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A Buddhist should be diligent to strive for daily religious tasks as compulsory duty. If we examine the term "Buddhist" in detail, we find as follows: The term "Buddha" means the supremely Self-Enlightened One through realization of the Four Noble Truths at the foot of the Bodhi-tree as he had fulfilled such perfections as dana, sila, etc., in his many births of samsara.

Buddhism is the teachings delivered by Buddha in 45 years of Buddha hood for the benefit of all beings -- men, devas and Brahmas. "A Buddhist is one who takes refuge in the Buddha, in the Dhamma, in the Samgha, and practices according to the teachings of the Buddha."

A Buddhist should not be a Buddhist for name sake only. He must practically abide by the Teachings of the Buddha; only then will he be a real Buddhist. It is very hard indeed to attain the life of a human being. Meritorious deeds such as charity, morality and meditation can be performed only in the human life. In the four miserable realms, these meritorious deeds cannot be performed, because beings there have to suffer miseries all the time. Also in the realms of devas and brahmas, it is not easy to do meritorious deeds, because they are intoxicated with sensual pleasures of jhana bliss. Human life is mingled with sensual pleasure and miseries, and so only a human being can strive for his deliverance from the whirlpool of miseries called Samsara. Now we have the golden chance to be born as human beings and to study, practice, and realize the teachings of the Buddha. So we should earnestly strive for becoming a real Buddhist.

(From ' The Teachings of the Buddha', Ministry of Religious Affairs, Yangon, 1997)


Buddhist Meditation in Myanmar

Vipassana meditation or Buddhist way of meditation is an awareness meditation. It teaches to be with the present moment ... to live in the present moment. It teaches to be aware of everything that comes to us and is happening to us. Only the present moment is important. And everything that comes to us at the present moment through the six sense doors eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind — is to be noted, to be watched, to be observed as the object of awareness.

When we practice Vipassana meditation, by making mental notes or just watching the various things that come to us, we will bring awareness to a high level so that we will be able to see things as they truly are. We will come to see the true nature of mind and body, of the mental and physical phenomena of which you are composed. "True nature" means the nature of impermanence, the nature of un-satisfactoriness and the nature of insubstantiality or the absence of an unchanging self or soul. It is important to see these three characteristics of nature so that you can have a correct view of things so that you may have less attachment to mind and body, and gradually be able to weaken the hold of mental defilements that prevent enlightenment.

When we practice Vipassana meditation, we choose an object on which to focus the mind. That object will be the "home" object of meditation. Traditionally, the breath is taken as the object. We keep our mind focused on the breath and make mental notes "in-out, in-out" along with the breaths. During the noting of the breath when your mind gets lost or distracted, you make notes of them too, such as "thinking" or "hearing" or "distractions" or "emotions", etc. And also we make notes of the feelings in our body. In this way, we keep ourselves aware of everything that is happening in us or that comes to our mind.
By keeping our mind on the object of meditation, we are able to develop concentration or one-pointed ness of mind which is necessary for the penetrative knowledge into the true nature of mind and body to arise. Without concentration, this cannot happen. So, what we need first is concentration. And in order to have concentration, we must first keep our mind focused on one object. If we can keep our mind focused on one and the same object for some time we can get the necessary concentration. But we will find that in the beginning this is very difficult to do even for a short time. That is because we are dealing with the mind, which is very unruly and difficult to control.

We can keep a wild bull by tying it with ropes. But we cannot tie our mind with ropes, so we tie our mind to the object with awareness or mindfulness. In the beginning, mindfulness may not be strong enough to tie the mind down to one object and we may have many distractions to interfere with our meditation. But when distractions come to us, whether through the eyes, ears or nose, etc., do not get irritated or upset. Just turn them into the objects of meditation by making notes of them too.

The beauty of Vipassana meditation lies in the fact that all things are the objects for this meditation, the breath is only the "home" object. If we have no other objects to note, just keep noting your breaths, and if there are other objects, we just keep noting them too. Whether we are keeping your mind on the breath or on other distractions, we are doing good meditation if we are aware of them.

When we practice Vipassana meditation, we have to be patient and persevere. And do not get discouraged if we cannot get concentration at the beginning. Everybody has that experience. And leave all our expectations behind when we are meditating. Just be in the present moment. And it these thoughts come to us in spite of the instructions, just make them the object of meditation. In this way, we can deal with everything that comes to us effectively.

Meditation Tour in Yangon

(2 days in Yangon with Meditation Centers)

Day 1: Shwedagon Pagoda and Meditation Center

Breakfast at hotel. Full day meditation tour in Yangon starts with a visit to world famous Shwedagon Pagoda in the morning. This introductory visit to great place of Buddhist monument expresses mainly Buddhist way of life. Then proceed to the meditation center where full day meditation experience can be obtained. At arrival, welcomed and introduced by chief monk of center, promptly placed in assembly hall for self-practice. At your own ease, seated and standing positions are guided. Before leaving in the late afternoon, share and review individual awareness on such noble practice with senior instructor. Return to hotel. Overnight stay at hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 2: Full day program at Meditation Center

Breakfast at hotel. Drive to meditation center. Full day meditation program includes feedback on previous day experiences, full day self-practice. Before leaving, enrich your knowledge at library resources of meditation center. Return to hotel. Overnight stay at hotel. (Breakfast)

Advise: You are kindly advised that all seasons in a year that you can come and visit meditation centers. Any person from any race, deeply interested on this issue can experience meditation in Myanmar. English is widely understood in meditation centers. At the beginning or the end of other Myanmar tour, you could start or extend the stay of meditation experience. You can also tailor the above tour according to your own desires. Prior consultations with us for detail information and approval letter to be sent to the meditation center are recommended.

Included services

  : Accommodation stay with daily breakfast at the hotels mentioned as twin sharing basic
: All transfers and sight-seeing with private air-conditioned vehicles including driver service as mentioned in the
: All entrance fees payable in US$ for the sites and monuments as mentioned in the program.
: English-speaking local guide

Excluded services

  : Myanmar visa fees
: Air port tax for international departure.
: Meals throughout the tour except breakfasts.
: Personal expenses
: Insurances

* Surcharge can be applied for foreign language-speaking guide, and for full board or half board meal plans.
* Above tour can be customized according to your own travel nature.

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Meditation Centers

(1) Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre
55A Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Kaba Aye P.O. Yangon 11061, Myanmar.
Tel: (01) 661479, Fax: 01- 667050
Email: chanmyay@mptmail.net.mm
Web site: www.chanmyay.org
Teacher: Ven. Sayadaw U Janaka
Tradition: Vipassana using late Mahasi Sayadaw method

(2) Dhamma Joti Vipassana Centre
Wingaba Yele Kyaung, Nga HtatGyi Pagoda Road, Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar.
Tel: (1) 549 290
Contact: Mr. Banwariji Goenka, Bandoola International Ltd
Office. No. 134, Shwebontha Street, Yangon, Myanmar
Tel: (1) 72467, 248 174, 248 175, Fax: 289 965
299, Bosundat Street, Yangoon, Myanmar
Email: BANDOOLAMYANMAR@mtp400.stems.com
Tradition: Sayagi U Ba Khin

(3) International Theravada Buddhist University
Dhammapala Hill, Mayangone P.O, Yangon, Myanmar.
Tel: 095-1-665673 / 095-1-660171
Fax: 095-1-665728 / 095-1-660789

(4) Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha Meditation Centre
No 16, Sasana Yeiktha Road, Yangon, 11201, Myanmar.
Tel: 01 541971, 552501
Fax: 289960, 289961
Email: Webmaster@mahasi.com
Web site: www.mahasi.com
Tradition: Satipatthana Vipassana meditation

(5) Panditarama Meditation Centre
80 A, Thanlwin Road, Shwe Gon Dine P.O, Bahan, Yangon, Myanmar.
Tel: (951) 535448, 705525
Web site: web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/pandita.htm
Teacher: Ven. Sayadaw U Pandita
Tradition: Vipassana using late Mahasi Sayadaw method

(6) Panditarama Forest Meditation Centre (Shwe Taun Gon)
Tel: 0095-1-535448 and 0095-1-705525.
Shwe Taun Gon Forest Meditation Center is about an hour by road from Yangon; specifically for Westerners. The kutis (cabins) are spacious and there is a large two-story meditation hall.


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