techniques and foundations of insight meditation at the Center that launched the global mass lay meditation movement.
For nearly seventy years the Center has maintained a continuous 24-hour schedule of meditation for as many as 500 yogis at a time. The life-transforming training and practice
has impacted the lives of millions of meditators both in Myanmar and worldwide who have practiced in the tradition of the late Mahasi Sayadaw.
The techniques have been adapted to a variety of settings in the West - medical, educational, correctional, psychotherapeutic, business, and personal growth and spiritual development, in addition to the integrated approach to Buddhist philosophy and enlightenment. In South and Southeast Asia, the Mahasi method of insight meditation has influenced the face of Buddhist practice regionally.
Since 1962, the Mahasi Center has been closed to the world (other than in rare circumstances for a handful of practitioners). With Myanmar’s recent democratic opening,
the Center is poised for the first time to accept foreigner lay meditation teachers and passionate practitioners interested in training in the systematic mindfulness techniques of
Buddhist insight meditation, that is currently sweeping the world. (TIME: The Mindfulness Revolution).
Rooted in the long monastic tradition of an integrated ethical, scholarly and meditation based approach to pedagogy and outcomes, MSY has embarked on an unprecedented undertaking: a long-term training center for Western lay teachers taught in the medium of the English language. The 2016 Retreats mark the first annual meditation events and the
start of a new era in Buddhist training and practice.
The first yearly Mahasi Commemorative Gathering will follow the launch of the two Special Retreats on February 7 from one to five pm. The event commemorates the life and work of
the late Mahasi Sayadaw with lectures and commentaries offered on the extraordinary life and impact of the Mahasi’s systematization of insight meditation practice.
The retreats are open to all yogis by application on the The Wisdom of Mindfulness website but space is limited to 50 yogis in total. The retreats offer practical insights into the heart of Buddhist insight meditation and the emancipatory teachings of the Buddha.
The Retreats will be guided by the Center's abbot, Sayadaw U Jatila and the meditation teachers at Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha. Cultural and retreat assistance will be provided by Mr.
Alan Clements (former monk at the Center). Dr. Ingrid Jordt (former nun at the Center) and Dr. Jeannine Davies (long-time practitioner in the Mahasi tradition). Participating yogis may
come to the Retreat Assistants (kappiyas) with any questions regarding cultural translation of the monastic environment, help explaining protocol, interview style, technique questions,
and other general help.
If you go:
INSIGHT MEDITATION FOR WESTERNERS IN MYANMAR
MAHASI SASANA YEIKTHA (MSY) MEDITATION CENTRE, YANGON
Retreat 1: Sunday January 3-17, 2016 (25 spaces)
This retreat, reserved for beginning and experienced meditators, will be taught in the Theravada Buddhist tradition using the Satipatthana Vipassana mindfulness method of insight meditation as instructed by the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw. The teachings emphasize developing sustained mindfulness throughout the day. (i.e., awareness of mental and physical phenomena as they arise moment to moment, in all activities, when sitting, walking, standing, bending, bathing, eating, lying down to rest, waking up etc.)
Retreat 2: Sunday January 24 – Feb 7, 2016 (25 spaces)
Reserved for lay meditation teachers and guides who would like to receive comprehensive training in the systematic Mahasi pedagogy. This retreat offers a special opportunity for teachers in the West to deepen their practice and to gain a more systematic knowledge of insight meditation. Guidance will be offered in the pedagogical foundations and skillful means required to guide practice and decipher the meditator’s report of vipassana experience in order to facilitate their role as a noble friend and guide/mentor.
First International Mahasi Commemorative Gathering: Feb 7th 1:00- 5:00 pm.
The Gathering to be held at the Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha Yangon, commemorates the life and works of the late Ven Mahasi Sayadaw and the history of the Mahasi teachings in Burma and throughout the world.
Further details and online application at:
Alan Clements is author, dharma guide and a former Buddhist monk residing in Burma.