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MettaDana Project

Last year was a powerful turning point in the work of the MettaDana Project and we hope you can support us as we move forward in this new era.

The death of Sayadaw U Lakkhana was a true test of our 21 years of relationships in the Wachet community and a testament to the enduring vitality of the village and the many programs that Sayadaw and MettaDana put into place during his influential life. It was truly uplifting to see the beautiful results of Sayadaw’s actions to continue to blossom in the village and to find the community and the programs moving forward with integrity and metta. We were profoundly moved by the community’s sadness at Sayadaw’s death and also by the overwhelmingly wish that we return and continue our work.

This January, we will return to Wachet to hold our annual 3-week retreat at Kyaswa Monastery with Sayadaw U Pannananda, Michele McDonald, and Steven Smith (where room is still available). During this time we will check in with the various MettaDana Projects and find out how best we can continue to strengthen these vital programs.

Important developments have also taken place over the past few years that we want you to know about:

The Wachet Village School, which we created and sustained for many years, is now fully integrated into the public school system: a moving and positive result of the changing political dynamics in the country. While basic school supplies are now provided by the state, the school still depends on us to provide uniforms for all students, including robes for the many “nunlets” and “monklets” (as Michele likes to call them) and teacher bonuses for the faculty to supplement the meager wages provided by the state. We now need help to support continuing education programs for teachers in language and computer training that will allow them to provide a more robust and relevant education for the future. 

The Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital is thriving and benefiting from numerous donations coming from MettaDana and other foreign supporters and healtchcare providers, as well as beneficiaries of Myanmar’s burgeoning economy. This year, we are hoping to begin a new program based on the important research on women’s health needs we sponsored last year. Two Swedish medical students who conducted the research sent us their reports and based on their findings we are hoping to begin free courses on reproductive health for members of the Wachet community. If you are interested in supporting this project or have skills that may be helpful in its development, please get in touch with our office via email.

Another team of acupuncturists will be coming this year to teach our Burmese colleagues new methods and approaches to treatment and to begin a rigorous 3-year teacher-training model so that our MettaDana-trained Burmese acupucturists can begin to spread their practices in their own communities. The team, organized by long-time MettaDana supporter Kirsten Germann, will bring back Keith Wright for a second year and will introduce Peter van Kervel and his family to the project.

Some of our nun friends will be the subject of an upcoming documentary film entitled “This Very Life.” You can watch the trailer here! We are excited to continue our support for these three nunneries as important sustainers of the pursuit of the Dhamma for women in Myanmar. Supporting their basic community needs as well as providing for a medical fund each year helps ensure that these women are able to commit to a powerful way of life guided by the heart of the Buddha’s teachings.

We want to give thanks to all who have offered their generous support of our MettaDana projects over the years. To see the fruits of these endeavors flourish and to see these projects coming into their own, independent and forward-moving, is a marvelous sign of the persistent and generous dedication of many supporters over time.

If you have not already given this year, please consider a donation to the MettaDana Project to support our wonderful projects there. Any amount that you offer has considerable impact locally and helps continue the lineage of connection and support that we are all so fortunate to be a part of. Click here to donate now. Thank you so much for your generosity!

~ The Kyaswa retreat and MettaDana team

Daylong in the Spirit of Halloween and Día de Los Muertos


With Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey

October 31, 2015

Throughout the world, many cultures recognize autumn as a time to reflect on impermanence and to honor loved ones who have passed away. Join Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey for a day of meditation on death and impermanence while abiding in lovingkindness and gratitude for our loved ones who have died. For more information about the teacher, click here. Registration is preferred.

“Dhamma: Pure, Deep, and Simple”

Bodhi tree

Vipassana Hawai’i is pleased to announce registration is now open for our annual November residential retreat.

“Dhamma: Pure, Deep, and Simple”

with Michele McDonald and Steven Smith

November 27 – December 5, 2015  (9-days)

Come and receive a pure and powerful dhamma-teaching, the practice that awakens wisdom and metta, deeply embodied from the inside. Experience a nine-day Vipassana silent retreat in the beautiful serene Palolo Valley.

Steven Smith and Michele McDonald have been teaching together for over 33 years. Both are founders and guiding teachers for Vipassana Hawai’i. They are both looking forward to teaching again in Honolulu and offering old deep-shared experiences of the Dhamma.

The retreat will be hosted by Palolo Zen Center, which offers simple, dormitory accommodations in a green, natural setting. Options for the retreat are residential and non-residential. NO Weekend-only participation is offered. Single rooms are not available. Space is limited. Register now.

Vipassana Hawai‘i works hard to keep registration fees restricted to basic retreat expenses. Your additional contribution, on whatever level you can afford, and provided in the optional donation field below the registration, supports us in our daily work so the teachings may continue into the future.

We hope you will be able to attend.

New Facebook funding available for your registration!


We are excited to offer you the opportunity to raising funds, through Facebook, for your retreat registrations costs. This option is new and only available for the Kyaswa Foreign Yogis Retreat. Please set this up soon! Contact us at for the fundraising instructions.

On the other hand, if you are able to pay your own registration costs, or you are not able to attend this year, please consider donating to someone who needs the financial help to attend. We will send you links to contribute to others as soon as we have pages set up.

January 11 – January 31, 2016

Kyaswa Monastery Foreign Yogis Retreat
Sagaing Hills, Burma (Myanmar)

Sayadaw U Pannabhinanda, Michele McDonald, and Steven Smith

This three-week meditation retreat will be held at Kyaswa Monastery in the Sagaing Hills of Upper Burma (Myanmar). The hills are filled with centuries-old pagodas, monasteries, and nunneries, and are one of the most important practice centers of Theravada Buddhism. This “fusion” retreat offers a rare opportunity to practice meditation using highly respected traditional Burmese monastic methods supported by a skilled Western teaching perspective. For more information on the retreat and our teachers, please visit here.   Click here to register.​