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Shaila Catherine's Dharma Talks
Shaila Catherine
Shaila Catherine is the founder of Bodhi Courses (bodhicourses.org) an online Dhamma classroom, and Insight Meditation South Bay, a meditation center in Mountain View, California (imsb.org). She has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than eight years of accumulated silent retreat experience, and 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, (Wisdom Publications, 2008). She has extensive experience practicing and teaching mindfulness, loving kindness, concentration, and a broad range of approaches to liberating insight. Since 2006, Shaila has continued her study of jhana and insight under the direction of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw, and authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana (Wisdom Publications, 2011).
2019-12-10 Power Of Balance 35:19
In this talk, Shaila Catherine suggests that everyone is responsible for their own state of balance. She explores several practical areas for cultivating a balanced approach to practice including: aligning the body posture with the force of gravity, recognizing how mindfulness brings a balanced relationship to sensory experiences, and cultivating a non-reactive attitude toward both pleasant and unpleasant feelings. We learn to quickly restore our emotional balance whenever we find ourselves entangled in stories or personal dramas. We refine our ability to apply balanced effort in the way that we engage with meditation. And we continuously refine the powerful balance in the meditating mind by perceiving how the five spiritual faculties and the seven awakening factors are affecting our attention and understanding.
Insight Meditation Society - Forest Refuge December 2019 at IMS - Forest Refuge
2019-12-09 Dawn of the Liberating Path - Accomplishment of View 15:48
The Buddha teaches that, just as the dawn precedes the rising sun, so developing certain qualities prepares us for fully engaging in our practice of the Noble Eightfold Path. Seven of these qualities are taught in the Magga Samyutta (SN 45:49-90): good friends, and the accomplishments in virtue, desire, self, view, diligence, and careful attention. This series of brief talks, Shaila Catherine introduces each of these qualities and illuminates how their development can support our path to liberation.
Insight Meditation Society - Forest Refuge December 2019 at IMS - Forest Refuge
In collection Dawn of the Liberating Path - Accomplishments
2019-12-04 Dawn of the Liberating Path - Accomplishment of Virtue 17:38
The Buddha teaches that, just as the dawn precedes the rising sun, so developing certain qualities prepares us for fully engaging in our practice of the Noble Eightfold Path. Seven of these qualities are taught in the Magga Samyutta (SN 45:49-90): good friends, and the accomplishments in virtue, desire, self, view, diligence, and careful attention. This series of brief talks, Shaila Catherine introduces each of these qualities and illuminates how their development can support our path to liberation.
Insight Meditation Society - Forest Refuge December 2019 at IMS - Forest Refuge
In collection Dawn of the Liberating Path - Accomplishments
2019-12-04 Dawn of the Liberating Path - Accomplishments 1:46:26
The Buddha teaches that, just as the dawn precedes the rising sun, so developing certain qualities prepares us for fully engaging in our practice of the Noble Eightfold Path. Seven of these qualities are taught in the Samyutta Nikaya (SN 45:49-90): good friends, virtue, desire, completeness of mind, view, diligence, and careful attention. This speaker series introduces each of these qualities and illuminates how developing each one can support our path to liberation.
Insight Meditation Society - Forest Refuge December 2019 at IMS - Forest Refuge
2019-12-03 How Meditation Supports the Path of Awakening 34:33
Scientists have documented some significant and measurable changes that occur as a result of meditation. But Buddhist practice is not limited to calm, pleasant, relaxing states of meditation. The liberating path includes a broad range of practices that produce a wide variety of benefits. We learn how we encounter the world of the senses; we unravel distortions of perception. We weaken defilements. We learn to let go. In this talk, Shaila Catherine points to the liberating potential of the path.
Insight Meditation Society - Forest Refuge December 2019 at IMS - Forest Refuge
2019-07-16 Taking the Problem out of Pain 47:45
In this talk, Shaila Catherine encourages practitioners to view illness and pain as opportunities to practice equanimity, patience, and mindfulness of the body. When we are sick or in pain, we can still practice being attentive to present conditions, and reflect that all beings are all also subject to illness and death. Illness is not wrong; it is inevitable. The more we resist this fact, the more mental suffering we add to our physical difficulties. When we learn to be present with both pleasant and unpleasant feelings, we will know an experience of profound peace.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
In collection Meditation in Hard Times
2019-06-19 Intention and the Power of Thought 46:18
How are we using our minds? Where do our thought incline? The Buddha's teachings focus on the practical application of intention and the power of thought, rather than ritual, as the potent force behind action. Working with thought, we see how habits and tendencies develop and form patterns known as kamma (karma). We must be honest with ourselves and see any conceit, agitation, anger, greed, or restlessness that might be lurking as tendencies of mind. We can learn to use our thought skillfully, and guard the mind with diligent mindfulness. Wholesome and unwholesome thoughts are explored. There is nothing to fear from wholesome thoughts such as intentions toward renunciation, letting go, loving kindness, compassion, and generosity, and yet a concentrated mind will bring deeper rest. The path of liberation and awakening includes the development of morality and virtue, and also calmness, concentration, and wisdom.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2018-04-24 Commitment to Enlightenment 30:23
In this talk, Shaila Catherine explores the purpose of meditation practice. By knowing the goal of the Buddhist path, we can avoid becoming satisfied with deceptive attainments such as mere joy, calmness, and concentration. These pleasant states are not the aim of the liberating path. If we become attached to these temporary states and initial attainments, they become impediments on the path and can prevent the realization of the ultimate goal of awakening.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
In collection Goals in Meditation
2017-12-19 Feeling Emotions on the Meditative Path of Awakening 41:31
Shaila Catherine discusses the importance of developing mindfulness of emotions and mental states. Human beings have the capacity to experience a wide range of emotions—they may be subtle or intense, unwholesome or wholesome. Working with emotions requires energy and courage to be willing to face the raw fact that this mental state is present. We can become aware of, and work skillfully with, any emotional state including anger, hate, gratitude, fear, sadness, calmness, insecurity, contentment, grief, tranquility, lust, compassion, loneliness, jealousy, envy, restlessness, peacefulness, faith, love. Emotions are changing mental states that arise in conjunction with every perception. When we are mindful of emotions we drop the conceptual narrative of the story line and investigate how the mind operates. What conditions nourish each mental state, and what conditions cause them to end? How do these mental states affect the clarity of our perception? We can observe the dynamic interaction of emotions and the body, and learn to work with emotions in conjunction with their somatic manifestations. We might gather ideas for investigation by reviewing the detailed Abhidhamma categories of mental states and the factors that constitute each state, or we might simply observe the arising and ceasing of mental states in activity and our meditation.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2017-12-09 The Peace of Not-Clinging: A Guided Meditation 20:23
Shaila Catherine offers this 20-minute teaching on impermanence and not-clinging in the mode of guided meditation instructions. We practice being unattached to pleasant and unpleasant feelings and releasing all clinging connected with sensual desire or aversion. To cultivate non-clinging, first notice the experience of clinging, perhaps by observing physical tightness, mental contraction, or a sense of separation. As you become mindful of the changing nature of experiences, allow yourself to deeply accept this fact of impermanence. Allow experiences to arise and be known, and also let them end.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley

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