Description: The meditation centre is situated at the northern periphery of Yangon, about 20 minutes from the airport, not far from the well-know Shwe U Min meditation centre. Accommodation is in kutis (bungalows with two rooms, shower/toilet) or in single rooms with attached shower/toilet in the new 'Sangha-Gonye' building. There are several meditation halls, one of them is in the upper storey of the 'Sangha-Gonye' building, which was especially built for the foreign meditators.
Spiritual guidance: Sayadaw U Indaka was born in1952. At a young age he entered the local monastery as a novice. Later he changed to the famous Mahagandhayon monastery in Amarapura where also his brother was staying. In 1972, he was ordained as a monk by Mahagandhayon Sayadaw. He finished his studies of the Buddhist scriptures by passing the Dhammacariya exam. Thereafter he taught the Buddhist scriptures for ten years.
In 1976, he practised vipassana meditation at the Mahasi Meditation Centre in Mandalay under the guidance of Chanmyay Sayadaw. Some years later he went to the Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre in Yangon where he was asked by Chanmyay Sayadaw to guide the meditators in their practice. In 1996, Chanmyay Sayadaw sent him to the newly established Chanmyay Yeiktha in Hmawbi where he took up the role as the abbot and meditation teacher.
Since 2004 he lives in his centre at the outskirts of Yangon and guides both local and foreign meditators in their meditation practice.
Sayadaw U Indaka has written several books. His book about the practice of lovingkindness (metta) has been translated into English and German. The book on the enlightenment factors is currently being translated into English and German.
Sayadaw U Janaka was born in 1928 and is still in good health. He speaks English very well. He has been a meditation teacher since 1967. First in the Mahasi Center and from 1977 in his own center. Since 1981 he goes abroad twice yearly to teach meditation courses in various countries.
How to get there: A taxi from the city center is about US$ 15, from the airport about US$ 10. From the city center (Sule pagoda) there are also public busses. From the bus stop it is only 2 minutes walk to the centre.
Meditation technique: Based on Mahasi Sayadaws method of Vipassana meditation/insight meditation. Formal meditation is in turn sitting and walking; durations are adjusted according to individual level. Primary object of meditation is the rising and falling of the abdomen. Much value is placed on the development of a continuous and uninterrupted mindfulness in all activities of daily life, that is, all activities outside of formal meditation. Hence all movements during eating, dressing, getting up etc. are done consciously slowly in order to be mindful at any given moment.
Language(s): Instructions, talks, and interviews are given by Sayadaw U Indaka and are translated into English by a translator. The Swiss nun Ven. Ariya Ñani is usually at the centre during the cool season (December to March). Therefore, instructions, talks, and interviews can be translated into German and French. It is also possible to get teachings directly from her. Please inquire whether she is at the centre or not.
Course duration and dates: Since there are no group retreats, no dates need to be observed. You can start a retreat at any time. Minimum stay is 10 days, no upper limit. Special arrangements can be made in advance.
Lodging: Meditators are accommodated either in kutis (bungalows) with two rooms each and shower/toilet or in the single rooms with attached shower/toilet in the 'Sangha-Gonye' building. Each room contains a bed, a drawer, and a table. Mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket, mosquito net and thermos are provided by the center. All room have fine mesh windows against mosquitoes.
What to bring: Insect repellant (the area around Yangon is malaria-free), personal medications, warm sweater and socks for the cool season (December to February), sitting cushion. Most items of daily use such as soap, toothpaste, flashlight, and batteries are available in Yangon.
Food: Daily two full meals. Breakfast is at 5:30 a.m. (full meal with fried rice or noodles and noodle soup as well as fruit, cake, coffee, tea) and lunch at 10:30 a.m. (rice with five to seven different curries, fruit, desserts). You can choose between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. In the evenings, fruit juice is served around 5 p.m. You can fill your thermos with hot water during mealtimes. Clean, filtered drinking water is available.
Costs: The center is operated on the basis of donations. (Credit cards and travellers' cheques cannot be accepted.)
Medical care: Medical doctors visit the center regularly to treat the meditators for free. Western and traditional Burmese drugs are available.
Rules and clothing: All meditators practice from 4 a.m. to at least 9:30 p.m. and must observe the eight percepts. Temporary ordination is possible for women and men. During the retreat meditators keep noble silence and do not read and write (except short notes for the individual interviews). Walks outside the center are not allowed and leaving the center during retreat is only allowed in emergencies. Therefore, you should provide for all contingencies ahead of time. International calls can be made and received, but only in emergencies. Burmese yogi attire is recommended: white/light blouse or T-shirt and brown longyi (sarong) for women, white/light shirt or T-shirt and brown longyi for men. You can buy these things there easily and at a good price, or you can borrow these clothes from the centre.
Climate and best time to go: Tropical climate, best during the cool season (December to February).
Immigration: Visa mandatory. Tourist visa is valid for four weeks. If you want to enter with a meditation visa, you must ask for a so-called sponsorship letter from the center or from Ven. Ariya Ñani which must be sent to the embassy of the Union of Myanmar together with the visa application. For processing, reckon on about three months. Visa extensions are only possible for meditation visas. Take sufficient passport photos (about 10) for the various forms. Those who enter the country with a tourist visa and stay longer than four weeks can pay 'overstay' at the airport when leaving the country. For each day one has overstayed one pays 3 US$.
Note: Please inquire whether Sayadaw U Indaka and/or Ven. Ariya Ñani are in the centre. Both travel abroad each year.