The following is the extract taken from the pilgrimage led by Goenkaji and Mataji, along with
many hundreds of Vipassana
students from all over the world, undertook in January 2000, as an acknowledgement of Sayagui U Ba Khin's
First off, the pilgrims meditated at Dhamma Joti, followed by gathering at Shwedagon
pagoda, the largest and most revered pagoda in Myanmar, which
enshrines hair relics of the Buddha, to meditate during the early morning. Meditators
then proceeded to the International
Meditation Centre in northern Yangon to meditate at Sayagyi U Ba Khin's centre
where Gogenkaji learnt Vipassana.
Leaving Yangon, the pilgrims next destination was a small village on the
opposite bank of Yangon river, called Dalla. Here, they visited the meditation
centre established by Saya Thetgyi (U Ba Khin's teacher), the first lay
teacher of Vipassana in Myanmar.
Further from Yangon is the famous Kyaiktiyo Hill, where a
pagoda stands atop a balancing rock on the edge of a cliff. After the exertion
of climbing the hill, all tiredness was removed by meditating in an atmosphere
charged with the pure vibrations of Dhamma.
The pilgrims proceeded northward to Mandalay. There they meditated at the Dhamma
Mandapa centre and the Mahamuni Pagoda, and visited the Sagaing Hills where for
centuries Vipassana has been practiced.
The pilgrims visited sites associated with Ledi Sayadaw, who was responsible
for the rebirth and spread of Vipassana in modern times. They went to Monywa and
the nearby Ledi village, where he was born and taught Dhamma, and they also saw
the hillside cave where he used to meditate. In addition, in Kyaukse they
visited the monastery of Webu Sayadaw, a revered monk of recent years who gave
so much encouragement and inspiration to Sayagyi.
A few of the pilgrims went to Mogok to meditate at the two Vipassana
there, Dhamma Ratana and Dhamma Makuta. In this city famed for its gems of ruby,
they experienced the gem of Dhamma in all its splendor. The return journey
southward led through the historic city of Pagan, ancient capital and city of
pagodas, which left an indelible impression.All arrived back in Yangon feeling joyful though tired by the journey.
The following is a personal account of two
meditators who went along the pilgrimage.