The Wise Investigator

Sayadaw U Tejaniya explains how taking an interest in life as it is can lead to liberation.

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Sayadaw U Tejaniya began his Buddhist training as a young teenager in Burma under the late Shwe Oo Min Sayadaw (1913-2002). After a career in business and life as a householder, he ordained as a monk some ten years ago. He teaches meditation at Shwe Oo Min Dhammasukha Tawya in Rangoon, Burma.

In June, I caught up with U Tejaniya at the Insight Meditation Society’s Forest Refuge, in Barre, Massachusetts, where he was about to lead a three-day retreat at the nearby Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. U Tejaniya's relaxed demeanor and easy sense of humor belie a commitment to awareness that he encourages his students to apply in every aspect of their daily lives, and his earlier role as a householder gives him a rare insight into the challenges faced by his lay students. U Tejaniya’s delightfully illustrated book, Don’t Look Down on the Defilements, They Will Laugh at You, aptly characterizes his teaching style—accessible and true to the traditional teachings of the Buddha.

—James Shaheen, Editor


© Libby VigeonCan you say something about the title of your book, Don’t Look Down on the Defilements, They Will Laugh at You? I never intended to write a book. One of my yogis had taken a lot of notes during interviews and wanted to make them available to others. Those notes were then edited and expanded by me and some other yogis. We picked the title because it is important not to underestimate the power of the defilements. When I teach meditation I emphasize the importance of watching the mind. While doing this you will see a lot of defilements. In their grosser manifestations, the defilements are anger, greed, and delusion. And they have plenty of friends and relatives, who often show up as the five hindrances: desire, aversion, torpor, restlessness, and doubt.

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