Join us for a Pāli workshop from June 3-18 in Temecula, California. More info.

The Golden Path– Burma Pilgrimage

The Golden Path - Burma Pilgrimage

My heart fills with gratitude to the traditional Dhamma teachers of Burma who, through an unbroken chain of teachers to disciples, kept this teaching in its pristine purity from generation to generation...
—S.N. Goenka

Features

  • Visit and meditate at sites connected to the lineage of teachers in the Vipassana tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin 
  • Visit and meditate at Vipassana centers along the pilgrimage route
  • Travel, meditate, and develop friendships with meditators from around the world


Upcoming Pilgrimages

The Golden Path – Burma

December 13 to December 30, 2017

Open - Apply Now

Travel to the main sites associated with the chain of teachers in the tradition of Vipassana as taught by S.N. Goenka. Visit and meditate at the monasteries of Ledi Sayadaw, Saya Thetgyi, Webu Sayadaw, and at the International Meditation Center founded by Sayagyi U Ba Khin.

Maximum of 16 pilgrims

Itinerary

The Golden Path – Burma

Pilgrimage for 17-nights (US$2,450)

  • Day 1: Yangon
    Arrive in Yangon and check into our accommodations. Once all the pilgrims have arrived, we will have an orientation session, followed by a group sitting at the beautiful Shwedagon Pagoda. We will return to the hotel for dinner and rest.
  • Day 2: Shwedagon and International Meditation Center (IMC)
    We’ll begin the day with a group sitting at the sacred Shwedagon Pagoda followed by a tour of Shwedagon. After a hearty lunch, we’ll have a group sitting at IMC, the meditation center founded by Goenkaji’s teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin. We’ll return in the evening for dinner and rest at the hotel.
  • Day 3: Kaba Aye Pagoda and Mahapakasa Cave
    This special pagoda contains relics of the Buddha, Moggallana and Sariputta. The pagoda is a hollow type of pagoda referred to as “Pato” and contains an inner shrine room where we will meditate for one hour. After lunch, we will visit Mahapakasa Cave where the 6th Buddhist council was held from 1954-1956. This cave also marks Goenkaji’s first Dhamma service, as he arranged for vegetarian food for the participants in 1954. Goenkaji also gave a speech at this Cave for the Buddhist World Summit in 2004.
  • Day 4: Saya Thetgyi day - Pyaw Bwe Gyi
    After a hearty breakfast we’ll take a peaceful ferry ride across the Yangon River to the small village where Sayagyi U Ba Khin took his first ten day Vipassana course with his teacher Saya Thetgyi. Each pilgrim will have the unique opportunity to meditate in Saya Thetgyi’s private meditation cell, and to sit in the Dhamma Hall where Sayagyi took his first course. Pilgrims will also have time to explore the village or meditate more at Saya Thetgyi’s center. In the evening we will catch the ferry ride back across the river for dinner and rest at our hotel.
  • Day 5: Dhamma Joti - one day sitting
    To help frame the pilgrimage experience, we will join a one day course at Dhamma Joti, the Vipassana Center in Yangon.
  • Day 6: Travel to Mandalay via flight
    We will leave early for a flight to Mandalay and check into our hotel. After lunch and rest, we will enjoy a guided tour of the Maha Muni Pagoda followed by a group sitting. As a young boy, Goenkaji used to meditate at this location with his grandfather. In the evening, we will watch the sun setting from the top of Mandalay Hill. We will return for dinner and rest to our hotel.
  • Day 7: Maha Muni Pagoda and Dhamma Mandapa
    We will have a group sitting at the Maha Muni Pagoda followed by free time. This is a good place to purchase Burmese bells and gongs that meditators often like to buy for their friends or local Vipassana centers. You may also be able to watch the skilled marble carving if you walk around the area. After lunch we will visit Dhamma Mandapa, the small Vipassana center inside the city limits of Mandalay. Although the center is no longer holding regular ten day courses, many meditators sit at this center for one day courses and one hour group sittings. We will have a one hour group sitting there followed by a visit to Maha Bodhi Meditation Center next door to Dhamma Mandapa. This location will be of special interest to those who have read Journey into Burmese Silence by Marie Byles.
  • Day 8: Webu Sayadaw day
    We will travel to Kyauk Sei where Sayagyi U Ba Khin came in contact with the Ven. Webu Sayadaw when Sayagyi was on his regular Railway office accounting rounds. After morning meditation at the hut location where Sayagyi met Webu Sayadaw, we will have the opportunity to participate in a Sangha dana, the offering of requisites and lunch, for the resident monks. In the afternoon, each pilgrim will gain the precious opportunity to meditate for one hour in the cave where Webu Sayadaw used to meditate. During the time when some pilgrims are meditating in the cave (only 6 can fit in the cave at a time), others will have free time to explore the monastery at the top of the stairs which may contain relics of Webu Sayadaw. We will return to the hotel in Mandalay for dinner and rest.
  • Day 9: One day sitting - Dhamma Mandala and visit to Kathodaw Pagoda
    To help absorb the pilgrimage experience we will join a one day course at Dhamma Mandala, the picturesque Vipassana meditation center just outside of Mandalay in the mountainous countryside. On the way back to the hotel in Mandalay, we will stop by the Kathodaw Pagoda, containing the world’s largest book: 729 marble tablets inscribed with the entire Tipitaka Pāli canon.
  • Day 10: Sagaing hills
    We’ll begin the day with a beautiful bus ride across the bridge into the Sagaing hills. We will meditate for one hour in the peaceful and quiet cave of Prekkama Monastery, followed by the special opportunity to provide Sangha dana for the resident monks. After lunch, we will explore Pa Bar Jaon Monastery followed by a group sitting together. We will return for dinner and rest to our hotel in Mandalay.
  • Day 11: Travel to Monywa
    We will leave for Monywa after breakfast. After a 3 to 5 hour bus ride, we will enjoy lunch and settle into our hotel for rest. In the afternoon, we will leave for Su Taung Pye pagoda to wander the grounds, see the Agga disciple display and join a group sitting with local old students. We will have dinner together back at the hotel in Monywa.
  • Day 12: Maha Ledi Monastery
    This morning we will pay homage to the great Ven. Ledi Sayadaw by meditating at the Maha Ledi Monastery, and offering Sangha dana to the resident monks and current Ven. Ledi Sayadaw. We will have a walking tour of the forest hut and marble tablets containing all of Ven. Ledi Sayadaw’s writings. After lunch, we will have the option to take in some of the famous tourist sites of Monywa like Thanboddhay Pagoda and the Standing Buddha. In the evening we will have dinner and rest at our hotel in Monywa.
  • Day 13: Ledi Sayadaw’s cave and Dhamma Ñaṇadhaja
    After a hearty breakfast, we'll depart for Shwe Taung Oo Pagoda (Ledi cave) and Dhamma Ñaṇadhaja, the Vipassana Center near the cave. Each pilgrim will have the happy opportunity to meditate in Ven. Ledi Sayadaw’s cave and explore the pagoda complex. We will eat lunch at the lovely Dhamma Ñaṇadhaja followed by a group sitting in the pagoda. We will return to the hotel for dinner and rest.
  • Day 14: One day course at Dhamma Ñaṇadhaja
    To help further absorb the experiences of the pilgrimage, we will meditate for one day at the comfortable Dhamma Ñaṇadhaja Vipassana Center near Ledi Sayadaw’s cave in Monywa. We will return to the hotel for dinner and rest.
  • Day 15: Travel to Ingynbin
    We will begin the day early with a group sitting and breakfast followed by a bus trip to Saine Pyin Gyi village, the birthplace of Ven. Ledi Sayadaw. After a celebratory and rare opportunity to join the local village in giving a Sangha Dana to local monks in this most auspicious location, we will enjoy lunch and carry on traveling to Ingyinbin, the location of one of Webu Sayadaw’s monasteries. After settling into the monastery, we will sit together for one hour followed by dinner and rest.
  • Day 16: Webu Sayadaw Monastery at Ingynbin
    Our morning will begin with a group meditation on the grounds of the monastery followed by a tour of important sites within the compound, including Sayagyi U Ba Khin’s room (where he came to Ingynbin to take robes for one week), and Webu Sayadaw’s hut. We’ll then have time to rest and explore the monastery and village, followed by a group sitting together. We will enjoy dinner and a night’s rest within the monastery grounds.
  • Day 17: Farewells
    After breakfast we will travel back to Mandalay where we will visit the Maha Muni Pagoda one last time for our final group sitting together. We will then share a lovely farewell meal together. All onward flights can be booked for the next day out of Mandalay, as we will spend one last night in the hotel in Mandalay.
 view route on Google Maps

Map of Pilgrimage in Burma

Eligibility

Eligibility & Code of Conduct

Pariyatti pilgrims are expected to be serious Vipassana meditators who are committed exclusively to practicing Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka, and have: (click Read More)

Read More

  1. completed (not including service) at least three 10-day Vipassana courses
  2. not practiced any other meditation techniques since their last 10-day course
  3. been practicing this technique of Vipassana for at least one year
  4. attempted to maintain a meditation practice and the five precepts in daily life.

The capable Pilgrim:

  • understands that a Pilgrimage is not a vacation, but rather a serious endeavor that requires both physical and mental stamina. The Pilgrimage process is much more like a Vipassana course, and requires participants to practice awareness and equanimity to everything that they experience both externally and internally.
  • understands that a Pilgrimage is physically demanding. In addition to long hours of sitting, participants will often walk between the various sacred sites and frequently spend long periods of time on bumpy bus rides.
  • understands that it is his/her responsibility is to put up with discomforts and uncertainties as they arise, and also work with his/her inner “storms” in a balanced and responsible manner. Staying back from a day’s activities when feeling unwell, either mentally or physically, is not a loss but will help you recuperate for the rest of the pilgrimage. Pushing your limits is not acceptable as the results affect the entire group.
  • understands that while on a Pilgrimage, limiting speech is the best approach. When speech is necessary, it should be limited to the concerns at hand or to Dhamma-related discussions. This will foster a deeper and more balanced pilgrimage experience.
  • is expected to be firmly committed to daily meditation practice. Group sittings are central to the pilgrimage experience and to fostering unity and harmony with your fellow pilgrims.
  • is expected to be consistent in participating in scheduled group sittings. At the same time, s/he is expected to make sensible choices to maintain one’s physical, emotional and mental health and may choose to meditate on his/her own or to take rest, when needed.
  • is expected to dress modestly and in line with local cultural norms. Shorts, tank tops, and other tight or revealing clothing are not appropriate in the cultural context or while on a Pilgrimage. Clothing which is ideal for the climate meets these requirements, and it is available for minimal cost locally. Please plan ahead to ensure you have appropriate clothing before the pilgrimage starts.
  • is expected to comply with requests made by the Pilgrimage Guide and male/female managers.
  • understands that if s/he is unable to meet this Code of Conduct, s/he may be removed from the pilgrimage, and will be responsible for arranging the return travel.
  • is required to carry travel health insurance.
  • displays conduct that is amenable to group travel and appropriate for the cultural context.

Cost

The Golden Path – Burma: US$2,450 per person. This covers all accommodations, meals, transportation, entry fees, and guide fees. The pilgrimage cost does not include visas, personal travel insurance, cost of airfare to and from Burma, nor additional nights' accommodation at the beginning and end of the pilgrimage. 

Optional Ease into Burma: US$250 per person. If you are able to afford it, we highly recommend it as it will give you time to recover from jet lag and acclimatize to the country before starting your pilgrimage. This includes an airport pickup, transfer to the start of the pilgrimage, and all accommodations, meals, transportation, entry fees, and guide fees for 3 days and 2 nights.

Scholarships & Donations: If you are able to afford the full fees, in the application process you will have the opportunity to consider donating to fund scholarships to support others who cannot afford the full amount. For those who cannot afford the full fees, in the application process you will be asked how much you can afford to pay. 

Anyone wishing to donate to our Pilgrimage Fund is welcome to do so. Contributions to the Pilgrimage Fund will be used to cover the costs of volunteers who help us run the pilgrimages, and also to provide scholarships for those who are unable to afford the full pilgrimage fees. Scholarships are not awarded to cover the costs of the optional Ease into Burma package.

Donate to the Pilgrimage Fund

Guidebook

Golden Path cover

The Golden Path is a unique guide for Dhamma seekers who wish to develop in paṭipatti (practice) and pariyatti (theory) while in Myanmar, as well as to gain an appreciation of Burmese Buddhist and monastic life. Four of the fourteen chapters are completed and released as a free, printable PDF eBook.

Download