The Jhanas

image description

“Written lucidly by one of the most experienced meditators in the West, this book outlines the way to develop the four jhānas (deep absorptions) and experience the four formless realms. The Buddha spoke of the great value of these as major steps to a truly enlightened life. Shaila has spent much of her adult life devoted to the Dharma in the East and West, including some nine years in total in retreats. The wealth of her experience, insights, and explanation of practice for depths of concentration and wisdom shine through the pages. This book is for the practitioner. It’s the best book on these practices I have seen. The Jhānas deserves to be on the bookshelf of every meditator.”—Christopher Titmuss, author of The Explicit Buddha

“Shaila Catherine represents a new generation of Dharma practitioners in the West, with in-depth experience studying with some of the greatest masters of both the Theravadan and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Her commitment to intensive practice has been matched by her dedication to study, and her exploration of the practice of concentration and jhānas reflects both these strengths.”—Sharon Salzberg, Insight Meditation Society cofounder and author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

The Jhānas is a wonderful book. Shaila Catherine describes the paths of deep concentration and transforming insight in a way that both inspires and enriches our practice. Her prose and her understanding are exceptionally lucid. This book is a treat to read.”—Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism

“I love Shaila's book. Her descriptions of deep jhānic states are imbued with her own experience. As you read, you know she would never stretch the truth in order to be impressive, but there's some impressiveness that comes through almost in spite of itself. As a bonus, the connections she makes to the suttas make the Buddha's time seem much closer to our own, lit up with relevance and interest."—Lila Kate Wheeler, Dharma teacher and author of When Mountains Walked

“Among the many how-to books about Buddhist meditation, this book stands out for its deep commitment to the frames of reference developed in the Pāli Canon, specifically the role of concentration (both 'momentary concentration' in the insight path and the jhāna path), and its relationship to insight. With these frames, Catherine creates exercises and steps that develop calm meditative states and lead to liberating insight.”—Mu Soeng, author of The Heart of the Universe

“Shaila Catherine penetrates the mysterious world of jhāna practice with rigorous investigation and lucid explanations. Her book’s strength lies in that she knows the territory intimately and teaches from her own experience. The author has deeply devoted her life to awakening through meditation, and her confidence and wisdom ring true throughout the whole book.”—Diana Winston, author of Wide Awake: A Buddhist Guide for Teens

“This book is both scholarly and personal. It describes the terrain of intensely concentrated mental states and the dedication required for their cultivation in language that is so alluring and thorough that readers will, I am certain, be inspired to redouble their zeal for practice.”— Sylvia Boorstein, author of Pay Attention for Goodness’ Sake: The Buddhist Path of Kindness

“Shaila is a clear and eloquent voice within the movement to restore a well-rounded understanding of Buddhadhamma, which is itself a healthy sign of maturity within American Buddhism. May this worthy book receive the attention it deserves, and may we take it to heart and into practice.”— Santikaro, editor of Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree


A Practical Guide to Deep Meditative States

Shaila Catherine

Experience new levels of joy, calm, and clarity with this revised and enhanced edition of the bestselling Focused and Fearless.

The Pāli word jhāna literally means “to meditate.” It also refers to a traditional series of states of absorption, each deeper than the last, in which the mind is undistracted by sensation, thoughts, or moods. Shaila Catherine’s friendly, wise approach, blended with contemporary examples and pragmatic “how to” instructions that anyone can try, will show meditators (and non-meditators) how to attain these extraordinary states with relative ease.

But jhāna practice is about much more than just meditation or concentration; it offers a complete path toward bliss, fearlessness, and true awakening. From the introduction:

Jhānas are states of happiness that can radically transform the heart, reshape the mind, imbue consciousness with enduring joy and ease, and provide an inner resource of tranquility that surpasses any conceivable sensory pleasure. Jhānas are states of deep rest, healing rejuvenation, and profound comfort that create a stable platform for transformative insight. In this approach to jhāna, we use the calming aspects of concentration to support the investigative aspects of insight meditation. The fruit of concentration is freedom of heart and mind.

This new edition of the meditation classic clarifies crucial points and offers twenty-one additional exercises, making this a great book for both those new to jhāna practice and those looking to deepen their practice.

book information
  • Paperback
  • 328 pages, 6 x 9 inches
  • $21.95
  • ISBN 9781614299462
  • ebook
  • 328 pages
  • $15.99
  • ISBN 9781614299707
about the author
The Jhanas

Shaila Catherine has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than eight years of accumulated silent retreat experience. She has taught insight meditation since 1996 in the U.S. 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. Shaila Catherine has practiced under the guidance of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw since 2006; she authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana to help make this traditional approach to meditative training accessible to Western practitioners. She is the founder of Bodhi Courses, an online dhamma classroom, and Insight Meditation South Bay, a Buddhist meditation center in Silicon Valley.

Other books by Shaila Catherine:
Beyond Distraction
Wisdom Wide and Deep

There are no products in your cart.