He teaches the practitioner to cultivate the jhānas, ideally by using the whole range of objects of concentration meditation—one after the other, from the breath, to the thirty-two body parts, to the disks of colored earth, called kasiṇas, and so forth. His book The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw University of Chicago Press, 2013 explores the origins of mass insight meditation in Burma. Since 1994, the Chogye-jong central administration has taken control of some of these sites and has used the wealth for the education of the sangha. In the first book to examine how this practice came to play such a dominant and relatively recent role in Buddhism, Erik Braun takes readers to Burma, revealing that Burmese Buddhists in the colonial period were pioneers in making insight meditation indispensable to modern Buddhism. Given its minutely focused and dry nature, the use of the Abhi-dhamma as the basis for mass meditative practice may be surprising. For this reason alone, the book will have interest beyond scholars of Burma for the story that Braun writes closely parallels the story of other South and Southeast Asian Buddhist communities.
There is now a growing body of western scientific evidence showing that meditation and mindfulness have positive psychotherapeutic value. Retrieved Mar 12 2019 from The Birth of Insight: meditation, modern Buddhism, and the Burmese monk Ledi Sayadaw. There is no shortcut for him! I was a bit disappointed in this book, as I was hoping to learn about the history of insight meditation and, of course, Ledi Sayadaw himself, but the circumstances surrounding Ledi Sayadaw's role in the development of the lay insight meditation requires an enormous amount of back story, far more than I was interested in. This paper explores the emotional life stories of a group of western men whose experiences have led them to embrace a globalized Buddhism for answers. Of real significance here was the doctrinal notion that the sasana was in decline and would eventually disappear from this world, a belief shared widely by Burmese Theravadins. This paper provides an examination of the popular practices of contemporary Buddhism and the major Buddhist pilgrimage sites, in particular. But his teachings are easily found in print now and on the internet.
Although long recognized for his innovative teachings and popularity, this is the most thorough examination of Ledi's life yet to appear in the English language. To understand the popularization of Abhidhamma study that started then, I turn now to Ledi Sayadaw, or, as I will refer to him, Ledi. But its significance goes well beyond the confines of twentieth-century Burmese history. In Burma, he wrote commentarial works and urged study of Buddhism as a means to preserve the religion. With the keen eye of a meditator, Braun takes the reader through the world that Ledi inhabited, tracing the influence of monastic and court politics, scholastic training and textual mastery, and the consequential events leading up to the full-scale British conquest of Mandalay in 1885.
Yet it is often presented, particularly but by no means exclusively in the United States, in at least quasi-secular contexts with scientific, psychological, and neurological justifications. Otherwise, if you're hoping to learn more about insight meditation, this book contains little more than a few pages worth of information, most of which could be easily summed up in a few paragraphs. But, justified on the basis of Abhidhamma learning, around 1904 Ledi presented another option as the sensible choice for a mass audience. This book will be important reading for students in the history of religions and Southeast Asian studies, and those interested in meditation and Buddhism. But in Ledi's view, with a thorough Abhidhamma training, all experience, even going for a walk or watching a movie, could lead to awakening. In the first book to examine how this practice came to play such a dominant—and relatively recent—role in Buddhism, Erik Braun takes readers to Burma, revealing that Burmese Buddhists in the colonial period were pioneers in making insight meditation indispensable to modern Buddhism.
The landscape is remarkably complex, and exploring it involves teasing out multiple influences and trajectories. Though widely used in monastic education, it had never been accessible to the broad base of the laity. Traditional places were important mostly to local people and to Buddhist monks. The spread of mindfulness in the United States is about much more than lowering stress or increasing productivity. Things changed dramatically, however, in the early twentieth century. Tracing the genealogy of these developments takes us to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Burma, and Erik Braun's fascinating and lucid account of Ledi Sayadaw provides a detailed and illuminating historical context, notably in relation to colonialism, for the beginnings of the whole process.
Tea has been associated with East Asian Buddhism at least since the eighth-century. Like Ledi, he first ordained when he was ten years old. Ledi translated this climate of anxiety into popular practice. But this is also unfortunate because the wider arguments that The Birth of Insight conveys would be of real value to those who dwell outside the halls of Buddhist studies. There are, of course, other important sorts of meditation. Ultimately, the result would be the centralization of insight practice and learning within Theravada Buddhism. Practice takes many forms; hence, the many lives of insight.
Braun begins his tale by focusing on Ledi's monastic upbringing as well as the formative years he spent at the royal Thanjaun monastery in Mandalay from 1869-1883. In 1981, he took over the Pa Auk Forest Monastery in southern Burma. This 690-verse poem provided a translation into Burmese of the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha, a twelfth-century Sri Lankan compendium of the Abhidhamma system, written in Pali. Offering a narrative of the life and legacy of one of modern Buddhism's most important figures, this book provides an account of the development of mass meditation. Ledi died in 1923, but influential teachers, such as U Ba Khin, S.
He tied this study to the second sphere, protective efforts, by arguing that such study empowered a person to safeguard Buddhism. For the true strength of The Birth of Insight is that it goes beyond the abstruse world of Abhidhamma philosophy by demonstrating the manner through which the intellectual practices of the pre-modern Buddhist world endured through the disruptures of the colonial period to forge an appealing and ultimately, influential form of modern Buddhism. This is an excellent study, one that will deservedly become a classic in the field and make possible many other studies of the history of Burmese Buddhism. Burmese Buddhist monk, the Ledi Sayadaw. These factors are attributes of consciousness enumerated in Abhidhamma teachings.