31 January 2016

A Visit to the ThaBarWa Center By Rev. Corey S. Fields

In the eyes of visitors and foreigners

A Visit to the ThaBarWa Center
By Rev. Corey S. Fields,
Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church of Topeka

CBTS and MIT students began our second day of classes with Dr. Marshall this morning. The class shared in some very edifying discussion based on students’ questions that stem from our reading. One of the things I have thoroughly enjoyed about this D.Min program is its concern for the practical; applying sound theological thought to the realities of ministry.  Our discussion this morning was no different. My colleagues from Myanmar brought up fascinating questions such as how to discuss the cross with children and how to preach about the Holy Spirit in animistic cultures that believe in many spirits. 

In the afternoon, in lieu of having a lecture/discussion in our pastoral care class, we drove 1.5 hours across the Irrawaddy River to visit the ThaBarWa Center, a place of refuge for orphans, elderly, homeless, and the sick. It was founded and is run by a Buddhist monk named Sayadaw U. Ottamasara (who was not present during our visit).

It is a 70-acre area that houses more than 2200 families. Children receive an education here and we saw at least 4 large groups of children going through their daily lesson. There was a striking contrast between the glowing children who waved at us and the adults lying in huts who look very sick and despondent.

In the large group dwellings, Buddhist sermons were playing over a loudspeaker for the people to listen to. Although this place was significantly different from the place we visited Saturday (especially in terms of cleanliness), I couldn’t help but remember the many biblical injunctions to care for the orphan and widow and those who are generally helpless. The people who have come here were truly in need and had nowhere to go.

Our Myanmar colleagues have expressed frustration that Christians in Myanmar, being a small minority, are unable to raise funds for such projects and centers. It has cultivated my own appreciation for the many resources the churches in America still have and take for granted.

Thank you for your interest in our experiences! Please remember in prayer today the people at the ThaBarWa Center.

Rev. Corey S. Fields
CBTS D.Min student
Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church of Topeka

Source  …  http://cbts.edu/a-visit-to-the-thabarwa-center/

30 January 2016

Rent Hikes Push Myanmar's Poor Into Homelessness (Video)

Rent Hikes Push
Myanmar's Poor Into Homelessness
Documentary by AFP News Agency

This is a documentary by AFP News Agency with regards to 15-ft Goodwill Village in Thanlyin established by Sayadaw Asin Ottamasara, founder of Thabarwa Centre, Thanlyin, Myanmar for the homeless (helpless) families and individuals.

Original text from AFP News Agency :
Soaring rents in Myanmar's commercial capital Yangon have seen hundreds of poor families shunted from their homes, forcing them to turn to charity as their last buffer from life on the streets.

The narration is in English language.

Thank you AFP News Agency for the documentary ... sincerely appreciate it.

27 January 2016

Empirical Learning in Buddhism and Truth

Empirical Learning in
Buddhism and Truth

Tharbawa Dhamma Centre in Thanlyin, Myanmar would like to share the following announcement:

Experiential Learning in Buddhism and Truth
Date                             :      7th to 16th February 2016  
Topic                           :      Experiential Learning in Buddhism and Truth
Meditation type      :      Insight meditation and loving kindness meditation
Duration                    :      8 days retreat
Course Leader         :      Sayalay Cala (ITBMU)

Monthly Meditation Retreats
Date                             :      1st to 7th of every month
Duration                    :      7 days retreat
Venue                         :      ThaBarWa Meditation Centre,
                                             Shwe Chaung (Pyin Oo Lwin),

Daily Meditation and Doing Good Deeds
There are couple of activities which you can participate on daily basis at Thabarwa Dhamma Centre.  These include :
1)  Guided Insight Meditation Sessions
2)  Buddhism Class
3)  Dhamma Discussion and QA Sessions
4)  Opportunities to do a self-retreat
5)  Plenty of opportunities to do limitless good deeds.

For details information about our centre and to contact us, please kindly refer to our various websites and facebook pages.

Thank you for your kind interests.

Sayalay Khema Cari
ThaBarWa Dhamma Center
Thanlyin, Yangon
+95 9 250047330

25 January 2016

"Election" - Part Three (Last Part)

Teaching of Venerable Sayadaw Ashin Ottamasara
Delivered on 8th November 2015
at Thabarwa Centre (Thanlyin)

Part Three (Last Part)

(5) Merit-Making Party’s Overwhelming Victory
When the time comes, the charity fundraising concert, USA Cinema Music Event, will come to an end.  Likewise, the General Election of Myanmar will also come to an end.  In contrast, Thabarwa Centre will be ceaselessly doing meritorious deeds, such as offering dana, observing sila and practicing meditation bhavana, round-the-clock without recess.   

At personal level, try to go over and above your usual way of doing wholesome deeds. Also encourage and inspire people, including the yogis from Thanlyin Thabarwa Centre, other Thabarwa Centre branches, other meditation centres and people from all over the world to develop greater interest in doing wholesome deeds.

Since doing wholesome deeds concerns everyone, we need to make a concerted effort in diligently fulfilling our obligations. This is not an impossible task.  As long as we are committed, we will be able to fulfil our merit-making tasks fruitfully.

If merit-making tasks were impossible to fulfill, I would not have been able to establish Thabarwa Centre, a sanctuary doing many wholesome deeds and operating around the clock without recess.  In the past we faced many difficulties and ran the centre on a very limited budget. Though the situation has gotten better as time goes by, we are still facing difficulties and insufficiencies. 

The task of running a centre with more than 2,400 yogis will always be challenging.  The difficulties are meant to be there for us because without them, we would not be able to grow in momentous ways.

Due to our concerted and continuous merit-making effort, Thabarwa Centre Thanlyin has evolved from a piece of uninhabited, stark and barren land to what it is today.  The difficulties that we are currently facing will also fade away as have these conditions of the past.  When the time comes, both the physical appearance of the centre as well as the disposition of the yogis will definitely be transformed.

It is very important for you to be involved in this transformation process with open-mindedness. If you are not willing to change, you will be left behind and others will replace you. 

In the past, Thabarwa Centre was merely an exclusive area for a small group of people. As time goes by, it becomes an area for the general public.  As Thabarwa becomes a community for the general public, many capable people are coming forward to render help and assistance to us.  Gone are the days when Thabarwa had to depend solely on its small group of people to get things done.  Increasing numbers of capable people from far and near are helping and assisting us now. 

Previously, I had no one whom I could rely on to get things done.  So I had to do everything by myself.  It will be an opposite situation from now on.  Many competent and talented people will come forward to assist me in my endeavours.  Hence, I might no longer be perceived as an indispensable person in future.  It could also be the same scenario for Thabarwa Centre.  Even if Thabarwa Centre does not exist anymore, there will be many other merit-making centres established to carry on the torch of doing wholesome deeds.  As long as you have good faith, optimism and confidence, you can successfully do limitless wholesome deeds.

The time when I first established Thabarwa Centre, I only had the vision, perception and belief that it was necessary to do limitless, wholesome deeds.  Though I had full confidence in my vision, it had yet to materialise successfully.  My confidence level underwent a 360 degree turnaround when I started to experience the consequences of doing limitless wholesome deeds.  Indeed, I had successfully cracked the code for lasting confidence in doing limitless wholesome deeds, which in turn boosts others' confidence, too.

My concept is that, if you have confidence in yourself without any visible result, it could just be your own perception and might not be accepted by other people.  In my case, I have proved to many people that we can do wholesome deeds freely, without any limitations, boundaries or barriers.  This is indeed a noble path, which will lead you to a fruitful destination. Work continuously, consistently and diligently until you reach to the noble destination.

In other words, if you do unwholesome deeds until the end of your life, you will receive unimaginable bad consequences (bad karma).  In the same manner, if you do limitless wholesome deeds, you will also receive limitless merits (good karma) and noble consequences. Each and every one of us has a noble duty to do limitless wholesome deeds.  At the same time, inspire other people around you to do limitless wholesome deeds as much as they can. It is indeed a very meaningful and noble task, worthy of your best efforts.

Let’s do mindfulness insight meditation for about 15 minutes.  Sit in a comfortable posture. Keep your body upright, firm and without any tension. Don’t let your body weight press down on the ground. Close your eyes gently. Relax your mind and body. Let go of unnecessary tension in the body. Please be calm, quiet and mindful. Breathe gently, naturally and freely. Be mindful and just know the present happening of the breath. Do only what is necessary to do. 

Be tolerant. 
Be forgiving.
Be compassionate.
We must train ourselves to be harmless and compassionate even towards those who are violent and torturing us.  We must remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. Take every opportunity to remove hatred, jealousy and violence from the mind.  Even if bandits were to catch us and carve us up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, we should not get angry at them even at that moment.  If we do so, we are no follower of the teachings of Lord Buddha. 

The End …

Translated by … Hnin Nwe Soe and Maw Maw Than
Edited by … Sayalay Aloka Cari
Team Thabarwa

Note  :  This translation work has neither been read nor edited by the speaker.  Any mistakes and mistranslations in this project are solely the oversight and incompetency of the translator.  Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.