Translation based on the recorded tapes (Burmese) by Bhikkhu Uttamo
This is a book about two Burmese monks—Thae Inn Gu Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha and Sayadaw U Candima (Sandima). Both of them are well-known meditation teachers in Burma. Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha passed away in 1973 at the age of 60. Sayadaw U Candima is still alive and in his 70. Both of their lives are interesting and give us some Dhamma reflection. They are not scholar monk and even do not know much about the Buddha Dhamma. Before their practices they were just traditional Buddhists and like majority of Buddhists. They are different from the others; it is they have pāramīs from their past lives, strong saṃvega (sense of wise urgency) and can give up their lives for the Dhamma.
Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha was born in 1913 in a village of Maw-be town not fat from Rangoon (Yangon) on the way to Mingaladon Airport. He was named Moung Aung Tun by the parents. When he was young not interested in study and only has very basic education. According to his talk he was married twice and had a wife in his village and the other in Rangoon. He separated his time in these two places. During the time of farming, he stayed at his village. After the cultivation, he lived with the other wife in Rangoon. He lived his life as an alcoholic, gambler, a professional thug and robber. He spent some time in prison for his crimes. At the age of 46, when he was in Rangoon, he went with two accomplices to rob a house at night. It seemed that the owner of the house knew their plans and waited for them with a long knife. When he was leading the others and entering the house and attached by the man inside. The knife fell on his head, and he fell down with his buttock on the floor. The man did not strike again, that they ran out for their lives. He was wearing a hat on that occasion, and it saved his life. This life-threatening incident let him have strong saṃvega. After healing his wounds, he returned to the village with his wife's book, which was about the life and practice of Soon Loon Sayadaw's. From that time on, he observed the nine precepts and confined himself to a room in the village monastery; he then diligently practiced meditation according to the book.
We can read about his life and practice in the following translation of his some Dhamma talks which include four talks here. The first talk had no date and place, but it seems to be at his Thae Inn Gu meditation center in Maw-be. It was requested by a lay disciple, and it took more than three hours long. It mentioned his life from young boy to until his practice up to arahant. The second talk is in 1964 at University Dhammasāla and about the practice from stream enterer to arahant. The last two talks are in 1968 at Mye-nigon Dhammasāla. The first talk on the practice of becoming a sotāpanna and the other to become an arahant.
Sayadaw possessed a clear and good voice. Sometimes his talks were like reciting poems and had a smooth and continuous flow. He knows nothing about the Suttas, and he left it to the reader to decide whether some of his interpretations of the Dhamma are in accordance with the Suttas. Sayadaw talked the Dhamma according to his seeing and understanding.
Sayadaw U Candima (Sandima) was born in 1952 at Ta-khun-dine Village, Ta-nat-pin town, Pe-gu district, north of Rangoon. He has two elder sisters before he was born. So, his mother desired a baby boy. One night during sleep, she had a strange dream. In the dream, the Buddha and some arahants came for alms-food to the house. After she gave the foods to the Buddha and waiting for the monk to open his bowl cover. Then the monk opened the bowl and took a baby from inside and gave it to her. She received it with her shoulder cloth and looked the baby. It was a boy, and it made her in joy. Then she woke up from the dream. At the young age, he was a genius and had a highly developed mind. At the age of five or six, every day at night he asked his mother to light a candle on the shine for him. He would sit cross-legged in front of the Buddha statue for some time every day. He went to bed in this way. Furthermore, he saw people around him suffered from ageing, sickness and death which made him sadness and fright. Likewise, he asked his mother how to overcome these human sufferings. At the age of 10 or 11, one day he went inside an empty clothes cupboard and laying down there. He imagined himself as a dead person and reflecting as one day I would also die in this way. He saw his body slowly becoming bloated and loathsome. A very strong putrid smell came out from the body and becoming unbearable for him. After he let go of his mind, and it became normal again.
He finished his high school, but we do not know he continued to his study or not. At the age of 23, his mother engaged a village girl for him. Then one day, his family members took him to Mingaladon (an area where Rangoon Airport exists) where a Thae Inn Gu branch monastery has offered a nine days retreat for temporary ordained monks. They did not tell him anything about it. Sayadaw did not make the reason behind this matter very clear. To me, that looks a lot like the Thai tradition; men are ordained as monks for a short period of time before they start their family life. But anyhow, after the nine days retreat, he continued his monk life for life. He practiced diligently over one year and entered the stream. It was quite remarkable because he knew nothing about the Dhamma on practice and did not have a qualified teacher to train him.
We can read about his life and practice in the following translation of his some Dhamma talks and some samādhi teachings he trained the yogis. After the practice, he kept quiet about it for 20 years without giving talks or teaching people. Now he has his own meditation center in Aung-Lan town, Pye District, north of Rangoon (in the British Colonial time known as Prome City).
These two biographies can be called audio—autobiographies. It is very rare to read someone's practice in such detail as this, from sotāpanna to arahant. U Candima talked about his practice even more details. Their lives and practices are inspiring for all Buddhists. The teachings of the Buddha and ancient Chinese sages not only changed some people to become great men and women in the past but also up to this present day. It is only if we take these teachings faithfully and seriously and put it into action. It will improve our lives and develop our mind. At the end, I will make an overview reflection on their lives and practices. Mogok Sayādawgyi’s Dhamma talks help me a lot to understand the Dhamma clearly and profoundly. I hope that these translations of the Dhamma will help Buddhist practitioners understand the essence of the Four Noble Truths and their practice.
Here I want to express my thank and gratitude to people who help and support me in this project—Nanda, A-Liang, Mun-A et al. Without them it will not come into existence.
revised on 2022-07-20
- Content of "Two Sides of A Coin" (Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha)
- Content of "A Noble Search" (Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Candima)
- Content of Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha and Sayadaw U Candima
- Content of Publications of Bhikkhu Uttamo
According to the translator—Bhikkhu Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.