Shaila Catherine began meditating in 1980 in California. She later travelled and studied in Asia, training and practicing with an Advaita Vedanta master, H.W.L. Poonja, in northern India; Tibetan Dzogchen masters Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche in Nepal; and at Theravadan forest monasteries in Thailand.
In addition to these Asian masters, she has studied with founders of Western meditation centers (Christopher Titmuss, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, and Lama Surya Das).
Catherine developed a special interest in the practice of deep concentration, and in 2003-2004 devoted a one-year silent meditation retreat to exploring jhana as the basis for insight. Based upon her experiences in this retreat, she wrote Focused and Fearless, as an introduction to the absorption states of jhana.
In 2006, she began training under the guidance of the Burmese meditation master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw. In 2011 Catherine authored a second book, Wisdom Wide and Deep, which provides an introduction to the comprehensive practices of samadhi and vipassana based on her training with Pa Auk Sayadaw and derived from teachings in the early Discourses of the Buddha, Visuddhimagga, and Abhidhamma.
Catherine’s writings and teaching have contributed to a new and growing field within Theravadan Buddhism-introducing the traditional trainings of jhana and insight meditation (vipassana) to Western lay practitioners.
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