Pa Auk or MBMC?

Piers Mackeown, modified 10 Years ago.

Pa Auk or MBMC?

Posts: 116 Join Date: 12/7/10 Recent Posts
I'm currently in Thailand and I was planning to go to Pa Auk Forest Monastery in Burma soon for a 3 month retreat.
However, I'm now considering the possibility of going to MBMC for 3 months instead.

I've not been to either place and would love any feed back particularly about Pa Auk (I've just been reading plenty of stuff about MBMC on this site from earlier postings) as I haven't found much info on Pa Auk.

I have very poor concentration abilities which Daniel says are certainly needed if one is to make any real progress and gain insights. Which makes me think Pa Auk.
However, I'm beginning to wonder if I should start practicing Mahasi style very seriously. (I'm coming out of 9 years of Goenka without having gotten anywhere fast) which makes me think MBMC.

If you read my last posting Help/Advice/Guidance sought in the Dharma Diagnostic Clinic section it'll help you to see where I'm coming from.

I'm a bit torn about which direction to take.
Obviously, any decision I take will rest on my shoulders at the end of the day but your feedback would be welcome.

Thanks, Piers.
Constance Casey, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Pa Auk or MBMC?

Posts: 47 Join Date: 9/21/09 Recent Posts
I heard that there may be no teacher at MBMC for the next month or so. You can double check with MBMC about this.
Sze-Hung Daniel Tsui, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Pa Auk or MBMC?

Posts: 69 Join Date: 5/3/11 Recent Posts
Is the best way to reach these centers just to call the local numbers listed and ask them some questions?
Do they ever turn down reservations or applicants?

I've sent inquries to both emails on the MBMC wiki page but no reply after like 5 days, which might not be that long of a response time for retreat centers.
John White, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Pa Auk or MBMC?

Posts: 61 Join Date: 8/16/10 Recent Posts
I was at MBMC in January - and have some information about retreats there, though can't say if it's still current. Contact person was Linda Toh; also the phone number: (60 country code) 428 22534 - you can just call them.

I spent only 7 days at MBMC but really liked it, found it very valuable, and totally complementary to the many Goenka courses I've sat, which I have also highly valued and liked. When I was there Sayadaw Thuzana left for Burma, as he was asked by Pandita to be the sayadaw somewhere in California. My experience was not nearly as strong once he left, as I was very moved by him. The current sayadaw is much younger, he did impress me with his presence, but don't know anything else about him.

Here's a video of chanting there - the monk had an awesome voice:

I've never been to Pa Auk - but sayadaw u tejaniyas center in Burma was recommended by a someone from DhO (Hala). She said it was much more relaxed approach than Panditarama.

here's some basic questions Linda at MBMC answered for me:

I am Linda, the secretary of MBMC. Thank you for wishing to come for a retreat at MBMC. To answer your questions:
1 - who is the present teacher?
Sayadaw Thuzana is our meditation master. Sayadaw is from Panditarama Meditation Centre, Yangon
2 - can I just arrive and do a retreat on my own schedule, or do I need to join a scheduled retreat?
Yes, Sayadaw accepts individual retreats. There is no scheduled retreat (if you mean an organized one). Vipassana meditation (Mahasi tradition) is taught here. A yogi must follow the instructions here, failing which you may be asked to end your retreat. Basically one need to have mindfulness the whole day. Sitting meditation (45 min - 1 hour) followed by walking meditation (45 min - 1 hour). Follow the meal times and Dhamma talks.
3 - what is the cost to do a retreat there?
We first register a new yogi for 1-10 days. We collect RM20 per day.
Extending your stay will be upon the advice of the Meditation Master. No fee after that but any contribution is welcome.
4 - my thai friend may want to come as well. is there a thai person there available to translate?
Should be fine. Currently, there is a female thai yogi. She may help to translate.
Kindly provide us some info about yourself and your friend.
1. your profile (age, nationality, gender, occupation, marital status)
2. meditation experience
3. purpose of learning meditation
4. how you knew about MBMC

Check some conditions to fulfil:
a) you are not a muslim
b) you do not have a history of mental illness
c) you have a valid passport and visa and enough money to return home after your retreat.
d) no solid food after 12 noon; only glucose, honey and fruit juice allowed. Breakfast and lunch are served.
e) we discourage reading, talking, discussion during the retreat.
f) serious to practise and not because of the cheap accommodation and food

Kindly reply soon as I would be off to Bangkok from 24 - 31.1.11. You may contact Mr. Tan Ah Huat when I am away. Thank you.
With metta,
Stefan F, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Pa Auk or MBMC?

Posts: 28 Join Date: 7/8/11 Recent Posts
Hey Piers,

what u have to consider when going to Pa Auk is that u have to ask the Monastry to get a "Sponsorship letter". Make sure they sent it to u via e-mail. With that "sponsorship letter" u have to apply for a 3Month Meditation Visa at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok. It takes about 6 weeks and the embassy is not really reliable!

i send u a link with some pictures of that place to ur private messages!

good luck. with metta. Stefan
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Pa Auk or MBMC?

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Willoughby just told me that Pa Auk is at the Forest Refuge teaching right now, in case anyone is interested: was better than being subjected to Burma and all the interesting aspects of traveling there.