VB : MahaGandayone, U Ba Kyi, U Ba Khin

Video Broadcast : #176
January 5, 2010

Illustrated History of Buddhism


  • The Burmese version of the Book was published by YMBA (Young Men’s Buddhist Association) in 1951.
  • YMBA requested Mahagandayone Sayadaw Ashin Janakabhivamsa to write a brief “History of Buddhism” and Artist Saya U Ba Kyi to provide illustrations.
  • Saya U Ba Kyi observed eight precepts for 45 days before undertaking the project.
  • In 1953, Saya U Ba Kyi gained international reputation.
  • In 1954, YMBA later published an addendum (English translation of Sayadaw’s text in Burmese) for readers who are not conversant in Burmese.


  • Dhammananda Sayadaw U Silanandabhivamsa sought permission from YMBA to reprint the book with descriptions in both Burmese/Myanmar and English.
  • In 1994, the book was printed and published in the US and was distributed by TBSA (Theravada Buddhist Society of America).
  • Several books were left.
    Some were handed as prizes for the successful participants of the “Summer Dhamma Class / Camp”.

Missed Opportunity

  • An Arts professor from Stanford University expressed desire to use “The Illustrated History of Buddhism” as a text for his course provided the book can be “ordered” from the University Book Shop.
  • Since the book was meant for dhamma dana, the book had no ISBN (International Standard Book Number) that is used by book shops.


  • There have been some requests to reprint the book.
  • There are probably newer reprints of the book and/or PDF version of Saya U Ba Kyi’s drawings.

U Ba Kyi

  • Saya translated a verse of the song “Hna yauk hte nay gin de” while invigilating an examination at the Institute of Education.
  • Saya Dr. Maung Maung Kha used to accompany Saya U Ba Kyi’s vocals with his violin at the functions (mostly at Rangoon University Ah Nu Pyinnya Ah Thin).

Only two we will live dear
On the high crest
Of the Mount Everest
And the Sahara Desert
Driest without water
To the North Pole
May be freezing cold
Where the sun will never never grow
With all my heart and soul
Only two darling We will go

Categories: Broadcasts, Notes

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