Shaila Catherine, has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than eight years of accumulated silent retreat experience. She has taught since 1996 in the USA, and internationally. Shaila has dedicated several years to studying with masters in India, Nepal and Thailand, completed a one year intensive meditation retreat with the focus on concentration and jhana, and authored Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity. Shaila Catherine has practiced under the guidance of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw since 2006; she authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana to help make this traditional approach to meditative training accessible to western practitioners. She is the founder of Insight Meditation South Bay, a Buddhist meditation center in Silicon Valley.
This collection of talks introduces the recollections of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha as inspirational practices that support concentration, happiness, and energetic engagement in the path of practice. They are classified as protective meditations, and are commonly used to strengthen concentration up to the level of access concentration because they quickly develop the five jhana factors. These talks are structured around the traditional verses in praise of Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, that are commonly chanted in Buddhist monasteries. This series emphasizes how we can cultivate within our own lives the virtues and noble qualities that are remembered in the contemplative chants.
The Triple Gem: The Awakening Recollection of the Buddha. This is the first installment in a three part series on the three jewels or three refuges. This talk introduces the practice of recollecting the worthy qualities of the Buddha and meditating on his virtues. Contemplation of the Buddha, Buddhanusati, enhances joy, inspiration, and confidence in the possibility of liberation. This talk tells the story of the Buddha's enlightenment, his struggle for knowledge and attainments, development of integrity and right speech, blossoming of his remarkable teaching abilities, great compassion, full understanding of mind and matter (nama-rupa), knowledge of the world, unsurpassed concentration, and pure conduct. The example of the Buddha's achievements can serve as an inspiration for us today.
The Triple Gem: Recollection of the Dhamma—The Liberating Teachings. This is the second installment in a three part series on the three jewels or three refuges. This talk introduces the practice of contemplating the Dhamma (dhammanusati) as a meditation practice that enhances joy, delight, energy, and faith in the efficacy of the path. The reflection considers the Dhamma as good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, pure in its meaning and in its detail, immediate, timeless, inviting one to come and see, worthy of application, to be experienced by the wise.
The Triple Gem: Recollection of the Sangha—Community As Refuge. This is the third installment in the three part series on the triple refuge or three jewels. This talk introduces the contemplation of the virtues of the Sangha (sanghanusati) as a support for inspiration, trust, and gratitude for community. The liberating sangha is considered worthy of gifts and offerings; a field of merit; a community people who have made the effort to practice diligently, energetically; and who are cultivating a direct and liberating path.