Press Room
Mettadana 2013 Newsletter and Report

 

Aloha, friends,

The Vipassana Hawai‘i/Mettadana team recently finished up another great trip to Burma. We would like to share an update on our programs.

 

The Dhamma Fusion Retreat for foreigners at Kyaswa Monastery with Sayadaw U Lakkhana was a great success. With 27 yogis, it was the largest group we have had in many years.

 

Many of our friends and colleagues in the village of Wachet celebrated Steven Smith’s return to Kyaswa. For eleven years, Burma’s military regime had prohibited Vipassana Hawai’i’s guiding teacher and Mettadana co-founder from entering the country. At last Steven was able to appreciate first-hand the many positive changes that Mettadana helped foster in the community and through continuous collective effort while he had been absent. 

 

The year 2012 saw the completion of the Wachet village school, which was constructed entirely with Mettadana funds. It is now approved for Kindergarten through 8th grade education. Additional funds allowed us to provide uniforms for all teachers and students for a second year in a row and update the plumbing system. We also were able to give teacher bonuses, classroom materials, and a special meal for the entire school, which Mettadana covers annually. Sayadaw is happily in negotiations with the neighboring landowner in hopes of building a high school for local youth in the near future: Stay tuned.

 

The Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital continues to thrive with the support of a number of local and international medical teams and supporters, including the MettadanaProject. Once again, led by John Hamwee, a team of talented and generous acupuncturists spent a week at the hospital to train Burmese acupuncturists from across the country and treat patients who had come from far and wide. John also spent a week developing an acupuncture program at Mandalay General Hospital. The full team traveled to the village of Kadaw for a week of treating patients in a rural setting. 

 

The Mettadana Project (MDP) was able to provide more support for these volunteers than in the past, but we are still seeking to cover more of their travel costs in future years, intending to fully support their efforts. Meanwhile, some changes are underway in the program: Many of our Burmese acupuncturist colleagues are ready to start teaching acupuncture themselves. As a result, an exciting train-the-trainer model is in the process of design, to be implemented in coming years. Click here to read John Hamwee’s recent speech to the Britain-Burma Society of London about the history of the acupuncture program and Mettadana.

 

The three nunneries that MDP supports are also thriving. In addition to our regular offering to the nuns individually and to a shared medical fund, we were able this year to provide funds for additional nunnery needs that may arise. We encountered a number of nuns at each nunnery who are deeply involved in studying for their Dhammacariya degrees as well as deepening their dedicated meditation practices and continuing the propagation of the Buddha’s ethical community.

 

During the final days of the retreat, Sayadaw invited all the yogis to participate in a big community give-away he held for the elders of the local village.Sayadaw gave away blankets, food and numerous other gifts to all the people in Wachet who were over 80 years old. He asked the yogis to give these gifts to the elders, and thus we were all able to participate in his generosity. The experience brought home the value and beauty of our community’s generosity for all the Mettadana Projects and our gratitude for being able to be the ones to actually hand these gifts to the local community. The long river of generosity that we are all a part of flows both ways. We want everyone in the West who supports these programs to be reminded of the goodness that you generate - in Burma and in your own karmic heritage. The invaluable and ongoing support of our friends and colleagues in Wachet makes the fruit of our efforts blossom. We are indebted to them for their diligent work putting your resources to the maximum benefit for all.

 

Thank you again for all your support. Please click here if you would like to donate toward our 2014 Mettadana Project program or are interested in learning more about our humanitarian programs.

 

Check out our Facebook page for more photos from this year’s work and to stay up-to-date on Mettadana and Vipassana Hawai’i developments.


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