Michael Kewley (Dhammachariya Paññadipa), Dhamma heir of Sayadaw Rewata Dhamma
In 1984 following the Sayadaws direct instruction he began to teach, establishing a flourishing Buddhist group on his native Isle of Man. This led to invitations from other small groups to instruct and lead courses and retreats, but always with the same intention, to share the Dhamma so that all beings might benefit.
On 10th May 1987 he took full ordination with his teacher at the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara and was given the name, Paññadipa, meaning Island (or light) of Wisdom.
In 1991 Sayadaw Rewata Dhamma sent him to India to visit the four Buddhist shrines and to offer his respects. It was here that met Venerable Rastrapal Mahathera, and was invited to lead retreats for Western students at the International Meditation Centre, Budh Gaya.
This he did, with his own close disciple, Henry Bowen, annually until January 2002.
On 26th May 2002 at the Buddha day celebrations at the Dhamma Talaka Temple, Birmingham, England where he was invited to be the principle guest speaker, he was publicly awarded the title Dhammachariya. His intention now as ever, is to honour his two principal teachers, the Buddha and Sayadaw Rewata Dhamma so that all beings may benefit.
In 1996 Michael was leading his series of ten day retreats at the International Meditation Centre in Budh Gaya and Sayadaw Rewata Dhamma was travelling with a group of Burmese pilgrims when, to much delight, their paths crossed almost by accident at the Burmese Vihar.
They sat together at the in the early morning sunshine quietly speaking when Michael asked a question, «Bhante,* who was your teacher?»
Sayadaw Rewata Dhamma smiled and gestured to a statue of the Buddha. He answered simply, «the Buddha.»
He then continued, «the Buddha taught his disciples, who then taught their disciples, who then taught their disciples and so on, until my teachers taught me and I taught you. You now continue this unbroken line as you teach your disciples. This is the way of Theravada, to maintain the purity of Dhamma by following a direct path from the Buddha.»
It was also on this special occasion that Michael was asked by the Sayadaw to lead the very first Vipassana retreat at the soon to be finished Dhamma Talaka Temple in England.
Michael was also asked to keep his monks robes and bowl after he had dis-robed in 1984 to indicate this lineage, from Master to disciple.
Sayadaw Rewata Dhamma passed away on 26th May 2004.
*Bhante is an Indian word meaning Venerable Sir.