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2016 Kyaswa Retreat and MettaDana Update!



Dear Friends,

Aloha and Mingalabar from all of us involved in the Kyaswa Fusion Retreat and the MettaDana Project

This year marked the 21st anniversary of our annual retreat at Kyaswa Monastery and of the community development programs funded by the MettaDana Project. Our relationships with local community members continue to strengthen and we are so pleased that our relationship with Sayadaw U Pannananda, who is now the leading monastic teaching the retreat, has continued to blossom and flourish. 

We had a terrific year for both the retreat and MettaDana. Since it’s not always easy to convey the depth and breadth of our thanks in words, we wanted to share some images that we hope will convey the unique quality of our time there as a way of expressing our gratitude to those who support these programs and to others who may be interested in joining in the future!

The Kyaswa Monastery is flourishing under the guidance of Sayadaw U Saddhama, with renovations being made throughout the monastery and halls full of young monastics in training. People in the village are hopeful about the changes they see throughout the country but also continue to face some of the basic day to day challenges of health and livelihood that have been persistent for many years. Our modest support through the MettaDana Projects continues to be of fundamental support to the community.

Steven and Michele were very happy to be teaching the retreat together again with Sayadaw U Pannananda. Fran and Jesse had a great time managing the retreat and were pleased to have another great group of enthusiastic yogis. The weather was a little cooler this year but we had extra blankets for anyone in need – and the thermoses of hot water came in useful for all.

Sayadaw U Pannananda’s presence and teachings were deeply appreciated by all. Yogis valued his sincere, clear, relaxed, and humorous approach to teaching Dhamma. Many commented on how approachable he was and how profoundly encouraging he was during interviews. Sayadaw came to every 4am sitting and every 9pm sitting, and led a beautiful metta chant in the evenings before the yogis went off to bed! He is keeping the rigor and gentleness of Sayadaw U Lakkhana’s spirit alive and so we could not be more happy with his continuation of the Kyaswa teaching lineage. Next year Sayadaw would like to begin the retreat with 5 days of Metta practice before delving into an emphasis on Vipassana, which all the yogis and teachers were very enthusiastic about. 

Our many relationships have deepened over the years and the projects with the Wachet Village School, the Wachet Jivitadana Sangha hospital, and various nunneries we support are all going well. A wonderful acupuncturist team came this year to work at the hospital on their own accord to continue the training program of Burmese acupuncturists. The MettaDana Project is beginning to look at the specific health needs of women in the community and to investiage ways that we may concretely support them. We had conversations with local midwives and medical administrators to begin the process of developing a program specifically for women in the village, thanks to the wonderful research done by 2 Swedish medical students last year. Stay tuned for news about our progress!

This year a group of Burmese doctors financed the repair of a few defunct kutis and our long-time associate U Thanh Htun personally paid for hand-rails to be placed in dangerous places along the cliffs. Another donor friend refurbished the old Dhamma Hall on the upper level of the retreat center. There are still at least 7 kutis that cannot be used and we hope to raise more money this year to help with their repairs. Without this kind of help it would be impossible to maintain the upkeep of the grounds and buildings. This part of the retreat center is now our responsibility and so if you are interested in supporting the retreat center infrastructure, please get in touch!

We want to thank all who gave to MettaDana this year, all those who participated in the retreat, as well as those who donated for the maintenance of upkeep of the retreat center that we now have greater responsibility over. The inspired donations of groups and individuals to the MettaDana Project and the participation in the Kyaswa Fusion Retreat this year and for the past twenty years make possible the flourishing of this unique and valuable contribution to contemporary Dhamma teaching.

Your donations to the MettaDana Project have helped support the basic community and medical needs of three local nunneries, provide school uniforms, basic school supplies, and teacher pay for the local village school, as well as vital support to the Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital which supports the health of local monks, nuns, and lay community members. We hope you will continue to join in our work and our vision and take joy in the broad field of merit we are all a part of in Wachet.

aloha, mahalo, and chezutembade 

from the entire Vipassana Hawai‘i and MettaDana Project team

Learn More about MettaDana and the Kyaswa Retreat