This post is a reflection based on readings presented by Venerable Analayo in an online course that I am currently auditing. I am especially moved by the gradual path articulated by Ven. Anuruddha in MĀ 80 with the final line “relying on the precepts, established in the precepts, using the precepts as my ladder, I ascended to [...]
This post is an "at home practice" for our Walking the Path course participants, June-July section. Investigate and reflect on to the process of conveying the past into the present. In what ways do you find that you might be "conveying the past into the present"? Consider your work life, social life, meditation practice, self [...]
Here is the list of five ways of overcoming obstacles to meditation discussed at last Saturday's day long. It is from the Satipatthana Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya, Sutta number 10, paragraph 36): In regards to each hindrance the meditator: 1. Understands when the hindrance is present in me. 2. Understands when the hindrance is absent in [...]
This is the 'at home' practice assignment for the Walking the Path course. How do you settle yourself to begin your meditation practice? How do you establish mindful attention at the beginning of your daily meditation session? Some people dive in upon their meditation object (such as the breath) so quickly and forcefully that they [...]
At some point in the development of the practice, everyone feels discouraged. For some people disappointment is an occasional hindrance; for other meditators discouragement is a chronic obstacle. There is a story in the Pali Canon of a young monk named Venerable Sona. He practiced walking meditation so diligently that the soles of his feet [...]
I was recently interviewed by Ted Meissner of the Secular Buddhist Association. I hope you will enjoy the podcast. The discussion revolves around my book, Focused and Fearless, and the use of concentration and jhana practice. It includes quite a bit of my personal background and thoughts about meditation practice.
Saturday we focused on cultivating a joyful and balanced mind—finding equanimity in the midst of our lives, coming back to balance whenever we 'lose it', cultivating balanced effort in the meditation, discovering the support of a dynamically balanced posture, and developing depth in the meditation by balancing our faculties (faith and wisdom, energy and 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 [...]
Some days you will want to sit in meditation; other days you may resist. How do you get yourself in the mood to meditate? How do you overcome the natural resistances that come with fluctuating levels of energy and interest? For most of us, concentration and insight develops more slowly than we would like, and [...]
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 [...]
How much effort does it take to be present right now? How much effort do you need to feel the breath, observe the body sitting, hear the sounds around you, or let go of distraction and worry? Adjusting the quality and quantity of effort is one of the most important meditative skills. If we strive [...]
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.
In what ways do you offer less than 100 percent dedication to awakening? Learn what drains and diminishes your effort. Notice the effect of daily habits and entertainments on your meditation. Observe the effects that watching TV, engaging in gossip, or surfing the Web might have on your concentration. If you discover that an activity [...]
Today I led a day of meditation on the theme of concentration for the Madison Vipassana community. What a lovely day this was—snow on the ground, sun in the sky, and a room full of attentive meditators! There was tremendous interest in deepening concentration and applying that stability to the insights of everyday life. A [...]
I recently returned from a four month retreat that was lead by the Venerables Pa-Auk Sayadaw and U Jagara in Massachusettes. It was a experiential approach to the Buddha's teachings that emphasized deep concentration (especially jhana) practice; the careful discernment and analysis of mental factors, cognitive processes, material elements, and causal relationships; and culminated in [...]