Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre, Hmawbi

by sister Ariya Nyani


Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre
Shansu, Hmawbi, Myanmar.
Tel: 0095-1-620321 | Internet:


The forest meditation centre is about 1 hour by car north of Yangon, outside the town of Hmawbi (road to Bagan). The grounds are spacious with many large and shady trees and fragrant shrubs. It is surrounded by typical Burmese quarters and villages. For quarters, there are kutis (bungalows with two rooms). There are several meditation halls as well as special meditation benches with roofs under the trees, so sitting and walking meditation can be practiced outdoors.

Spiritual Guidance

Sayadaw U Janaka was born in 1928 and is still in good health. He speaks English very well. He has been a meditation teacher since 1967. First in the Mahasi Center and from 1977 in his own center. Since 1981 he goes abroad twice yearly to teach meditation courses in various countries.

Meditation Technique

Based on Mahasi Sayadaws method of Vipassana meditation/insight meditation. Formal meditation is in turn sitting and walking; durations are adjusted according to individual level. Primary object of meditation is the rising and falling of the abdomen. Much value is placed on the development of a continuous and uninterrupted mindfulness in all activities of daily life, that is, all activities outside of formal meditation. Hence all movements during eating, dressing, getting up etc. are done consciously slowly in order to be mindful at any given moment.


During the vassa (three months during monsoon) Sayadaw U Janaka comes regularly to the forest center to conduct interviews with the foreigners. Apart from that, the individual interviews are usually translated. Ariya Nani (a Swiss nun) translates from Burmese into English, German, or French. She is also available to meditators for instructions and individual interviews. Since she gives courses abroad, please ask when she is in Hmawbi. Ven. Nyanaramsi (Malaysian monk) also instructs and conducts individual interviews in English or Chinese.

Course Duration and Dates

Since there are no group retreats, no dates need to be observed. You can join any time. Minimum stay is 10 days. No maximum.


Meditators live in kutis (bungalows) with two rooms each and shower/toilet. Each room contains a bed and a table. Mattress, sheets, blanket, mosquito net and thermos are provided by the center. All kutis have fine mesh windows against mosquitoes.

What to Bring

Insect repellant (Hmawbi is malaria-free), personal medications, warm sweater and socks for the cooler season (November to February), sitting pillow.

Most items of daily use such as soap, toothpaste, flashlight, and batteries are available in Hmawbi.


Two abundant meals daily. Breakfast is at 5:30 a.m. (full meal with fried rice or noodles and noodle soup as well as fruit, cake, coffee, tea) and lunch at 10:30 a.m. (rice with five to seven different curries, fruit, desserts). You can choose between vegetarian and nonvegetarian food. Evenings, fruit juice around 5 p.m. You can fill your thermos with hot water during mealtime. Clean, filtered drinking water is available.


The center is supported exclusively with donations.

Medical Care

Medical doctors visit the center regularly to treat the meditators for free. Western and traditional Burmese drugs are available.

Rules and Clothing

All meditators practice from 3:30 a.m. to at least 9:30 p.m. and must observe the eight silas. Temporary ordination is possible for women and men. During the retreat meditators keep noble silence and do not read and write (except short notes for the individual interviews). Walks outside the center are prohibited and the center is left only in emergencies. Therefore, you should provide for all contingencies ahead of time. E-mail and fax use is also only permitted in emergencies. Burmese yogi attire is recommended: white/light blouse or T-shirt and
brown longyi (sarong) for women, white/light shirt or T-shirt and brown longyi for men. You can buy these things there easily and at a good price or borrow them from the center.

Climate and Best Time To Go

Tropical climate, best during the cooler season.


Visa mandatory. Tourist visa is valid four weeks. If you want to enter with a meditation visa, you must ask for a so-called sponsorship letter from the center which must be sent to the Burmese embassy together with the visa application. For processing, reckon on about three months. Visa extensions are also possible. Take sufficient passport pictures (about 10) for the various forms.


Most foreigners prefer the quiet forest center to the noisier city center. Very suitable for beginners and long-term meditators. Foreigners are treated very warmly.

From Chanmyay-Yeiktha city center there are numerous opportunities to hitch a ride. A taxi from the city center is about US$ 10, from the airport about US$ 7. From the city center (Sule pagoda) there are also public direct busses. From the bus stop (Chanmyay Yeiktha Hmawbi) 10 minutes walk.