An Online Course
May 17 – June 7th, 2021
Mondays: 7:30pm-9:00pm MDT *Click here to see your timezone
Recordings available for those who cannot attend live
Bonus: Optional Master Class Q&A on Sundays and a Flash Retreat May 28 – 30
The Jewel Ornament of Liberation was written by Gampopa (1074-1153 C.E.). He shares how all beings have the same essence of Buddha Nature. How does one realize this? He shares a path.
Gampopa named this contradiction: we both dwell in an amazing human existence with enlightened essence, while also wandering through the worlds of struggle and suffering.
What is the path through this paradox, then? In this course, we will study realities of samsara and nirvana, based on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation.
We also learn that to be more than who we currently are, we need to understand more than we currently do. How do we understand cause and effect? What is the role of loving kindness and compassion?
How do we get enlightened? Why wouldn’t we? Gampopa explains different kinds of potential for enlightenment, and the features of how exactly a precious human existence is the fertile ground for awakening. With this cause and basis for enlightenment, we look at what a practitioner needs next: a guide. What are the reasons for having a mentor, and what’s the nature of this relationship?.
We review Gampopa’s (and our) perspective on some of the most fundamental aspects of our path: the nature of karma, the importance of loving kindness and compassion, and the essential nature of proper refuge. What do these look like in our practice and in our daily lives? We also explore bodhicitta, the innate potential of a human being to awaken. Sometimes it’s called the desire to awaken: how can we cultivate this? Lastly, what is the Bodhisattva Vow, and how do we practice it?
The meditations on the Paramita—Six Perfections or Buddhist Virtues—are easily summarized, but their practice involves a lifetime of living each one more deeply. We look at Gampopa’s descriptions of each Parami (translated here as generosity, right conduct, forbearance, diligence, meditation, and wisdom), and describe how we can practice them meaningfully in our contemporary lives. This helps us to both awaken further and benefit all beings more.
Our spiritual paths have different phases: what are they and how do we recognize the road signs? Since we’re practicing the bodhisattva path, we’ll enrich our experience by getting to know its 10 levels, and what lies beyond those: Buddhahood. How does a Buddha show up in the universe, in the different realms? As practitioners we make efforts to benefit all beings; how do Buddhas do it?
There are weekly Master Classes (akin to online Q&A Office Hours) during this online course to support your deepening learning and practice, on the following dates at 3pm MST:
You can elect to attend all three or individual dates.
Registration & Dana links for Master Classes will be accessible to you when you register for the course.
Elect to deepen your practice via a Flash Retreat during the last weekend of this course. The retreat provides practitioners a valuable opportunity to integrate and seal the learnings from the online course, in a format well suited for our contemporary lives.
The retreat will include instructions, online check ins, and a Master Class on Sunday, May 30.
We encourage you to attend this weekend retreat at Clear Sky Centre, or together with your local sangha, or if those not available to you, in your home.
Registration and Dana links for the Flash Retreat will be accessible to you when you register for the course.
Sangha power – consider organizing or joining regional in-person or online sangha groups to support one another during the online courses and Flash Retreats.
Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat are Dharma and meditation teachers who founded Clear Sky Meditation Centre, BC, Canada.
Achariya Doug Duncan received lay ordination from Namgyal Rinpoche in 1978, and is a lineage holder in that teaching. Known for his direct, humourous and compassionate engagement with students, Doug embraces various traditions, contemporary psychology, and science, to mentor all beings to a more awakened state.
Catherine Pawasarat has trained daily with Acariya Doug Duncan since 1998 in an intensive spiritual apprenticeship that is rare in the modern West. She received lay ordination from Namgyal Rinpoche in 2003. In addition to Buddhist philosophy and its applications to daily life, Catherine also draws on generative living and the arts. With Doug she is co-founder of Clear Sky Retreat Center in the BC Rockies.
Each of the four weekly classes in this online course will be video streamed live at 7:30pm MST. The recording will be available for one week after each class.
We offer this course on the basis of dāna, as well as an admin fee of $100 (USD). The admin is to cover the costs of running these online courses – for equipment and software to provide you the teachings online.
For our teachings itself – You may have come across this is the form of “pay from the heart”. Dāna is a Sanskrit term meaning “generosity”. With dāna, we give as a mutual exchange of generosity. It’s our joy to offer this course, and we trust you’ll match our time, energy, and passion by giving an amount of money that feels good and healthy to both you and us. We suggest a range between $120 and $500 for this four week course.