Kyaswa Monastery Foreign Yogis Retreat 2015

01/11/2015 03:00 PM - 01/31/2015 11:00 AM MMT


Longer Retreats


  • $795.00  -  Basic expenses
  • $915.00  -  Basic expenses with 15 % donation
  • $995.00  -  Basic expenses with 25 % donation


Location: Kyaswa Monastery
Sagaing Hills


Three-week meditation retreat in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw, taught by Steven Smith, Michele McDonald, and Sayadaw U Pannabhinanda.
Location: Kyaswa Monastery, Sagaing Hills, Myanmar.




Kyaswa Monastery Foreign Yogis Retreat
January 11, 2015 to January 31, 2015

Location: Kyaswa Monastery, Sagaing Hills, Myanmar


An annual three-week meditation retreat in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw, it's taught this year by Steven Smith, Michele McDonald, and Sayadaw U Pannabhinanda. It's primarily offered to foreigners who have had dedicated experience in this tradition.


During this retreat, guidance in both Satipatthana Vipassana and Brahma Vihara meditation will be offered. About 14 hours of sitting and walking periods are scheduled each day, and retreatants are expected to maintain continuity of the practice at other times as well. The schedule is intense, with the wakeup bell at 3:30 am, and with all sitting and walking periods one hour long. A Dhamma discourse is given each day and interviews with the teachers every second day. At the heart and root of this meditation practice, the serenity of Kyaswa Monastery provides a pure container for the heart to open, and awareness to rise. 


For complete details, contact the retreat manager at




Sayadaw U Paññananda was born in  1958 in Dawei, Myanmar. He received higher ordination at the age of twenty. He earned the Sasanadhaja Dhammacariya degree in Pali scriptures.  From 1982 to 1994 Sayadaw was a Dhamma Lecturer in Myanmar. In addition, he taught Pariyatti at Mahabodhi Pariyatti Temple in Yankin Township, Yangon until 1994. In 1994, Sayadaw practised Vipassana Meditation at Panditarama Shwe Taung Gon Sasana Yeiktha, Yangon under the overall guidance of Ovadacariya Sayadawgyi U Panditabhivamsa. After his practice and further study under Sayadaw-gyi U Panditabhivamsa's guidance, Sayadaw U Pannananda taught Vipassana Meditation and gave Dhamma talks as an assistant meditation teacher while living at Panditarama Yangon.In 2012, Sayadaw U Pannananda was sent by Sayadaw-gyi U Panditabhivamsa to his  present assignment as  Kammatthanacariya or meditation teacher in Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre, Penang.


Steven Smith co-founded Vipassana Hawai'i in 1984 and in 1995 founded the MettaDana Project for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995 Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. This partnership helped usher in the beginnings of Vipassana Hawai'i's Fusion Dhamma approach combining traditional and contemporary teaching styles in the same retreat. Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, he was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven divides his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) meditation retreats around the world, and assisting Burmese refugee communities along the Thai-Burma border. His long term vision for preserving the Dhamma is culminating in the beginnings of the Hawai'i Insight Meditation Center (HIMC) on the Big Island of Hawai'i's remote North Kohala coast.



Michele McDonald: Michele co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 with Steven Smith. She has taught Insight meditation for thirty two years. Beyond her commitment to the Vipassana Hawai’i Sangha, she teaches extensively throughout the United States, in Canada, Burma, and various locations around the world. Michele has been a quiet pioneer having being the first woman to teach a formal retreat in Burma, side-by-side with a senior monastic figure, Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. Having worked with a wide range of Asian and Western teachers, Michele is most inspired by her practice with Dipa Ma and Sayadaw U Pandita and more recently in Burma with the Mya Taung Sayadaw. She appreciates teaching at many levels of practice and has enjoyed teaching three-month retreats for experienced students as well as developing meditation retreats for youth. Her style of teaching emphasizes helping individuals find entry points into stillness that are natural for them. She encourages an understanding of the path of insight and a gentle strengthening of mindfulness and concentration so that, ultimately, people can access the peaceful depths of their experience in every moment. Michele is thrilled when students begin to love their practice.





Fees will be used for the transportation costs of teachers and translators, the many miscellaneous costs associated with organizing the retreat, and unanticipated yogi needs that cannot be provided by the

monastery. The fee for this retreat is offered in three tiers - please consider which option best works for you. 


For those who can offer more than basic fees we thank you for your generosity. The additional monies will be used to fund our humanitarian aid projects in Burma and our retreat scholarship fund, and to support Vipassana Hawaii's operating expenses.

  • $795 covers our basic expenses to operate the retreat.
  • $915 covers basic retreat expenses and includes a 15% donation to the aforementioned funds.
  • $995 covers basic retreat expenses and includes a 25% donation to to the aforementioned funds.

(Please click the %donation button to add your contribution automatically.)


Space is limited to 20 retreatants.  In order to confirm your space in the Kyaswa retreat, we must receive the full registration fee at the time of registration. All registration and payment is now by Credit Card unless you make other arrangements with the retreat manager.


For further information and all communications:  Please contact the retreat manager:


We are excited about your interest in the retreat!

Thank you.  With metta from all of us at Vipassana Hawai‘i.



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