Webu Sayadaw

The Essential Practice: Part I

The Essential Practice: Part I

The Webu Sayadaw emphasized the practice of meditation as the only way to bring the teachings of the Buddha to fulfillment.

The study of the scriptures, though helpful, is not indispensable for the realization of Nibbana. The technique of meditation taught by the Webu Sayadaw is one of forty techniques mentioned in the scriptures for the development of samadhi or concentration.

It is called anapana sati and requires one to be aware (1) that one is breathing in while breathing in, (2) that one is breathing out while one is breathing out, (3) of the spot or area which the stream of air touches while one is breathing in and out.

In the Visuddhimagga Buddhaghosa describes sixteen ways of approaching this meditation, but the Webu Sayadaw kept reminding his disciples they needn’t know about all of these; all they really needed to know was the reality of in-and-out breathing.


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About Webu Sayadaw

Webu Sayadaw (17 February 1896 – 26 June 1977) was a Theravada Buddhist monk, and vipassanā master, best known for giving all importance to diligent practice, rather than scholastic achievement.

Webu Sayadaw was born in British Burma near Khin U township in modern-day Sagaing Division. He underwent the usual monk's training in the Pāli scriptures from the age of nine, when he became a novice, until he was twenty-seven. His monastic name was Kumārakassapa.

In 1923 (seven years after his ordination), he left the monastery and spent four years in solitude. He practiced (and later taught) the technique of Ānāpānasati (awareness of the in-breath and out-breath). He said that by working with this practice to a very deep level of concentration, one is able to develop vipassanā (insight) into the essential characteristics of all experience: anicca (impermanence), anatta (egolessness) and dukkha (unsatisfactoriness).

Webu Sayadaw was famous for his unflagging diligence in meditation and for spending most of his time in solitude. He was reputed to be an arahant (fully enlightened one), and it is said that he never slept.

You yourselves must strive, the Buddhas only point the way

Buddha, Dhp 276
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