Sayagyi U Ba Khin(1899 - 1971)
Sayagyi U Ba Khin wished to give lay people a way to understand the teachings of the Buddha through practise. He knew that many people’s lives are busy and unsettled. He realised that few would be able to spend long periods of time meditating. This is why he designed ten-day courses. He developed a method to enable a diligent student to follow in the footsteps of the Buddha – all the way up to understanding the ultimate truth and Nibbana.
Sayagyi U Ba Khin learned to practise Vipassana meditation himelf under Saya Thetgyi. Saya Thetgyi was a disciple of the Venerable Ledi Sayadaw, a famous Buddhist monk. Saya Thetgyi was one of the first lay meditation teachers in Burma (Myanmar). Until that time, meditation was mainly reserved for monks. Sayagyi progressed rapidly in his meditation.
In 1941 Sayagyi U Ba Khin met the Venerable Webu Sayadaw. The Venerable Webu Sayadaw was a renowed Buddhist monk who was thought to have attained Arahatship, the highest stage of liberation. The Venerable Webu Sayadaw was impressed by Sayagyi’s understanding of the teachings of the Buddha – the Dhamma. At their first meeting, he said to Sayagyi, “I thought you must have spent a long time by yourself in the forest and that you must have made great efforts there.” He urged Sayagyi to begin to teach immediately. “You have to give the Dhamma, share the Dhamma you have with everyone….Do not wait.”
From that day Sayagyi U Ba Khin devoted his life to teaching meditation. In 1952 he founded the International Meditation Centre in Rangoon (Yangon). He designed and built the Light of the Dhamma Pagoda for meditation there. He showed how people from all parts of society can successfully use meditation in their everyday lives.
Sayagyi U Ba Khin passed away on 19 January 1971.
Sayamagyi Daw Mya Thwin
Sayamagyi Daw Mya Thwin (Mother Sayamagyi) was Sayagyi U Ba Khin’s foremost disciple. She practised and taught with him from 1953 until he passed away in 1971. Mother Sayamagyi continued to teach at IMC Rangoon (Yangon) until 1978. In that year she and her husband Sayagyi U Chit Tin left Burma (Myanmar) to teach meditation in the West. They were fulfilling Sayagyi U Ba Khin’s aspiration to teach the Dhamma to people abroad.
For thirty years, Mother Sayamagyi has travelled and taught medtation all over the world. She has established five International Meditation Centres with pagodas for meditation. Mother Sayamagyi now lives at IMC UK and teaches courses there regularly. She also travels to the other Centres.
“Meditation is conducive to a calm mind”
- Mother Sayamagyi