The Sayadaw leading the meditation
The meditation taught at Pa-Auk Tawya is based on the instructions by The Buddha as found in the Tipiṭaka
Canon) and its commentaries.
In brief, the main practice is to begin with Samatha
(tranquility) meditation, which is to develop absorption concentration, also called jhāna
. A yogi (meditator) is free to choose any of the forty Samatha
subjects as taught by The Buddha. In Pa-Auk Tawya, most yogis develop jhāna
with mindfulness-of-breathing (ānāpānassati
). Having developed Samatha
, the yogi may proceed to practise Vipassanā
As an alternative, the yogi may omit the development of jhāna
. He/she (“he”) will be taught instead to develop the less powerful access concentration with the Samatha
subject of Four-Elements meditation, prior to the practice of Vipassanā
meditation. In either case, the concentration attained by the yogi produces the 'light of wisdom'.
Having completed the development of his/her (“his”) Samatha
meditation, the yogi is then taught to protect his practice with the Four Protective Meditations of Mettā
(Loving Kindness), Buddhānussati
(Recollection of The Buddha), Asubha
(Repulsiveness of the Body), and Maranānussati
(Recollection of Death).
Following that, the yogi will be taught to prepare the way for Vipassanā
meditation, which is to use the ‘light of wisdom’ to
discern ultimate materiality and mentality. The yogi will also be
taught to discern the workings of Dependent Origination (paṭṭiccasamuppāda
). This means he will discern a number of past and future lives, and to discern the causes for certain rebirths.
Only upon having discerned ultimate materiality and mentality and their
causes (Dependent Origination), does the yogi have the necessary
objects for Vipassanā
meditation. The practice of Vipassanā
meditation is to discern the three characteristics of impermanence (anicca
), suffering (dukkha
), and non-self (anatta
in ultimate materiality and mentality – of past, present, and
future, internal and external, gross and subtle, inferior and superior,
far and near.
In accordance with the Visuddhimagga
(Path of Purification), the yogi will be taught a series of detailed practices by which to develop and strengthen his Vipassanā
knowledge of materiality and mentality of past, present and future. In
this way, the yogi may progress through the different insight
knowledges, preliminary to the attainment of Nibbāna
Should the yogi attain Nibbāna
he will be taught how to discern which defilements have been destroyed,
and which stage of enlightenment he has reached. With continued
practice, the yogi may destroy all the taints, and be able to attain
Arahantship, meaning he will have put a complete end to rebirth and
The 2 main languages of instruction for foreigners are English and Chinese.
For further details of the teaching of meditation, please refer to the book Knowing and Seeing
(Rev. Ed.) by the Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw, and to Teaching & Training
, a concise introduction to the Sayadaw’s teaching, compiled by his foreign disciple.