Wisdom Wide and Deep

A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana

By Shaila Catherine

Wisdom Wide and Deep is an extended introduction to an in-depth training that emphasizes the application of concentrated attention to profound and liberating insight. With calm, tranquility, and composure established through a practical experience of jhana or deep concentration, meditators are able to halt the seemingly endless battle against hindrances, eliminate distraction, and facilitate a penetrative insight into the subtle nature of matter and mind. It was for this reason the Buddha frequently exhorted his students, "Develop concentration, one who is concentrated understands things as they really are."

This book,Wisdom Wide and Deep, follows and amplifies the teachings in Shaila Catherine’s acclaimed first book, Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity. Readers will learn to develop this profound stability, sustain an in-depth examination of the nuances of mind and matter, and ultimately unravel deeply conditioned patterns that perpetuate suffering. This is a profoundly practical guide, the fully detailed manual for the mind sure to become a trusted companion to many inner explorers.

Praise from Buddhist Authors and Teachers

This is a handbook that respects both the ancient tradition and the needs of contemporary lay practitioners, without compromising either. Shaila Catherine presents the Buddha's teaching by blending scriptural references, personal examples, and timeless stories with detailed meditation instructions....more...

Pa-Auk Sayadaw, author of The Workings of Kamma

In Wisdom Wide and Deep, Shaila Catherine has laid out a path of practice from the simplest beginnings to profound and subtle insights. Her writing is beautifully lucid, making accessible the inner depths of the Buddha's teachings. This book is a powerful inspiration both for those who would like a glimpse of...more...

Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace and One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism

Shaila’s new book converts theory to practice, ideas to application, knowledge about meditation to direct experience. She has written a manual in clear, practical language. It is an excellent follow up to her previous book, Focused and Fearless. The strength of Shaila’s new book is...more...

Christopher Titmuss, author of Light on Enlightenment and An Awakened Life

Shaila's book, Wisdom Wide and Deep is far more than just a handbook--it is an in-depth, piece-by-piece examination of many of the specific teachings of jhana and insight. It is book that you will study, as opposed to sit down and read through. It is reference book that you will...more...

Phillip Moffitt, author of Dancing With Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering.

Shaila Catherine has managed a difficult feat — to be simultaneously encyclopedic and charming. Her extraordinary clarity and step-by-step approach will embolden some readers to attain jhanic absorption, while others may simply gain ...more...

Kate Lila Wheeler, dharma teacher and author of When Mountains Walked, editor of In This Very Life and The State of Mind Called Beautiful.

The whole spiritual path concerns attitudes and perspectives that we have on things. From there, actions spring up and life unfolds. Shaila Catherine leads us to a completely different way of seeing things by skillfully guiding us through an array of traditional Suttanta and Abhidhamma methods. The precision with which she...more...

Venerable U Jagara

Wisdom Wide and Deep is a clear and comprehensive account of a path of meditation leading to profound levels of concentration and insight. Based primarily on the teachings of the Burmese master Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw, it also includes a helpful collection of references from classical Theravadan sources. Shaila Catherine has clearly ...more...

Guy Armstrong, Insight Meditation teacher

All of us in our lives need to find the ways to cultivate a mind which is a friend—calm, clear, insightful and pervaded with kindness. In this book Shaila Catherine has outlined an ancient way to train the mind in stillness and wise attention. ...more...

Christina Feldman, author of Compassion: Listening to the Cries of the World

Reader Reviews

If you can no longer ignore the stirring in your own good heart which longs for liberation, you have in hand a book that offers western readers a Dhamma gate or bridge to the Buddha's profound and systematic teachings without...more...

Robert Cusick (formerly Sunnatagavesaka Bhikkhu)

As someone with a serious meditation practice who lives in a small provincial city, I’ve often had to figure out a lot of things on my own. It can sometimes be frustrating. Try to find a helpful definition of ...more...

Anne Macquarie, Carson City, NV

Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Insight by Shaila Catherine is a remarkable work, a must-have for ...more...

Ann Dillon, Gainsville, FL

Wisdom Wide and Deep tackles a challenging topic: the concentration practices described in the Vishuddhimagga and their relation to the Buddhist description of psychophysiology described in the Abhidharma. These ancient texts are...more...

James Kempf, Mountain View, CA

I've had the pleasure of creating the index for Wisdom Wide and Deep, and I found it extremely interesting and readable for being such an esoteric manual. It really informed my own decades long meditation practice, and...more...

Denise Getz, Middletown, CA

This book is a gift to current and future generations of Buddhist meditators. The teachings of the Buddha over 2500 years ago have been interpreted in a variety of ways, leading to a variety of skillful means for achieving wisdom and liberation. At Pa Auk Monastery in Burma,...more...

Terry Farrah, Seattle, WA

Wisdom Wide and Deep is an extraordinarily detailed and beautifully written book. As a long time Dhamma student who also completed Venerable Pa Auk's course I have firsthand knowledge of the Sayadaw's approach to the path of jhana and vipassana. Shaila, with great clarity and skill, has...more...

Diane Sherman, Santa Rosa, CA

This book is an absolute gem! What a wonderful find. Perfect for meditators of any level-- experienced, long-term meditators who are looking to deepen theirpractice as well as ...more...

Zarina Parpia, Seattle, WA

This book represents something historic. The West has benefited profoundly in our time from the introduction of Buddhist practices, including the teachings from "Old School" Theravada Buddhism. To date, the latter have been made available largely in the form of Vipassana (insight) teachings,...more...

David Collins, Austin, TX

An incredibly valuable book for serious mindfulness practitioners. Backed by an enormous amount of research, Wisdom Wide and Deep presents in-depth detail on important meditation practices, and...more...

Surja Tjahaja, Portland, OR



Also see Shaila's other book: Focused and Fearless

Book Cover

ISBN-13: 978-0-86171-623-4 Wisdom Publications, October, 2011 550 pages

Inside the book

Table of Contents

Forward by Pa-Auk Sayadaw

Introduction: Approaching Deep Calm and Insight

Chapter 1 Clearing the Path: Overcoming the Five Hindrances

Study Aids

Study Guides and Tables

Buy Both of Shaila's Books at Discount

Book Cover Book Cover

Talks By The Author

Listen to talks by Shaila on Wisdom Wide and Deep

Feb 09 2012: Berkeley, CA

Jan 15 2012: Redwood City, CA

Dec 13 2011: Mountain View, CA

Articles and Interviews

Read articles and interviews here

   Listen to Shaila interviewed by The Secular Buddhist

Retreats with Shaila

Concentration, Jhana, and Insight Retreats

Signed Copies

Books are available direct from the author for shipping within the USA.

If you would like it signed by the author, please include a note clearly spelling the name you would like the inscription addressed to.

Send a check for $30 (includes shipping and handling) to:

Bodhi-Retreats
PO Box 490
Menlo Park, CA 94026

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