Clear Sky is an act of love.

Founded by a group of dedicated practitioners, we step into the unknown every day as we build a modern monastery. 

Instead of being secluded away from the world, we believe in creating a space that meets the world where it is at. This means that our residents undertake lifelong development and exploration and that they have day-jobs which serve our local or global communities.  

How do we balance careers with running a meditation centre? How do we embody effective communication and teamwork skills that support varied ages and cultural backgrounds? How can we create a sustainable business model so our centre may support generations to come? These are the questions we grapple with.

It’s messy. It’s exhilarating. It’s our calling. 

Clear Sky Founded by a group of dedicated practitioners
Acariya Doug Duncan FOUNDING TEACHER- Clear Sky Center

Acariya Qapel Doug Duncan

Founding Teacher

Qapel Doug Duncan is a Canadian-born Dharma teacher and counselor who has traveled, studied and meditated for most of his life. He received lay ordination from Namgyal Rinpoche in 1978 and is a lineage holder in that teaching. Known for his direct and compassionate engagement with students, Qapel embraces the full spectrum of the various traditions he employs in order to mentor beings to a more awakened state. 

Catherine Pawasarat FOUNDING TEACHER- Clear Sky Center

Catherine Pawasarat Sensei

Founding Teacher, Chief Visionary Officer

In 1998, Catherine Pawasarat Sensei began an intensive spiritual apprenticeship that is rare in the modern West. Studying under Acariya Qapel Doug Duncan, she underwent rigorous daily training in Buddhist meditation and philosophy. Catherine has studied and taught Dharma in remote areas of Antarctica, Brazil, Bhutan, and Guatemala. In addition to Buddhist philosophy and its applications to daily life, Catherine Sensei also draws on generative living, psychology and the arts.


Karen McAllister

Board Chair & Founding Resident

After meeting our founding teachers in Japan, I managed their meditation center in Kyoto for many years. 

I am privileged to have been part of the team that took the center from self-starter to second-stage growth.

One of the highlights of my Clear Sky career was leading a fundraising campaign for our eco-friendly residence. The most important lessons were that I learned to ride the emotional ups-and-downs of building something for the greater good and for future generations, with a bunch of people with a heart for awakening. I am now clearer, more joyful and better able to be really present to whatever is going on and actually be of greater service to others and the planet.
This is what I call “the hands-on way of doing an MBA with a spiritual bottom line!”

Duncan Cryle

Co-Executive Director & FOUNDING RESIDENT

I’m the former Clear Sky Chair, a certified Mindfulness teacher, Dharma teacher, and an exec at an innovative technology company.

Through 30+ years of personal practice, and 15+years of teaching meditation and mindfulness, alongside an active career working all over the world, I’ve learnt a lot about an integrated spiritual path.

With a Ph.D. in philosophy in my pocket, I was gungho to join a monastery, until I met my teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat in Japan in 2001. They turned my views upside down and encouraged me to grow and contribute at the busy end of life!
A founding member of Clear Sky in 2004, I’m amazed at the power that working together in compassionate service has for personal and meditative growth.  Clear Sky is an incredible “living lab” for meditation-in-action and developing mindful and learning teams. Previously one of the pioneers of IBM’s mindfulness programs, I am now drawing on my personal and Clear Sky experience to lead a global mindfulness program at another large software company.
Maureen Smith, LAND & BUILDINGS & FOUNDING RESIDENT - Clear Sky Center

Maureen Smith

Associate Teacher, Land & Buildings & Founding Resident

The year 2000 was when I first began studying Buddha-Dharma and meditation with the Namgyal Lineage. Since 2005, I have been a resident, caretaker and co-manager of the Clear Sky Retreat Center, studying and practicing under Clear Sky’s founders and awakening masters, Qapel (Doug Duncan) and Sensei (Catherine Pawasarat).I feel grateful for the Teachers, the Teachings and the Sangha which provide a platform to explore consciousness, train, and develop in order to support people to unfold. 

Also a Registered Clinical Social Worker and Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, I have been a Mental Health and Substance Use Counsellor since 2011. Initially drawn to train in social work in order to support folks spiritually in hospice and palliative care, I am also trained as a MBSR facilitator. I teach and train in the ways of awakening and aspire to be as skillful and compassionate as my Teachers.

Martin Blackwell

Maintenance Man Extraordinaire

Martin has been in this lineage for over 45 years. We’re prepared to wait that long for his biography.












Cara Conroy-Low

food Forest Founder & Planet Dharma Webmaster

I’m an Acupuncturist and Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a clinic in Cranbrook, 30 minutes from Clear Sky.

I fell in love with meditation and Buddhist-based therapy in my early twenties and now have over ten years of personal Dharma experience and training.

Originally from New Zealand, I’ve traveled widely, studying Dharma in both Japan and Canada with Achariya Qapel Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei.

Now a resident at Clear Sky, I’ve helped develop their farm and food forest. I continue a committed practice of Karma Yoga, meditation, and training.

Ava MacLean

Community & Marketing Manager

In 2016 I came to Clear Sky for a retreat. I still haven’t left.

In short, my life transformed upon meeting Doug and Catherine Sensei.

Their profound teachings inspire me to better myself and our centre so that we may be a beacon of compassion, community and equanimity in our rapidly changing world. 

Dean Nicholson


I was re-introduced to Buddha Dharma in 2011 and began studying with Qapel and Sensei in 2014.  In 2016 I became a long-term resident at Clear Sky and began a turbo-charged path of spiritual awakening through Karma Yoga.

My various roles at Clear Sky allow me to support the ongoing sustainability and growth of the Center, while creating opportunities for people to experience the magic of personal retreats and group living in an awakening community.

For my livelihood, I have a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology and for the past 35 years I have worked as a clinical counsellor.  I’m passionate about helping people grow and unfold, combining wisdom traditions, psychology, natural history, arts and literature, in a way of teaching and therapy that meets people where they are and helps them get to where they want to be.  


David Basu-Roy FARM & KITCHEN MANAGER- Clear Sky Center

David Basu-Roy

Farm & kitchen manager

I’ve spent the past decade exploring how to harness wholesome food as a catalyst for sustainable community development.
Since moving to Clear Sky in 2016, every aspect of my being has brightened with deep calm, a sense of place and purpose, and a knowing that, ultimately, every thing will turn out ok… and probably great!