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28 July 1921|
Insein, Pegu Province, British Burma
|Died||April 16, 2016
|Based in||Yangon, Myanmar|
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Sayadaw U Pandita (Burmese: ဆရာတော် ဦးပဏ္ဍိတ, pronounced: [sʰəjàdɔ̀ ʔú pàɴdḭta̰]; also Ovādacariya Sayādaw U Paṇḍitābhivaṃsa; 28 July 1921 – 16 April 2016) was one of the foremost masters of Vipassanā. He trained in the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Myanmar. A successor to the late Mahāsi Sayādaw, he has taught many of the Western teachers and students of the Mahāsi style of Vipassanā meditation. He was the abbot of Paṇḍitārāma Meditation Center in Yangon, Myanmar.
U Pandita was born in 1921 in Insein in greater Rangoon (now Yangon) during British colonial rule. He became a novice at age twelve, and ordained at age twenty. After decades of study, he passed the rigorous series of government examinations in the Theravāda Buddhist texts, gaining the Dhammācariya (dhamma teacher) degree in 1952.
U Pandita began practicing Vipassana under the guidance of Mahāsi Sayādaw beginning in 1950. In 1955, he left his position as a teacher of scriptural studies to become a meditation teacher at the Mahāsi Meditation Center.
Soon after Mahasi Sayādaw died in 1982, U Pandita became the guiding teacher (Ovādacariya) of the Mahasi Meditation Center. In 1991, he left that position, founding Paṇḍitārāma Meditation Center in Yangon. There are now Paṇḍitārāma branch centers in Myanmar, Nepal, Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.
U Pandita became well known in the West after conducting a retreat in the spring of 1984 at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts in the United States. Many of the senior Western meditation teachers in the Mahāsi tradition practiced with U Pandita at that and subsequent retreats. The talks he gave in 1984 at IMS were compiled as the book In This Very Life.
Until his death in 2016, he continued to lead retreats and give dharma talks, but rarely conducted interviews himself.
Method and style of teaching
U Pandita was known for teaching a rigorous and precise method of self-examination. He taught Satipaṭṭhāna or Vipassanā, emphasizing Buddhist ethics as a requisite foundation. He was also an erudite scholar of the Pali Tipiṭaka, the Theravāda canon.
- Paṇḍitā; Aggacitta (2012). In This Very Life: Liberation Teachings of the Buddha. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 978-0-86171-880-1., also available in full at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pandita/
- Timeless Wisdom - Teachings on the Satipatthana Vipassana Meditation Practice, available as a Vipassana Fellowship Digital Edition at http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/upandita/
- Paṇḍitā (2015). On the Path to Freedom. Createspace Independent Pub. ISBN 978-1-5088-0058-3., available as a free e-book in PDF format at http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/path-free.pdf
- Panditarama Shwe Taung Gon Sasana Yiktha
- Panditarama Meditation Center near Yangon
- Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Centre in Nepal
- Tathagata Meditation Center in San Jose California
- Saddhamma Foundation facilitates retreats at Sayādaw U Pandita's Forest Meditation Center near Yangon
- Panditarama Saraniya Dhamma Meditation Centre Manchester England
- "Sayadaw U Pandita, influential Burmese meditation master, dead at 94". Lion's Roar. April 16, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
- Thâmanay Kyaw. "One Life's Journey". Vipassana Meditation Centre (Singapore). Retrieved April 21, 2016.
- "ပဏ္ဍိတာရာမ ရွှေတောင်ကုန်းသာသနာ့ရိပ်သာ ဆရာတော် (In Burmese)". Kyemon. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.