About Us – Dharma Teachers and Spiritual Mentors

Dharma Teachers Qapel (Doug Duncan) and Sensei (Catherine Pawasarat) teach meditation and act as spiritual mentors to students internationally and at their retreat center in BC, Canada.  Having lived overseas for many years and traveled extensively, Doug and Catherine draw on intercultural and trans-cultural experience to broaden the range and depth of their understandings of liberation that they share with others. 

Who the heck are they and why should you trust them?  Read on:

Qapel Achariya Doug Duncan Sensei

Qapel (Achariya Doug Duncan)

Doug Duncan studied with the Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche from 1974 until the latter’s passing in 2003. Doug received lay ordination from Namgyal Rinpoche in 1978, and is a lineage holder in that teaching. He also received teachings from the 16th Karmapa and other Tibetan Rinpoches, as well as from the Ven. Sayadaw U Thila Wunta, and from a Master of the Western Mystery School. In addition, Doug has undertaken numerous three-month solitary meditation retreats.

Doug has been leading retreats, teaching and training in universal practices of spiritual unfoldment since 1985, helping thousands of students in numerous countries liberate themselves from suffering. His teaching also draws on contemporary psychology and science. In 2004 he co-founded Clear Sky Retreat Center in the BC Rockies where he is resident teacher along with Catherine.

Growing up in Saskatchewan was a pretty “flat” experience, so Doug caught the travel bug early. As a small child he wandered, such that the local police often had to bring him home. This desire to see the world and understand it more fully has led him ever since.

Planet Dharma- Catherine Pawasarat

Sensei (Catherine Pawasarat)

Catherine Pawasarat was a student of metaphysics, Western spiritual traditions, and the ayahuasca sacraments in the 1990s. She worked as an advocacy photojournalist and studied traditional Japanese arts in Kyoto, Japan for 20 years.

Since 1998 she has trained daily with Buddhist teacher Achariya Doug Duncan in an intensive spiritual apprenticeship that’s rare in the modern West. Transmitted from the remarkable Namgyal Rinpoche, they are both lineage holders of these teachings.

With Doug, she is co-founder and resident teacher at Clear Sky Retreat Center in the British Columbia Rockies. There Catherine has spearheaded an innovative and sustainability-oriented culture and organization. Together Doug and Catherine also teach through a virtual vehicle, Planet Dharma. In 2018 they wrote the best-selling book Wasteland to Pureland.

Catherine recently wrote and published the first English guidebook to Kyoto’s famous Gion Festival, a gigantic collection of ancient and diverse spiritual rituals.

Some Words from Qapel & Sensei

Life is a fascinating journey, filled with discovery, exploration and awesome experiences. It can also be fraught with suffering and sorrow, often unnecessarily. While a certain amount of struggle is inevitable in life, the unnecessary parts can be eliminated. Why wrestle with unnecessary suffering? It’s no fun and painful to experience oneself, and similarly so to watch others do it.

Happiness is the original state that shines through after unnecessary suffering has been eliminated. We’re dedicated to sharing this path.

Life is short. It’s best when rich and joyful. The only thing that gets in our way are outmoded ways of being. Our lives are dedicated to engaging in and appreciating what an amazing journey we’re on. Come join us.

 

Read more about our lineage: Namgyal Rinpoche & Sayadaw U Thila Wunta.

Learn more about our retreat center: Clear Sky Retreat Center

Kira MacDuffee

Working with Doug and Catherine at the 5 day hero’s journey workshop was deeply impactful and has clarified for me not only my deepest heart’s desire but what I need to face and overcome to manifest it. Doug and Catherine are extraordinary facilitators with a great depth and breadth of knowledge, wisdom and presence to share.

Kira MacDuffee
M.Ed / RCC
Dr. Duncan Cryle

Watching how everyone engaged and getting new insights and a-ha moments brought home to me that karma yoga and dharma training is a path that brings the modern spiritual explorer alive and moves them forward.

Dr. Duncan Cryle
Ph.D IBM executive, Clear Sky Accountability Officer
Karen Scott

Thank you so very very much for all the wonderful, enriching, life-changing teachings… They’ve brought so much colour, lightness and movement to my life which I get to share now with others. I am so grateful to be a part of this magnificent community and look forward to all the healing and dancing in rainbows for the benefit of all.

Karen Scott
RMT in Cranbrook BC
Evangelos Diavolitsis

Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat have always been consistently honest, accurate and candid with me. Sometimes it’s taken me years to admit my self-sabotaging blind spots. Clear radical self-honesty liberates my sticky parts. So thanks to my master teachers for freeing up all the energy knots. Especially the knots created from unconscious patterning around money, sex and power.

Evangelos Diavolitsis
Peter Ujlaki

Doug and Catherine are always burning calories to get you back on a path that can lead toward greater self-awareness. When I am with these two very clear individuals, I am humbled by their dedication to others, and understand the every-waking-moment responsibility that comes with their calling.

Peter Ujlaki
Fine Art Dealer, Japan
Cara Conroy-Lau

Doug and Catherine teach the Vajrayana with great skill and means. Their ability to shift, weave and embrace each moment with different kinds of students is amazing. One of the jewels they teach and transmit is deity practice, or arising yoga. I have experienced many of their wongkur initiations and find them powerful and liberative experiences that also provide tools of great value in my day-to-day practice.

Cara Conroy-Lau