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Dr Pyi Phyo Kyaw

Dr Pyi Phyo Kyaw

  • Research fellows

Research Associate in Abhidhamma Meditation

Contact details

Biography

Pyi Kyaw (pronounced “Pyé Jaw”) is currently a Research Associate in Abhidhamma Meditation at King’s College London. She specialises in Burmese Buddhism, Abhidhamma and meditation, Buddhist business practices, and Buddhist Diaspora in the U.K. She has extensive fieldwork experience in Burma, and has translated Burmese writings on meditation and biographies of Burmese meditation masters into English.

She has given talks on historical and current textual and practice aspects of Theravada Buddhism including Abhidhamma, Buddha worship and Buddhist pedagogy. She has also undertaken intensive meditation practice within different meditation traditions for the past 10 years, and monastic training in Myanmar as a precept-nun in nunneries based at Pyay (formerly Prome) in 2007 and Sagaing in 2012. She has received traditional Abhidhamma training from experts in Abhidhamma studies from Burma for the past 4 years.

She studied BA in Economics and Management at Oxford University from 2004 to 2008. She completed MA in Buddhist Studies at SOAS in 2010. She has recently completed PhD in Buddhist Studies from King’s College London. 

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Burmese Buddhism
  • Abhidhamma (Theravada Analytical Philosophy)
  • Buddhist Economics, especially Buddhist microeconomics
  • Buddhist Meditation
  • Traditional Buddhist pedagogy

My research interests bridge the fields of Theravada Buddhist Studies and Burma Studies, and primarily concern living traditions of Burmese Theravada Buddhism. I have extensive fieldwork experience in Myanmar. I have translated Burmese writings on meditation and biographies into English, and given talks on a variety of subject including Buddhist doctrine and Buddhist pedagogy. I have also undertaken intensive meditation practice within different Buddhist traditions for the past 5 years, and monastic training in Myanmar as a precept-nun in nunneries based at Pyay (formerly Prome) in 2007 and Sagaing in 2012.

In addition, I have received traditional Abhidhamma training from experts in Abhidhamma studies from Yangon, Sagaing and Mingun for the past four years. My PhD research combines a textual and Buddhological approach with exploration of present-day Burmese practices using fieldwork, demonstrating the use of Abhidhamma, Theravada analytical philosophy in a variety of contemporary and recent historical settings associated with ritual, meditation, recitation, memorisation, and with pedagogic and mathematical practices. My current research focuses on the relationship between Abhidhamma and Vipassanā (insight) meditation, exploring how and to what extent the teachings in the Abhidhamma are applied in meditation practices, and assessing the roles of theoretical knowledge of ultimate realties, i.e. the most basic constituents of reality, in meditation.

Publications

Emptiness through dhammas or Emptiness of dhammas: understanding of Emptiness in Theravada Meditation Traditions’, Journal of International Buddhist Studies, 2011, Vol. 3, pp. 115-130.with Kate Crosby. ‘The Buddha and his Brothers: Expressions of Power, Place and Community by the network of Mahamuni images of Arakan, Bangladesh and Burma’ in David Park and Kuenga Wangmo (eds.) Proceedings of the Buddhist Art Forum (Courtauld Institute of Art, April 2012). London: Archetype Publications, 2013, pp. 263-274.  

Teaching