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The Birth of InsightMeditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw$
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Erik Braun

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226000800

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226000947.001.0001

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The Best of Times and the Worst: Ledi Sayadaw’s Formative Period

The Best of Times and the Worst: Ledi Sayadaw’s Formative Period

Chapter:
(p.15) One The Best of Times and the Worst: Ledi Sayadaw’s Formative Period
Source:
The Birth of Insight
Author(s):

Erik Braun

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226000947.003.0002

This chapter argues that Ledi’s schooling in Mandalay at the end of the Konbaung Dynasty, his teaching at a royal monastery of the main Thudhamma sect of monks, and his participation in events such as the Fifth Buddhist Council impressed upon him the importance of literary mastery. In particular, he was exposed to meditation as a scholastic topic used by King Mindon’s court to make sense of the modern world, including science from the West. The chapter also describes Ledi’s life after he left Mandalay. A letter he wrote shortly after Burma fell to the British demonstrates his understanding of the social force of collective karma that shaped his approach to meditation. The chapter then describes Ledi’s life as a forest monk, his founding of a monastery, his visit to India, and his own meditative practice that reveals his cosmological outlook that would shape his presentation of meditation.

Keywords:   Konbaung Dynasty, Thudhamma sect, Fifth Buddhist Council, meditation, science, collective karma, forest monk, cosmology

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