The Deep States of Samadhi – Shaila and Ajahn Brahm discuss the role of jhanas in contemporary practice

The 11th Global Buddhist Conference in Berkeley concluded with a profound discussion of samadhi and jhana practices. Ajahn Brahm and Shaila Catherine had a riveting dialog, skillfully moderated by Daniel Aitken from Wisdom Publications. The event was filmed and later posted for the public. To watch, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpPz22DMRS8

2019-08-31T06:10:33-07:00July 1st, 2019|Jhanas, News|

When gripped by a powerful desire for liberation

I’ve recently been contemplating a brief discourse in the Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (A. 4.170) on four combinations of tranquility and insight. This subject arose as part of an on-line course led by Venerable Analayo that I am auditing. The discourse presents four combinations of tranquility and insight: 1) the development of insight preceded [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:51-08:00May 21st, 2013|Enlightenment, Jhanas, Sutta Study|

Jhana Interview for radio show

I (Shaila Catherine) participated in an interview collage on the topic of jhana meditation created for a radio program by Jari Chavalier. Speakers include three other meditation teachers: Leigh Brasington, Steve Snyder, Tina Rassmussen, and a research scientist Jud Brewer. You can listen at: https://jari.podbean.com/2013/03/29/concentrating-the-hell-out-of-mind-jhana/

2017-02-12T17:24:13-08:00April 22nd, 2013|Jhanas|

Eleven supports for developing concentration

I spoke about these supports for developing concentration at the day-long last weekend. For those of you who asked for the written list, here it is. You can find more details on this list in the Visuddhimagga or in my book Wisdom Wide and Deep. "Eleven supports for developing concentration: (1) Cultivate cleanliness; (2) Avoid [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:51-08:00August 6th, 2012|Jhanas, Meditation|

Resting the mind on the breath

I am leading a concentration and jhana retreat in France now, and it is a delight to introduce these practices. One student shared that by learning to settle the mind upon the breath, he gained deeper insight into the meaning of restlessness. Restlessness is a descriptive term: a mind without rest. The mind that does [...]

2012-06-18T06:51:41-07:00June 18th, 2012|Breath, Jhanas, Meditation, Uncategorized|

Settle Into the Bliss—An Interview

I was recently interviewed by Vlad Moskovski for his blog Meditation Secrets Revealed.  It was a delight to talk with him about the dhamma, and to see a nice interview result. We titled the interview Settle Into the Bliss: An Interview with Shaila Catherine. I hope you enjoy it.

2017-02-16T09:34:52-08:00March 23rd, 2012|Jhanas, Meditation|

Breaking Out from the Shell

The plum tree near my driveway has a nest of robins--the eggs hatched a couple of days ago. The bird box that I hung on the eucalyptus tree outside our kitchen last year now is home to a family of small blue birds. Spring is a time when many creatures are diligently nurturing their young. [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:57-08:00May 12th, 2011|Enlightenment, Jhanas, Meditation|

Stumbling into Jhana

Frequently I meet students who excitedly tell me about experiences they have had in past retreats where they believe they have “stumbled into jhana,” or “slipped into jhana.” It may be so. Blissful states are not uncommon in meditation. But whether or not it was an actual accomplishment of the deep absorption states called jhana, [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00November 25th, 2010|Jhanas, Meditation, Not-Self|

Judging, success, and failure

After a jhana retreat some students may feel pride at the rate of their development, and other students may feel sad, angry, or depressed. I have found that student's feelings about the significance or insignificance of their own progress is usually inaccurate. The ideas that students hold about what constitutes a successful achievement are often [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00November 10th, 2010|Emotions, Jhanas, Meditation, Not-Self|


I’ve been quite impressed by the power of diligence. It is inspiring to see the transformation in students who have been returning year after year for our annual jhana retreat. Some have travelled across many state lines, or simply preserved the time in their local schedule to spend these ten days doing intensive samadhi practice. [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00October 28th, 2010|Jhanas, Meditation, Uncategorized|

Breath meditation is not just for beginners

The instruction to observe the breath may sound too simple. A student told me today that he thought mindfulness with breathing was only a beginners practice and wanted the advanced meditation instruction. Although the Theravada tradition offers a great variety of meditation objects, including a traditional set of 40 concentration subjects, the breath is not [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00October 26th, 2010|Breath, Jhanas, Meditation, Mindfulness Practice|


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