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Buddhadharma : Winter 2007
winter 2007| 56 |buddhadharma Mahasi sayadaw was one of the most learned and respected Burmese Buddhist monks of the last century, and his practice, writings, and teachings have had immense influence on western practitio- ners of insight meditation. For seven months in 1945, during the daily bombardment of the neighboring town of shwebo, Mahasi sayadaw wrote his great work, the Man- ual of Insight Meditation. in Theravada Bud- dhism, vipassana, or insight meditation, involves the ever-deepening intuitive understanding of the three universal characteristics of all experi- ence: impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and an impersonal, evanescent qual- ity (anatta). in his Manual of Insight Meditation, Mahasi sayadaw expounds in detail the doctrinal and practical aspects of the development of insight meditation. Joseph Goldstein, sharon salzberg, and Jack Kornfield were among the first generation of american vipassana teachers, and they have prac- ticed extensively within the Mahasi tradition. in 1976 they established the insight Meditation soci- ety, which offers retreats in a modified format of the Mahasi method. Upon the death of Mahasi sayadaw in 1982, his student sayadaw U Pandita carried on the teaching of the Mahasi method, both within Burma and extensively abroad, leaving a lasting impact on the practice and teachings of contemporary western dharma teachers and their students. in 2000, i returned to the Mahasi Meditation Center in Burma where i had previously practiced as a monk for five years under the guidance of sayadaw U Pandita. at that time, i discovered that Mahasi sayadaw’s two-volume Manual of Insight Meditation had not been translated into English in its entirety. Recognizing the significance and value of such teachings to the growing commu- nity of insight meditators and to the application of mindfulness across a wide spectrum of secular life, Kamala Masters and i undertook to have the book translated for publication in English. since that time, under the supervision of say- adaw U Pandita, we and several of our senior students have been involved in this project. The following teaching is taken from Chapter 5, about which Mahasi sayadaw has said, “Even reading and studying only Chapter 5 will enable you to practice insight meditation in a straightforward way, and you will be able to realize path knowl- edge, fruition knowledge, and nibbana.” n Endless Moments of insight This newly translated teaching by Mahasi Sayadaw presents the great Burmese meditation master’s step-by-step instructions for the practice of insight meditation. In TranslaTIon introduction by Steve ArmStrong photogrAphy by AdriAn fiSh