Sir U Thwin was the wealthy philanthropist who donated the original land for the Mahāsi Meditation Centre. He had this traditional monastery for the Sayādaw’s residence. It was renovated for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Mahāsi Organization in 1998, shortly before this photograph was taken.
When I first went to Mahāsi Yeikthā in 1979, it was the residence of my meditation teacher, Sayādaw U Javana — by then a two-storey residence had been built for the Mahāsi Sayādaw to accommodate the large number of meditators coming for instruction daily. The ground floor of that new building still serves as a meditation hall.
Sir U Thwin’s building is still used as a residence by one of the meditation instructors.