January 1, 2013

Sayadaw U Lakkhana, 1935 – 2014

One of Burma’s revered meditation masters, Ven. Sayadaw U Lakkhana, passed away in early June 2014. Instructed by Mahasi Sayadaw and Sayadaw U Pandita, he in turn instructed a number of our own teachers and was a precious link in the chain of teachers who first introduced vipassana (insight) meditation to Western students. His presence and depth of insight will be greatly missed.

IMS teacher Greg Scharf shares a story from Sayadaw’s first visit to both the US and IMS, in 1998: “At that time, I had the pleasure and honor of serving as attendant to Sayadaw U Lakkhana when he came to IMS. Most days, he and I would walk to the meditation hall from our lodgings. At one point, I noticed that Sayadaw was whispering something very quietly as we walked along. As I paid closer attention, I realized that he was saying metta (lovingkindness) phrases in Pali for all the beings that we happened to encounter en route: squirrels, birds, retreatants. It was such a simple, yet moving, example of the quality of kindness that he manifested so effortlessly – the external expression of his internal state.”

(See also Sharon’s piece, How S.N. Goenka Changed My Life – And the Lives of Millions More.)