With this accesssible guide, meditators (and non-meditators) can understand how to attain extraordinary states with relative ease. Blended with contemporary examples and pragmatic "how to" instructions that anyone can try, Focused and Fearless provides a wealth of tools to cultivate non-distracted attention in daily life and on retreat. Shaila Catherine has a friendly, wise approach to the meditative states (jhanas) that lead to liberating insight.
Focused and Fearless is about much more than merely meditation or concentration. It offers a complete path towards bliss, fearlessness, and true awakening.
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 Insight Meditation South Bay, a Buddhist meditation center in Silicon Valley. Lectures, articles, and additional resources can be found atwww.imsb.org.
"Focused and Fearless 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 A Heart Full of Peace and One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism
"Focused and Fearless is a beautifully written introduction to jhana meditation that demonstrates the importance and necessity of deep concentration."
– Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw
"This is the best book on these practices I have seen. It's five-star."
– Christopher Titmuss, author of Mindfulness for Everyday Living
"The exercises are fun, plus they really work. I love this book."
– Kate Wheeler, editor of In This Very Life: Liberation Teachings of the Buddha
"The language here is so alluring thorough that readers will, I am certain, be inspired to redouble their zeal for practice."
– Sylvia Boorstein, author of It's Easier Than You Think
"Shaila Catherine represents a new generation of Dharma practitioner in the West."
– Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness
"Developing a stable and undistracted mind is essential to most forms of meditation. This book will be of interest to anyone, regardless of their style of practice, wishing to incorporate the deeper stages of concentration of jhana into their meditation."
– Inquiring Mind
"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 Pali Canon, specifically the role of concentration (both 'momentary concentration' in the insight path and the jhana path), and its relationship to insight. With these frames, Catherine is able to create exercises and steps that develop calm meditative states and lead to liberating insight. This book is both a pragmatic manual and a deeply traditional understanding of Buddhist meditation practice. It suggests itself as a helpful guide both to beginning and advanced students."
– Mu Soeng, Resident Scholar at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and author of The Heart of the Universe
"This is a 'user-friendly' concentration book. Through practical exercises and clear examples, Shaila makes the ancient wisdom of the jhanas accessible to all."
– Amy Schmidt, dharma teacher and author of Dipa Ma: The Life and Teaching of a Buddhist Master
"Rigorously investigated and lucidly explained, Shaila Catherine penetrates the mysterious world of jhana practice. 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. This inspirational and fascinating manual will help many of the rest of us down this path."
– Diana Winston, author of Wide Awake, A Buddhist Guide for Teens, teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Director of Mindful Awareness Research Center, UCLA.