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Mahasi Sayadaw


Mahasi Sayadaw

Mahasi Sayadaw U Sobhana
မဟာစည်ဆရာတော် ဦးသောဘန
The Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw
Religion Buddhism
School Theravada
Lineage Mahasi
Dharma names Sobhana
Nationality Burmese
Born (1904-07-29)29 July 1904
Seikkhun, Shwebo District, British Burma
Died 14 August 1982(1982-08-14) (aged 78)
Rangoon, Burma
Senior posting
Based in Mahasi Monastery, Yangon, Myanmar
Title Sayadaw
Predecessor U Nārada
Successor U Pandita, Dipa Ma
Religious career
Website .org.mahasiwww

Mahasi Sayadaw U Sobhana (Burmese: မဟာစည်ဆရာတော် ဦးသောဘန, pronounced: ; 29 July 1904 – 14 August 1982) was a Burmese Theravada Buddhist monk and meditation master who had a significant impact on the teaching of Vipassana (Insight) meditation in the West and throughout Asia. In his style of practice, derived from the so-called "New Burmese Method" of U Nārada, the meditator anchors their attention on the sensations of the rising and falling of the abdomen during breathing, observing carefully any other sensations or thoughts.


  • Biography 1
  • Notable students 2
  • Publications 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Mahāsi Sayādaw was born in 1904 in Seikkhun village in Upper Burma. He became a novice at age twelve, and was ordained at the age of twenty with the name Sobhana. Over the course of decades of study, he passed the rigorous series of government examinations in the Theravāda Buddhist texts, gaining the newly introduced Dhammācariya (dhamma teacher) degree in 1941.

In 1931, U Sobhana took leave from teaching scriptural studies in Moulmein, South Burma, and went to nearby Thaton to practice intensive Vipassana meditation under Mingun Jetawun Sayādaw (also rendered Mingun Jetavana Sayādaw), also known as U Nārada. This teacher had practiced in the remote Sagaing Hills of Upper Burma, under the guidance of Aletawya Sayādaw, a student of the forest meditation master Thelon Sayādaw. U Sobhāna first taught Vipassana meditation in his home village in 1938, at a monastery named for its massive drum 'Mahāsi'. He became known in the region as Mahāsi Sayādaw. In 1947, the Prime Minister of Burma, U Nu, invited Mahāsi Sayādaw to be resident teacher at a newly established meditation center in Yangon, which came to be called the Mahāsi Sāsana Yeiktha.

Mahāsi Sayādaw was a questioner and final editor at the Sixth Buddhist Council on May 17, 1954. He helped establish meditation centers all over Burma as well as in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and by 1972 the centers under his guidance had trained more than 700,000 meditators. In 1979, he travelled to the West, holding retreats at newly founded centers such as the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, U.S. In addition, meditators came from all over the world to practice at his center in Yangon. When the Mahāsi Sayādaw died on 14 August 1982 following a massive stroke, thousands of devotees braved the torrential monsoon rains to pay their last respects.

Notable students


Mahāsi Sayādaw published nearly seventy volumes of Buddhist literature in Burmese, many of these transcribed from talks. He completed a Burmese translation of the Visuddhimagga, ("The Path of Purification") a lengthy treatise on meditation by the 5th century Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and scholar Buddhaghosa. He also wrote a volume entitled Manual of Vipassana Meditation. His English works include:

  • Practical Vipassana Exercises [7]
  • Satipatthana Vipassana Meditation [8][9]
  • The Progress of Insight—an advanced talk on Vipassana [10]
  • Thoughts on the Dharma [11]


  1. ^ "Our Teacher -". Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  2. ^ "About". Jack Kornfield. Retrieved 2013-12-21. 
  3. ^ "Bio -". Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  4. ^ "Home>Sayadaw-". Retrieved 2014-04-19. 
  5. ^ "Sayadaw U Silananda-". Retrieved 2014-04-19. 

External links

  • A Discourse on Paticcasamuppada by Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw
  • Biographical Sketch of Mahāsi Sayādaw from
  • The Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw's Discourses and Treatises on Buddhism
  • Books by Mahāsi Sayādaw
  • Biography of Mahāsi Sayādaw from the American Burma Buddhist Association
  • Mp3-Video Clips by Mahasi Sayadaw from Myanmarnet
  • Audio talks by Mahāsi Sayādaw from
  • [12] Rare video of Mahasi Sayadaw
  • Saddhamma Foundation Information about practicing the Mahasi meditation method.
  • A Discourse on Satipatthana Vipassana by Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw from
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