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Shaila Catherine's Dharma Talks at Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
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).
2017-11-21 Gratitude 33:02
In this Dharma talk given as Thanksgiving approaches, Shaila Catherine discusses the benefits of gratitude and a perspective of thankfulness. She notes that studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between gratitude and happiness, and awareness of well-being in life.
2017-10-17 Mahakaccana: Clarifying the Most Cryptic Teachings 42:18
Shaila Catherine concluded our lecture series on the Great Disciples, with a talk about the Venerable Mahakaccana. He was a monk famous for explaining difficult and perplexing teachings. The Buddha sometimes gave brief teachings that left the listeners confused. Sometimes the disciples did not ask the Buddha questions to clarify their doubt. Instead they sought out another monk to elucidate the matter and explain the detailed meaning. The Pali Canon preserves several insightful discourses in which initial enigmatic teachings by the Buddha are systematically explained by Venerable Mahakaccana. He addresses profound topics including the construction of I-making and mine-making, craving, conceit, views, mindfulness of sense perceptions, obsession with thoughts of past and future, and overcoming desire and lust. His methods of exposition became the basis of early commentary, and Mahakaccana became known as the first Buddhist commentator.
In collection: The Great Disciples: People and Personalities in the Buddha's Community
2017-10-03 Three Aspects of Concentration and the Simile of the Goldsmith: A Guided Meditation 25:21
In this meditation instruction Shaila Catherine shares a Discourse of the Buddha (AN 3:101) in which he employs the simile of a goldsmith to teach skillful ways to deepen concentration. From time to time meditators adjust the quality of attention to periodically increase calmness, intensify energetic effort, or observe with a relaxed and non-interfering quality of mindfulness. This meditation instruction offers practical meditation skills for strengthening concentration.
2017-09-12 Angulimala: An Ethical Transformation 27:30
In this first talk in a lecture series on the Great Disciples, the speaker, Shaila Catherine, tells the life story of Angulimala and his transformation from notorious robber and murdered to a peaceful, compassionate, truthful, and awakened monk. It is an inspiring example of the power of restraint, and the potential for redemption. Habits and dispositions do not need to control our lives. We can stop unwholesome, unhealthy, and harmful courses of conduct. We can purify our minds.
In collection: The Great Disciples: People and Personalities in the Buddha's Community
2017-09-12 The Great Disciples: People and Personalities in the Buddha's Community 3:50:04
with Ayya Santussika, Ed Haertel, Margaret Gainer, Thanissaro Bhikkhu
The early Buddhist sangha included some accomplished and intriguing disciples--lay and monastic, male and female. By searching the literature of the Pali Canon, contemporary scholars have been able to compile biographical information, infer personality traits, and gain a vivid sense of the human relationships and life-stories that formed the earliest Buddhist community. This speaker series will explore the lives, practice, and teachings of several of the great disciples of the Buddha. The series will illuminate both the ordinary and extraordinary contributions of some of the most interesting personalities whose questions, challenges, and life situations shaped the teachings that we cherish today.
2017-08-29 The Role of Feelings and Emotions in Decision Making 41:22
Shaila Catherine gave the fifth talk in a speaker series titled "Living Wisely in the World: Caring for Mind, Family, Society, and Planet." She pointed out that feelings and emotions can be rather seductive, especially when we are not mindful of them, because they can unconsciously propel us into action. When feelings are pleasant, the response very often moves the mind towards craving and grasping. When feelings are unpleasant, the response is often aversion. Therefore, feelings should be investigated and understood, instead of being the basis upon which impulsive decisions are made.
In collection: Living Wisely in the World: Caring for Mind, Family, Society, and Planet
2017-07-18 Living Wisely in the World: Caring for Mind, Family, Society, and Planet 3:23:00
with Jennifer Dungan, Lisa Dale Miller, Nikki Mirghafori, Robert Cusick
A famous verse in the Dhammapada states: “All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind. Speak or act with a corrupted mind, and suffering follows, as the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox … Speak or act with a peaceful mind, and happiness follows, like a never-departing shadow.” This guest speaker series will explore the ways in which care for our minds leads to care for our families, societies and our planet.
2017-03-10 Refinement of Happiness 37:04
The Buddha taught a path of profound happiness and peace. Shaila Catherine structures this teaching around a discourse of the Buddha found in the Vedanasamyutta (SN 36:31) that describes a gradual refinement through three kinds of happiness: carnal sensual pleasures, spiritual joy that is associated with concentration, and the unsurpassed happiness of a liberated mind.
2017-03-07 Guided Metta Meditation Toward Groups 30:25
In this 30-minute guided mettā meditation, Shaila Catherine recommends directing mettā initially toward ourselves, then toward a virtuous person, and finally towards groups of beings. Such groups comprise 1) males and females; 2) enlightened and unenlightened beings; and 3) the realms of existence. Such realms include hell beings, animals, humans, celestial beings and gods. The aim is to gradually expand the field of mettā until it is unbounded, immeasurable, and without boarders, barriers, or exceptions. Meditators may use these traditional groupings or creatively adapt them to support their mettā practice.
2016-10-20 Fourth Noble Truth 50:33
Shaila Catherine gave the fourth talk in the five-week series "Four Noble Truths." This talk discusses the Fourth Noble Truth, the path leading to the cessation of suffering and known as the Noble Eightfold Path. We must know this path and actually travel it. This practice allows us to live a life that is noble and upright, and helps us distinguish between that which is wholesome (which leads to ending of suffering) and that which is unwholesome (which leads to more suffering).
In collection: Four Noble Truths

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