Thamanya Sayadaw

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Thamanya Sayadaw
Religion Buddhism
School Theravada
Temple Thamanya Hill
near Hpa-an, Kayin State
Dharma names Vinaya (ဝိနယ)
Nationality Burmese
Born 1910
Kawkyaik village, Hpa-an Township, British Burma
Died 29 November 2003 (2003-11-30) (aged 93)
Senior posting
Title Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhamma Jotika Badanta Vinaya

Thamanya Sayadaw U Vinaya (Burmese: သာမညဆရာတော် ဦးဝိနယ) was a prominent and influential Burmese Buddhist monk of Pa-O descent, best known for his doctrinal emphasis on metta.[1]

He was first ordained as a novice at the age of 13 and received higher ordination at the age of 20. He established a monastery and meditation retreat near his hometown, on Thamanya Hill, where he taught meditation and discourses.[2] The area around his monastery was declared a sanctuary (ဘေးမဲ့ဒေသ) where nonviolence and vegetarianism were practiced.[3][4] By the mid-1980s, followers established a thriving community around Thamanya Hill, comprising 5,000 households in the late 1990s, as the Sayadaw doled out free land tracts around his monastery.[4]

In 1991, the Burmese government conferred him the title "Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhamma Jotika" for his charity and missionary works. He was known for his education and infrastructure projects, including the construction of the Thanlwin Bridge, a road that connects Myawaddy to Mae Sot and his sponsorship of local schools.[4] However, he publicly criticized the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council, refused its patronage and invitations to visit Yangon, while he publicly expressed support for Aung San Suu Kyi.[3][5]

He died on 29 November 2003 and had suffered from diabetes and heart problems.[6] On 2 April 2008, his corpse was mysteriously removed from tomb.[7] Four days later, the unknown perpetrators notified monks that the corpse had been burnt, and was found at the site of a small stupa in Kawkada village.[7] This act was widely considered a yadaya ritual.[7]


  1. ^ Houtman, Gustaaf (1999). Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics. 33. ILCAA. ISBN 9784872977486. 
  2. ^ "Ven. Tharmanya Sayadaw - U Vinaya (1910- 2003)". Dhamma Web. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Seekins, Donald M. (2006). Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810854765. 
  4. ^ a b c Tosa, Keiko (2009). "The Cult of Thamanya Sayadaw: The Social Dynamism of a Formulating Pilgrimage Site" (PDF). Asian Ethnology. Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture. 68: 239–264. 
  5. ^ Jordt, Ingrid (2007). Burma's Mass Lay Meditation Movement. Ohio University Press. pp. 150–151. ISBN 9780896802551. 
  6. ^ "Revered Monk Passes Away". The Irrawaddy. 1 December 2003. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c May, Amy Gold (June 2008). "Will Thamanya Sayadaw's Body Ever Rest in Peace?". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 14 April 2012.