Shaila Catherine is the founder of Bodhi Courses (bodhicourses.org) an online Dhamma classroom, and Insight Meditation South Bay, a meditation center in Mountain View, California (imsb.org). She has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than eight years of accumulated silent retreat experience, and has taught since 1996 in the USA, 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, (Wisdom Publications, 2008). She has extensive experience practicing and teaching mindfulness, loving kindness, concentration, and a broad range of approaches to liberating insight. Since 2006, Shaila has continued her study of jhana and insight under the direction of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw, and authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana (Wisdom Publications, 2011).
In this talk, Shaila Catherine explores five ways that one may become fully awakened—an arahant. The teaching is based on a discourse found in the Anguttara Nikaya (AN 5:26). These ways include awakening 1) by listening to someone teach the dhamma, 2) while teaching the dhamma, 3) by reciting the teachings in detail as one has learned them, 4) while pondering, examining and investigating the dhamma, and 5) through penetrative wisdom with an object of concentration. Study, reflection, and deep meditation create conducive conditions for awakening. Study informs and inspires our meditation practice; meditation produces depth and clarity in understanding. We can balance our engagement with both study and meditation to optimize the cultivation of this liberating path.