Pa-Auk Forest Monastery
帕奥禅林

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The Abbot

Pa-Auk Sayadaw
The Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw, the Abbot

The Venerable U Āciṇṇa, commonly referred to as the Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw (“the Sayadaw”), or Pa-Auk Sayadaw in brief, is the revered abbot (“the Abbot”) and the principal teacher (“the Teacher”) of the Monastery.

Born in 1934, the Sayadaw was ordained as a novice monk at the age of 10. During the next decade, he studied the Pāli Texts under famous teachers of the time, and passed the three levels of Pāli language examinations (Primary, Intermediate and Higher levels), while still a novice. In 1954, he received his higher ordination as a bhikkhu at the age 20. He passed the prestigious Dhammācariya examination which confers the title of Dhamma Teacher in 1956, at the age of 22.

Commencing in 1964, the Sayadaw began to practise forest dwelling during his tenth vassa (three month rains retreat). While continuing his study of the Pāli Texts, he sought out and gained instructions from eminent meditation teachers in Myanmar of those times. Since then, the Sayadaw has practised meditation as much as he could while living a simple life till this day. In 1981, he came, in response to the request by the then dying abbot of Pa-Auk Tawya, and became the Abbot of the Monastery. He subsequently went on to found the Upper Monastery.

It has been the lifelong aim of the Sayadaw, and the mission of Pa-Auk Tawya, to promote and propagate the Buddhasāsana, the teachings of The Buddha through pariyatti (study), paṭipatti (practice), paṭivedha (realization). As advised by The Buddha, learning goes hand-in-hand with practice, and practical experience of that knowledge leads eventually to the realization of it.

Since 1983, monks and laity have been coming to Pa-Auk Tawya to learn and train in meditation under the Sayadaw. Foreign meditators began to arrive at the Monastery in the early 1990’s.

The Sayadaw speaks fluent English, and he has given Dhamma talks and led meditation retreats internationally. These include Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, and most recently the United States of America. In 2005 he is scheduled to lead retreats in the United States, Japan, UK, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Please refer to International Retreats for details.

In 1997, the Sayadaw published his magnum opus, a five-volume tome titled Nibbānagāminipaṭipadā (The Practice that Leads to Nibbāna) in Burmese. This has been translated into Sinhala. A number of smaller books by the Sayadaw have been published in Burmese. Also published are a number of books comprising re-edited translations of Burmese texts into English. For books in English and in Chinese and other foreign languages, please refer to Books.

In public recognition of his achievements, the government of the Union of Myanmar awarded the Sayadaw the title Agga Mahā Kammaṭṭhānācariya (Highly Respected Meditation Master) in 1999.