Saya Thetgyi (1873 -1945, né: Maung Po Thet) was one of the first lay teachers of Vipassana meditation in Burma (Myanmar) since the time of the Buddha.
He was born in the small farming village of Pyawbwegyi, eight miles south of Rangoon, but when a cholera epidemic struck the village and U Thet lost his son and daughter he left the village in search of “the deathless". Wandering all over Burma in a fervent search, he studied with different teachers, both monks and laymen, and finally went north to Monywa where he learned Vipassana from the Venerable monk Ledi Sayadaw.
Saya Thetgyi became a critical link between Ledi Sayadaw and Sayagyi U Ba Khin in helping to establish a tradition of Vipassana householder meditators and teachers. After practicing Vipassana for seven years with Ledi Sayadaw, he returned to his village and started teaching Vipassana there. He taught simple farmers and laborers as well as those who were well-versed in the Pāli texts. As the village was close to Rangoon—the capital of Burma under the British—government employees and urbanites, like U Ba Khin, also came.
Although Saya Thetgyi knew many of Ledi Sayadaw's prolific writings by heart, and was able to expound on the Dhamma with references to the scriptures, in a way that most learned Sayadaws (monk teachers) could not find fault with, he did not see himself as learned in the scriptures. There are no written works of his hand.