The Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw (1904-82), U Sobhana Mahathera, was one of the most eminent meditation masters of modern times and a leader in the contemporary resurgence of Vipassana meditation. He quickly distinguished himself after ordination as a scholar and teacher of the Buddhist scriptures. Placing himself under the guidance of Venerable U Narada Sayadaw and undertaking intensive training in Vipassana meditation, he mastered the technique and went on to popularize vipassana as a systematic practice beneficial for monks and laity alike.
Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw held Burma’s highest scholastic honor, the title of Agga Mahapandita, awarded to him in 1952. During the Sixth Buddhist Council, held in Rangoon from 1954 to 1956, he performed the duties of Questioner (pucchaka), a role performed at the First Buddhist Council by the Venerable Mahakassapa. Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw was also a member of the executive committee that was responsible, as the final authority, for the codification of all the texts edited at the Council.
Thousands of people have been trained at his Thathana Yeiktha Meditation Centre in Yangon and many more have benefited from his clear-cut approach to meditation practice available through his voluminous writings and through the teachings abroad of his disciples, including Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Rodney Smith, and many others. More than a hundred branch centers of the Thathana Yeiktha Centre have been established in Burma and his method has spread widely to other countries, East and West.
Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw is the author of numerous works on both meditation and the Buddhist scriptures in his native Burmese.
Books, Courses & Podcasts
Manual of Insight
Manual of Insight is the magnum opus of Mahasi Sayadaw, one of the originators of the Vipassana movement that has swept through the Buddhist world over the last century. The manual presents a comprehensive overview of the practice of insight meditation, including the foundational aspects of ethical self-discipline, understanding the philosophical framework for the practice, and developing basic concentration and mindfulness. It culminates with an in-depth exploration of the various types of insight and spiritual fruits that the practice yields.
Authored by the master who brought insight meditation to the West and whose students include Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg, Manual of Insight is a veritable Bible for any practitioner of vipassana.
Manual of Insight editor Steve Armstrong on the 10% Happier Podcast with Dan Harris
Translated by the Vipassanā Mettā Foundation Translation Committee.
Funding provided by Vipassanā Mettā Foundation.
All proceeds from the sale of this book will be used to freely distribute copies to Buddhist monastics, libraries, and meditation centers, and to support opportunities to practice the method outlined in the book.
For further information and to report errors, please visit www.mahasimanualofinsight.org
Mindfulness and Insight
Discarding any striving or ambition to attain something, the refined guidance that Mahasi Sayadaw provides in this book will lead practitioners to systematically and gradually purify their minds of attachment, aversion, and delusion and to realize the successive stages of enlightenment, culminating in nibbana.
Mindfulness and Insight is an excerpt of two key chapters from the comprehensive, authoritative Manual of Insight, which expounds the doctrinal and practical aspects of mindfulness (satipatthana) and the development of insight knowledge (vipassana) up to and including the attainment of enlightenment (nibbana). In Manual of Insight, Mahasi Sayadaw acknowledged that these two chapters alone offer suitable guidance on our own journey of awakening by realizing path knowledge, fruition knowledge, and nibbana, particularly for those with little or no knowledge of the Pali scriptures.
Part 1, “The Development of Mindfulness,” offers comprehensive instructions for developing mindfulness based on the Buddha’s teachings on the four foundations of mindfulness, as outlined in the highly regarded Discourse on Mindfulness (Satipatthana Sutta).
Part 2, “Practical Instructions,” provides guidance in both the practices preliminary to undertaking insight meditation and in developing insight knowledge, ranging from initial practices to advanced levels of practice. Mahasi Sayadaw lays out in plain language what meditators are likely to experience through their practice and how they can come to understand those experiences on a spectrum of unfolding insights known as the progress of insight. This clear articulation sets Mahasi Sayadaw’s teachings apart from those of other modern Buddhist teachers.