Buddhist question

L.S.Cousins L.S.Cousins at NESSIE.MCC.AC.UK
Wed Mar 18 12:03:34 UTC 1998

I am posting a response to Madhav Deshpande's query (appended) about the
Mingun Sayadaw on behalf of Gustaaf Houtman. (I have not tried to edit the
encoding of Burmese.)

Lance Cousins

>Gustaaf Houtman
>Visiting Professor
>Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures
>                                    of Asia and Africa (ILCAA)
>Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
>ghoutman at aa.tufs.ac.jp (until 30 August 1998)
>ghoutman at compuserve.com (permanent)
>Dear Madhav,
>I received your request from Peter Flugel via the Indology list-serv.
>I was not aware that the Mingun had written a controversial work, but below
>is my own summary of his life from my PhD thesis entitled `Ttraditions of
>Buddhist practice in Burma'. London: School of Oriental and African
>1990, pp 289-90.
>Do you have the email of Patrick Pranke? I would very much like to get in
>touch with him. What is he doing now?
>Please do let me know more about yourself and your project!
>Hope to hear from you soon.
>Gustaaf Houtman
>Visiting Professor
>Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures
>                                    of Asia and Africa (ILCAA)
>Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
>ghoutman at aa.tufs.ac.jp (until 30 August 1998)
>ghoutman at compuserve.com (permanent)
>MÏn-g Hsa-ya-daw, Zei-da-wun Mu-l(Na-ra-d
>His biographer (1958: 203-08) gives 107 meditation centres teaching his
>methods, though some of these, e.g. those of the Ma-ha-si and Taung-pu-l
>should now clearly be treated as `new' traditions in their own right.
>1869  Born on 16 January 1869 in Kan-gygÈÏ Village (10 miles north of the
>town Sa-gaÊÏg and west of MÊÏ-gÌé). Named Maung Tha Byýž, he had three
>sisters. His father was from Kyauk-pa-nan Village (1 mile south of
>Kan-gygÈÏ-), and his mother from Kan-gygÈÏ Village.
>1883  He became a novice at age of 14 with Sýž-kKyaÌég Hsa-ya-daw.
>1886  He left monkhood for a while at age 17 when the English took Upper
>Burma, but reentered under a cousin (ta-wun-gwe naung-daw), Hsa-ya-daw
Lek-hka-na, at Man-gystýž-yMonastery, east of Kan-gygÈÏ Village.
>1887  He was ordained a monk in this monastery in 1887 (1249).
>He went to study the scriptures with Ya-zein-dfrom
MÊÏ-gÌé-taung-baw-gyMonastery. Then he went to: Mgaung Monastery in
Mandalay, Dak-hknwun
>Monastery, Mydaung Monastery, and San KyaÌég Monastery. He then went to
>Lower Burma to study with Wei-lwun Hsa-ya-daw in Shwei-daung My He
>returned to MÊÏ-gÌé-taung-baw Monastery where he continued his studies.
>1894  He disrobed after 6 rainy seasons for his sisters.
>1896  He returned to the monkhood after more than a year in 1896, this time
>under the famous A-le-týž-yHsa-ya-daw Myit-zu.
>Na-ra-dfirst developed interest in meditation under A-le-týž-yHsa-ya-daw
>Myit-zu-tha, but the MÊÏ-gÌé Hsa-ya-daw is alleged to have said that
`Myit-zu-tha did not distinguish between this and that method of the
>tha-dpat-htan  practice' (Teik-hka-sa-r1958: 35). When A-le-týž-yasked
>what he wanted, MÊÏ-gÌé replied `neik-ban', to which A-le-týž-yreplied
>with a phrase taken from tha-dpat-htan thok. MÊÏ-gÌé, dissatisfied, went
>on to find out (1958: 36-7).
>1905  At age 37 he moved 4 furlongs west of A-le-týž-yMonastery into his
>own little meditation monastery.
>1908  At age 40 (1908) he became a meditation teacher.
>1911  In 1911 a new meditation centre was built in MyHlby San DÌé
>(named MyHlBo-dgÈÏ Ka-ma-htýÏ Hta-n where he taught meditation for 2
>rainy seasons. He then left for Tha-hton, where the Zei-da-wun Monastery
>built for him. Here he taught and wrote about insight.
>1954  He died 16 May 1954.
>MÊÏ-gÌé Hsa-ya-daw [n.a.] (n.d.)
>Myat Kyaw (1971:359-368): compares Le-di and MÊÏ-gÌé Hs.
>HteHlaing (1981: 434-477)
>HlTha-mein (1961: 143-144)
>Kyaw Nan-dAung (1988:25-50)
>Tha-tha-nWthok-d(1977: 255-266)
>Wthda (1980: hs- z): on the relationship between M. Hsa-ya-daw &
>King (1980: 121, 132).
>Nyanaponika (1962:85-7)
>Than Tun (n.d.: 70)
>>        Does anyone know of biographical or other information about a
>>Burmese Buddhist monk named Thaton Mingun Jetavan Sayadaw?  He is also
>>known by the name U Narada, and was a preceptor of the famous Burmese
>>meditation teacher Mahasi Sayadaw.  Jetavan Sayadaw passed away in 1955.
>>This monk is briefly mentioned by Nyanaponika in his Heart of Buddhist
>>Meditation, but I do not find any further information about him.  This
>>monk wrote a Pali commentary on Milindapanha which was published in 1949.
>>It became immediately controversial because of some of his suggestions for
>>reforms and was banned and destroyed.  A copy of this commentary was given
>>to Late Professor P.V. Bapat in 1952 during his visit to Burma.  In 1968,
>>Bapat gave me this Pali commentary (in Burmese script) and asked me to
>>transcribe it.  Many years ago, I completed the roman transcription of
>>this commentary and I am now working on a brief introduction, before the
>>work is published.  A student of mine, Patrick Pranke, mentioned to me
>>that there are hagiographies of this and other monks in Burmese.  But is
>>there any such material in a western language?  I would appreciate any
>>help from our Buddhism pros on the net.


Email: L.S.Cousins at nessie.mcc.ac.uk

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