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The Jhanas

A Practical Guide to Deep Meditative States

Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster


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About The Book

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

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

Jhanas 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. Jhanas are states of deep rest, healing rejuvenation, and profound comfort that create a stable platform for transformative insight. In this approach to jhana, 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 jhana practice and those looking to deepen their practice.

About The Author

Buddhist author Shaila Catherine is the founder of Bodhi Courses, an online Dhamma classroom, and Insight Meditation South Bay, a center for mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom in Silicon Valley, in California. She has taught insight meditation since 1996 in the USA, Europe, Israel, New Zealand, and Canada. Shaila draws inspiration from the Discourses of the Buddha and maintains an unwavering dedication to awakening. She is known for her expertise in guiding practitioners to cultivate concentration and the deep absorption states of jhana, and for her enthusiasm for sutta study. From 2006–2014 Shaila trained in samadhi and vipassana under the direction of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw. She authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana (Wisdom Publications, 2011) to help make his traditional approach to meditative training accessible to western practitioners. Her latest book, Beyond Distraction: Five Practical Ways to Focus the Mind (Wisdom Publications, 2022) shares practical Buddhist strategies for overcoming restlessness and distraction.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (May 7, 2024)
  • Length: 328 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781614299462

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Raves and Reviews

“This 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.”

– Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness

“This is the best jhana book I’ve come across in English. The Jhanas is inspiring, practically detailed, systematic, and well-grounded in the Pali sources.”

– Santikaro, editor of Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree

“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

“Shaila Catherine represents a new generation of Dharma practitioner.”

– Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindnes

“The language here is so alluring and 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

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

“The exercises are fun—plus they really work. I love this book.”

– Kate Wheeler, editor of In This Very Life: The Liberation Teachings of the Buddha

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