Exploration of the Burma-Dhamma

February 15-28, 2019

 

This is the perfect pilgrimage for those looking for an overview of the Dhamma in Myanmar. We will visit a number of sites connected to the great meditative masters of the 20th century (and even a few from further back in time). Equally appropriate for those just becoming interested in Buddhism as well as advanced practitioners looking to go deeper in their practice or be inspired by Myanmar's Buddhist background, this pilgrimage will bring travelers to a number of pagodas, monasteries, caves, and meditation centers. Translated Dhamma talks and Q&A sessions with senior monks are offered, along with guided tours of each site, the result of over five years of intensive research. All accomodations are four-star hotels wherever possible, and three-star where not.

 
 
 
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Program

• Visit 10 separate regions of Myanmar, and many more sites. 
• Traces the lives and achievements of some of the great meditation masters in the country's Buddhist history
• Optional group meditation sittings
• Healthy vegetarian meals and snacks
• Guided meditation instructions delivered from Grahame White (see below).

 

• Guided tours of every site, prepared from years of intensive research
• Personal interaction with senior monks, including translated Dhamma talks and Question & Answer.
• Travel to remote regions rarely frequented by foreign meditators
• Pilgrimage will feature both a local, Burmese guide as well as a foreign expert


Rates

The total cost for one person's enrollment in this 14-day pilgrimage is $2,750 (USD).  For full booking terms and conditions please click here.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

All the essentials are included in your overall pilgrimage rate, and if anything is needed that is not included, you can contact us ahead of time for your needs. For complete details, see here.


Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Yangon

Orientation starts in the afternoon, followed by an evening visit under the gentle golden glow of Shwedagon Pagoda. We will tour and meditate here. 

DAY 2: Yangon

A full day for exploring the city sites! Just some of the special places the day's itinerary includes are International Meditation Centre, established by Sayagyi U Ba Khin; Dhamma Joti, the first Vipassana center in the tradition of S.N. Goenka; Hansarwaddy, the second meditation center established in Saya Thet Gyi's lifetime; Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha, the headquarters of Mahasi Sayadaw after World War II; Mogok Monastery, the current headquarters of the country's most popular meditative tradition, and much more. 

DAY 3: Yangon

Today we will head north of Yangon, to the village area of Hmawbi, where the cheap price of land has encouraged a number of prominent monks and meditation teachers to set up monasteries here. We will visit the Mahasi and U Pandita monasteries, Chan Myay Yeiktha, Thae Phyu Taw Ya, Bodhi Aye Nyein Yeiktha, Sassana Won Saung, and much more.  

DAY 4: Mandalay

We take a morning flight to Mandalay, and there is a lot to see! The schedule includes Phaung Daw Oo, a monastery with a major social service mission; Yahan Pyo Monastery, where authentic Buddha relics are carefully stored; Maha Bodhi Meditation Center, in the Saya Thet Gyi tradition; the grand Maha Myat Muni Pagoda, the most revered Buddha image in the entire country; Shwegyin Monastery, the oldest and most important monastic site of the former royal capital; and more!  

DAY 5: Kyaukse (overnight in Mandalay)

We drive one hour south to explore one of the oldest places in Bamar civilization, and which used to be the breadbasket (or "ricebasket") for the entire Bamar kingdom. Here we will explore Webu Monastery, where the great Webu Sayadaw emerged from years of forest wanderings in search of curative waters for his ailing stomach; Su Taung Monastery, where a monk's body has not decomposed even after his passing; and Tamote, where a stunning 12th century monastery was discovered only decades ago.

DAY 6: Sagaing Hills

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. We will spend our days at Kyaswa Monastery, a great headquarters for further exploring. 

DAY 7: Sagaing Hills

We will see yet more of the magical Sagaing Hills. Included in the tour is Prekhemma Monastery, one of the oldest sites 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 8: Pyin Oo Lwin

We will drive to the cooler climbs of Pyin Oo Lwin, a former British "hill station" that has more recently become the preferred summer retreat house for a number of meditation monasteries. After lunch at the special Chan Tak Chinese Temple and then settling in to our adobe hotel rooms, we'll take a drive around the town's main sites, and finish the day at the expansive and beautiful Kangdawgyi National Gardens

Day 9: Pyin Oo Lwin

Today we will discover the dhamma riches hiding in plain site. This includes Shwe Sar Yan Pagoda, the site of a Shan princess' 11th century homecoming; Pyi Chit Pagoda, the Buddha image that refused to be transported to China and so a pagoda was enshrined around it; and Peik Chin Myaung Caves, where an underground stream winds through the many Buddha images. In the afternoon we'll go a little further afield to explore the traditional rural village of Ei Chantha. 

DAY 10: Pyin oo Lwin

This is our day for Pyin Oo Lwin's many monasteries. A list will be chosen for visitation among the following: Pa Auk, Dhamma Mahimā,  Panditarama Shwe Taung Gon Sāsana Yeiktha, Brahma Vihāri, Appamada Forest Meditation Center, Chan Myay Yeiktha, Chan Myay Myaing, Dhamma Sahaya Sāsana Sinda, and more.

DAY 11: Monywa

Today is a driving day to Monywa. After settling in, we'll take in some of the city's historic pagoda sites, most notably Shwezigon Pagoda and Su Taung Pye Pagoda, both of which were connected to the life of Ledi Sayadaw. 

DAY 12: Monywa

For our full day in Monywa, we'll start with Maha Ledi Monastery, where the great monk walked into the forest in 1887 and where he came to establish his first monastery. Then we'll see Shwe Taung Oo Pagoda on the Chindwin River, where Ledi lived in a cave and practiced intensive meditation from 1902-3, while writing his dipanis; and also explore the number of meditation monasteries that have since formed at the base of this hill. Finally we'll see Dhamma Ramsi, a meditation monastery in the Mogok tradition which has a capacity for thousand-yogi courses.

DAY 13: Chaung Oo (overnight in Monywa)

On this day we'll be given a specially guided tour by a Chaung Oo historian, and he'll be showing us sites around his historic district. The village dates back to at least the beginning of the Bagan Era, or over a millennium ago, and a handful of Buddhist sites from that time can still be visited. Among the most important includes Yadana Shwe Gu Kyi, Htee Hlaing Shin Monastery and Pagoda, and Shwe Tar Oo Monastery and Pagoda. We'll also visit Tha San Monastery, where the presumed Arahant Sayadaw U Sagara resided. 

DAY 14: Travel day to Yangon

Those pilgrims who wish to return to Yangon directly will be provided a bus and air ticket to do so. Others may wish to extend their pilgrimage on week by visiting Shwebo and Ingyinbin, while others can return to Yangon at their convenience, with an open plane ticket. 


Subject to change

Change (anicca) is a fundamental principle of Dhamma practice, and same applies to our pilgrimage schedule. At times, a planned visit may have to be changed due to a sudden and unexpected event connected with the monastery or monk in question, At other times, a unique opportunity may arise in the moment that we want our pilgrims to take advantage of. While we will make every effort to follow the schedule listed here, this will be balanced with being open to the possibilities and realities of the present moment.


ADD-ONS

Want to come a little earlier or stay a little longer? To explore Golden Rock before the trip, see here. To extend your pilgrimage one week and see more Dhamma riches further to the north, see here.


PREPARATION

Once you have decided to book your pilgrimage, make sure you arrive prepared. Learn everything you need to know about planning before your plane touches down, including what to bring, and especially special items needed for meditators. 


THE ART OF A PILGRIMAGE

Still considering whether or not to join a pilgrimage in the first place? Read how a pilgrimage is different from a standard tourist trip, why we think Burma is special, or what a Myanmar Pilgrimage trip will offer instead of doing it on your own.

You can also read about our company mission, or see the comments of past pilgrims.


QUESTIONS?

If you have any further inquiries, feel free to contact us any time here. We hope to see you soon in the Golden Land!