Biography of Ashin Mahosadha Pandita
Sayadaw Ashin Mahosadha Pandita was born on February 5th, 1942 in Ba-Shoe village, Butalin Township, in the District of Monywa, Sagaing Division. He was the youngest of the six children of U Htwe and Daw Ngwe Yon.
In 1952, at the age of 11, he was admitted to Mahagandayon Monastery, in the city of Amarapura, to study under the great master Sayadaw Ashin Janakabhivamsa, well known for his work on the Bartha Tika (a subcommentary to the Tipitika).
At the age of 17, he passed the first, second, and third grade novice examinations given by the Mandalay Pariyatti Association in one stroke. He was awarded the highest title for a novice, Pariyatti Sassana Lankara Samanekyaw. In 1962, at the age of twenty, he was ordained a monk under the preceptorship of Sayadaw Ashin Janakabhivamsa, (Aggamahapandita, and Vice President of the Shwegyin sect of the Burmese sangha).
After he completed two vassa (rainy season retreats) as a monk, he passed the Pathamange, Pathamalat, Pathamagyi and Dhammacariya (Master of Dhamma) examinations given by the Burmese government. He was awarded the honorary title of Sasanadhaja Dhammacariya.
He served as a teaching lecturer for the monks in Mahagandayon Monastery and also in We-Za-Yantar Kyaung, Sagaing Hills, for thirty years. He was nominated by the Mingun Tipitika Sayadaw and the Sitagu Sayadaw to the Malun Dhammakathika (Preaching Lecturership) for the Conference of Malun Sun-Hlu A-thin. (Malun Rice Offering Association).
In March 3rd, 1987, at the age of 45 he took an trip to five countries and resided in Makudarama Monastery, Colombo, Sri Lanka, for three years (until 1990). During these four years, he renovated several old monasteries, built the Hna-Kyaik-Shit-Su Ganda-Kuti Kyaung and an entry gate for the kyaung with the help of Burmese people working in Sri Lanka in the shipping industry, for the United Nations, and in other capacities. Thus, he completed the Burmese monastery owned by Burmese in Sri Lanka.
He was invited to do missionary work in New York City by the America-Burma Buddhist Association and Sayadaw Ashin Indaka, and came to the USA in March of 1991. He completed missionary work with Sayadaw Ashin Indaka and U Abayalinkarra and established a branch of the New York Buddhist monastery in New Jersey.
Sayadaw U Kelasa, abbot of Mangalarama Monastery, Washington, D.C., became ill with leukemia, and in October of 1995 invited Sayadaw Ashin Mahosadha Pandita to Washington to do missionary work. They worked together for 1 year and 24 days, until Sayadaw U Kelasa passed away. Before his death, U Kelasa asked him to establish the Ashin Kelasa Monastery in the Washington area. When Sayadaw passed away, Ashin Mahosadha Pandita rented a small townhouse in the District of Columbia and continued the missionary work of Ashin Kelasa. When all necessary funds were accumulated, he puchased land in Baltimore (9711 Old Court Rd, Baltimore, Maryland) to establish the Ashin Kelasa Monastery. Sayadaw moved to the Old Court Road monastery on March 9, 1997. He not only founded the monastery, but also brought a marble curving of the Buddha from Burma (7feet high, chest width 3 feet 6inches, and knee-to-knee width 4 feet) so that all Burmese Buddhists residing in America may pay homage to the Buddha.
In March 30, 2000, Sayadaw Ashin Nyanisara, Sitagu Sayadaw requested him to come to Sitagu Buddhist Vihara in Austin, TX to conduct missionary work. At Sitagu Buddhist Vihara he started a Sunday meditation class for all nationalities, and taught Buddhism to young adults and children. He also gave Dhamma talks occasionally. Sitagu Sayadaw has a project to build a replica of the Shwezigon Pagoda of Bagan, Burma in Texas on the Vihara's sixteen acres. Sayadaw Ashin Mahosadha Pandita undertook that project and has been doing all the necessary ground work with the city of Austin for water and sewage needs ever since.
From November 11, 2002 to December 21, 2005, he went back to Burma and upon Sitagu Sayadaw's request he took up the Administrator's position at the Sitagu International Buddhist Academy in Sagaing Hills. During that time he also taught the Pāli Diploma Class for elementary and intermediate students. The students include novices, monks, nuns and lay people.
He has also written articles on the Dhamma in Dhamma Byu-Har magazine. He has written poetries and dhamma stories in newspaper, journals and magazines in Burma. He has been the managing editor of Loka Chantha Magazine, Mingalar Journal, Kelasa Journal and News from Sitagu Vihara, published in the United States. To date, he has written seven books in Burmese:
- Experience and View of Life (5000 copies)
- Morning Admonition of Ashin Janakabhivamsa (4th edition )
- Mahagandayon Sayadaw Ashin Janakabhivamsa
- Poems on the Beautiful Golden Son
- Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta
- Memorial Letters
- Commentary on the New Maghadeva Lanka (0ver 400 Pages )
- Susan Hart and Sitagu Sayadaw
For his endeavors for thirty years in the areas of teaching, and writing on Buddhism, and for his missionary work, in 2004 the government offered him its highest honor of Aggamaha-gantha-vasaka-pandita, and in 2007, Aggamahapandita ("Great Chief Pundit"). Today, he resides in the Sitagu Buddhist Vihara in Austin, Texas. [Burmese Version]