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Ven. Webu Sayadaw (1896 - 1977)

Introduction

Ven. Webu Sayadaw was one of the most highly respected monks of the last century in Burma. (Sayadaw is a title used for monks. It means "respected teacher monk.") He was notable in giving all importance to diligent practice rather than to scholastic achievement. Webu Sayadaw was born in the village of Ingyinpin in upper Burma on 17 February 1896. He underwent the usual monk's training in the Pāli scriptures from the age of nine, when he became a novice, until he was twenty-seven. In 1923 (seven years after his ordination), he left the monastery and spent four years in solitude. He practiced (and later taught) the technique of Ānāpāna-sati (awareness of the in-breath and out-breath). He said that by working with this practice to a very deep level of concentration, one is able to develop vipassanā (insight) into the essential characteristics of all experience: anicca (impermanence), anat (egolessness) and dukkha (unsatisfactoriness). Webu Sayadaw was famous for his unflagging diligence in meditation and for spending most of his time in solitude. He was reputed to be an arahant (fully liberated one), and it is said that he never slept.

For the first fifty-seven years of his life, Webu Sayadaw stayed in upper Burma, dividing his time among three meditation centres in a small area. After his first trip to Rangoon, at the invitation of Sayagyi U Ba Khin, in 1953, he included southern Burma in his travels, visiting there to teach and meditate from time to time (listen to audio clips below). He also went on pilgrimage to India and Sri Lanka (see photos below). Webu Sayadaw spent his final days at the meditation centre in the village where he was born. He passed away on 26 June 1977, at the age of eighty-one.

Publications related to Ven. Webu Sayadaw
Title Web Print
The Way to Ultimate Calm: Selected Discourses of Webu Sayadaw X X
The Essential Practice - Part 1 X X
The Essential Practice - Part 2 X X
To Light a Fire   X
Dhamma Discourse   X
The Essence of Buddha Dhamma X  

Collection of photos featuring Ven. Webu Sayadaw

These photographs are taken from an extensive collection at the Inginbin Monastery in Upper Burma. 

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Audio clips featuring Venerable Webu Sayadaw

  • Dhamma talk in Burmese given on Ven. Webu Sayadaw's first visit to IMC Rangoon in 1953 (30 min) - Download MP3 (28MB)
  • Dhamma talk in Burmese with question and answer session with Western students of Sayagyi U Ba Khin. Recorded on January 19, 1976 at IMC Rangoon to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the passing of Sayagyi U Ba Khin (78 min) - Download MP3 (75 MB). A translation of this talk titled "Practicing a Brief Teaching: A Discourse to Western Students" is available in The Way to Ultimate Calm, and it can also be read online.

Ven. Webu Sayadaw: Anthology of a Noble One

Download MP4 (436 MB)


Additional video clips featuring Venerable Webu Sayadaw

Note: There is no sound in any of the videos below. The films depict the Sayadaw mainly in public settings where laypeople are offering food to him (and other monks), and paying deep respects to one believed to be an arahant.

Download video 1 (32 MB) or click on the arrow to watch the video online.

Download video 2 (316 MB)  Click the arrow above to view online.

Download video 3 (77 MB)  Click the arrow above to view this video online.

All three videos are also available as a DVD which can be played back on a regular DVD player. You are welcome to download the DVD image (1.2 GB), and burn your own DVD.