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The Abhidhamma: A Study of Consciousness (Online)

January 11, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - February 3, 2021 @ 9:00 pm UTC-6

The Abhidhamma: A Study of Consciousness (Online)

An Online Course
January 11-February 7, 2021
Mondays: 7:30pm-9:00pm MDT *Click here to see your timezone

Recordings available for those who cannot attend live
Includes 3 Master Classes on Sundays and a Flash Retreat February 5-7

Study one of the most profound ancient ‘sciences’ of consciousness – the Abhidhamma Pitaka. This ‘basket’ of teachings brings detailed analysis to mental and physical phenomena.


Credit: Burmese-Pali Manuscript. Credit: Wellcome CollectionAttribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

The Studying the Abhidhamma

The Abhidhamma Pitaka is the third division of the Buddhist Tripitaka, the Three Baskets. The seven books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka give an extraordinarily detailed analysis of the basic natural principles that govern mental and physical processes.

As human beings, our consciousness is built to awaken.  Our awakening is supported by the universe – the Abhidhamma Pitaka gives us an understanding of the mind and body in a profoundly detailed manner.

Class 1 – Monday, January 11, 2021

In this first class, we will introduce the Abhidhamma – what is it and what can we learn from it?

Then we will begin to investigate the four different types of consciousness: Sensing, form blisses, formlesses blisses, and transcendent. We will cover a definition of abhidhamma terms and discuss the roots of different types of consciousness. What happens in a thought process? How would we ascertain if they are ethical, neutral or unethical?

Finally, what factors are present in the blisses? Is there only one type of transcendent consciousness, or is there many?


Class 2 – Monday, January 18, 2021

In class two, we will observe how in each of the consciousnesses, there are different factors. What are they? What factors are present in what consciousness?

How does feeling relate to consciousness? Do different consciousnesses have different feelings? What are feelings? What are the functions of mind? How do they work? How do the senses connect to consciousness?


Class 3 – Monday, January 25, 2020

Class three covers Karma. We will explore how many kinds of karma exist and where do they operate? How does karma affect rebirth consciousness? What is death?


Class 4 – Monday, February 1, 2020

In the final class of the series we will look at the nature of form and transcendence. Using the laws of dependent origination we can study dependent arising, causal relations and attainments – what are these?

What is Mental Culture – how do you cultivate your mind?

Doug and Catherine teaching

Study and Meditation Electives

Master Classes – Three Sundays

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:

  • Sun. Jan 17
  • Sun. Jan 24
  • Sun. Jan 31

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.

Flash Retreat

February 5-7, 2021

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, February 7th.

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. 

Meet Your Teachers

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.

Catherine-Pawasarat-Sensei - Clear Sky Center

Catherine Pawasarat Sensei

doug-duncan-sensei - Clear Sky Center

Doug Duncan Sensei

Course Details

Time and Location

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.

Study and Meditation Opportunities in addition to the classes include Master Classes on three Sundays at 3pm MST, and a Flash Retreat on February 5-7, 2020.

What Does the Course Cost?

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.

Bonus Course: Abhidhamma Study Group

Tuesdays at 3pm MST, February 16- April 6th

Following this four-week series, Doug Sensei is offering an eight-week study group for those who would like to go deeper with the Abhidhamma study.

Prerequisite: To attend the Study Group, you must complete the four-week Abhidhamma online series. 

meditation retreat


January 11, 2021 @ 7:30 pm UTC-6
February 3, 2021 @ 9:00 pm UTC-6
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