Pa-Auk Forest Monastery




The Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw, the Abbot


The Venerable U âciõõa, 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), paņipatti (practice), paņivedha (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 since 1997. These include Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States of America. In December 2006, the Sayadaw travelled to Sri Lanka to undertake a long-term personal retreat, staying in seclusion and suspending his teaching schedule throughout 2007. For plans for retreats in 2008, details will be made available in due course in International Retreats.

In 1997, the Sayadaw published his magnum opus, a five-volume tome titled Nibbānagāminipaņipadā (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 Kammaņņhānācariya (Highly Respected Meditation Master) in 1999.