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Treasures of Pariyatti

The Treasures of Pariyatti offer a permanent repository and free access for students, researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public to the historical collections that comprise the post-commentarial writings on the teachings of the Buddha.


The prime focus of Treasures of Pariyatti is to preserve and disseminate the texts and other forms of media that have gone out of print or are otherwise in danger of being lost to the ravages of time.  Additionally, since many newer publications are dana-based (paid for up front by donation and given away at no cost), they often face quick extinction, as there are no economic incentives to keep them in print.  The Treasures project serves as a permanent library for such dana-based publications that fall within its scope.  Thus, it is a unique sort of library that will expand its collection as rare and out-of-print items are contributed and as new publications that lack a broad-audience or other economic staying power to remain in print. Please check back often to see new additions to the archive.

If you have suggestions or contributions that you would like to see incorporated in the Treasures of Pariyatti, please email us at treasures@pariyatti.org. We also appreciate any feedback that you might have and how we might improve this offering.

The Pariyatti Treasures are available in Acrobat PDF format for better print quality and to properly display Pali characters. A recent version of Acrobat Reader must be installed on each computer to view PDF documents. Download the free Acrobat Reader program for Windows, Macintosh, and other platforms.

You may download and/or print any of the Treasures of Pariyatti for your own use; however, we ask that you not use any of the site content on your own website, nor for commercial distribution. To publish these works, or any part thereof, permission must be sought from the appropriate copyright holders.  If you post an extract on a forum or other website, please post a link to the appropriate page or to the main page of this site; please do not link directly to the PDF files on this site.

The Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana (1954 - 1956)

The Sixth Buddhist Council was inaugurated at Kaba Aye in Yangon (formerly Rangoon, Burma) in 1954, 83 years after the Fifth Council in Mandalay. It was sponsored by the Burmese Government led by the Prime Minister, the Honorable U Nu. He had previously authorized the construction of the Mahā Pāsāna Gūhā, a great artificial cave built from the ground up and completed in 1952, to serve as the gathering place, much like Rajgiri's Sattapānni Cave in India had housed the First Council immediately after the death of the Buddha. This new "cave" measured 220' by 140' inside and could seat 10,000 people.

The Sixth Council opened on May 17, 1954. Like the preceding councils, its chief objective was to recite, affirm and preserve the genuine wording of the Vinaya, Suttas and Abhidhamma--the pariyatti--as related by the Buddha and his principal disciples. This Council was unique in that the 2,500 learned Theravāda monks who participated came from eight countries--Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal--unlike previous councils which had included monks from the host countries only. Mahayana monks and representatives from all Buddhist countries also attended.

The complete traditional recitation of the Theravada Canon took two years, from 1954 to 1956. The Pali Tipiṭaka and its allied literature in all the diverse national scripts were painstakingly examined, their differences noted, necessary corrections made, and all the versions collated. Happily, it was found that there were only minor differences in the content of comparable texts in the various scripts. After the Council had officially approved them, the volumes of the Canon and its Commentaries were prepared for printing on modern presses and published in the Myanmar (Burmese) script. By the time the Council was over, all the participating countries had had the Tipiṭaka rendered into their native scripts, with the exception of India. The Council closed on the full moon of May 1956, exactly two and a half millennia after the Buddha attained parinibbāna. The version of the Tipiṭaka which the Sixth Buddhist Council produced is recognized as being true to the pristine teachings of Gotama the Buddha and the most authoritative rendering of them to date.

Publications related to the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana
Title PDF
The Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana Souvenir Album
(234 pages - large download)
160 MB

Collection of photos from The Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana

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The Light of Buddha & The Light of the Dhamma


This section and the downloadable magazine issues listed below represent an effort by Pariyatti to preserve the invaluable writings of The Light of the Dhamma and The Light of Buddha published in Burma around the era of the 6th Buddhist Council, otherwise know as the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana, in the mid-1950’s.

1956 represented the 2,500th anniversary of the teachings of the Buddha. To commemorate this event and to reinvigorate the Sāsana (the teaching of the Buddha), a recitation of the entire Tipiṭaka (the written documentation of the entire collection of the Buddha’s teachings) was held in Rangoon, Burma (later renamed Yangon, Myanmar). Twenty five hundred bhikkhus from Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia participated in the recitation, which spanned several years. Lay attendees from over 30 countries attended various portions of the council. It is a popular belief among Theravada Buddhists that the Buddha’s teaching is destined to last for 5,000 years following his lifetime.

The Mahāpāsāṇa cave where the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana was held.

View Mahāpāsāṇa cave

Learn More & Download Issues

Additionally, this belief holds that the second half of this Sāsana will see a strong resurgence of the spread of the Dhamma throughout the World. In light of this event, two different publishing organizations were formed in Burma to help the spread of these teachings. The first was formed in Rangoon and called The Union of Burma Buddha Sāsana Council. This organization began publishing the The Light of the Dhamma in October, 1952 and continued to publish the magazine in fairly consistent quarterly installments until mid-1963. The second organization was formed in Mandalay and called The Burma Buddhist Society. This Mandalay publication was called the The Light of Buddha, and it began monthly publication in April, 1956 and continued until 1965.

UBSC Members
Members of UBSC - Jan 1958

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Each issue of these magazines contained a wide selection of articles submitted to the editors. Among the notable writers whose works were found in its pages are many Venerable Mahatheras, for instance: Ven. Ledi Sayadaw, Ven U Thittila, Ven. Piyadassi, Ven. Buddhadatta, Ven. Nyanatiloka, Ven. Nayanaponika, Ven. Narada, as well as lay writers such as The Honerable U Nu, Prime Minister of Burma, Mr. Francis Story (Anagārika Sugatananda), U Ohn Ghine, U Chan Htoon, U Hla Maung and many others. Topics of these articles included updates on the Council’s recitation, various aspects of the Buddha’s teachings, and practical application of these teachings in day-to-day life.

Many of the issues of the The Light of the Dhamma contained a translation of a Dīpanī (manual) by the Venerable Ledi Sayadaw. In 1981, some of these were included in a book titled The Manuals of Buddhism published by the Department of Religious Affairs, Rangoon. Today this book is available from Pariyatti as The Manuals of Dhamma. Two other collections were made from The The Light of the Dhamma issues: The Dhammapada Commentary and The Five Nikayas, Discourses of the Buddha, An Anthology. These later two books are currently out of print, but we are making efforts to make these available on the Treasures of Pariyatti site in the future.

The accompanying electronic texts represent an exhaustive effort to re-publish these works. These texts are now mostly 50 years old and in various stages of decay. The original texts were first copied to avoid damaging the originals and to minimize the bleed-through effect of the aging pages. The copies were then scanned using Optical Character Recognition technology which captured the majority of the Roman script, English characters. The texts were then analyzed word by word for proper translation, including the insertion of the appropriate diacritical marks for Pali words found in the original texts. All pictures and tables were then scanned in and placed appropriately to accurately represent the original formatting. Lastly, they were converted to pdf formats, proofread again and then uploaded to this site.

Additional issues will become available on the Treasures of Pariyatti website as the re-publication work progresses. There are a number of additional issues in process, however, there are many more issues of which we do not have copies. If you have copies of either the The Light of the Dhamma or the The Light of Buddha, and are willing to loan or donate them to Pariyatti for scanning and re-publication, please email us at treasures@pariyatti.org.

The expressed intent of the original publishers of these two magazines was to propagate the teaching of the Buddha with no monetary remuneration involved. These publishing entities and their editorial boards have long-ago dissolved. These works were originally published with no copyrights, and we believe that they would approve and endorse these measures that we have taken to preserve their monumental efforts. The objective of Pariyatti in making these works much more widely available through digital media is a continuation of those efforts to spread the teaching of the Buddha and to propagate the Sāsana.

May All Beings Be Happy.

Completed Issues

The Light of the Dhamma
    No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4
Vol 1, 1952 - 1953


1 2 3 4
Vol 2, 1953 - 1954 Re-built 1 2 3 4
Vol 3, 1955 - 1956


1 2 3 4
Scanned       4
Vol 4, 1957 Re-built 1 2 3 4
Scanned       4
Vol 5, 1958


1 2 3 4
Scanned       4
Vol 6, 1959 Re-built 1 2 3 4
Scanned 1      
Vol 7, 1960


1 2 3 4
Vol 8, 1961 Re-built 1 2 3  
Scanned 1 2 3  
Vol 9, 1962


1 2 3 4
Scanned 1 2 3 4
Vol 10, 1963 Re-built 1 2    
Scanned 1 2    
The Five Nikāyas:
Discourses of the Buddha
An Anthology (1978)


The Light of Buddha
    No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4 No. 5 No. 6 No. 7 No. 8 No. 9 No. 10 No. 11 No. 12
Vol 1, 1956


Vol 2, 1957 Scanned                        
Vol 3, 1958


Vol 4, 1959 Scanned                        
Vol 5, 1960 Scanned                        
Vol 6, 1961 Re-built                       12
Scanned                      11  12
Vol 7, 1962 Scanned           6       10    
Vol 8, 1963 Scanned               8      11  
Vol 9, 1964 Scanned       4 5   7   9      
Vol 10, 1965 Scanned                        

Sayagyi U Ba Khin (1899 - 1971)

Sayagyi U Ba Khin was a student of Saya Thetgyi, and was the first Accountant General of Burma. Sayagyi U Ba Khin was a notable teacher of Vipassana meditation. One of his most prominent students was S.N. Goenka. Sayagyi U Ba Khin had a close relationship with Ven. Webu Sayadaw

Ven. Webu Sayadaw & Sayagyi U Ba Khin - Initial Meeting

The following describes Sayagyi's first meeting and subsequent contact with this noble person. At the beginning of 1941, U Ba Khin had been promoted to the post of Chief Accounts Officer, Burma Railways Board. One of his duties was to travel on the Rangoon-Mandalay line auditing the accounts of local stations. He travelled in a special carriage for the Chief Accountant, with full facilities for office work and sleeping overnight. His carriage would be attached to the main train, then detached at various stations.

One day in July...

One day in July, by error his carriage was detached at a station in the town of Kyaukse, forty miles south of Mandalay. Although he was not scheduled to audit the accounts here, as Accounts Officer he was permitted to check the accounts of any station, and he proceeded to do this. After his work was over, he decided to visit the nearby Shwetharlyaung Hill and set out with the local station master. Sayagyi had heard that a monk named Webu Sayadaw, who had reached a high stage of development, was residing in the area. From the top of the hill they could see a cluster of buildings in the distance. They recognized this as the monastery of Webu Sayadaw and decided to go there. At about 3:00 p.m. they arrived at the compound. An old nun sat pounding chillies and beans, and they asked her if they could pay respects to the Sayadaw. "This is not the time to see the reverend Sayadaw,"; she said. "He is meditating and will not come out of his hut until about six o'clock. This monk does not entertain people. He only comes out of his hut for about half an hour in the evening. If there are people here at this time, he may give a discourse and then return to his hut. He will not meet people at times they may wish to meet him."; U Ba Khin explained that he was a visitor from Rangoon and that he did not have much time. He would like very much to meet Webu Sayadaw. Would it not be possible to pay respects outside? The nun pointed out the hut, a small bamboo structure, and the visitors went there together.

Sayagyi knelt on the ground and said, "Venerable Sir, I have come all the way from lower Burma, Rangoon, and wish to pay respects to you." To everyone's astonishment, the door to the hut opened and the Sayadaw emerged, preceded by a cloud of mosquitoes. Sayagyi paid respects, keeping his attention in the body with awareness of anicca. "What is your aspiration, layman?" Webu Sayadaw asked Sayagyi. "My aspiration is to attain nibbana, sir," U Ba Khin replied. "Nibbana? How are you going to attain nibbana?" "Through meditation and by knowing anicca, sir," said Sayagyi. "Where did you learn to be aware of this anicca?" Sayagyi explained how he had studied Vipassana meditation under Saya Thetgyi. "You have been practicing Vipassana?" "Yes, sir, I am practicing Vipassana." "What sort of Vipassana?" Webu Sayadaw questioned him closely and Sayagyi gave the details. The Sayadaw was very pleased. He said, "I have been meditating in this jungle alone for years in order to experience such stages of Vipassana as you describe." He seemed astonished to encounter a householder who had reached advanced proficiency in the practice without being a monk. Webu Sayadaw meditated with Sayagyi, and after some time said, "You must start teaching now. You have acquired good parami (accumulated merit), and you must teach the Dhamma to others. Do not let people who meet you miss the benefits of receiving this teaching. You must not wait. You must teach–teach now!" With a Dhamma injunction of such strength from this saintly person, U Ba Khin felt he had no choice but to teach. Back at the railway station, the assistant station master became his first student. Sayagyi instructed him in Anapana meditation in his railway carriage, using the two tables of the dining compartment as their seats.

Ven. Webu Sayadaw travels to Rangoon at Sayagyi U Ba Khin's request

Although Sayagyi did not begin to teach in a formal way until about a decade later, this incident was a watershed. It marked the point at which Sayagyi began to share his knowledge of meditation with others. In 1953, at a time when there was much conflict and strife in lower Burma, some government officials suggested that they should invite some of the saintly monks of the country to visit the capital, Rangoon. There was a traditional belief that if a highly developed person visited in a time of trouble, it would have a beneficial effect and the disturbances would calm down. Webu Sayadaw was not well-known in Rangoon because prior to this time he had strictly confined his travels to his three meditation compounds at Kyaukse, Shwebo and Ingyinpin, never leaving this small area of northern Burma. Sayagyi, however, felt strongly that this saintly monk should be invited to visit Rangoon. Even though he had not seen nor communicated with Webu Sayadaw since 1941, Sayagyi felt confident that he would accept the invitation, so he sent one of his assistants to upper Burma to ask the Sayadaw to come and visit his centre in Rangoon for one week.

This was during the time of the monsoon retreat when the monks, according to their monastic rules, must spend their time in meditation rather than in travel. Monks are not ordinarily permitted to travel during the monsoon retreat; however, for a special purpose, a monk may leave his retreat for up to seven days. When U Ba Khin's messenger reached Mandalay and people heard what his mission was, they scoffed. "Webu Sayadaw never travels," they told him. "Especially not now during the rainy season. He will not go out for even one night, let alone seven days. You are wasting your time." Nevertheless, Sayagyi had sent him on this errand, so he persevered. He hired a taxi to Shwebo and sought an audience with the Ven. Sayadaw. When the assistant told Webu Sayadaw that he had been sent by Sayagyi U Ba Khin and extended Sayagyi's invitation, the monk exclaimed, "Yes, I am ready. Let us go." This response was a great surprise to everyone.

Webu Sayadaw, accompanied by some of the monks from his monastery, then paid a visit to the International Meditation Centre. This visit, coming after more than a decade since the two men had first met, demonstrated Webu Sayadaw's high regard for Sayagyi. Moreover, it was unusual for a monk to stay at the meditation centre of a lay teacher. Between the years of 1954 and his death in 1977, Webu Sayadaw made regular annual visits to towns in southern Burma to teach Dhamma. During Sayagyi's lifetime, he periodically visited I.M.C. as well. The Sayadaw was held to have attained high attainments in meditation, and it was a great honour for I.M.C. to receive him. When Webu Sayadaw visited Sayagyi's centre, he usually gave a short Dhamma talk every day. He once mentioned, "When we first visited this place it was like a jungle, but now what progress has been made in these years. It resembles the time of the Buddha when many benefited! Can one count the number? Innumerable!"

Sayagyi U Ba Khin becomes a monk under Ven. Webu Sayadaw

At one time, Sayagyi decided to fulfill the Burmese tradition of becoming a monk at least once in one's lifetime. Without notifying anyone in advance, he and one of his close disciples, U Ko Lay (the ex-Vice-chancellor of Mandalay University) went to Webu Sayadaw's centre at Shwebo and, under the Sayadaw's guidance, took robes for a period of about ten days.

For more information on this episode in Sayagyi U Ba Khin's life as well as more details on the special relationship between Sayagyi U Ba Khin and Webu Sayadaw, please refer to the section titled "Webu Sayadaw and Sayagyi U Ba Khin" in The Way To Ultimate Calm: Selected Discourses of Webu Sayadaw

After Sayagyi's death, Webu Sayadaw visited Rangoon and gave a private interview to about twenty-five students from Sayagyi's centre. When it was reported to him that Sayagyi had died, he said, "Your Sayagyi never died. A person like your Sayagyi will not die. You may not see him now, but his teaching lives on. Not like some persons who, even though they are alive, are as if dead–who serve no purpose and who benefit none."

Publications Related to Sayagyi U Ba Khin
Title PDF Print
A Thousand Lives Away by Winston King
Appendix: An Experience of Buddhist Meditation
349 KB  
Buddhist Meditation in Burma by Elizabeth Nottingham 150 KB  
Correspondence between Dr. Leon Wright and Sayagyi U Ba Khin from 1958 128 KB  
Introduction to the IMC 341 KB  
IMC: Personal Experiences of Candidates 1.3 MB  
Men Seeking God (excerpt) by Christopher Mayhew 705 KB  
Postcard from Sayagyi U Ba Khin to Indian students of IMC 1.1 MB  
Sayagyi U Ba Khin Journal
A collection commemorating his teaching
The Clock of Vipassana Has Struck
A tribute to the life and legacy of Sayagyi U Ba Khin
The Essentials of Buddha-Dhamma
in Meditative Practice

by Sayagyi U Ba Khin
1 MB X
The Mahabodhi - U Ba Khin Memorial Number
April 1972
1.3 MB  
The Mahabodhi - Vipassana Number
August 1977
1.6 MB  
The Time is Now by Sayagyi U Ba Khin Letter (53 KB)

A4 (53 KB)
What Buddhism Is by Sayagyi U Ba Khin 823 KB PDF
(2 column layout)
565 KB PDF
(no columns)
2 MB ePub

Collection of photos featuring Sayagyi U Ba Khin 

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Ven. Webu Sayadaw (1896 - 1977)


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
The Essential Practice - Part 2 X X
To Light a Fire   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.

Ven. Ledi Sayadaw (1846 - 1923)

The Venerable Ledi Sayadaw was born in 1846 in Saing-pyin village, Dipeyin township, in the Shwebo district (currently Monywa district) of northern Burma. His childhood name was Maung Tet Khaung. (Maung is the Burmese title for boys and young men, equivalent to master. Tet means climbing upward and Khaung means roof or summit.) It proved to be an appropriate name, since young Maung Tet Khaung, indeed, climbed to the summit in all his endeavors.

In his village he attended the traditional monastery school where the bhikkhus (monks) taught children to read and write in Burmese as well as recite Pali text. Because of these ubiquitous monastery schools, Burma has traditionally maintained a very high rate of literacy.

At the age of eight he began to study with his first teacher, U Nanda-dhaja Sayadaw, and he ordained as a sāmaṇera (novice) under the same Sayadaw at the age of fifteen. He was given the name Ñāna-dhaja (the banner of knowledge). His monastic education included Pali grammar and various texts from the Pali canon with a specialty in  Abhidhammattha-saṅgaha, a commentary which serves as a guide to the Abhidhamma section of the canon.

Later in life he wrote a somewhat controversial commentary on Abhidhammattha-saṅgaha, called Paramatttha-dīpanī (Manual of Ultimate Truth) in which he corrected certain mistakes he had found in the earlier and, at that time, accepted commentary on that work. His corrections were eventually accepted by the bhikkhus and his work became the standard reference.

During his days as a sāmaṇera, in the middle part of the nineteenth century, before modern lighting, he would routinely study the written texts during the day and join the bhikkhus and other sāmaṇeras in recitation from memory after dark. Working in this way he mastered the Abhidhamma texts.

When he was 18, Samanera Ñāna-dhaja briefly left the robes and returned to his life as a layman. He had become dissatisfied with his education, feeling it was too narrowly restricted to the Tipiṭaka. After about six months his first teacher and another influential teacher, Myinhtin Sayadaw, sent for him and tried to persuade him to return to the monastic life; but he refused.

Myinhtin Sayadaw suggested that he should at least continue with his education. The young Maung Tet Khaung was very bright and eager to learn, so he readily agreed to this suggestion.

"Would you be interested in learning the Vedas, the ancient sacred writings of Hinduism?" asked Myinhtin Sayadaw.

"Yes, venerable sir," answered Maung Tet Khaung.

"Well, then you must become a sāmaṇera," the Sayadaw replied, "otherwise Sayadaw U Gandhama of Yeu village will not take you as his student."

"I will become a sāmaṇera," he agreed.

In this way he returned to the life of a novice, never to leave the robes of a monk again. Later on, he confided to one of his disciples,

"At first I was hoping to earn a living with the knowledge of the Vedas by telling peoples' fortunes. But I was more fortunate in that I became a sāmaṇera again. My teachers were very wise; with their boundless love and compassion, they saved me."

The brilliant Samanera Ñāna-dhaja, under the care of Gandhama Sayadaw, mastered the Vedas in eight months and continued his study of the Tipiṭaka. At the age of 20, on April 20, 1866, he took the higher ordination to become a bhikkhu under his old teacher U Nanda-dhaja Sayadaw, who became his preceptor (one who gives the precepts).

In 1867, just prior to the monsoon retreat, Bhikkhu Ñāna-dhaja left his preceptor and the Monywa district where he had grown up, in order to continue his studies in Mandalay.

At that time, during the reign of King Min Don Min who ruled from 1853-1878, Mandalay was the royal capital of Burma and the most important center of learning in the country. He studied under several of the leading Sayadaws and learned lay scholars as well. He resided primarily in the Maha-Jotikarama Monastery and studied with Ven. San-Kyaung Sayadaw, a teacher who is famous in Burma for translating the Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification) into Burmese.

During this time, the Ven. San-Kyaung Sayadaw gave an examination of 20 questions for 2,000 students. Bhikkhu Ñāna-dhaja was the only one who was able to answer all the questions satisfactorily. These answers were later published in 1880, under the title Pāramī-dīpanī (Manual of Perfections), the first of many books written in Pāli and Burmese by the Ven. Ledi Sayadaw.

During the time of his studies in Mandalay, King Min Don Min sponsored the Fifth Buddhist Council, calling bhikkhus from far and wide to recite and purify the Tipiṭaka. The council was held in Mandalay in 1871 and the authenticated texts were carved into 729 marble slabs that stand today, each slab housed under a small pagoda surrounding the golden Kuthodaw Pagoda at the foot of Mandalay Hill. At this council, Bhikkhu Ñāna-dhaja helped in the editing and translating of the Abhidhamma texts.

After eight years as a bhikkhu, having passed all his examinations, the Ven. Ñāna-dhaja was qualified as a teacher of introductory Pali at the Mahā-Jotikarama Monastery where he had been studying.

For eight more years he remained there, teaching and continuing his own scholastic endeavors, until 1882 when he moved to Monywa. He was now 36 years old. At that time, Monywa was a small district center on the east bank of the Chindwin River, which was renowned as a place where the teaching method included the entire Tipiṭaka, rather than selected portions only.

To teach Pali to the bhikkhus and sāmaṇeras at Monywa, he came into town during the day, but in the evening he would cross to the west bank of the Chindwin River and spend the nights in meditation in a small vihara (monastery) on the side of Lak-pan-taung Mountain. Although we do not have any definitive information, it seems likely that this was the period when he began practicing Vipassana in the traditional Burmese way: with attention to Ānāpāna (respiration) and vedanā (sensation).

The British conquered upper Burma in 1885 and sent the last king, Thibaw, who ruled from 1878-1885, into exile. The next year, 1886, Ven. Nana-dhaja went into retreat in Ledi Forest, just to the north of Monywa. After a while, many bhikkhus started coming to him there, requesting that he teach them. A monastery was built to house them and named Ledi-tawya Monastery. From this monastery he took the name by which he is best known: Ledi Sayadaw. It is said that one of the main reasons Monywa grew to be a large town, as it is today, was that so many people were attracted to Ledi Sayadaw's monastery. While he taught many aspiring students at Ledi-tawya, he continued his practice of retiring to his small cottage vihara across the river for his own meditation.

When he had been in the Ledi Forest Monastery for over ten years, his main scholastic works began to be published. The first was Paramattha-dīpanī (Manual of Ultimate Truth) mentioned above, published in 1897. His second book of this period was Nirutta-dipani, a book on Pali grammar. Because of these books, he gained a reputation as one of the most learned bhikkhus in Burma.

Though Ledi Sayadaw was based at the Ledi-tawya monastery, at times he traveled throughout Burma, teaching both meditation and scripture. He is, indeed, a rare example of a bhikkhu who was able to excel in pariyatti (the theory of Dhamma) as well as paṭipatti (the practice of Dhamma). It was during these trips throughout Burma that many of his published works were written. For example, he wrote the Paticca-samuppada-dīpanī in two days while traveling by boat from Mandalay to Prome. He had with him no reference books, but, because he had a thorough knowledge of the Tipiṭaka, he needed none. In the Manuals of Buddhism there are 76 manuals, commentaries, essays, and so on, listed under his authorship, but even this is an incomplete list of his works.

Later, he also wrote many books on Dhamma in Burmese. He said he wanted to write in such a way that even a simple farmer could understand. Before his time, it was unusual to write on Dhamma subjects so that lay people would have access to them. Even while teaching orally, the bhikkhus would commonly recite long passages in Pāli and then translate them literally, which was very hard for ordinary people to understand. It must have been the strength of Ledi Sayadaw's practical understanding and the resultant mettā (loving-kindness) that overflowed in his desire to spread Dhamma to all levels of society. His Paramattha-sankhepa, a book of 2,000 Burmese verses which translates the Abhidhammattha-saṅgaha, was written for young people and is still very popular today. His followers started many associations which promoted the learning of Abhidhamma by using this book.

In his travels around Burma, Ledi Sayadaw also discouraged the consumption of cow meat. He wrote a book called Go-mamsa-matika which urged people not to kill cows for food and encouraged a vegetarian diet.

It was during this period, just after the turn of the century, that the Ven. Ledi Sayadaw was first visited by U Po Thet who learned Vipassana from him and subsequently became one of the most well-known lay meditation teachers in Burma, and the teacher of Sayagyi U Ba Khin.

By 1911 his reputation both as a scholar and meditation master had grown to such an extent that the British government of India, which also ruled Burma, conferred on him the title of Aggamahā-paṇḍita (foremost great scholar). He was also awarded a Doctorate of Literature from the University of Rangoon. During the years 1913-1917, he had a correspondence with Mrs. Rhys-Davids of the Pali Text Society in London, and translations of several of his discussions on points of Abhidhamma were published in the Journal of the Pali Text Society.

In the last years of his life the Ven. Ledi Sayadaw's eyesight began to fail him because of the years he had spent reading, studying and writing, often with poor illumination. At the age of 73 he became blind and devoted the remaining years of his life exclusively to meditating and teaching meditation. He died in 1923 at the age of 77 at Pyinmana, between Mandalay and Rangoon, in one of the many monasteries that had been founded in his name as a result of his travels and teaching all over Burma.

The Venerable Ledi Sayadaw was perhaps the most outstanding Buddhist figure of his age. All who have come in contact with the path of Dhamma in recent years owe a great debt of gratitude to to this scholarly, saintly monk who was instrumental in reviving the traditional practice of Vipassana, making it more available for renunciates and lay people alike. In addition to this most important aspect of his teaching, his concise, clear and extensive scholarly work served to clarify the experiential aspect of Dhamma.

Collection of photos featuring Ven. Ledi Sayadaw

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"The great pariyatti sāsana, which is called the appearance of the tipiṭaka, is the root of the great paṭipatti and the great paṭivedha sāsanas. Only when the pariyatti sāsana is established can the other two sāsanas also be established. The burden of maintaining the pariyatti sāsana for 5,000 years is really very great. This is an age of degeneration..." - Ven. Ledi Sayadaw

Publications related to Ven. Ledi Sayadaw
Title Web Print
Alin-Kyan & Vijjamagga Dīpanī - Manual of Light & Manual of the Path to Higher Knowledge
Ānāpāna Dīpanī - Manual of Mindfulness of Breathing X X
Bodhipakkhiyā Dīpanī - The Requisites of Enlightenment X X
Dhamma Dīpanī - A Manual of the Dhamma X  
Magganga Dīpanī - A Manual of the Path Factors X  
Patthanuddesa Dipani - Buddhist Philosophy of Relations X X
Uttama Purisa Dīpanī - A Manual of the Excellent Man X X
Vipassana Dipani - A Manual of Insight X X
Mahāsaraṇagamana - The Great Refuge  
Manuals of Dhamma   X
Noble Eightfold Path and Its Factors Explained  X X

A Short Biography of Ledi Sayadaw - by Ven. Ashin Nyanissara PDF

Other Treasures

In this section you will find books and articles in digital form that don't fit specifically into the other categories of Treasures but that still represent the qualities of the other Treasures of Pariyatti. Many of these items include recent publications that have been made available through Dhamma Dana or otherwise free of charge by their publishers and/or authors. View our offerings below.

Jewels of Myanmar

Process of Consciousness and Matter

Venerable Rewata Dhamma

Born in Burma in 1929, Venerable Rewata Dhamma was one of the foremost scholars of Abhidhamma in modern times.  He obtained his Ph.D. from Varanasi University, India, in 1967.  That year he also edited and published the two-volume Abhidhammattha Sangaha, including a commentary he wrote in Hindi. For this work, he received the Kalidasa Prize from the Hindi Academy for one of the outstanding books of the year, and it still remains a university textbook in India.  In 2000 the Government of Myanmar awarded him the prestigious title of Aggamahāpaṇḍita (foremost great scholar). Venerable Rewata Dhamma wrote several other important books including The First Discourse of the Buddha (1997), The Buddha and His Disciples (2001), Emptying the Rose-Apple Seat (2003), and The Buddha's Prescription (2005).  He also coauthored A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma with Bhikkhu Bodhi (1993).  Venerable Rewata Dhamma passed away in May 2004.

Process of Consciousness and Matter is intended for all serious students of the Abhidhamma. It serves as a supplement to A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, written by Bhikkhu Bodhi and Dr. Rewata Dhamma, and treats various important aspects in more detail -- in particular, the process of consciousness and matter.

Pariyatti extends its appreciation to the venerable sayadaws of the Birmingham Vihara for their gracious permission to publish this ebook.

Print version & eBook versions

Ven. Anālayo

Ven. Anālayo is a Buddhist monk of the Theravāda tradition. He was born in 1962 in Germany and was ordained in 1995 in Sri Lanka. He completed his PhD on satipaṭṭhāna at the University of Peradeniya in 2000, and soon thereafter published Satipaṭṭhāna: The Direct Path to Realization. He has been engaged in a project of comparative research between the Chinese āgamas and the Pali nikāyas under the auspices of the Yin Shun Foundation of Northern America and the Department of Indology at the University of Marburg, Germany. Recently, Ven. Anālayo collaborated with Bhikkhu Ñyāṇatusita to publish The Life of Nyanatiloka Thera: The Biography of a Western Buddhist Pioneer (Buddhist Publication Society, 2008). He has contributed to many scholarly journals including The Journal of the Centre for Buddhist Studies, The Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies, The Journal of the Pali Text Society, The Buddhist Studies Review, and The Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies.

Download PDF (176 KB): The Ancient Roots of the U Ba Khin Vipassanā Meditation, Journal of the Centre for Bud­dhist Studies, Sri Lanka 2006, vol. 4 pp. 259-269

Download PDF (336 KB): The Development of Insight, Fuyan Buddhist Studies, Taiwan, 2011, vol. 6 pp. 151-174

Excursions into the Thought-World of the Pāli Discourses: PDF eBook - Print bundled with free eBook -

Multi-format eBook

Journey into Burmese Silence

Marie Byles

Born in Ashton upon Mersey, Cheshire, UK in 1900, Marie Beuzeville Byles is best known to Vipassana meditators for her practice of meditation. In Journey Into Burmese Silence (George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1962), she traces her own story as she first travels to Burma and comes in contact with Vipassana Meditation and then how she returns several times more later in her life to strengthen her practice. At the Maha Bodhi Meditation Centre in Mandalay, she became the student of U Thein who taught as a lay teacher in the tradition of Saya Thet Gyi. U Thein forms the centre of a group of devoted friends that sustain Marie in her struggle and lead her on a pilgrimage of meditation centres across Burma. Byles’ book is a detailed account of the many Burmese practices going by the name ‘Vipassana’. It is a valuable and inspiring book for any true seeker.

Journey Into Burmese Silence: Free eBook Downloads (PDF and iBook formats)

Burmese Monk's Tales

The Monk’s Tales contained in this collection were first told during that dark decade of Burmese history (1876–85), when the coming event of the British conquest of the whole country was perturbing the Burmese people. For the first time since the eleventh century the future of Burmese Buddhism became uncertain, and there was widespread fear, both in Upper Burma still under a Burmese king and in Lower Burma already under British rule, that the final fall of the Burmese kingdom would result in the total extinction of both the national religion and the Burmese way of life. Told with the purpose of allaying this anxiety and fear, these tales give a full and faithful résumé and appraisal of the position of Burmese Buddhism on the eve of the British conquest of 1886.

Burmese Monk's Tales: Free eBook Downloads (PDF, Mobi, ePub formats)