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29 July 1921 |
Insein, Pegu Province, British Burma
|Based in||Yangon, Myanmar|
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Sayadaw U Pandita (Burmese: ဆရာတော် ဦးပဏ္ဍိတာ, pronounced: [sʰəjàdɔ̀ ʔú pàɴdḭta̰];also Ovādacariya Sayādaw U Paṇḍitābhivaṃsa; born 29 July 1921) is one of the foremost living masters of Vipassana meditation. He trained in the Burmese Theravada Buddhist tradition. A successor to the late Mahāsi Sayādaw, he has taught many of the Western teachers and students of the Mahāsi style of Vipassana meditation. He is the abbot of Paṇḍitārāma Meditation Center in Yangon, Myanmar.
U Pandita was born in 1921 in Insein in greater Rangoon (now Yangon) during the 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 Burma, Nepal, Australia, 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."
As of 2005, he continues to lead retreats and give dharma talks, but rarely conducts interviews himself.
A complete biography by Thāmanay Kyaw is available at http://vmc128.8m.com/contents/index.html under the title "One Life's Journey".
Method and style of teaching
U Pandita is known for teaching a rigorous and precise method of self-examination. He teaches Satipaṭṭhāna or Vipassana meditation, emphasizing sīla or moral discipline as a requisite foundation. He is also an erudite scholar of the Pāli Tipiṭaka or Theravāda Buddhist canon.
- In This Very Life - The Liberation teachings of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2002) ISBN 0-86171-311-7, 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/
- On The Path to Freedom
available as a free e-book in PDF format at http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/path-free.pdf
available as a free e-book in PDF format at panditarama.net
- 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