We look forward to sharing more teachings of spiritual awakening to support your practice in 2017. We’re calling 2017 the “Year of Victory,” in honor of our illustrious teacher, the late Venerable Namgyal Rinpoche. “Namgyal” means “victory,” the victory of spiritual awakening, claiming victory over our petty ego attachments in order to dedicate all our life energy to benefiting all beings.
In that sense Namgyal and the Year of Victory refer to the victory of the awakening mind and the victory of everyone and everything on the planet, of the Earth itself. We invite your applications join the program by December 20th, 2016.
Once more we invite beings with a heart for spiritual awakening to make a firm commitment to your own spiritual unfoldment and to benefiting all beings, by taking part in the Year of Victory teachings.
In 2017 we’ll be offering two different levels of support to your spiritual practice. We appreciate that modern practitioners have legitimate constrictions on their lives and schedules: work only provides a certain amount of vacation, and you may have family and other obligations.
We also feel it’s worth acknowledging that our modern lives and their demands can become excuses to go on autopilot and accept external limitations, rather than prioritizing doing the spiritual work we are called to do for our own spiritual unfoldment.
In offering these two levels for the Year of Victory, we are both meeting you and challenging you. We are meeting you because we don’t want you to have to choose between, for example, your job and your spiritual path. And we’re challenging you to look at your limitations and ask yourself whether they are really limiting you, or whether you are choosing your priorities. We challenge you to prioritize your own spiritual awakening to the greatest extent possible.
Beings who are not enrolled in the Year of Victory may also attend the two-week retreats in January, August and December, as well as the webinar series. Year of Victory participants will have increased access to the teachers and teachings. Details are below and the core offerings are as follows:
We launch the 2017 Year of Victory with a two-week retreat entitled Body, Speech and Mind. We explore a diverse range of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritually-based exercises and meditations, all referencing back to the profound Foundations of Mindfulness practice.
This profound practice can heal you from head to toe, inside and out, particularly since it’s such an accessible practice: you can easily continue to do it at home on your own. The retreat takes advantage of meditation and reflection throughout, indoors and also outside, in Clear Sky’s peaceful, spacious and beautiful mountain environment. The practices seal the retreat experience so that it is available to us when we return to our busy lives.
Next, there will be three series of four webinars each over the course of the year, each one drawing on an aspect of the three parts of the Eightfold Ennobling Path. This methodology of spiritual awakening is divided into three sections: panna, sila and samadhi, corresponding to the mind, speech and body addressed in the year’s inaugural retreat.
The first webinar series starts in February, focusing on view (panna). The second takes place in June and relates to livelihood, part of sila. The third series of webinar teachings is offered September and will focus on effort, part of samadhi.
Put another way, the nature of the mystical life corresponds to the view; career as a path to spiritual awakening relates to our speech (feelings); and healing the body corresponds to samadhi (calm and concentration).
Each of these sections consists of four consecutive Monday night teachings (12 in total), each ending with a weekend “Flash Retreat” undertaken at your home to seal and integrate the teachings with actual practice and experience.
At the start of the year we offer Body, Speech & Mind Retreat. Next, as part of this program we offer another two-week retreat on site at Clear Sky Retreat Center in August. “Awakening Through Action” focuses on spiritual awakening through career and creativity, assisting in cleaning up big areas of your life in order to free up your energy for spiritual unfoldment.
As you’ll see below, the final retreat offered as part of this year-long program will be at year-end (approximately Dec. 16-30, TBD), based on the classical practices of the illustrious Six Yogas of Naropa.
Watch the Video for January’s Body Speech & Mind Retreat:
The following elements are the same as Level 1:
Level 2 is for people who know it’s time to put a stake in the ground and orient the mandala of your life around your spiritual awakening as the center of it.
Empower yourself to be victorious over conditioned patterns, ego-based preference mind and samsara! The nirvana of the spiritual awakening mind is your birthright. The benefits of participation in the Year of Victory are the fruits of your year-long commitment to an actively engaged practice with the teachers and the other YoV practitioners in retreats.
We are delighted to have the modern ability to support your and many other beings’ practices, year-round, through virtual teachings, Skypes, e-books, websites and so on. However, there is no question that the fastest, most reliable way to awaken more fully is to spend as much time as possible in the presence of spiritual teachers and beings committed to ongoing spiritual awakening. To this end we encourage you to take advantage of as much retreat time at Clear Sky as you can.
Retreat dates: Sat., Dec 31, 2016 – Mon Jan 16, 2017. International retreatants are recommended to arrive on Fri Dec 30 to help overcome jet lag before retreat starts. The retreat will start with a bonfire on the night of Dec 31, 2016.
Retreat dates: Mon., Aug. 7, 2017 – Sun. Aug. 20, 2017. International retreatants are recommended to arrive one day prior to the scheduled retreat start date in order to help overcome jetlag before the retreat starts.
Retreat dates: approx Dec 16, 2017 – Jan 1, 2018. International retreatants are recommended to arrive one day prior to the scheduled retreat start date in order to help overcome jetlag before the retreat starts.
Flash Retreat: Holistic Clearing Meditation, Sat. & Sun., March 11–12
Series 1 Dates: Mon., Feb. 13, 20, 27 and Mar. 6
From the top of the mountain we can see all the potential ways to climb up it. We can’t do that as we are climbing. The easiest way up is often the smartest, and therefore the most “beautiful.” “Beautiful” we mean in the sense of a finely trained athlete looking graceful and at ease as they perform difficult maneuvers.
The mystical life of spiritual awakening is the crown of human life and the heritage of all beings.
What many traditions call “God” or some kind of supreme being does not choose us for the mystical life path, since we are all called to it. The “choosing” part is about the decisions we make about how to use our life force. Once obstacles are removed, the mystical life is self-revealing: the vision, the clear view – or “right view” of the Eightfold Ennobling Path – is not about something concrete. Visions are about the known, dreams are about what is hidden, but the mystical life remains a beautiful mystery, swelling in the unknown.
We live between two walls of darkness: birth and death. The mystical life is about unknowing: that is, entering into the divine mystery and living there. In that sense it is completion, a complete view. The word “right” (samma in Sanskrit) actually translates better as “complete” or “total.”
Flash Retreat: Body of Truth, Sat. & Sun., July 1–2
Series 2 Dates: Mon., June 5, 12, 19, 26
Right Livelihood is about finding the way to live in truth, according to the laws of nature. By seeking the best state and the best supporting conditions for that, we are able to transcend and live beyond much of the second-rate goods that consumerist society offers us.
How do we get the most beautiful for the least effort, the least amount of energy expenditure? The most beautiful phenomenon in life is the spiritually awakened being. The transcendental state is the most wonderful one available to us, to anyone. It is not a fad – it is timeless, and it doesn’t become outdated. Fashions do go out of date, so if we’re trying to be fashionable we’re probably not getting the best for the least effort.
As mentioned, the Sanskrit word samma is often translated as “right,” though a better translation would be “total” or “complete.” Meanwhile, livelihood comes from ajiva, which means “life.” Thus a total or complete life refers to something much bigger and more beautiful than just the job or career you have. This webinar series invites you to find and live and work in that beauty.
Flash Retreat: TBD, Sat. & Sun., Sept. 30 & Oct. 1
Series 3 Dates: Mon., Sept 4, 11, 18, 25
There are easier and harder ways to get things done. Typically war and violence don’t resolve anything; similarly anger, greed or confusion don’t yield happiness.
How can we heal the madness of society and people around us? First we must heal ourselves. The key to healing is applying effort efficiently and steadily to our attention. Attention and action that are wholesome – whole, integrated, holy – is in everyone’s best interest. What is “wholesome?” Whatever leads to our spiritual awakening, our unfolding and development as an integrated, whole, holy human being.
How do we know whether we’re making a “complete effort?” Non-clinging is essential. In spite of what we might wish, everything is impermanent. A large part of our struggle is trying to make the impermanent permanent. Through the effort of recognizing and behaving with the realization of non-clinging, we eliminate the constipation of trying to cling to people or things or mindstates. Health is the natural result.
What do we apply our effort to? It seems our efforts are mostly driven by our desires or personal preferences. If our desires are based on exploitation (what’s in it for me), we’re subject to the three conceits: I am better than, worse than or equal to someone or something else. This comprises a search for safety and security in the material world, where it can’t be found … and instead leads to anxiety and exploitation. Right effort is living by what you already have, then extending the awareness and learning from that.
Right effort means having the best vision. The “best vision” is that which brings greater degrees of freedom. We invite you to join us for this series of webinars, to explore how you may find greater degrees of freedom in your life.
There is something about making a year’s commitment and ‘Dharma is a big rock, and I’m putting it up front into my year’. So it makes the aspiration/commitment for dharma during the year more conscious and explicit, and that in turn helped me be more consistent and go deeper over the year. I’m not sure I would have done all the long weekend retreats except that was part of YoA commitment, and I found it very valuable to carve out this flash-retreat time.
– Duncan C., Fortune 500 Executive
The biggest thing for me is connection, through the online classes and shared meetings. That has made my practice feel stronger and more continuous, whether it be practice on a cushion, dharma focus during the day, dharma-minded living or specific karma yoga tasks. Previously, the dharma Zoe and the ‘other’ Zoe had been more split, but now they feel like they are drawing into one person. I’m far happier to speak up when I have a question and take time when I need to over a task. I think I see more how what I do fits into a wider set of events and the repercussions that can have. I’m more willing to take responsibility and give direction. Retreat spaciousness has lasted far longer. My meditative focus feels stronger. I feel like I am seeing patterns and habits with more clarity and understanding. I have more patience towards myself and a desire to get things in order. Relationship-wise, I’m understanding others more, with more honesty from me. This YoA has been a really precious opportunity.
– Zoe M., Professional Translator
Being a participant in the Year of Awakening course has supported me in two very important ways: It helped me stay connected with what is important to me and it also helped me see that I am not alone. I interacted with many other people around the world who are also struggling in their lives. I was trying to find a place where I could rest. I realized during this past year that its not about resting, its about doing what will bring me more clarity more often. In that clarity there is space. And this space is more easeful than resting. Being involved in this course has given me more clarity and the opportunity to keep putting awakening first in my day-to-day life, and to be able to do that with others is priceless.
– Maureen S., MSW, RCSW, Counsellor
The YofA has helped my commitment to the practice. I really see the difference in my attention to applying the teachings when the classes are taking place. I have found that the home retreats, most times they have led me to deep revelations about myself.
The classes make me thirsty for more knowledge. I find that gradually I understand things at a deeper and deeper level. The weekly homework is also a good reminder to pay attention to what is going on.
I think that the most striking difference that I have noticed this year is a sense of trust in the universe. More and more often I remember that each happening is an opportunity for learning. I also see myself being less judgemental and more curious towards my attitudes. Overall, I see the teachings more and more present in my life and feel more motivation to do the work.
– Irene A., Accounts Controller
Combined, Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat have been practicing the teachings of spiritual awakening for more than 60 years. They’re well versed in Buddhist and Western philosophy and practices, as well as contemporary psychology, consciousness studies and art.
Doug and Catherine founded Clear Sky Meditation Centre in BC, where they are based, ten years ago. Having lived overseas for many years and traveled extensively, they also draw on intercultural and trans-cultural experience to broaden the range and depth of their understandings of spiritual awakening & liberation that they share with others.
Their engaged compassion, sense of humor and combined wisdom will enrich your life with exploration & discovery. Click for their full bios: Year of Victory Teachers.
Doug & Catherine are teaching this year long program via the ancient tradition of Dāna (generosity), an offering from them to the attendees. It is considered of supreme value to your life and thus “beyond price” so it is expected that the student will be equally generous and support the teaching and the teachers by making an offering.
While no offering is too small, also no offering is too great. The giver benefits by offering as much as they can, given the individual’s circumstances. Along with compassion, generosity is considered the root of spiritual progress and, according to the ancients, therefore the root of our success in daily life as well.
It’s an important part of your commitment to the Year of Victory to recognize you are also making a year long commitment to a healthy and conscious practice of dāna. Before applying, we encourage you to review if you are in a financially sustainable situation to support your exploration and dāna during the year.
We also invite you to explore more about how you can practice Dāna. You will have an opportunity to offer Dāna when you register or by clicking the Dāna bowl image to the left. You can also practice generosity via the Dāna bowl available at Clear Sky at the opening January retreat, and this is a powerful way to set your intention for the year. As well, there will be ongoing opportunities throughout the year to offer Dāna. We encourage you to reflect how to use Dāna as a core practice for your Year of Victory to cultivate a heart of generosity and openness.
There is a one time program fee to cover operating costs during the year. Level 1: US$250 / Level 2: US$350.
At Planet Dharma we aim not to exclude anyone from access to the Dharma because of financial issues. If the course fee and other financial commitments in the year are out of your reach, but you are determined to join, please contact us to discuss alternative forms of exchange.
Please also note that this program’s residential retreats are held at Clear Sky Meditation Centre in BC, Canada. Registration and payment for lodging & meals for these retreats are made directly to Clear Sky via each retreat’s booking forms.
We invite your applications to participate in the Year of Victory, 2017. Please apply early as the program has limited places available. Applications will be accepted until December 20, 2016.