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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).
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2020-06-30 Cultivating Patience 45:06
Shaila Catherine discusses the importance of patience in our practice. This talk explores benefits, opportunities, and challenges that we experience when cultivating this often under appreciated virtue of patience.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2020-02-11 Mindfulness 35:38
Mindfulness (Sati in Pali) is a whole-hearted observation of the present moment with a quality of mind free of desire/aversion. It forms the basis for cultivating all the Awakening Factors.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
In collection The Seven Factors of Awakening
2020-02-04 Suffering and Its End 46:32
In this talk, Shaila Catherine addresses the great teaching of the Buddha known as the four noble truths: 1) suffering, 2) the cause of suffering is craving, 3) the end of suffering, and 4) the path leading to the end of suffering. Shaila Catherine explores each of the four truths through inspiring sutta references and daily life examples that show how we can live our daily lives from the perspective of liberating wisdom. Rather than engage in endless philosophical speculations or become attached to views and opinions, the Buddha taught a practical path based on the recognition of the fundamental unsatisfactory characteristic of experience. When we recognize dukkha (suffering), we can realize the end of dukkha (suffering).
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
In collection Buddha's Core Teachings: Finding True Happiness Through the Four Noble Truths
2020-02-04 Mindfulness of the Body: A Guided Meditation with Sequential Touch Sensations 25:16
In this guided meditation, Shaila Catherine introduces a practice of mindfulness of the body by observing a sequence of touch sensations. This meditation guides practitioners to gradually move attention through a series of bodily locations where the feet, buttocks, hands, lips, and eye lids touch. At each location we pause to experience the present sensations that are known at that place of touching. After exploring touch points, we broader the field of attention to the whole body sitting. By alternating the focus of attention between precise and clear points of contact, and broad, restful, receptive awareness of the whole body, the meditator nurtures a clear bright balanced mind that can meet the present moment as it is.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
In collection Featured Guided Meditations
2019-12-21 Dawn of the Liberating Path - Accomplishment in Careful Attention 17:16
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
2019-12-18 Dawn of the Liberating Path - Accomplishment in Diligence 15:42
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
2019-12-17 Ways to Awaken: Five Ways to Become An Arahant 47:22
In this talk, Shaila Catherine explores five ways that one may become fully awakened—an arahant. The teaching is based on a discourse found in the Anguttara Nikaya (AN 5:26). These ways include awakening 1) by listening to someone teach the dhamma, 2) while teaching the dhamma, 3) by reciting the teachings in detail as one has learned them, 4) while pondering, examining and investigating the dhamma, and 5) through penetrative wisdom with an object of concentration. Study, reflection, and deep meditation create conducive conditions for awakening. Study informs and inspires our meditation practice; meditation produces depth and clarity in understanding. We can balance our engagement with both study and meditation to optimize the cultivation of this liberating path.
Insight Meditation Society - Forest Refuge December 2019 at IMS - Forest Refuge
2019-12-16 Dawn of the Liberating Path - Accomplishment in Self 17:22
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
2019-12-11 Dawn of the Liberating Path - Accomplishment of Desire 22:37
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
2019-12-10 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

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