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Many of these manuals are hard to find, even in Burma. The late James Patrick Stewart Ross, a devout American Buddhist, married to a Burmese, travelled frequently to Burma to find able translators for many of these works. In the early 1990's he gave me a collection of transcriptions of these translations on floppy disks, but most are not yet ready to publish. The Buddhist Publication Society have published A Manual of the Excellent Man (Uttamapurisa Dīpanī), the Manual of Mindfulness of Breathing (Ānāpāna Dīpanī), and Manual of Light (Alin Kyan) together with the Manual of the Path to Higher Knowledge (Vijjāmagga Dīpanī).
The Manuals of Buddhism containing: Vipassanā Dīpanī, Paṭṭhānuddesa Dīpanī, Sammādiṭṭhi Dīpanī, Niyāma Dīpanī, Catusacca Dīpanī, Bodhipakkhiya Dīpanī, Maggaṅga Dīpanī, and Alin Kyan, was published by the Religious Affairs Department, Burma, and reprinted by the Selangor Vipassanā Meditation Centre, Malaysia.
I have published the Pāramī Dīpanī, the Goṇasūra Dīpanī, the Gambhīra Dīpanī, the Uttamapurisa Dīpanī, the Dhamma Dīpanī, the Āhāra Dīpanī, Ānāpāna Dīpanī, the Bodhipakkhiya Dīpanī, the Dānādi Dīpanī, the Sāsana Dāyajja Dīpanī, the Maggaṅga Dīpanī, and Sāsana Dāyajja Dīpanī.
The Burmese Era is 638 years less than the Christian Era, but the Burmese New Year is at the end of March. So 1900 AD began in 1261 BE (Jan to March), but ended in 1262 (April to December). Conversely, 1261 BE started in 1899, but ended in 1900. The Venerable Ledi Sayādaw lived from 1846 to 1923 (1208 to 1285 BE)
written by the Venerable Ledi Sayādaw
This is the answer by Ledi Sayādaw to the question asked by villagers of Okkann Village in 1263 BE (1901) as to whether there are benefits in offering alms to the three classes of individuals: (1) A scrupulous person (lajji); (2) A shameless person (alajji), and (3) an immoral person (dussīla).
This contains the answers given by the Sayādaw to questions on Buddhism by lay disciples.
The first part contains Buddha’s teachings on Paramattha and Paññatti Dhammas; great advantage of the three jewels (Buddha, Dhamma, Saṅgha); explanation on whether there is a real Sāsana or not; causes of the disappearance of the Sāsana; explanations on settlement of disputes on the subjects of good moral action (puññakiriyavāda); ten moral precepts, Kamma and Dvāra Sects of the Saṅgha, observance of the Rains Retreat by bhikkhus, worldly affairs according to astrology, settlement of worldly disputes, the questions of self (atta) and not-self (anatta); explanations on the four great religions of the world; answers to the five questions asked by Hnettwin Sect; and the answer to the seven questions of Ashin Vimala.
This is a book containing Ledi Sayādaw’s answers to questions asked (by various bhikkhus and lay people) whenever there were doubts about any subject of Buddhism. The second part of the Sāsana Visodhanī contains comments on the subject of Buddhist monks who are to give evidence as witnesses; meanings of Yamaka Pucchamūla Pariyāya Sutta in reply to Rhys Davids of the Pali Text Society, London; answers to eight questions on the Paṭṭhāna by Assistant Commissioner, U Shwe Zan Aung on Dhamma Savanagarava Agarava Vinicchaya; answer in reply to Christian Shwe Chain Khwin’s assertion; comparison of Buddha’s image with statues; comparison of Dhamma (Buddhism with that of Christianity); comparison of Sāsana (Buddhist) with that of (Christianity), comparison of the Bible with (Buddhist) scriptures (altogether 4 important points); comparison of monk (Buddhist) with (Christian counterpart); decision on the subject of Atta Saññā and Byincana Saddhā; decision on the subject of Saññā, Viññāṇa, and Paññā in reply to U Lugale’s eight questions; decision on the question of using footwear on Pagoda platforms; answer to question on the subject of a temporary pandal erected for purposes of ordination of a candidate to the Saṅgha; Pāḷi grammar decision on Visumgama Vinicchaya.
The title of this book means “Purification of the Religion” or prevention of corruption of the Buddha’s teaching (sāsana). Part III contains the subjects on conferring religious titles, awards, honours, etc.; reading of Formal Acts (kammavācā); recitation of verses for refuge (saranaṃ), etc.; decision on taking a preceptor (upajjhāyaggahaṇa vinicchaya), Thenaka Vinicchaya, decision on ordination (upasampadā vinicchaya), (all of these are under the rules of discipline); answer to Bertram Russell’s four questions; answer to question whether the Buddha was one who believes in the method of analysis (vibhājjavādi); a letter to the Kyaukmyaung Atwinwun (private secretary to the king); answers to four of the five question asked by Maung Yaung Ni; decision on Nāma Jivitindriya; Ledi’s method of teaching (Buddhist literature) and method of examination, thereof; Mingin questions and answers; decision on the object of the Buddha’s change of lineage object (vuṭṭhicittārammaṇa vinicchaya); answer to a question on Indra’s Thunderbolt (Indavajira); decision on the Kamma and Dvāra Buddhist sects.
This is the answer in Burmese to the question asked by Ashin Vimala Thera of Sāvatthi village of Sri Lanka “Whether there is any benefit out of a second ordination for one who has already become a member of the Saṅgha.”
This is a wheel of 28 Protection Verses (paritta) written in Pāḷi in response to appeal for the soldiers from Burma to be free from dangers of war during the First World War. This was written in 1280 BE (1918) while the Ledi Sayādaw was residing in Myintha Town.
This is a long verse for recitation, worshipping the three jewels — the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha — written in Pāḷi by Ledi Sayādaw while he was residing in a jungle near Kyidwingyi village in alone Township.
Ledi Sayādaw wrote this Dīpanī on board a ship from Sitwe to Rangoon. In dealing with the main subject of Sāsana Dāyajja (Heritage of Buddhist teachings), he made references to (1) Exposition by Mahā Moggaliputtatissa, (2) Exposition of Dhammadāyāda Sutta of Mūlapaṇṇāsa and (3) Exposition of Dhammadāyajja Sutta relating to the four requisites.
This was written with the object of preventing various kinds of diseases, with reference to various verses, mantras, medicines, etc.
This was written for people to abstain from beef-eating, horse-racing, gambling, and intoxicating drugs and drinks.
This was written to reaffirm that the three jewels are the genuine Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha, respectively as fully supported by the Pāḷi texts.
This is about mutual respect under the Law of Discipline. It was written to decide a case of dispute over mutual respect between the members of the audience and preacher of the Dhamma in Sri Lanka.
This is the transcription into Burmese of Padhāna Sutta which belongs to Suttanipāta Pāḷi Text. All about sensual desire (kāma), discontent (arati), etc., the ten types of “Māra’s army” have been dealt with in some detail.
This is the detailed explanation of five types of ‘Than’, which is a grammatical term for organ of sound or voice: 1) ‘Kanda Than’ (palate), 2) ‘Talu Than’ (throat), 3) ‘Muda Than’ (Tip of tongue), 4) ‘Danta Than’ (Teeth), 5) ‘Otha Than’ (mouth).
This is the decision passed under the Vinicchaya Law of Discipline on frivolous talk (samphāppalāpa), which is of no benefit either for this world or the world beyond.
This is the answer in Pāḷi to the question asked by Vimala Thera of Sāvatthi village of Sri Lanka as to “Whether there is any benefit out of a second ordination for one who has already become a member of the Saṅgha.”
This is the detailed explanation of the nature and characteristics of the Four Essential Elements such as earth (pathavi), water (āpo), fire (tejo), and air (vāyo).
Detailed explanation of the five kinds of Five Cosmic Orders (pañca niyama): 1) Climate (utu niyama), 2) Seeds or Genetics (bīja niyama), 3) Volitional Actions (kamma niyama), 4) Natural Law (Dhamma niyama), and 5) Mind or Consciousness (citta niyama).
This is the answer to questions on the subject of Rains Retreat spent by bhikkhus during the rainy season. The answer was in accordance with the Pāḷi Text Commentaries and Subcommentaries.
Exposition of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta (original exposition of Mūlapaṇṇasa Sutta) in response to Maung San Lin’s appeal.
This is about the five types of knowledge (vijjā): 1) Veda, 2) Manta, 3) Gandhari, 4) Lokiya, and 5) Ariya. Emphasis is laid on the attainment of wisdom by Noble Ones (ariya vijjā).
Exposition of Moggallāna’s Grammar, which was originally written by Moggallāna of Sri Lanka. The original title of the book was Moggallāna Dīpanī and subsequently changed to Nirutta Dīpanī by Visuddhārāma Sayādaw of Mandalay.
This is the exposition in Pāḷi of an extract of deep and difficult expressions from the Manual of Absolute Truth (Paramattha Dīpanī).
This is the exposition of difference between right view regarding ownership of one’s volitional actions (kammassakatā sammādiṭṭhi) and right view of insight knowledge (vipassanā sammādiṭṭhi).
This is the detailed exposition by Ledi Paṇḍita U Maung Gyi of the Two Roots, ignorance (avijjā) and craving (taṇhā) that give rise to the endless cycle of birth and death (saṃsāra).
In response to an appeal by U Kusala, a forest-dwelling bhikkhu of Shwe-U-Daung in Shwemye Township, Ledi Sayādaw wrote detailed explanations, based on insight knowledge of not-self (anatta vipassanā-ñāṇa), of 1) Conventional Truth (sammuti sacca), 2) Absolute Truth (paramattha sacca), 3) Eternalism (sassatadiṭṭhi) and 4) Annihilationism (ucchedadiṭṭhi).
Detailed explanation of the 37 Requisites of Enlightenment.
This is for all those in charge of the ordination ceremony to be well-versed with the four preparations (pubbakaraṇa), 10 preliminary duties (pubbakicca), 1 of Padhāna kicca, 3 duties after the ordination (aparakicca) in brief, and 10 of the same in detail. This was written in 1253 BE (1891) at the Ledi Monastery.
This is a most suitable decision on the subject written in detail.
This was written in a verse form so that the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (Compendium of Buddhist Philosophy) was easily understandable.
Decision on the Eight Precepts with Right Livelihood as the Eighth.
Answer to the question: “Which is better happiness (somanassa) or equanimity (upekkhā)?”
This is a rewrite of the Commentary on the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha in Pāḷi as the same Commentary known as Ṭīkā kyaw by Ashin Sumaṅgalasāmi of Sri Lanka was not satisfactory.
This was written in Pāḷi to show how to dispel the three hallucinations: (1) Hallucination of thought (citta vipallāsa), (2) Hallucination of view (diṭṭhi vipallāsa) and (3) Hallucination of perception (saññā vipallāsa).
Answers written in reply to (1) questions on perception (saññā), (2) Cosmic order (niyama), (3) on the Yamaka and (4) Conditional Relations (Paṭṭhāna).
This is a detailed exposition of interesting points in connection with nibbāna.
Short note or grammar written in the form of a verse.
Detailed explanation of grammar entitled Sadda Mañcari, Sadda Sankhip Questions and Answers by Ledi U Maung Gyi.
A long and poignant verse written and sent to the late Kinvun Mingyi, (one of the king’s ministers) by Ledi Sayādaw in 1256 BE (1894).
Collected verses, poems, letters of admonition, etc., written or composed by Ledi Sayādaw printed together for publication. These include Paṭiccasamuppāda, Dedaye friendly letters, Saing Pyin friendly letter on intoxicants, lottery friendly letter, cow friendly letter, fire-works friendly letter, well-wishing friendly letter, Ruby friendly letter, Thihato Pagoda letter of application, Sāsana letter of application, letter of admonition to those of so-called Paramattha Dhamma, another kind of letter of admonition, various kinds of homage to Buddha and seven-day prayers, Satta Ṭhāna worship of Buddha a long poignant verse and an answer sent to Kinwun Mingyi, the same to U Kyaw, a donor of a monastery, a verse on Khandha Ayatana, Dhātu Sacca (aggregate of mind and matter, sense bases, elements and noble Truths) and a verse in conclusion.
This is a manual of 237 orthographic verses for correct spellings of Burmese literature, which will be found on page 145 of Sukumāra Dīpanī.
The benefits of a studying the characteristics of not-self or contemplation of not-self (anattānupassana).
This is to explain what is self (atta) and what is not-self (anatta) to those who talk on insight (vipassanā), and those who practise insight meditation.
Interesting points contained in the five volumes of the Vinaya Piṭaka Monastic Discipline), its Commentary and Subcommentary.
This is advice, based on the Siṅgālovāda Sutta, on how to become good children.
Answers in Pāḷi to Mrs Rhys Davids (1) question on perception (saññā), (2) Cosmic Order (niyama), (3) Yamaka, (4) Conditional Relations (paṭṭhāna).
In response to a request by Gaingdauk Sayādaw of Yun Kaung Sect of Mingin Town, Ledi Sayādaw wrote this Dīpanī to give a decision on the differences of opinion as regards cessation of kamma-born material phenomena (kammaja rūpa) during the so-called interval between death and rebirth (panattikkamakāla) in accordance with the Paramattha Saṅgaha.
This was written with reference to a sermon on the subject of the Five kinds of Great Darkness and Five of Great Light delivered at a pandal in Ye-U Town in 1282 BE.
This was written for readers to understand the meaning of 16 points in the Four Noble Truths.
This was written as a meditation subject in 1262 BE while Ledi Sayādaw was taking a rest for three days and three nights at the residence of Kinwun Mingyi (a minister of the king) at Mandalay.
This was written on the basis of the original Nirutti Dīpanī written personally by Venerable Ledi Sayādaw in 1266 BE, it is said in the conclusion.
This is a collection of various formal acts (kammavācā): protection verses (paritta), and exorcisms (pabbājaniya kammavācā) for ordination services and other Buddhist ceremonies.
Sent to Ruby Merchant U Hmat of Mogok in 1255 BE (1893). This can be found on page No. 40 Gambhīra Prosody.
In Pāḷi and Burmese.
This was written with reference to the Saṃyutta Pāḷi Text where it is stated that there are four kinds of nutriment (āhāra): (1) material food (āhāra), consciousness (viññāṇa), volition (cetanā), and contact (phassa).
The three types of right view (sammā diṭṭhi) are dealt with in detail.
This was a reply to an appeal submitted through Mahāsuddhārāma Sayādaw by one Maung Thaw, Secretary of a Buddhist Missionary. The answer was given with reference to Sattaṭṭhāna Sutta in which it states how Buddhas, Paccekabuddhas and Arahants practised, and how to become real Buddhists.
The 16 points in the meanings of the Four Noble Truths have been dealt with in brief. This was written in 1265 BE (1903) while Ledi Sayādaw was residing at a monastery built by lawyers Maung Kyaw and Maung San Lin.
In answer to 20 questions set in Pāḷi by San Kyaung Sayādaw, Ledi Sayādaw who was then a student-tutor bhikkhu at San Kyaung Sayādaw’s monastery, wrote this manual in which the Venerable Sayādaw stated in details the length of time required by each Sammāsambuddha, each Paccekabuddha, each Mahāsāvaka, each Pakati Sāvaka respectively, to carry out practice for perfections (pāramī) and how each of them had done so.
This was written to explain clearly how to comprehend impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self through mindfulness of the physical body and its elements of earth, water, fire, air. This Puññovāda Meditation was preached to 60 years old Mai Pun of Mandalay in 1256 BE (1894).
This was written in Pāḷi.
This was written for recitation with the good noble object of preventing all kinds of dangers befalling towns and villages at any time.
This is called Ñayanmin Paritta, written in Pāḷi when the Venerable Sayādaw had heard of a drought in Monywa so that people could recite it for rain.
In the case of bhikkhus engaged on ascetic practices for religious devotion, Kammavācā read for a single bhikkhu is called Ekavatthaka Kammavācā. This was written to show how to read Kammavācā for this purpose.
In the case of two or three bhikkhus engaged together on ascetic practices for religious devotion in accordance with the Pabbajaniyakamma in the Kamma Vagga of the Cūḷavagga Pāḷi Text.
This is how to ready the two preceding Kammavācās: Bahuvacana Aggasamodhan and Suddhanta Duntakammavācā, in accordance with the Kammavācā Pāḷi text taught by the Buddha.
This is a short verse on the five volumes of the Vinaya discipline, Pāḷi Aṭṭhakathā and Ṭīkā (Pāḷi Text, Commentaries, Subcommentaries as well as expositions thereof).
This is a detailed exposition of the four kinds of possessions written at the request of Shin Candavera of Zeyapura Jamana Kyaungdaik. Please see page 331 of the Book of Answers to Questions.
Recitation of the Four Noble Truths in paying homage to the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha, written in Pāḷi and Burmese by the Venerable Ledi Sayādaw.
These are the principles of teaching and examination by the late Venerable Ledi Sayādaw submitted to the late Venerable Mahāvisuddhārāmika Sayādaw of Mandalay East in 1261 BE (1899).
This is the detailed exposition of the Doctrine of Dependent Origination.
In this manual, the Nakhasikha Sutta is cited as an example to prove that it is very difficult to take rebirth in the human world.
This was written in 1268 BE (1906) while the Ledi Sayādaw was residing at Prome, at the request of lay disciples living in Letpadan Town. Most important stress being laid on the noble attributes of the 28 Buddhas who had preached the Four Noble Truths including the important 16 points thereof, so that people can be free from all kinds of calamities.
Same as 69 above.
This is is the detailed exposition by Ledi U Maung Gyi of Saddasamkepa written in verse form by the Venerable Ledi Sayādaw which is also called ‘Saddaminccari’.
A manual of 40 meditation subjects, also called called ‘Forty-toe’ (sic, ‘toe’ means ‘short’ in Burmese), which is not long or short, written at the request of Saya Myo, a master of elements (Dhātu), which deals with 10 types of Anicca, 25 of Dukkha and 5 of Anatta.
This deals with the five kinds of Cosmic Order (niyāma dhamma), viz. 1) Climate (utu niyāma), 2) Genetics (bīja niyama), 3) Law of Nature (Dhamma niyāma), 4) Mind or consciousness (citta niyāma), and 5) Volitional action (kamma niyāma).
This the rewrite into verse of Ashin Anuruddha’s Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (Compendium of Philosophy) and contains 9 chapters viz. 1) Citta, 2) Cetasika, 3) Pakiṇṇaka, 4) Vīthi Citta, 5) Bhūmi, 6) Rūpa, 7) Samuccaya, 8) Paccaya and 9) Kammaṭṭhāna.
This is the detailed exposition of two kinds of abstention (virati) of Suttanta and Abhidhamma, based on 10 types of wholesome action (kusala kammapathā). Please see page 39 of Sīla Vinicchaya Dīpanī.
This is the answer to the question asked by a school-master of Sri Lanka on the subject of self (atta) and not-self (anatta). Please see page 244 of the Book of Answers to Questions.
A Vinicchaya decision passed on the question of a long carpet under the Law of Discipline. This can be found in the Manual of Mahāsayana.
This was a reply sent to members of the three groups of people at one time in the past in Burma, viz. 1) Group of Ñāṇa, 2) Group of Māra, and 3) Group of Khanda. It can be found on page 445 of the Book of Answers to Questions.
An answer to the question of U Kitti, a pupil of the Venerable Ledi Sayādaw whether those Buddhists who had paid homage to hermits or wanderers (paribbājaka) were guilty of a breach of faith in the three jewels of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha. This answer was sent on the 8th waxing of Pyatho in 1266 BE (1904).
This is an exposition to decide the question of stable morality (nicca sīla) and unstable morality (anicca sīla).
This is an answer to the question asked by those who used to keep the Uposatha in connection with the question of untimely food.
This was written personally by the Venerable Ledi Sayādaw in Pāḷi, and transcribed into Burmese Nissaya.
This was the answer in reply to the question sent from the Ariya Samagga Society in 1918 on the subject of the differences between Buddhism and Brahmanism. This answer can be found on Page 380 of the Book of Answers to Questions.
This was the answer in reply to (eleven) criticisms by a Christian against Buddhism in the year 1262 BE (1900) This can be found on page 15 of the Book of Answers to Questions.
This is the exposition of the three characteristics with the three kinds of full comprehension (tirana pariññā) so that the good people who are willing to realise the path, its fruition, and nibbāna, are able to develop insight knowledge (vipassanā-ñāṇa) easily. This was written in the year 1276 B.E. while the late Venerable Ledi Sayādaw was residing at the headquarters of the Burma Buddhist Mission in Mandalay West.
This a manual showing various kinds of alms giving (dāna) and various kinds of morality (sīla).
This is the answer to Extra Assistant Commissioner, U Shwe Zan Aung, on nibbāna. See page 493 of the Book of Answers to Questions.
This is an exposition on insight meditation through contemplation of the elements of earth, water, fire, and air.
This is a Pāḷi and Burmese Nissaya on the basis of the Maṅgala Sutta taught by the Buddha.
This was a compilation on the subject of foreign Buddhist missionary for the London Pali Text Society of the important excerpts from the Tipiṭaka, Aṭṭhakathā, and Ṭīkās inclusive of five Niyāma Dhammas, Five Calamities, Four Imponderables (acinteyya), Four Noble Truths, Three Worlds — the world of beings (sattaloka), the world of mental formations (saṅkhārāloka), and the world of space (ākāsaloka) — and Two Absolute Truths (saccā).
A treatise on Insight Meditation (Kammaţţhāna) written at the request of Abhidhamma teacher Maung Thai. Completed 1266 Burmese Era (October 1904 A.D.)