Shaila’s Blog

/Shaila’s Blog/

Fault Finding Tendencies

Do you have a tendency to find fault with yourself, others, or the situations that occur around you? In The Art of Disappearing by Ajahn Brahm, page 91-95 we find a important practical suggestion: to investigate the fault-finding mind. Notice if and when your attention slides into negativity, criticism, and blame. Investigate that experience: how [...]

Pleasure and the Happiness of Release

The Buddha taught that happiness comes not through gaining or possessing things, but through release. You might inquire into your own experience to see if this is true. When you desire some pleasurable experience or object, notice the experience that surrounds that desire: What do you need to go through to get it? What does [...]

Virtue is the basis of achievement

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 [...]

June 28th, 2013|Meditation, Sutta Study|

A thought is a thought

At our weekly meditation group we are continuing the exploration of self-construction. In the discussion yesterday, one member described how she witnessed her mind constructing a notion of self through believing a series of thoughts and speculations. Another member equated the sense of self with a discernible feeling of stuck-ness. Indeed, we create the “self [...]

Conveying the past into the present

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 [...]

I-making and mine-making – What are the five aggregates?

Buddhist teachings use the model of the five aggregates to describe the material and mental conditions that come together to create human experience. These five aggregates include materiality, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness. When we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, think, or experience any event, an intricate interaction of mind and body occurs enabling [...]

May 29th, 2013|Investigating body and mind, Not-Self|

Intention and the Power of Thought

Intention is a powerful form of thought. Intention is the key to the ethical, moral, or kammic (karmic) dimension of experience. Observing our intentions we see how a thought leads into an action. We do not live with a single intention that determines all our actions. Instead, intentions arise moment by moment and flavor the [...]

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 [...]

May 21st, 2013|Enlightenment, Jhanas, Sutta Study|

Five aspects of obstacles to understand

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 [...]

Those first precious moments of a meditation session

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 [...]

May 13th, 2013|Daily Life Practice, Meditation, Mindfulness Practice|

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: http://jari.podbean.com/2013/03/29/concentrating-the-hell-out-of-mind-jhana/

April 22nd, 2013|Jhanas|

Want to be where you are

Do you want to be where you are right now? If the answer is no, you’ll be suffering. If the answer is such an enthusiastic yes, that you are planning how to keep or repeat the experience, you’ll also be suffering. If there is a tendency to seek comfort, security, pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment in [...]

April 20th, 2013|Daily Life Practice, Mindfulness Practice|

Three Questions and Responses about Sankhara

Through sutta study groups and via email questions recently, I have been involved in several discussions about sankhara. Sankhara is usually translated in English as mental formations, volitional formations, activities, inclinations, or fabrications. Sankhara appears as a factor of the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising and as one of the Five Aggregates. This factor tends [...]

February 28th, 2013|Investigating body and mind, Sutta Study|

Mindful Listening

We concluded our Mindful Speech series with a discussion of Mindful Listening.  Reflective suggestions for this week included: 1. During conversations this week, notice if you tend to listen or speak more? When you are listening, are you fully present? Notice if you are planning your response, interrupting, or searching for the next opportunity to speak? [...]

December 15th, 2012|Daily Life Practice, Sangha Practice|