History of Sagaing
According to Myanmar legend, the Buddha himself
visited Sagaing Hills. The 99 ogres of Sagaing Hills became the disciples of
Lord Buddha and reached the state of Sotapanna, the first stage on the path
to Nirvana. These 99 disciples built a pagoda enshrining the lower robe of Lord
Buddha. The head of the ogres was known by the name Zeta. Therefore, his pagoda
was named "Zetawun".
During the Pagan Era, the revered Buddhist monk
"Shin Arahan" came to Sagaing Hills. He was the one who started Theravada
Buddhism in Myanmar. He stayed at Anuruddha Kyaung, under the patronage of King
Anawratha. Sagaing has a very strong religious past. Looking back at the history
of Sagaing, there were 9 original Kyaungs or monastries, Zetawun Pagoda, Shin
Arahan ordination hall, and other buildings for the initiation of adult monks.
Pariyatti, the theorical aspect of Buddhism, flourished
in Sagaing starting with the Vinayalankara, the sub-commentary on Monastic Code
of Displine, by Taungphila Sayadaw. Also, during Myanmar's Pinya Era, the well
known Shin Ariyavamsa composed the Manisaramanusa, a subcommentary on Tigakyaw
and Manidipa, the subcommentary on Mulatika. These two treaties concern Abhidhamma
doctrine. Ashin Varatejo, the abbot of Tilokaguru monastery, composed the subcommentary
on Mahaparitta. The author monk at the time of writing this was only 25 years
old, and in his 5th year of monkhood. By and by, the Pali Sutta,
Vinaya, and Abhidhamma Pitkas came to be subjects of superb scholarship in Sagaing.
Patipatti, the practical application of the Buddha's
teachings, were exemplified by such notable monks as Mahagandayon Sayadaw and
Yatana Htut Khaung Sayadaw. In this way, Sagaing hills became a flourishing
ground for the practice as well as the study of Buddhism. Monasteries, besides
being holy places, are focal points of academic study. It is therefore fitting
that Sitagu International Buddhist Academy gas come into being, along the same
traditional lines as the glorious Buddhist Institutions of Sagaing's and Myanmar's
The Sitagu Water Donation Project
Sagaing is located in the dry zone of Myanmar, and
for centuries, residents have had to rely on collected rain water to satisfy
their daily needs. The Sitagu Water Donation Project was begin in 1982 to alleviate
water shortages experienced by the monasteries and nunneries in the Sagaing
Hills. Over the past seventeen years, ten water reservoirs have been built which
are supplied with water from the Ayeyarwady River by means of ten of water-pumps
of thirty horse-power each. The pumps are housed in three water-pump stations,
and the entire network is connected by over 250,000 feet, or more than 47 miles
of water pipe. From the Zedi Hla Pagoda in the south, to the Padamya Pagoda
in the north, and flanked by the Minwun Ridge in the west, the water supply
systems covers an area of eight square miles, and supplies over 500,000 gallons
of water per day to more than 8,000 monks, novices and nuns living in some 870
monasteries and nunneries. The Water Donation Project has yet to reach approximately
fifty monasteries and nunneries in the area, but construction is nearly complete
on an eleventh water reservoir and a new water-pump station.
Sitagu Ayudana Hospital
More info on Sitagu Ayudana Hospitals
Construction began on the Sitagu Ayudana Hospital
in 1985, and the hospital opened in 1989. The hospital now has one hundred beds,
including those in the VIP, eye patient, and infectious disease wards. The out-patient
department (OPD) and in-patient wards are housed in seven buildings. Besides
these, the hospital boasts a modern laboratory, an X-ray hall, a general operation
theatre, an eye operation theater, an indigenous medicine clinic, a training
center, a museum, a library, a computer office, an administrative office, guest
hostels which include a VIP section, staff quarters, and a Buddha-shrine hall.
On average, the hospital treats sixty in-patients and two hundred and fifty
out-patients per day, and since its inception has provided health care to over
100,000 individuals. Over the last nine years, the hospital staff has grown
to more than seventy persons, including doctors, nurses and general personnel.
Medical specialists from Mandalay also kindly donate their services on a weekly
basis in the areas of general medicine, surgery, urology, dentistry, orthopedics,
and in the treatment of diabetes and heart disease.
The eye treatment department in particular is equipped
with technically advanced instruments for both the surgical extraction of cataracts,
and for their removal without surgery through use of laser equipment. In addition,
for the past four years the hospital has organized a special medical program
in the month of December during which time eye specialists from England and
the United States are invited to performed cataract operations in which hundreds
of patients are given intra-ocular-lenses. The special program has been expanded
this year to included two sessions, the first being held in October and the
second in December. It is planned that this very successful medical program
will be continued on a yearly basis.
Sitagu International Buddhist Academy
Sagaing is a town noted for its tradition in the
history of Buddhism. The glory of Sagaing is the countless pagodas and monasteries
of Sagaing Hills. Sagaing is a unique place in the Buddhist world, as well as
in Myanmar's place of extraordinary tranquility and beauty.
In the current era, another addition to the unique
grandeur of Sagaing hills is underway, the "Sitagu International Buddhist
Academy." The founder is the revered preacher monk, the Venerable Sitagu
Sayadaw. Such a religious university fits in nicely with splendor of the hills
famed for the study and practice of Buddhism. At present there are over 900
monasteries with over 9,000 monks and novices, as well as numerous nunneries
and lay meditation centers. All of these institutions will be complemented wonderfully
by the Academy.
The term 'academy' comes from the Latin word 'akademial,'
the garden or olive grove that had been owned by Akademus, a gallant hero of
the Trojan War. In its broadest definition, it is an institution for literary,
artistic, musical, or scientific pursuits.
The original Academy was a school in which the ancient
Greek philosopher Plato taught during 400 B.C. Plato and his pupils would discuss
many different subjects, such as mathematics, natural science, and good government.
After Plato died, the Academy was carried on by his followers and successors.
It lasted until A.D. 529, when the Roman Emperor Justinian caused it to be shut
down. It was the ancestor of all later Western colleges and universities.
Gradually the term acquired the meaning of a higher
school, and in that sense, it was used by Ptolemy I in Alexandria, Spanish Muslim
caliphs, Charlemagne, Alfred the Great, and others.
At the close of Middle Ages, academies began to
be formed in Italy, first for the study of classical, and then Italian literature.
One of the earliest was the Platonic Academy founded in Florence in 1442 by
Cocimo de Medici.
Since the founding of Buddhism over 2,500 years
ago, Buddhist monasteries have been key institutions in the preservation and
transmission of much of Asia vast religious, intellectual and cultural heritage.
From them grew the ancient and classical universities of India and Central Asia,
the Mahayanist college of Tibet, China, Korea and Japan, and the great Theravada
scholastic centers of Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Although
varied in their sectarian and national affiliations, Buddhist monasteries throughout
the centuries have carried on the burden of learning and teaching for the benefit
of the world.
Inspired by the accomplishments of the past and
looking forward into the future, in 1994, the Sitagu Association, headed by
the Venerable Sitagu Sayadaw, Ashin Nyanissara, launched the construction of
Sitagu International Buddhist Academy with the aim of propagating the Three-fold
Saddhamma of scriptural study (pariyatti), Buddhist practice (patipatti) and
realization of the Dhamma (pativedha) in the contemporary world. With this project
the Sitagu Association intends to create a world-class modern educational institution
designed to provide undergraduate and graduate level training in Buddhist Studies
and related academic subjects to qualified monks, nuns and lay persons.
The Academy Campus
The campus of Sitagu International Buddhist Academy
is situated just beneath the Swam-oo Ponnya-shin Pagoda in the narrow plain
separating the western-most spur of the Sagaing Hills and the Minwun ridge.
Thus far, twelve buildings have been completed which serve a variety of functions,
such as classrooms, offices, a research center, and library; these include the
Adhipati Kyaung (Chancellor's Office), Savatti/Hall, Kappila-vatthu Hall, Lombini
Hall, Nalanda Hall, Gandhaya Hall, Rajagaha Hall, Devadaha Hall, Gaya Hall,
Uruvela Hall, Magadha Hall and Vesali Hall. Construction is underway to complete
three residences for the Rector, Registrar and General Manager by the end of
Sitagu International Buddhist Academy will be organized
into three faculties:
- Faculty of Dhamma
- Faculty of Vinaya
- Faculty of Dhammaduta Training.
Each of these faculties will be arranged into a
number of departments as outlined below.
- The Faculty of Dhamma will be comprised of four departments:
A. Language Studies Department; B. Buddhist Studies Department; C. Abhidhamma
Studies Department; and D. Research Department.
- The Faculty of Vinaya will be comprised of four departments:
A. Vinicchaya Department; B. Bhikkhu Training Department; C. History and
Culture Department; D. Devotional Practice Department.
- The Faculty of Dhammaduta Training will be comprised of
three departments: A. Religious Department; B. Mission History Department;
and C. Missionary Training Department.
Diploma and Degree Programs
The Academy will conduct courses and provide facilities
for research in approved fields of study for the following Diploma and Degree
Diploma in Language Studies
Diploma in Buddhist Studies
B.A. Degree in Buddhist Studies
M.A. Degree in Buddhist Studies and
Doctorate Degree in Buddhist Studies
Teacher Training Program
Besides the several internationally trained monastic
and lay scholars already conducting preliminary courses on campus, the Academy
is engaged in an ongoing teacher training program in which promising young scholar-monks
holding Dhammacariya degrees in such areas as Sanskrit, Indian philosophy, the
history of Indian and world-religions, and other disciplines related to the
field of Buddhist Studies. These monks will form the core of the faculty as
the Academy expands its academic program.
Admission to Sitagu International Buddhist Academy
is open to any student--bhikkhu, novice, nun or lay person--who holds a Dhammacariya
or equivalent degree from an accredited university. The Academy maintains a
policy of non-discrimination, and qualified students are welcome regardless
of race, creed, nationality or gender.
Sitagu Buddhist Vihara and American Monasteries
In 1994, the Venerable Ashin Nyanissara founded
the Theravada Dhamma Society of America (TDSA) in Austin, Texas. The society
is organized into an Oversight Committee (Oosaung Aphwe) and an Executive Committee
(Aloap Amhu-Saung Aphwe) consisting of five monks and fifteen lay persons. TDSA
purchased fifteen acres of land outside the city of Austin, and named the monastery
the Sitagu Buddha Vihara.
In the summer of 1998, the monastery's ordination
ground (sima) was consecrated, and construction began on an eighty foot pagoda
which , when finished, will resemble the famous Shwezigon Pagoda at Nyaung Oo,
Myanmar. The pagoda will occupy the center of the vihara compound and will be
flanked on each of its four sides by small monastic residences. In addition,
a dining hall and separate meditation huts are planned. The pagoda itself will
contain thirty-seven meditation cells on its lower terrace, and its second and
third terrace will have a preaching hall and a Buddha shrine room.
In addition to the Austin site there are two other affiliated branch monasteries in America,
the Sitagu Dhamma Vihara in Maplewood, MN, and the Dhammaloka
Buddhist Society in Miramar, FL.
The Sitagu Association is a private not-for-profit
organization, whose several charitable projects are supported entirely by private
donation. The good works performed thus far over the last eighteen years have
been made possible through generosity of countless kind donors of many faiths.
Persons interested in contributing to the maintenance and progress of any of
the Association's worthy projects may send their inquiries to:
Sitagu International Buddhist Academy
Sagaing Hills, Sagaing
Union of Myanmar
Sayadaw's Office - Telefax: 0095-72-22066
Chancellor Sitagu Sayadaw - Home Phone : 95 -72 - 22044
Chancellor Sitagu Sayadaw - Cellular : 09 - 519 9991
Rector Sayadaw - : 072-21610
Registrar Sayadaw - : 072-22065
Administrator Sayadaw -Telefax : 072-21587
Information & Reception- : 072-21611
Sayadaw's Office - : 072-22066
Teachers & Guests Hall - : 072-22260
Ayudana Hospital- : 072-21310
Sitagu Monastery (East) : 072-21270
Sitagu International Buddhist Missionary Centre
# 10 Corner of Pinlone Street & Parami Street
Ex-change : 0095-1-581582
Reception : 0095-1-581777
Sitagu Sayadaw - (YGN) : 0095-1-581999
Theravada Dhamma Society of America
9001 Honeycomb Drive
Austin, Texas 78737
Telefax: (512) 301-3968