Early Monk Pictures

I recently turned 49 and I found some old pictures of myself that I thought I would share. It is very difficult to get older pictures of myself because it was before the digital picture revolution. In those days, we used to hire (through a helper) the man known as “photoman” who had a camera and would take one single picture and then sell the prints for about $1 each. It was very expensive for locals to develop a whole role of film and this was how it was done. The first picture exists only as a scan from a […]

Meditation or Religious Visas

New Update and Summary: Myanmar Visas in the USA now only take 4 business days (It used to be of 3 Months). See Religious Visa application for USA Embassy:  http://www.mewashingtondc.org/sites/default/files/pdf/visa/Religious-Visa-Forms.pdf Visa cost is $50 valid for 3 months (arrive before 3 months) and stay permit of 70 days Sponsor letter, Payment, application form, work history, and passport are needed. Verify all of this at the Myanmar Embassy in DC at +1 202-238-9332 http://www.mewashingtondc.org/content/visa-and-permanent-residency What Is a Meditation Visa? Many people are not aware that there is a thing called a Meditation or Religious visa.  This visa is renewable and allows […]

Racism in Asia, Myanmar, and Monasteries

Racism in Asia, Myanmar and Monasteries I remember when I came to Sri Lanka, in 2007 and I met a monk who said he was from Slovenia. “Slovenia? What kind of country is that?” I told him that I had memorized the world map in school, but I didn’t remember any “Slovenia.” There happened to be a large world map in the other room and he called me over to see it. He pointed to his country and a bunch of other new countries a few centimeters away. At that time, I had been a monk for 6 years and […]

Maymo Pa-Auk (Pyin Oo Lwin)

A Brief Return to Pa-Auk Maymyo (pyin oo lwin). In 2012 I had left my home at Nauyana, Sri Lanka to reconnect with my teacher Pa-Auk Saydawgyi in his spank’in new meditation center. It was built by a Myanmar Billionaire, and was still being finished as we were coming to the grand opening retreat. The climate was nice and cool and the food was exceptional. However one of the faults was that it was really close to a major road, in a spot where the truck shift gears and accelerate. They can be very loud and the sounds bounce off […]

Why Are The Monks Fighting Over Food?

  I cannot believe that I am writing an article that explains how the monks are fighting over food. It is very awkward to hear isn’t it? On the other hand human nature is human nature. We have six monks who sit at each table and sometimes there is not enough of the special items to go around. And that is when the fighting begins… But it is not what you think. It is sort of like my grandmother fighting with me over food. “You take it!” “No you take it!” “Com’on, I know you want it. You take it.” […]

License to Spill (Myanmar Thingyan, New Year)

In the eight plus years that I have lived in Myanmar, I have never seen the Thingyan Water Festival festivities happening in the street. I normally spend my time in the monastery and normally, if I went on alms, it would be early in the morning. However, our Kyownpine monastery goes out on alms round a little later so we can collect real food to actually eat a little bit easier (so the donors have time to cook). Because of this, I was able to see the “License to Spill” in action for first time. I was able to witness […]

Pa-Auk Monastery in Mudon

Kyownpine Pa-Auk Branch Monastery in Mudon, Myanmar. I have moved to Yorgo Sayadaw ‘s new monastery called Kyownpine. The Yorgo Sayadaw read my first ordination transaction 15 years ago and invited me to come. He speaks no English, but we have fun together. Such a lovely place, lots of Metta here. Good views, cool at night (75 degrees), nice kuti. This place is suitable for foreigners to live at complete with proper vinaya (monks’ rules). The food is collected from village Pindapata. I have been helping collect the food with three other monks. A truck follows us and sometimes up […]