The chanting style is similar to the one by sotāpanna deva recorded during the conversation with Mahasi Sayadaw.
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Is there an available recording of this?
Bhante, there are several posts in YouTube (e.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfmX3PTUBT0), but I listened to it about 4-5 years ago on YouTube and thought the Pali chanting style looked similar to Dhammaruwan’s. On listening again now, I think it is not similar. However, please know that I don’t know anything about Pali and my listening skill is not good.
For about 22 minutes, the person who distributed this recording talks about in Burmese how the recording came about. Essentially, he was saying he got it from U San Thein (a high-ranking official at the time of the event). U San Thein visited Pathein in early 1951 and met a young female ascetic who had kept ten precepts for many years. He told her that she should practice vipassana meditation for which he would sponsor travel, lodging, etc. He brought her to Mahasi Saydaw’s Sasana Yeiktha. After about 10 days of practice, the young female ascetic started speaking in some strange language. U San Thein was informed and brought to her. U San Thein knew Pali and knew that a deva was requesting a meeting with Mahasi Sayadaw as devas would like to pay respect (puja) to Mahasi Sayadaw. She was brought to Mahasi Sayadaw who spoke with the deva and agreed upon a time for the meeting. On the meeting day, Mahasi Sayadaw was at one side with the monks behind him and the young female ascetic facing the Sayadaw with lay people behind her. The conservastion between Mahasi Sayadaw and the deva was recorded on tape. Nuggaha association leadership wanted to broadcast the recording for the benefits of others and made a record with Burmese translations in between conversations. There was a criticism that a conversation between a human and a deva was not possible. And Mahasi sayadaw did not give permission for broadcasting because nonbelievers might get nonbeneficial consequences.
When the person who distributed the recording (distributor, an acquaintance of U San Thein) asked U San Thein to share the recording saying he was a believer, U San Thein asked Mahasi Sayadaw. Sayadaw gave the permission. U San Thein gave him the original recording but the distributor did not understand Pali and asked for the recording with Burmese translation and gave the Pali recording back to U San Thein. He later made several copies of it. Some were damaged. Later, the distributor made the final recording with his introduction at the beginning and the end of the audio file which was posted in YouTube by several people.
From the Burmese translation of the conversation (not exact, not accurate English translations, just for intro):
First, some exchange of talks between the deva and Mahasi Sayadaw.
the deva is from a higher deva realm (higher than Susita realm, I don’t know how to correctly spell the deva’s realm). He did many good deeds (dana, sila, practiced a little bit of dhamma) during the previous Buddha (? Kasapa) time. Becuase of that he became a deva. When Gotama Buddha delivered sermons in Tar-wa-tain-thar deva realm, he listened to some and attained sottapati magga. After sottapati magga, he moved to a higher deva realm (where he was currently).
Deva stated the young female ascetic had been keeping 10 precepts for many, many lifetimes so her body is clean and can be used as a medium to communicate. Deva was not physically in the human realm. He was using deit-va thawtha (not correct pali spelling, deva hearing) through the young female ascetic body. Deva said the conversation could not be very long because the medium body would not be able to tolerate it.
Deva said lifespan of his realm is very, very long and it’s very boring for him.
Deva said devas would like to give puja (pay respect) to Sayadaw who gave the permission. The deva introduced the devas who, one after another (total 3), did puja chantings (appreciating the Sayadaw). The last one was a deva who lived in Burma in her previous life. That deva did a short puja in Pali and also in Burmese (longer, about 3 minutes, I think).
After the puja, Mahasi Sayadaw asked questions to the deva as agreed upon previously.
Sayadaw asked about devas coming to human realm like in Buddha’s time. The deva said these later days a lot of humans did not have sila (bad characters, etc), not good for deva, so deva could not come down. Even when going down to lower deval realm (tha-wa-tain-thar realm, etc), the deva had to make a copy of his body that will go down (? name-mi-tta body) (? his body being very delicate). His current realm was very up far from tha-wa-tain-thar realm.
Deva realm is very enticing and devas got lost in sensual pleasures. Devas who attained magga (any stage of enlightment) are not many. Higher realm devas are the ones who did many great good deeds in human life. Even in higher realms, enlightened devas are not many. His realm also has dhamma talk occasions like thar-wa-tain-thar’s but it was about light dhamma (? dana, sila), not dhamma about rupa (matter) or nama (matter).
The deva looked with his deiva-sakku (deva/super eye) and confirmed Sayadaw’s question that Gotama Buddha’s mother is in Susita realm as a male deva.
Sayadaw told the deva about the coming Sixth Buddhist Council and the possibility about the devas coming to human realm to give encouragement but the deva initially did not understand about it and there were several back and forth conversations. The deva said he was unable to come down for the Sixth Council because of very bad human conditions He could just say Sadhu from his realm.
Some more questions and answers that I don’t remember.
Sayadaw gave a sermon (two short verses) both in Pali and Burmese. Before giving the sermon, Sayadaw asked the deva if he could understand Burmese. Deva said he could understand any language.
After the sermon, deva gave puja to the Sayadaw (chanting his appreciation and praying for Sayadaw).
After the deva and Sayadaw’s conversation, there is a recording of the (medium) young female ascetic voice that is very different from the voices of the devas.
– Bhante, I have also attached the file that I edited from the YouTube file leaving out the Burmese translations as I thought it might be more convenient for you to listen to the conversation in Pali nonstop. (Please note that the YouTube or the distributor version is not the original as it is already with Burmese translations. Some conversations could be missed during the editing process.) (P.S. I took time to make it only Pali for easy listening for those who know Pali. But the website says, “New users not allowed to upload files.” Please listen from this link. Mahasi Sayadaw and Sotapanna deva conversation in 1951.mp3 - Icedrive )
Thank you for the translation, htunnm. I find this very interesting.
I found another person refering this video and the conversation with the deva:
He says that the deva was in Yama Devaloka and was reborn in Nimmanarati Devoloka. He also mention that Mahasi Sayadaw asking the deva about the future Buddha Metteyya.
Can you please tell us what is their conversation about Buddha Metteyya and if there are other interesting topics thay talk about? Thanks!
Thanks for the background and story!
The chanting sounds quite unlike modern Burmese chanting, so far as I can tell, but then I’m not very familiar with Burmese chanting styles. Unfortunately it’s not really clear enough for me to make out the Pali. With Dhamma Ruwan you can hear every syllable quite clearly.
Thank you. Do you know any of the other questions the deva responded to?