17 February 1896|
Ingyinpin, British Burma
26 June 1977 (aged 81)|
Ingyinpin, Sagaing Division, Myanmar
|Based in||Webu Monastery|
Webu Sayadaw (Burmese: ဝေဘူ ဆရာတော်, pronounced [wèbù sʰəjàdɔ̀]; 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.
Ven. Webu Sayadaw was born to Daw Kyin Nu and U Lu Pe in 1896 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 given title as a monk was Kumara Kassapa.
Monk and teacher
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). According to Roger Bischof, on return from his four years of seclusion, he said, regarding Ānāpānasati: "This is a shortcut to Nibbana, anyone can use it. It stands up to investigation and is in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha as conserved in the scriptures. It is the straight path to Nibbana." Ven. 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.
For the first fifty-seven years of his life, Ven. Webu Sayadaw stayed in upper Burma, dividing his time among three meditation centres in a small area. After his first trip to Rangoon, at the invitation of Ba Khin, in 1953, he included southern Burma in his travels, visiting there to teach and meditate from time to time. He also went on pilgrimage to India and Sri Lanka. Ven. Webu Sayadaw spent his final days at the meditation centre in the village where he was born. He died on 26 June 1977, at the age of eighty-one.