Mahasi Sayadaw

Satipatthana Vipassana: Insight through Mindfulness

Satipatthana Vipassana: Insight through Mindfulness

On the personal request of the Honourable U Nu, Prime Minister, and Thado Thiri Thudhamma Sir U Thwin, President of the Buddha Sāsanānuggaha Association, the Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw, Bhadanta Sobhana Mahāthera, came down from Shwebo to Rangoon on 10th November 1949. The Meditation Centre at the Thathana Yeiktha, Hermitage Road, Rangoon, was formally opened on 4th December 1949, when the Mahāsi Sayādaw began to give to fifteen devotees a methodical training in the right system of Satipaṭṭhāna Vipassanā.

From the first day of the opening of the Centre a discourse on the exposition of Satipaṭṭhāna Vipassanā, its purpose, the method of practice, the benefits derived therefrom, etc., has been given daily to each batch of devotees arriving at the Centre almost every day to undertake the intensive course of training.

The discourse lasts usually for one hour and thirty minutes, and the task of talking almost daily in this manner inevitably caused a strain. Fortunately, the Buddha Sāsanānuggaha Association came forward to relieve the situation with an offer of the donation of a tape recorder, and the discourse given on 27th July 1951 to a group of fifteen devotees undertaking the training was taped. Thereafter this taped discourse has been in constant daily use preceded by a few preliminary remarks spoken by the Mahāsi Sayādaw.

Then, owing to the great demand of many branch meditation centres of the Mahāsi Satipaṭṭhāna Vipassanā, as well as of the public, this discourse was published in book form in 1954. The book has now run into its sixth edition. As there is also a keen interest and eager demand among many devotees of other nationalities who are unacquainted with Burmese, the discourse is now translated into English.

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About Mahasi Sayadaw

Mahasi Sayadaw U Sobhana, born on 29-07-1904 and deceased on 14-08-1982, was a Burmese Theravāda Buddhist monk and meditation master who had a significant impact on the teaching of vipassanā (insight) meditation, both in the West and in Asia.

In his style of practice, derived from the New Burmese Method of U Nārada, living according to Buddhist morality is a prerequisite for the practice of meditation. The meditation itself invokes Satipaṭṭhāna, the foundation of mindfulness. In developing this, the vipassanā meditation practitioner focuses on the sensation of the rising and falling of the abdomen during breathing, while being alert and attentive to other sensations or thoughts.

Mahāsi Sayādaw was a questioner and final editor at the Sixth Buddhist Council on May 17, 1954. He helped establish meditation centers all over Burma as well as in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and by 1972 the centers under his guidance had trained more than 700,000 meditators. In 1979, he travelled to the West, holding retreats at newly founded centers such as the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, U.S. In addition, meditators came from all over the world to practice at his center in Yangon.

When the Mahāsi Sayādaw died on 14 August 1982 following a massive stroke, thousands of devotees braved the torrential monsoon rains to pay their last respects.

You yourselves must strive, the Buddhas only point the way

Buddha, Dhp 276