Exhortations – Mahāsi Sayādaw (eng)



Editor’s Foreword
About The Mahāsi Tradition
The Most Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw was invited to Rangoon by the former Prime Minister of Burma, U Nu, to be the teacher at a new meditation centre donated by Sir U Thwin, a wealthy philanthropist.
From December 1949 the Sayādaw started teaching the method of insight meditation that pays attention to the four elements, which he had learnt from his teacher, Mingun Jetavan Sayādaw. This method later became world-famous as the Mahāsi meditation method, which advocates contemplation of the element of motion in the movements of the abdomen. The contemplation of abdominal movements is the starting point for the practice, but the meditator soon learns that he or she must be mindful of many other things too. In short, one must be mindful of each and every activity of the body and mind, throughout the while day, without a break.

In the early years, meditators had to practise from 3:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., but the Sayādaw later allowed a maximum of six hours sleep out of compassion for those with more defilements and less
energy. The Sayādaw always followed the monastic discipline strictly, and, as his exhortations show, he expected his disciples to follow suit.

Every year his disciples would gather from all over Burma to listen to his exhortation. This annual assembly continues after his death, with tape recordings of the Sayādaw’s teaching, and sermons by his leading disciples.

Below are two of the Sayādaw’s annual exhortations here so that everyone can know about the purity and excellence of the Mahāsi tradition. I first edited these for publication in the Golden Jubilee Memorial Journal published for the 50th Anniversary of the Buddha Sāsanānuggaha Organization while I was staying in Rangoon.

Bhikkhu Pesala
August 2013