January 1, 2016

Sayadaw U Pandita, 1921 – 2016

The Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita died on April 16, 2016. This eminent Dharma master was a key influence on many of IMS’s teachers and played an important role in IMS’s history.

The talks Sayadaw U Pandita gave at IMS in 1984 were later collected in the book In This Very Life: Liberation Teachings of the Buddha. In 1989, Sayadaw taught the first IMS retreat for teens, now an annual offering. He also taught the inaugural period of practice at the Forest Refuge in 2003 and returned there in 2005.

IMS cofounder and guiding teacher Joseph Goldstein wrote, “Sayadaw U Pandita was a powerful influence for so many of us. His great learning and mastery of the teachings set a high bar of aspiration and endeavor, urging us all to realize our highest potentials.”

Sharon Salzberg, also an IMS cofounder and guiding teacher, recalled, “We brought Sayadaw U Pandita to the IMS in 1984, to lead a three-month silent retreat. He turned out to be quite fierce and demanding. He also absolutely brought out my best effort, no holding back, and revitalized my meditation practice.”

IMS teacher Kamala Masters wrote, “Sayadaw U Pandita’s passing away has had a strong yet steadying impact on my heart. It is as if a bright star, like a north star that represents a spiritual compass, fell from the sky and left an empty space there. But then I remember that that star, the Dhamma, is within me, which was one of his strongest and most precious teachings…. He advised us to take the Dhamma as our true refuge, as the Buddha taught as well. We have so much gratitude for the teachings he so tirelessly offered to us during his lifetime.”