Hse Main Gon Forest Meditation Center

by Dieter Baltruschat; last updated April 2006


Written preregistration recommended contact is Panditarama Meditation Center at Yangon
Panditarama, 80-A, Thanlwin Road, Shwe Gon Dine P.O., Bahan 11201, Yangon, Myanmar.
Tel: 0095-1-535448 / 0095-1-705525 | E-mail: panditarama@mptmail.net.mm 

Forest Meditation Centre (Hse Main Gon)
Tel: 0095-1-247211

Retreat Saddhamma-Foundation: 1.12.2006–31.1.2007
Information: Saddhamma Foundation
5459 Shafter Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618, USA
Fax/Phone: (510) 420-1039 | E-mail: retreat@saddhamma.org | Web: www.saddhamma.org

Information on teachers and center


The Hse Main Gon Forest Meditation Center has spacious grounds and is near the main road between Yangon and Bago, approx. one hour by car from Yangon. The area was originally covered with bamboo, there are three lakes. Reforestation projects have been running several years and many trees have been planted. The center is oriented towards the needs of Western meditators. Kutis are very comfortable. Men and women live in separate quarters. Amongst other buildings there are two arge meditation halls.


Theravada, meditation method by Mahasi Sayadaw.

Meditation Technique

Intensive Vipassana practice. The development of constant mindfulness (no breaks) is valued highly in this Vipassana method according to Mahasi Sayadaw . During formal meditation alternation is between one hour sitting and one hour walking. Outside formal meditation mindfulness is directed towards the task of the moment: eating, walking, laundry etc. The primary object of meditation during sitting is usually the rising and falling of the abdomen. Several times per week there is an interview with the teacher.

Spiritual Guidance

Sayadaw U Pandita is over 80, teaches since 1951, is considered one of the most notable teachers in the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition and has longstanding experience with Western meditators.


Usually there is always one teacher present who can give individual instructions for meditation during the several interviews taking place every week. The center’s teachers have a good reputation.


Instructions are in Burmese and are translated into English. During interviews a translator is present because the teacher usually speaks little English.

Duration of Courses and Dates

Usually there are no group retreats. Recommended length of stay is three months, at the very least several weeks. It is highly recommended to participate in the yearly retreat of the Saddhamma Foundation (usually eight weeks in December and January) because then usually Sayadaw U Pandita gives the talks and the best teachers are present. Also, you have the group’s support.


Meditators live in spacious, comfortable single and double bungalows (individual rooms, shared bath with sink, shower, toilet). The long terrace is well suited for walking meditation. At certain times there is electricity. Beds have fairly good mattresses. Sheets, blankets, pillow, mosquito net, bucket for laundry, thermos, and umbrella (useful also in the hot season as sun rotection) are provided.

What to Bring

From home, insect repellant, water disinfectant, medications in sufficient amounts. A light sleeping bag and a warm fleece jacket are useful especially in the winter months (night and morning meditation can be rather chilly). Sitting pads are available, but a sitting pillow should be brought. Items of daily use like toiletries, flashlight, batteries, flip-flops, and water bottle can be bought in Yangon. In emergencies or during long retreats the management will do small errants (out of soap ...).


Support of the center is exclusively through donations and it is therefore dependent upon the support of retreat participants.


Breakfast at 5:30 a.m. and lunch at 10:30 a.m. Food is rich, varied, and hygienically prepared. Breakfast is quite varied (noodle soup, egg, porridge, fruit, biscuits). Lunch consists of rice, two to three vegetarian dishes (sometimes tofu), two nonvegetarian meals, and fruit, tea or coffee. Being vegetarian is no problem. Evenings, juice is available at 5 p.m.

After breakfast and lunch you can fill your thermos with hot water. Drinking water is filtered and, as a rule, potable, but do exercise caution nonetheless. You’ll be safer using own disinfectant or filter or boiling water. Sometimes large vats with mineral water are set up for filling your water bottle. For longer stays, consider bringing nuts (vegetarians), vitamin tablets, and boiled sweets (taking sugar and fruit juice are permitted in the evening). Food stuffs must be kept in ant-proof containers!

Medical Care

Hygienic conditions are good by Burmese standards. Malaria risk is low. Medication is scarce and must be brought in sufficient amounts (antibiotics, Halfan, first-aid kit) and should be donated when leaving. Sometimes a doctor is present.


Each participant should spend 14 hours in formal practice (walking and sitting meditation) and limit other activities (laundry etc.) to a minimum. Don’t read, write (except notes), go on walks. Adhere to the eight silas (moral precepts). Clothing should be decent (no shorts or tank tops) and comfortable. Traditionally, white blouses and shirts are recommended. Men and women wear a longyi (sarong or wrap-around skirt) which is available there.

Climate and Best Time To Go

Tropical climate. The cooler dry season is from November to February (from March on very hot).

Immigration and Literature

See Panditarama.


Highly suitable for serious meditators with retreat experience desiring intensive practice, good conditions.

Best go to the Panditarama center in town. The center will usually organize some transport. Else take a taxi for US$ 10–20 or the public bus (cheapest) towards Bago. Get off at the sign and walk 2 km.