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2017 Kyaswa Monastery Retreat!


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Kyaswa Monastery Fusion Retreat

The Sagaing Hills of Burma (Myanmar), January 12 – February 2, 2017 

Taught by Sayadaw U Pannananda, Steven Smith, and Ma Kamala 

Assisted by Jake Davis

This unique 3-week retreat offers a rare opportunity to practice Metta (lovingkindnes) and Vipassana (insight) methods with skilled Burmese monastic and Western lay teachers in the Sagaing Hills of Upper Burma. The first 5 days will focus on Metta practice to lay the foundation for a deeper emphasis on Vipassana during the rest of the retreat. 

Filled with centuries-old pagodas, monasteries, and nunneries, the Sagaing hills are regarded as the spiritual heart of Burma and one of the most important practice centers of Theravada Buddhism. Kyaswa Monastery is itself a 600 year old practice and study center that plays a vital role in the health and vibrancy of nearby Wachet village. 

Yogis are supported in every way by  the heritage of living Dhamma and benefit from a rigorous schedule, individual interviews, carefully prepared food, nightly chanting from local nuns and accommodation in individual kutis nestled along the scenic hillside. 

In addition, yogis have the opportunity to connect with the local community via our MettaDana aid projects including the Wachet primary school, nearby nunneries, the Jivitadana Sangha Hospital, and our international  acupuncture project.

Base fee of $950 covers all the basic costs of the retreat. Participants are also invted to offer an additional 15% or 25% to help pay for yogi scholarships, MettaDana Project support, and unforseen retreat expenses.

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The teaching team:

Sayadaw U Paññananda is Kammatthanacariya (meditation teacher) at the Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre, Penang. From 1982 to 1994 Sayadaw was a Dhamma Lecturer and taught Pariyatti at Mahabodhi Pariyatti Temple in Yankin Township, Yangon. In 1994, Sayadaw practised Vipassana Meditation at Panditarama Shwe Taung Gon Sasana Yeiktha, Yangon under the overall guidance of Ovadacariya Sayadawgyi U Panditabhivamsa. After his practice and further study under Sayadaw-gyi U Panditabhivamsa’s guidance, Sayadaw U Pannananda taught Vipassana Meditation and gave Dhamma talks as an assistant meditation teacher while living at Panditarama Yangon and was the religious advisor and resident monk of Vipassana Meditation  Centre in Singapore from 1999-2012.

Steven V. Smith co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 and in 1995 founded the MettaDana Project for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995 Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. This partnership helped usher in the beginnings of Vipassana Hawai’i’s Fusion Dhamma approach combining traditional and contemporary teaching styles in the same retreat. Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, he was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven divides his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) meditation retreats around the world, and assisting Burmese refugee communities along the Thai-Burma border. His long term vision for preserving the Dhamma is culminating in the beginnings of the Hawai’i Insight Meditation Center (HIMC) on the Big Island of Hawai’i’s remote North Kohala coast.

Ma Vimala was born on April 24, 1967 in Thaton, Mon State, Myanmar. She got M.B.,B.S at University of Medicine, Yangon in 1993 and ordained under Sayadaw U Panditabhivamsa at Panditarama, Yangon in 1994. She achieved Sasanadhajadhammacariya in 2001 and worked as a teacher in Pariyatti Program for nuns and Buddhist Cultural Training Courses for children at Panditarama, Yangon, for 9 years. She has taught Abhidhamma, Burmese, Visuddhimagga and Meditation in Taiwan in 2011, 2015 and has been teaching Buddhist Theory and Meditation at Buddhist Culture Courses in Malaysia and in Panditarama Htauk Kyant Branch Center since 2012. Ma Kamala currently resides at Nirodharama Meditation Center, Htauk Kyant, Mingalardon Township.

Jake Davis began practicing at age 14, with Steven and Michele, and went on to spend nearly a decade practicing, studying, working as an interpreter, and training as a monk under the eminent meditation masters Sayadaw U Pandita and Sayadaw U Lakkhana of Burma. He brings together a deep experiential understanding of Buddhist practice with an intellectual training including study of the Pāli texts, a PhD in Philosophy and Cognitive Science, and ongoing research on meditation.