Shwebo Pathein Sayadaw

One of the many stops along the Dhamma Tour by Myanmar Pilgrimage is Shwebo, in Upper Myanmar.  

Interestingly, little is known about the many years Webu Sayadaw spent wandering alone in forests. However, one of the few known events from this time was his visit to the Pathein Forest Monastery near Shwebo, accompanied by a fellow monk named Ashin Sujita. The highly revered Shwebo Pathein Sayadaw hailed from Khin Oo, not far from Ingyinbin, and had been a student of the illustrious Kannī Sayadaw.

As a young monk, the future Shwebo Pathein Sayadaw (also known as Mula Pathein Sayadaw) went by the Pāḷi name of Ashin Kosala. He had made a home out of some remote caves near his village, and displayed skeletons inside for the contemplation of asubha. By the time U Kumāra (the future Webu Sayadaw) showed up at his secluded monastery, Shwebo Pathein Sayadaw was one of the more respected monastics of his day. His policy was to permit monks to stay for only a single night; however, recognizing the excellent discipline exhibited by U Kumāra, he invited the young monk to stay longer—in fact, he offered to let him reside there for the remainder of his life! U Kumāra opted to stay for the Rains, and the two went out each morning for alms. Ashin Maṇḍala notes that Webu was given meditation instructions here, although it is not entirely clear what these were. However, it is known that Shwebo Pathein Sayadaw’s main meditation practice was contemplating the repulsiveness of the physical body. His influence would certainly maintain a long-lasting hold on U Kumāra, who placed Shwebo Pathein Sayadaw's photograph at his monasteries, and even in the window of the Dodge Plymouth that would later famously carry him throughout the country. Later disciples would suggest that with these photographs, Webu was honoring that his technique came from Shwebo Pathein’s teachings.

Shwebo sites, among others, are included in the upcoming Dhamma tours to be offered by Myanmar Pilgrimage. 

Joah McGeeComment