Shaila Catherine is known for the depth of her practice, her sustained dedication to meditative development, and the clarity of her teaching style. She is adept at teaching the subtle nuances of jhāna practices and renowned for her skill at making the detailed traditional methods accessible to contemporary lay practitioners.
Shaila began meditation practice in 1980 and has been teaching insight meditation since 1996 when her mentor, Christopher Titmuss, authorized her to teach the dhamma. In 2003 she entered a ten-month silent meditation retreat during which her practice emphasized jhāna as a basis for insight. She has taught jhāna and concentration practices internationally since 2004, always in support of liberating insight practices.
In 2006 Shaila undertook a several-year period of training under the guidance of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw, who systematically guided her through multiple retreats and intensive study. She practiced the full range of concentration and jhāna subjects, and trained in the detailed approach for discerning matter based on the four elements, mentality and the cognitive processes, and conditionality.
She also studied the Buddhist psychological system known as Abhidhamma as a detailed approach to vipassanā. As part of this practical meditative study, she delved deeply into a method for contemplating body and mind which culminates in sixteen insight knowledges and the experience of nibbāna.
People sometimes associate Shaila primarily with concentration and jhāna practice. However, she is proficient in teaching a range of practices, and her courses and retreats emphasize a comprehensive approach to a liberating path. Her teachings embrace mindfulness, virtue, loving-kindness, and wisdom, alongside and supported by the deepening of concentration and jhāna, and consistently aimed at transformative liberating insight and direct awakening.
To hear Shaila speaking about her practice and approach to teaching, listen to this in-depth interview conducted by Wisdom Publications.