Abhidhamma Course for International Meditators
Most foreigners initially become attracted to the Buddha's teachings through a desire to learn formal meditation, as this is a practice which gives wonderful (and often immediate) results. Indeed, such an experience allows for direct insights that are often far more powerful than mere intellectual discussion or contemplation.
However, as one advances further in the practice, greater complexities are to be found in the inner world of the mind. This is where the Abhidhamma comes in, for the text is historically considered to be one of the most important and sacred by many Burmese Buddhists. The Abhidhamma carefully maps mind-body relationships and organizes components according to many specific classifications. Developing a greater understanding into what the Buddha actually taught regarding these factors can greatly advance one's overall understanding of the Dhamma, and provide wonderful support to one's meditation practice on the cushion.
This June and July, Sitagu Academy Rector Dr. U Kumara has announced his intention to offer a two month Abhidhamma course to foreigners in Sagaing. The course will be given entirely freely, and those accepted will be provided a meditation visa to attend. Finally, Compassionate Travels Myanmar will be offering three one-week dhamma tours around the country to coincide with the Abhidhamma course dates, allowing students/pilgrims to explore more of the country's Buddhist background while in this part of the world. Especially recommended, however, is Muditā Works.
To learn more about the requirements for applying to this Abdhidhamma course, please see this blog post. You can also directly download the PDF version here.
Many foreigners may already be familiar with the Sitagu name, as they have a branch monastery in Austin, Texas and the head Sayadaw, U Nyanissara, is one of the most respected in all of Burma today. U Nyanissara was also very close friends with U Goenka. The great lay meditation teacher regularly visited here when visiting the country and stopped at the Academy several times while leading several hundred foreign meditators on pilgrimage in the early 2000s.