For this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken travels to Berkeley, California, to attend After Mindfulness, a two-day conference and retreat bringing together Buddhist practitioners from around the globe to ask the question what is mindfulness? At the conference, Daniel joins revered meditation teachers Ajahn Brahm and Shaila Catherine for a live panel discussion on the topic of deep states of samadhi. Both Shaila and Ajahn Brahm are widely revered for their knowledge on jhāna practices in the Theravada tradition. In this conversation, they discuss their shared and contrasting points of view on theory and practice. Both speak to the necessity of “letting go” as a primary orientation, and how deep states of absorption allow one to return to the world of the senses with unprecedented insight. Ajahn Brahm teaches the practice of letting go as a non-effort—that you can’t “do” letting go and how one must completely disengage from the “doer” frame of mind. Shaila shares a more systematic approach to this notion of letting go, and stresses the importance of developing a clear understanding of how one both enters and exits jhāna states.
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