Diamond Realization: Clarity in an Unclear World (Online)
January 6 - February 2
Diamond Realization: Clarity in an Unclear WorldA Four Week Online Course | Starts January 6, 2020
Let your mind shine like a diamond. A clear and strong consciousness cuts through foggy or disillusioned mind states to reveal wisdom and ultimate truth. By studying the Diamond Sutra, we deepen our abilities to act in the world more skillfully and effectively with a profound reverence for every moment.
The Diamond Sutra
Deepen your own unfoldment with our exploration of the Diamond Sutra through the scope of awakened master, Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche.
One of the most treasured sutras in the Mahayana canon, the Diamond Sutra is also recognized as the oldest dated and printed book in existence. The full translation of the book’s title is “The Diamond Which Cuts Through Illusion.”
“Whosoever can receive and retain this teaching, study it, recite it and spread it abroad will be clearly perceived and recognized by the Tathagata and will achieve a perfection of merit beyond measurement or calculation – a perfection of merit unlimited and inconceivable.”
– The Buddha (The Diamond Sutra, Section XV, The Incomparable Value of This Teaching)
For this online study of the Diamond Sutra, we will use Suchness, the commentary by the great awakened master Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche.
MON, JANUARY 6
In this class we explore the context of the Diamond Sutra: how was Buddhist philosophy evolving at the time the Diamond Sutra emerged, and what monumental shift in spiritual perception does it herald?
What exactly made Subhuti one of the Buddha’s “best” students? How did the Buddha explain how we could control thoughts? And how is all this relevant for our own practice today?
MON, January 13
The diamond or thunderbolt cuts through delusional states of mind to reveal wisdom and ultimate truth.
This class explores the nature of birth and existence; the practice of bodhisattvas; the nature of Mind Only; and how to use thought to end all thought.
MON, January 20
In this class we review how faith empowers beings to enter the stream of awakening.
To this end, we must put aside all our efforts to build up a permanent identity, which by definition cannot exist. We look at how the Diamond Sutra heavily influenced Chinese Ch’an and Japanese Zen schools of Buddhism: Enlightenment is empty and therefore beyond concepts or expression.
Despite turning no dharmas into dharmas, bodhisattvas remain unattached to both. What is the one question between you and enlightenment?
MON, January 27
Explore the illusory nature of self, and the pursuit of non-attachment and emptiness as ultimate reality.
How can we do this, when truth is beyond words? The Diamond Sutra teaches us that all limitations are constructs of the mind.
Study and Meditation Electives
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 12
- Sun. Jan 19
- Sun. Jan 26
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.
January 31-February 2
Elect to deepen your practice via an at-home Flash Retreat during the last weekend of this course. This two-night 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, Feb. 2.
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 the 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.
Getting Naked: Watch a Video on the Diamond Sutra
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.
For reading the Diamond Sutra, we highly recommend Namgyal Rinpoche’s book Suchness – The Diamond State Of Realization available from Bodhi Publishing.
What Does the Course Cost?
We offer this course on the basis of dāna (generosity) plus an admin fee of $100 (USD). The admin fee is to cover the costs of running these online courses – for equipment and software to provide you the teachings online.
The teacher’s time and the teaching content itself is offered on the basis of dāna. Dāna is a Sanskrit term meaning “generosity”, and is the traditional way in which Buddhist teachings are offered. With dāna, we give as a mutual exchange of generosity. You may have come across this in the form of “pay from the heart”. 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. For more information on dāna click here.
Note: this registration is for all four online classes in this series. Additionally there are three elective Sunday master classes you can opt to join, as well as a weekend flash retreat at the end of the four weeks. Registration & Dana links for these will be accessible to you when you have registered for the main course.
It has been sheer joy to be a participant in the Foundations of Buddhist Philosophy streamed classes. They made the practice come alive for me and accessible and pertinent to my every-day life. And of course, I always enjoy Doug and Catherine’s unfailing good humour which put a lighter touch on what can sometimes be a very dry subject.
Fabulous mindfulness teachers, presenting a variety of accessible tools for unfolding, in a mutual, community inspired way. It’s great that classes can be watched in person, virtually, or within a week depending on one’s schedule. Increase the awareness, compassion, wisdom, strength, and joy in your life!
[The online classes] are a fantastic tool for me to not get completely lost in Samsara throughout the year, especially because I don’t live in Canada and cannot be with the teachers so often. I still felt very connected and supported by the Lamas and Sangha. As a result I became much more aware of my state of mind than I would ordinarily.