Day 1: Yangon
Orientation starts in the afternoon, followed by an evening visit under the gentle golden glows of Shwedagon. We will tour and meditate here.
DAY 2: Yangon
A full day for exploring the city sites. Just some of the special places included today are International Meditation Centre (IMC), established by Sayagyi U Ba Khin; Dhamma Joti, the first Vipassana center in the tradition of S.N. Goenka in Myanmar; Hansarwaddy, the only Yangon meditation center established in Saya Thet Gyi's lifetime; the Accountant General's Office Building, where Sayagyi U Ba Khin worked and first taught the Dhamma, and more.
DAY 3: Pyaw Bwe Gyi (overnight in Yangon)
On this day we retrace the boat journey undertaken by a 37-year old Sayagyi U Ba Khin and head across Rangoon River, then proceed a further 8 miles south to the home village of Saya Thet Gyi. We will see the original tazaung where he first taught meditation and then go to Anauk Monastery where he later moved to, among other village sites connected to his life.
DAY 4: Travel to Pyinmana/Nay Pyi Daw
Today we will travel to Myanmar's newly established capital.
Day 5: Pyinmana and Nay Pyi Daw
The full day will be split between the dazzlingly new national capital, and the rural village where Ledi Sayadaw spent his last days. The two highlights include Maha Ledi Monastery, where Ledi Sayadaw lived the last two years of his life; and the breathtaking Uppatasanti Pagoda, unlike any other in the country.
Day 6: Drive to Mandalay
Today we drive from the current capital to the last capital of the Burmese kings, Mandalay. After some rest, we will take in some pagodas and enjoy a peaceful evening meditating sitting.
Day 7: Mandalay
This is our full day in Mandalay, and there is a lot to see! Included in the schedule is Dhamma Mandapa, a downtown Vipassana center; Maha Bodhi Meditation Center, in the Saya Thet Gyi tradition; the grand Maha Myat Muni Pagoda, where Goenkaji got his first taste of the Dhamma with his grandfather; and Shwegyin Monastery, the oldest and most important monastic site of the former royal capital.
DAY 8: Kyaukse (overnight in Mandalay)
The main site today is Webu Monastery in Kyaukse. This is where Webu Sayadaw emerged after years alone in the wilderness. We will see many sites here associated with his life, including the kuti where he met Sayagyi U Ba Khin, the hill (Shwe Thar Hlaung) where U Ba Khin climbed when he first spotted this kuti, and much more.
DAY 9: Drive to Monywa
In the morning we will drive to Monywa, and after lunch we'll visit Mohnyin Monastery, one of the first "meditation monasteries" of the 20th century, founded and taught by Ledi Sayadaw's most important monastic disciple. Nearby is the historic and magnificent Bodhi Ta Htaung Monastery, which similarly began as a meditation site and today has some of the largest Buddha images in the world.
DAY 10: Monywa
It has been said that Monywa is "where it all began," and today we'll explore these Dhamma beginnings. First on our list is the Ledi Sayadaw Forest Monastery, built on the spot where Ledi initially retreated to the forest in February 1887. We'll see several pagodas where Ledi briefly resided before venturing into the forest, and finally enjoy a sunset meditation sitting at Shwe Taung Oo Pagoda on the Chindwin River, just outside the caves where Ledi meditated, taught, and wrote his dipanīs for several years.
Day 11: Around Monywa
The main site today is the caves of Hpo Win Taung and Shwe Ba Thaung. Many centuries old and featuring incredible rock carvings, murals, Buddha images, and meandering monkeys throughout, this is also where Saya Thet Gyi meditated on his own after receiving his instructions from Ledi Sayadaw.
DAY 12: sain pyin/Ingyinbin
In the morning we will drive to Sain Pyin village, where Ledi Sayadaw was born and ordained. After taking lunch here and visiting the sites, we will reach Webu Monastery in Ingyinbin village. Time will be set aside to settle in at the monastery and meet the senior monks.
DAY 13: Ingyinbin
Today is the full day tour, and there is so much to see! The entire morning will focus on the Patipatti Monastery, the meditation compound founded by Webu in 1927. Then in the afternoon, we'll explore the important sites in the much older Pariyatti Monastery, and then finally the remaining place of importance in tiny Ingyinbin village. Pilgrims will hear a number of stories related to the great monk and concerning Sayagyi U Ba Khin's ordination here as well, gaining an understanding for the history behind this special place.
DAY 14: INgyinbin
Ingyinbin is a very special place, so today is a free day for pilgrims to do with as they wish. One may choose to sit a self-meditation course, have rest time, explore more parts of the monastery and village, do Dhamma service, or talk with senior monks or the young novices and nuns.
DAY 15: Shwebo (Overnight at Sagaing)
We will leave Ingyinbin in the morning and spend extended time at Webu Sayadaw's third monastery, in Shwebo, established in 1940. The very large compound has a rich history, and we'll see the very room where Webu stayed and meditated in. Also on schedule is Shwebo Pathein Monastery. We'll then take a brief stop at Kaung Hmu Daw Pagoda before staying the night in Sagaing.
DAY 16: Sagaing
The Sagaing Hills, the self-proclaimed "Abode for the Noble Recluses", are a must-see for any serious Vipassana meditator. For centuries, meditation-minded monks have retreated here to practice ardently, and every corner features some tale or reminder of this august history. This is also where a majority of the country's nuns live, and where Goenkaji's good friend Sitagu Sayadaw set up his International Academy, Sitagu. We will explore as much of this as will be possible as these two days afford!
DAY 17: Sagaing
Included in these two days are Prekhemma Monastery, one of the oldest sites in the Hills that may date back nearly 1,000 years; Htut Kaung Monastery, founded by an 18th century monk who practiced vipassana and supported female monastics; Sitagu Academy and Sitagu Vipassana Center, two important sites which have come to dominate the Sagaing community; Setkya Ditthi, a progressive and inspiring nunnery; Mo Kaung Chaung, a nunnery that runs vipassana courses in the tradition of Saya Thet Gyi; and much more!
DAY 18: Sagaing
The pilgrimage will be finished after breakfast! We will take final photos and have our final sitting, and then meditators are free to go in their own directions. The pilgrimage will end with all meditators being given one return bus ticket to Yangon, which they may use for tonight or for any future date.