Exploring the Lineage:
Monastic Edition

December 18 2018- January 4 2019

 

This pilgrimage will concentrate exclusively on those sites connected to the four principle figures in the lineage of S.N. Goenka: Ledi Sayadaw, Saya Thet Gyi, Webu Sayadaw, and Sayagyi U Ba Khin. Pilgrims will have the opportunity to visit monasteries, pagodas, caves, meditation centers, kutis, and more related to the lives of these four great meditation masters. This will include sites where they were born, ordained as monks, practiced intensive meditation, gave discourses, taught meditators, and where ultimately they passed away. Pilgrims will have the opportunity to meditate, give dana, take photographs, and participate in Question & Answer sessions with senior monks. At each site, pilgrims will enjoy comprehensive tours, which will include local history, anecdotes, stories, and more; the result of nearly five years of intensive research. This is the ideal pilgrimage for those who want to understand the lives and works of these four great figures!

Please note: all overnights on this pilgrimage will be in monasteries or nunneries. Also, every day two hours will be set aside for meditation time, often taking place at the sites we will be visiting.

 
 

Maha Ledi Cave

Shwe Taung Oo Pagoda, Monywa

 
fl Monywa & Sain Pyin Gyi - Matt Richter - Monywa Shwe Taung Oo Cave 1 Ledi.jpg

Overview

• Visit 12 separate regions of Myanmar, and many more sites. 
• Traces the lives and achievements of Ledi Sayadaw, Saya Thet Gyi, Webu Sayadaw, and Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
• Daily group meditation sittings of 1-2 hours
• Healthy vegetarian meals and snacks
 

• 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 18-day pilgrimage is $2,100 (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 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, 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 much 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: Pyinmana (sleep in Nay Pyi Daw)

Today we will travel to Myanmar's newly established capital. The highlight here is Maha Ledi Monastery, where Ledi Sayadaw spent the last two years of his life. We will also take in the breathtaking Uppatasanti Pagoda, unlike any other in the country.

DAY 5: Mandalay

After seeing a few more Pyinmana and Nay Pyi Daw sites, we will head out for the last royal capital of Mandalay, arriving in the evening.

Day 6: 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; and Shwegyin Monastery, the oldest and most important monastic site of the former royal capital. 

DAY 7: 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 that U Ba Khin climbed when he first spotted this kuti, and much more. 

DAY 8: Yaytagone Taung (overnight in Mandalay)

Many have remarked that the most pleasant Vipassana center to be found in Myanmar is Dhamma Mandala, located in the countryside here in "Waterfall Mountain." We will see this, as well as a number of the very special (but little known) monasteries and pagodas in the area. 

DAY 9: Monywa

In the morning we will drive from 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 of 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 resided at before venturing to the forest, and finally enjoy a sunset meditation at Shwe Taung Oo Pagoda on the Chindwin River, at the caves where Ledi meditated and wrote 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, and meandering monkeys throughout, this is also where Saya Thet Gyi meditated on his own after receiving his instructions from Ledi Sayadaw. 

DAY 12: Ingyinbin

In the morning we will drive to Sain Pyin village, where Ledi Sayadaw was born and ordained. Then we will reach Webu Monastery in Ingyinbin, arriving in the afternoon. Then 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 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, and learn about the history of how this site became established and later flourished. 

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, 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. 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. It is also where most 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 in a single day!

DAY 17: Sagaing

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 18: Sagaing

Our pilgrimage will end after breakfast this morning. Meditators will be given a bus ticket back to Yangon, which they may use now (and get a ride to the bus station) or later on, at the time of their choosing


 

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.


Monastic Stays

This pilgrimage is highly unique in that all nights will be spent at a Burmese monastery, rather than at a hotel. While this will allow pilgrims to stay more deeply in the Dhamma atmosphere, potential travelers should make sure they are physically capable of staying in such simple conditions. To read more about what one can expect at Burmese monasteries, see here.


ADD-ONS

Want to come a little earlier or stay a little longer? If so, there are enough sacred sites to fill your days. See here for more information.


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!