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Mastering the Sixteen Stages of Insight (Online & In-person Retreat)

August 7, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - August 21, 2020 @ 2:00 pm UTC-6

golden buddha statue

Mastering the 16 Stages of Insight

Find out for yourself why meditation is one of the four foundational practices of our teaching. Take advantage of Acariya Doug Duncan Sensei’s mastery of insight in this powerful and rare two-week insight meditation retreat. Your experience of your mind will never be the same. Held at our home retreat centre, the model of innovative awakening in the 2000s, Clear Sky, in the Rocky Mountains of BC.


Our main priority is to offer a retreat that is accessible and supports your health and safety. In response to COVID-19, we are offering two options for attending this retreat.

Online Retreat from Home

It might not be possible to get to Clear Sky, we invite you to join us from wherever you are in the world instead.

Basic requirements to do the retreat online:

  • Block out the two weeks and be focused on the retreat for this entire period, using this time and participating in the retreat as if you were at Clear Sky in person.
  • Participate in the daily classes and group practices.
  • Set up a quiet space or location where you can focus on the Meditation Retreat
  • If there are enough people in the same time zone as you, you could also make a cohort to meet to do a group practice throughout the retreat.
  • Note: full details/ requirements will be sent to you after registering
Daily Retreat Schedule

(Time Zone: MST, subject to change)

  • 9am  – 10am:  Class with Teachers
  • 10:30am – 11:30am: Group Practice lead by Sangha
  • 3pm – 4 pm: Group Practice lead by Sangha
  • 7:30pm – 8:30pm: Group Practice and Q & A with Teachers

Retreat at Clear Sky

In order to attend this retreat in person, we require that you are able to meet our COVID-19 pre-screening requirements. We also have through health and safety requirements that must be upheld for the duration of your retreat. More details about these requirements will be provided here soon.

Why Practice the Sixteen Stages of Insight?

In life there is repetition – we do many things over and over again, but we tend to do them the same habitual way because we stop paying attention after the first few times. The path of insight is about looking again and again, and this is the literal meaning of the word ‘vipassana‘.

Scientists look again and again to analyse the data of an external experiment to see the principles at work in that situation. In insight meditation, we look again and again at the arisings within the mind in order to uncover the patterns within.

These patterns are called karma. By liberating the unconscious nature of the patterns, we liberate karma from neurotic habitual repetition. We make way for Buddha karma – becoming a manifestation of compassion, loving kindness, empathetic joy, and equanimity in the world.

Man meditating on bench in valley

What can I Expect?

In this retreat, we are mastering the sixteen stages of insight through the practice of the foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana sutta). This is a fundamental text in Buddhism that establishes the strong foundation of mindfulness upon which the stages of insight can rest.

Daily Schedule: Here is a sample schedule of what you can expect at this retreat.

What’s Expected of Me?

  • This will be an intensive meditation retreat, with many hours of practice per day. Therefore some experience, especially with insight meditation, is recommended but not mandatory.
  • An open mind and heart, and a spirit of adventure are excellent things to bring!
  • It’s human to have some apprehensions about doing something new, meeting new people, or going to a new place. Particularly when all three happen together. We try to make this as supportive as possible.
  • This is a silent retreat. To deepen your meditation, we ask that participants refrain from reading, using the internet or phone, or listening to music during the course.
  • Lastly, our teaching and Clear Sky operate based on the ancient tradition of dāna or generosity. Please learn more about this profound practice before you register. 
Deer Seen During my Meditation Retreat in Canada

Meet the Teachers


Doug Duncan &
Catherine Pawasarat Sensei

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.

Dāna, Fees and Travel

Dana: This course is offered by Doug and Catherine Sensei through the ancient principle of generosity, or Dāna. The retreat fee covers the cost of food and accommodation, whereas the Teachings are offered by generosity. Learn more about Dāna here.

Pricing: As a charitable organization, we strive to provide locally sourced organic meals and comfortable accommodations at an affordable price. Fees vary depending on your accommodation choice and early bird pricing.

Dana: This course is offered by Doug and Catherine Sensei through the ancient principle of generosity, or Dāna. Learn more about Dāna here.

Pricing: In order to bring you this retreat at home, there is an additional pay by the heart, sliding scale admin fee* of $200-$700. The admin fee is to cover the costs of running these online courses – for equipment and software to provide you the teachings online.

How Much to Give? A short exercise:

  1. Take a few quiet breaths and center yourself.
  2. Spend another few moments contacting as best you can a sense of health, strength and abundance (noticing without judgement if this is hard to contact)
  3. Offer an aspiration (using the below, or your own words).

    May this practice of dāna open up a space inside me to learn and receive.
    May this gift support the teachers and teachings for the benefit of many other people.
    May this gift directly support my own awakening through a strong dāna practice.
    This gift, myself the giver, and the teachers are all impermanent – with this in mind I give lightly and generously, for the benefit of all beings!

  4. Now check with your heart and mind what amount feels both consistent with your situation, and expressive of your aspiration. Remember, you are free to offer whatever amount of dāna feels good for you right now.
  5. Now simply, with a joyful abundant heart aspiring for awakening, and awareness of the preciousness and impermanence of life, enter the amount you choose to offer.

About the administrative fee

In a traditional model of in-person teachings, a retreat center or urban meditation center invites teachers to visit. In these cases the centers have infrastructure and organization costs to cover, which might be covered by an admin fee. For the teaching itself, dāna to the teachers is offered in a bowl. This honors both the sustainability of the teachers, and of the supporting center.

We’ve tried to recreate this approach online.
The teachers’ time and the teaching themselves are offered on the basis of dāna, separate to the admin fee. With our dāna offering we are making a direct gift of generosity to the teachers to support their teachings and livelihood. Learn more about the practice of dāna here.

The admin fee goes to support the infrastructure and organization necessary to support them to teach. As anyone with an online business will know, it can be surprising the costs of setting up a good infrastructure to support effective teaching and connection online.

Below are a few of the work and benefits that your admin fee payment is supporting:

  • high speed internet (to allow interviews and classes on-line)
  • online class systems (Zoom)
  • registration / admin systems (Eventbrite, Basecamp)
  • communication systems to keep everyone informed, share connection details, teachings and other resources (Mailchimp)
  • online storage (for example, Dropbox, to allow us to let students watch recordings, and to store and share selected teachings in other forms such as podcasts and video later, and Amazon cloud)
  • quality sound, video and editing equipment (both for live teachings and to provide good enough quality for later sharing as podcasts and video). We are regularly updating our equipment to improve your user experience.
  • online calendar booking system to allow students to book interviews
  • website hosting and maintenance for sharing upcoming courses, teachings, blogs and other resources.

May all our efforts be sustainable, abundant and for the benefit of all beings!

We welcome any questions. Please feel free to contact [email protected]

If you are taking this retreat online, we require that you devote your full attention to the retreat for the entire two weeks.

Online Retreat Requirements:

  • Block out the two weeks and be focused on the retreat for this entire period, using this time and participating in the retreat as if you were at Clear Sky in person.  This includes a rigorous, full, daily meditation schedule. 
  • Participate in all of the daily classes and group practices via online streaming.
  • Set up a quiet space or location where you can focus on the Meditation Retreat, and not need to engage in conversation or work with others.
  • Put away your phone, digital devices and other distractions.
  • If there are enough people in the same time zone as you, you could also make a cohort to meet to do a group practice throughout the retreat.

Please note, we are taking measures to keep us all healthy during this retreat, including:

  • You must have experienced no symptoms associated with COVID-19 in the past 14 days and will be required to take an online assessment prior to your stay.
  • You have not travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days.
  • Physical distancing (2m) amongst all visiting retreatants will be observed during this retreat.
  • Please bring your own face mask(s) that you will feel comfortable wearing. When physical distancing is not possible during this retreat, you will be asked to wear a mask.
  • Sanitation and hand washing procedures will be explained when you come and must be followed.

Learn more about our COVID-19 Policy here.

Arrival is Friday, August 7 at 4pm.

Departure is Friday, August 21st at 12:00pm.

Airport pickups can be booked when you register for the retreat. On the rare chance that this retreat is cancelled, we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance.

In order to give enough time to rest from travel before the retreat starts, we recommend that domestic travellers arrive one day early, and long distance international travellers arrive two days early.

After the retreat we also suggest staying for at least another day for integration.

Travel Restrictions, COVID-19 Policy: Please contact us – Email [email protected] or (250) 429-3929 for details/options for local participation. 

About Clear Sky

Located in the BC rocky mountains, we offer over 300-acres to deepen your practice and reconnect with nature. Founded by Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat, we are home to students from around the globe who are dedicated to co-creating a supportive and innovative space for awakening in our modern world.

Here are some FAQs on how to get here, what to bring and what to expect. 

To help you get acquainted with us, some community members made this short video during our 2019 Buddhas in Action retreat. To learn more about us and our incredible community, click here!

Clear Sky Meditation Centre sanctuary


August 7, 2020 @ 4:00 pm UTC-6
August 21, 2020 @ 2:00 pm UTC-6
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