Sitagu Sayadaw

Ashin Nyanissara (Burmese: ဉာဏိဿရ; IAST: Ñāṇissara) best known as Sitagu Sayadaw (သီတဂူဆရာတော်), is a meditation teacher and prolific Buddhist scholar. He is also founder and head of the Sitagu International Buddhist Academies.

Sitagu Sayadaw
သီတဂူ Impostor
Sitagu Sayadaw.jpg
TitleVice Sangha Rājā of Shwekyin Nikāya
Other namesVenerable Dr. Ashin Nyanissara
U Nyanissara
Thegon Sayadaw
Thabeik Aine Sayadaw
Born (1937-02-23) 23 February 1937 (age 84)[1]
LineageShwekyin Nikāya
EducationKhin-ma-gan Pali University, Mandalay (M.A.)
Sangha University, Yangon
Other namesVenerable Dr. Ashin Nyanissara
U Nyanissara
Thegon Sayadaw
Thabeik Aine Sayadaw
Dharma namesÑāṇissara
OccupationBuddhist monk
Senior posting
TeacherAnicakhan Sayadaw Ashin Pandita[2]
Based inSagaing Hills, Myanmar

His work as a teacher began in 1977 and encompasses religious, educational, medical and infrastructural activities. He travels worldwide to promote his humanitarian efforts and for interfaith dialogue.[1] He became "Shwegyin Nikaya Uppaokkahta" which translates as "Joint Leading Head of Shwegyin Nikaya of Myanmar" in 2012.

He has associated in recent years with the Buddhist nationalist group Patriotic Association of Myanmar.[3]

In May 2017, Sitagu Sayadaw preached a sermon in Kayin State to Myanmar Army officers likely to be involved with the Rohingya genocide that "appeared to suggest that the killing of those who are not Buddhist could be justified on the grounds that they were not complete humans, or indeed humans at all".[4]

In March 2021, he along with the other leading monks of the Shwekyin Nikāya (unwillingly or anonymously for the fear of a crack in his relationship wih the military junta) urged Min Aung Hlaing to immediately cease the assaults on unarmed civilians protesting the February takeover by the military and to refrain from engaging in theft and property destruction.[5] The monks reminded the general to be a good Buddhist but he himself never speak out publicly to condemn the brutal crackdown and killings of unarmed civilians who were protesting peacefully to military junta.[5]

In April 2021, he is also urged by most of the people in Myanmar because he attended one of the event invited by 'Gang Leader' and received millions of dollars for his silence in current massacre in Myanmar Spring Revolution against military coup Min Aung Hlaing. Image

Social and charity workEdit

Sitagu Buddhist Academy

Sitagu Sayadaw is known for his charismatic leadership and practices of socially-engaged Buddhism.[2] His organization has funded many social projects in Burma, including water pumps, construction of hospitals such as the Sitagu Ayudana Hospital in Sagaing[6] in 1985, and the Sitagu Buddhist Academy in 1998.[2]

Bhante Sitagu Sayadaw has been lauded for his missionary and charity works, especially in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in 2008, which killed upwards of 100,000 in the country's delta regions.[7]

He is also interested in interfaith dialogue and currently sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute.[8]

Honorific titlesEdit

The Myanmar government bestowed four honorific titles upon him:

1. In 1993 Bhante Sitagu Sayadaw was awarded the title Mahādhammakathika Bahujanahitadhara which means "great Dhamma preacher".[2]
2. In 1995 he received the title Aggamahā Saddhammajotikadhaja means "great Dhamma preacher and benefactor of many".[2]
3. In 1997 he received another title Aggamahā Paṇḍita which means "very excellent wise man".[2]
4. In 2004 he was awarded a title yet again for Aggamahā Ganthavacakapaṇḍita which means "great wise man in teaching and preaching".[2]
5. In 2017 he was received the Supreme Buddhist Title Abhidhajamahārahthaaguru which means "the Honourable, Excellent and Great Teacher of Country and the State".

Honorary doctoratesEdit

Honorary doctorates received from Myanmar and International Universities:

1. In February 2003, the University of Yangon, Myanmar honored the Venerable with a Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.).

2. In April 2005, he was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Mahachulalongkorajavidyalaya University in Bangkok, Thailand.

3. In May 2008, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Mahamakut Buddhist University, Thailand.

4. In October 2008, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Nava Nalanda University, India.

5. In February 2015, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Pannasastra University, Cambodia.


  1. ^ a b "A Brief Biography of Dr. Ashin Nanissara". Sitagu Buddhist Vihara. Theravada Dhamma Society of America. Archived from the original on 17 October 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hiroko Kawanami (2009). "Charisma, Power(s), and the Arahant Ideal in Burmese-Myanmar Buddhism". Asian Ethnology. Nanzan University. 68 (2): 211–237. JSTOR 25614539.
  3. ^ "Ma Ba Tha meet to resolve questions over Sitagu Sayadaw role". The Myanmar Times. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
  4. ^ Fuller, Paul (2017-11-12). "Sitagu Sayadaw and justifiable evils in Buddhism". New Mandala.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ "Eye Care Project ( Burma)". Australia Burma Community Development Network. 2 March 2009. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  7. ^ Lintner, Bertil (2009). The resistance of the monks: Buddhism and activism in Burma. Human Rights Watch. p. 89. ISBN 9781564325440.
  8. ^ The Elijah Interfaith Institute - Buddhist Members of the Board of World Religious Leaders