Sayadaw U Pandita Bhivamsa 1921-2016
Sayadawgyi U Pandita, our founder of the Panditarama Centers, passed away on the morning of April 16, 2016. He was 95 years old. Sayadaw U Pandita has been hospitalized since the middle of March at the Yangon Royal Asia Taw-win private hospital. Two weeks before his death, the venerable was transferred to the Bumrungrad hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, where he had undergone check-ups for pleural effusion and PET scans.
Funeral arrangements are currently under way at Panditarama Shwe Taung Gon Sasana Yeiktha, the meditation centre in Yangon. Students and devotees can pay their respects to Sayadaw's remains at Shwe Taun Gon Sasana Yeiktha until Wednesday, April 20, 2016. The cremation services are planned for at noon on Friday April 22 the seventh day of Sayadaw's passing. Around 1pm the Sayadawgui body will be transported to Bago (Hse Mine Gon Forest Center) which is 65 km north of Yangon. There will be a retinue of buses, leaving the Yangon Panditarama at 1 PM.
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Sayadaw U Pandita Bhivamsa Biography
The Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita (ဆရာတော် ဦးပဏ္ဍိတာ) also Ovādacariya Sayādaw U Paṇḍita Bhivaṃsa was born on 29 July 1921 is one of the foremost living masters of Vipassana meditation. Born in Insein in greater Yangon during the British colonial rule. He became a novice at aged twelve, and ordained at age twenty. After decades of study, he passed the rigorous series of government examinations in the Theravāda Buddhist texts, gaining the Dhammācariya (dhamma teacher) degree in 1952.
U Pandita began practicing Vipassana under the guidance of Mahāsi Sayādaw beginning in 1950. In 1955, he left his position as a teacher of scriptural studies to become a meditation teacher at the Mahāsi Meditation Center. Soon after Mahasi Sayādaw died in 1982, U Pandita became the guiding teacher (Ovādacariya) of the Mahasi Meditation Center. In 1991, he left that position, founding Paṇḍitārāma Meditation Center in Yangon. There are now Paṇḍitārāma branch centers in Burma, Nepal, Australia, United Kingdom and the United States.
Sayadaw U Pandita has taught many Western teachers and students in the Mahāsi style of Vipassana meditation. He serves as spiritual advisor to retreat centers, monasteries and Buddhist organizations throughout the world. He is considered one of the leading authorities in the practice of Satipatthana as taught by his instructor the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw.
U Pandita became well known in the West after conducting a retreat in the spring of 1984 at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts in the United States. Many of the senior Western meditation teachers in the Mahāsi tradition practiced with U Pandita at that and subsequent retreats. The talks he gave in 1984 at IMS were compiled as the book "In This Very Life: The Liberation Teachings of the Buddha.."
U Pandita is known for teaching a rigorous and precise method of self-examination. He teaches Satipaṭṭhāna or Vipassana meditation, emphasizing sīla or moral discipline as a requisite foundation. He is also an erudite scholar of the Pāli Tipiṭaka or Theravāda Buddhist canon.