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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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2022-11-22 Advice to the Dying: Don’t Cling to Anything 22:04
This guided meditation offers a comprehensive training in non-attachment and letting go. The instructions list various objects and perceptions that one might be attached to, and recommend that we train ourselves to not cling to each item. It follows the advice that Venerable Sariputta offered to the lay disciple Anathapindika on his deathbed. It is essentially a reading of the discourse of Advice to Anathapindika (Middle Length Discourses 143) with some comments.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2022-04-12 Beyond Distraction: Five Practical Ways to Free the Mind 29:30
On the occasion of the publication of her third book, Beyond Distraction: Five Practical Ways to Free the Mind, Shaila Catherine shares a progressive series of strategies to overcome the hindrances of restlessness, obsessive thinking, and rumination; dispel thoughts of anger, hatred, and anxiety; and curb habitual distractions. By freeing the mind from the fetter of restlessness, meditators can calm their minds, develop tranquility, strengthen concentration, create the conditions for jhana, comprehend the nature of the mind, experience emptiness, and incline the mind toward liberating insight and nibbana. These teachings are based on two suttas (19 and 20) in the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2022-04-12 Guided Meditation: Beyond Distraction — Five Strategies to Remove Distracting Thoughts 23:57
In this guided meditation, Shaila Catherine introduces a progressive series of strategies to overcome restlessness, obsessive thinking, rumination, and habitual obstacles and hindrances. By freeing the mind from the fetter of restlessness, meditators calm their minds, develop tranquility, strengthen concentration, create the conditions for jhana, and incline the mind toward liberating insight and nibbana. These teachings are based on two suttas (19 and 20) n the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2021-10-14 Mindfulness with Breathing: Observing the Long & Short Breaths 0:00
(Recording not available) 
In this guided meditation, Shaila Catherine leads you through the first step of Anapanasati, also known as mindfulness with breathing. This first step is a great way to settle yourself during a meditation session, or out in the world.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2021-04-06 Refraining from Intoxication 22:44
This talk explores the fifth precept: the commitment to refrain from intoxicating the mind through the use of alcohol, drugs, or addictive desires. Originally this precept highlighted the dangers of home-brewed alcohol, but can be expanded to address the many ways we may seek to excite, dull, distort, or intoxicate our minds. By working with this precept, we not only strengthen our capacity for restraint, but importantly, we investigate how the force of craving may be affecting our decisions and actions.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2021-03-09 Refraining from Sexual Misconduct 35:21
This talk addresses the third ethical precept — refraining from sexual misconduct. Practicing with the precepts involves becoming mindful of our actions, recognizing the effects that our actions have on ourselves and others, learning to respond to our thoughts and feelings with wisdom, kindness, and restraint, and honoring our commitments. This precept provides opportunities to work with the movement of sexual desire and sensual lust. The views of sexuality that were prevalent in ancient India differ from contemporary norms, however, we can apply the underlying intention toward non-harming to contemplate and purify our own conduct. Shaila Catherine offers suggestions forgiving past unskillful actions, and strengthening our capacity for restraint.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
In collection: Ethics, Action and the Five Precepts
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
2020-02-11 The Seven Factors of Awakening 1:24:08
with Kim Allen
The Seven Factors of Awakening offer an effective framework for cultivating the mind, overcoming the hindrances, and balancing the energetic and calming forces that develop through meditation. When these seven factors are well developed, the mind is ripe for awakening. This series will explore each factor to reveal its importance, function, and role in the process of awakening.
Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
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

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