Venerable Sayadaw U Silananda’s Canada Visit
Half Moon Bay Venerable Sayadaw U Silananda has been traveling to outside of the United States and giving dhamma talks and meditation sessions in various locations. In the past few months Sayadaw traveled to Canada in response to the invitations of various Theravada Buddhist groups in Canada.
Sayadaw is a well-known Theravada Buddhist teacher and is well respected by Buddhists throughout the Americas. Sayadaw made a long journey throughout Canada covering from Eastern part to Western Coastal area during May and June, 1998. The following is the report of his visit to Canada.
Sayadaw visited Ottawa from May 12–15. This was in response to the invitation of Myanmar Ambassador Dr. and Madame Kyaw Win. This is Sayadaw’s
second visit in two years to this city. Sayadaw’s visit was well received by families of Myanmar Embassy and friends. During his three-day visit, Sayadaw gave
Dhamma talks and meditation sessions. Myanmar Ambassador and families of the Embassy also offered Waso Robes to the Sayadaw for the upcoming Waso festival and shared merits.
Although the Buddhist community in Ottawa is very small, Sayadaw was very pleased to see full support from local Myanmars who attended his talks. Some
foreign dignitaries were also present. Among them were the Ambassador of Sri Lanka and his wife, and the wife of the Thai Ambassador. The Sri Lankan
Ambassador extended his support by making a kind offer the Sri Lankan Buddhist Temple to be used in Sayadaw’s future visits. Sayadaw left Ottawa on May 15 for Toronto.
Venerable Sayadaw U Silananda arrived in Toronto on May 15 from Ottawa. Sayadaw was invited by Burma Buddhist Association of Ontario and stayed at the
Dhammikarama Burmese Monastery in Toronto. This 3-day visit was filled with dhamma talks and meditation sessions which were held at the Thai monastery. Sayadaw was overwhelmed by the outcome of the Myanmar attendance at his meditation sessions.
About 40 Myanmars were always present in all of his sessions and were very respectful to the Sayadaw. They all wanted Sayadaw to stay longer. Plans are being made to invite Sayadaw next year and various efforts are already underway to establish a bigger Myanmar temple in Toronto in the near future. The total number of attendance was about 100 during his visit. There were some Sri Lankan yogis among the attendees. Sayadaw left Toronto on May 20 to continue his journey to Montreal.
This visit to the beautiful city was in response to the invitation of a Vietnamese Theravada Buddhist group. During the four days in Montreal, Sayadaw led a four-day Vipassana retreat near Montreal. About twenty yogis attended the retreat, two Canadian Buddhist monks among them. This was the last stop in this leg of journey to the eastern part of Canada. Sayadaw flew back to Half Moon Bay on May 24.
Sayadaw then made another trip to the western part of Canada. This time to visit Vancouver of British Columbia in Canada. He arrived there on June 13 and stayed until the 19. Sayadaw was invited by the Manawmaya Theravada Buddhist Society in Vancouver. Sayadaw led a six-day Vipassana retreat. The committee of this organization was very pleased to have an opportunity to learn Theravada Buddhism closely from the visiting Sayadaw. Among the attendees were some Myanmar students, a few Vietnamese and a Canadian Buddhist monk.
A noteworthy story that has some Myanmar history connection is that among the visitors was a Vietnamese lady who came to pay respects to the Sayadaw. She is the great grand daughter of the late Prince Myingun of Mandalay. Prince Myingun raised a rebellion against King Mindon (1853-78); but he was not successful and fled first to India, and eventually to Vietnam where he lived for the rest of his life. He there married a Vietnamese lady and had a daughter named Ma Phyu. This lady surprisingly caught up on her father’s mother tongue and was able to speak Myanmar fluently. On his visit to Vietnam in 1958, Sayadaw was invited by her to
perform a memorial service for her father at his tomb in the cemetery in Saigon (now Ho Chi Ming City).