Loading Events

An Online Course on Zen
June 6 – July 3, 2022
Four Mondays: 7:30pm-9:00pm MDT *Click here to see your timezone

* Recordings available for those who cannot attend live
* Optional: 3 Sunday Master Classes & 1 Weekend Home Retreat 

What’s the sound of one hand clapping?

Zen teaching grabs everyone’s attention. Its pithy koans bend the mind and aim to take us beyond rational thought. The student of Zen is left with no choice but to let go.

Yet, where did Zen come from? The origins of Zen are the Theravadin sutras taught by the Buddha 2500 years ago. Those ancient sutras were reinterpreted for Chinese culture a millenia later. This birthed Chan Buddhism, later becoming Zen Buddhism in Japan. 

How we might now apply the Zen Sutras in the 21st century, 2500 years after the time of the historical Buddha?

This online course presents the essence of Zen using highlights from the key Zen Sutras of Mahayana Buddhism.

A Four Week Course on Zen Sutras

A new interpretation of the Zen sutras for today

How do these 500 BC teachings relate to 21st century life?

In their latest four week online course, Qapel and Sensei will share the essence of Zen wisdom. They have selected some of the most important sutras from the Zen and Chan traditions. These include:

  1. Avataṃsaka Sūtra – Flower Garland or Hua Yan Sutra
  2. Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra
  3. Vimalakīrti Sūtra
  4. Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra – Diamond Sutra
  5. Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya – Heart Sutra
  6. Śūraṅgama Sūtra
  7. The Platform Sutra of the 6th Patriarch – Liùzǔ Tánjīng

Basic Course Schedule

Class 1 – Monday, June 6, 2022

Class 2 – Monday, June 13, 2022

Class 3 – Monday, June 20, 2022

Class 4 – Monday, June 27, 2022

Optional Classes and Retreat Schedule:

June 12, 19, 16

Deepen and integrate the teachings with three Master Classes (question and answer based) on Sundays during the course.

July 1-3

After the final class, an at-home Flash Retreat with group check-ins and a final master class.

Study and Meditation Electives

Master Classes – Three Sundays

There are optional weekly Master Classes in the form of question and answers sessions. These are offered on the three Sundays during the course to support your learning and practice. All sessions will be at 3pm MST:

  • June 12
  • June 19
  • June 26

You can attend all three or individual sessions.

Registration & Dana links for these Master Classes and the weekend Flash Retreat will be sent to you when you register for the main course.

Weekend Flash Retreat Elective

Jul 1  – July 3, 2022

Go deeper in this Flash Retreat after the last class of the course. The weekend provides you with a valuable chance to seal the learnings from the online classes. The weekend retreat is set up with our busy non-monastic lives in mind.

The retreat will include instructions, online check ins, and a Master Class on Sunday, July 3.

In person is best

if you live within a few hours, we highly suggest you join this weekend retreat in person here at Clear Sky in BC. Or, come together with your local sangha. If these are not available to you, set up your home space using the guidelines we will send.

Registration and Dana links for this weekend Flash Retreat and the optional Sunday master classes will be sent to you when you register for the main 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

Qapel Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei 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

Qapel Doug Duncan

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 weekend Flash Retreat following the final Monday class.

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.