A sayadaw (Burmese: ဆရာတော်, IPA: [sʰəjàdɔ̀]; lit. royal teacher and alternatively spelt hsayadaw, sayado, sayāḍo or sayāḍaw) is the senior monk or abbot of a monastery. Some distinguished sayadaws would often be referred to as a sayadawgyi (ဆရာတော်ကြီး, as a sign of reverence. The terms "sayadaw" and "sayadawgyi" originally corresponded to the senior monks who taught the former Burmese kings. These sayadaws may be influential teachers of the Buddhist Dhamma and also important meditation practitioners. They usually are abbots of monasteries or monastery networks with a large number of resident monks and a lay following. However, sayadaw is used interchangeably with the term "U".
In Burmese Buddhism, several honorific terms exist for Buddhist monks, reflecting their achievements and number of Vassa spent. The most frequently used terms include "Bhaddanta", "Ashin", "Shin", "U", "Upazin", "Sayadaw" and "Sayadawgyi". These names are used as prefixes to the Pali proper names of the Burmese, Theravada tradition monks.
A sayadaw may be known by his given Dharma name (ဘွဲ့), a qualified name, or by the name of his monastery. Thus, venerable Mingun Sayadaw U Vicittasarabhivamsa, who served as "Chief Respondent" at the Sixth Buddhist Council in Yangon, could be addressed as:
- Mingun Sayadaw (in reference to his home monastery at Mingun)
- U Vicittasarabhivamsa
- Sayadaw U Vicittasarabhivamsa
- Mingun Sayadaw U Vicittasarabhivamsa
- Tipitaka Sayadaw U Vicittasarabhivamsa
- Tipitakadhara Dhammabhandakarika Sayadaw U Vicittasarabhivamsa (in reference to being the first monk to be awarded the titles Tipitakadhara and Dhammabhandakarika, meaning "Bearer of the Tripitaka" and "Treasurer of the Dhamma"
List of prominent Sayadaws
The following is a list of prominent sayadaws in recent Burmese history.
- Sayadaw U Tejaniya
- Ledi Sayadaw
- Sunlun Sayadaw U Kavi
- Nyaungyan Sayadaw
- Mingun SayadawTipitakadhara Dhammabhandharika Asin Vicitthasara Mahathera
- Taungtan Sasana Pyu Sayadaw
- Mahasi Sayadaw U Sobhana
- Webu Sayadaw
- Mahagandhayon Sayadaw U Janakabhivamsa
- Mogok Sayadaw U Vimala
- Taung Pu Lu Sayadaw
- Chanmyay Sayadaw U Janakabhivamsa
- Ma Soe Yein Sayadaw — a lineage title
- Pakkokku Sayadaw — a lineage title
- Shwe Hintha Sayadaw
- Tharmanya Sayadaw
- Thabyekan Sayadaw
- U Lokanatha
- Bamaw Sayadaw
- Maha Bodhi Tahtaung Sayadaw
- Pa Auk Sayadaw
- U Sandardhika
- Sitagu Sayadaw, Thitagu Sayadaw
- U Jotika
- U Pandita
- Silanandabhivamsa Sayadaw
- Nandamalabhivamsa Sayadaw
- Dhammaduta Sayadaw Dr. Chekinda
- Buddhism Concepts - What is a Sayadaw?
- The Most Venerable Sayadaw U Vicittasarabhivamsa (1911 - 1992)
- Venerable Ledi Sayadaw
- Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw
- Pa Auk Sayadaw's talks in books and audio format
- Venerable Sayadaw U Sandardhika
- Talks by Sayadaw U Jotika
- Pa Auk Forest Monastery - Site of Pa Auk Sayadaw
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