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Discovering Your Buddha Nature: Teachings of Gampopa (Online Course)

May 17, 2021 - June 13, 2021

Discovering Your Buddha Nature: Teachings of Gampopa

A Four Week Online Course | Starts May 17, 2021

Your essence is Buddha Nature. Discover the path to recognizing this state in yourself and all beings, as elucidated by Tibetan Buddhist Master Gampopa in his treatise, ‘The Jewel Ornament of Liberation‘.


Je Gampopa, Dagpo Rinpoche, Sonam Rinchen
Je Gampopa with 1st Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa

Gems of Dharma

Gampopa named this contradiction: we both dwell in an amazing human existence with enlightened essence, while also wandering through the worlds of struggle and suffering.

What is the path through this paradox, then? In this course, we will study realities of samsara and nirvana, based on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation.

Gampopa was known for bringing together the monastic and yogic traditions, similar to our lineage and mandate at Clear Sky Center and Planet Dharma.

In this course we will also learn that to be more than who we currently are, we need to understand more than we currently do. How do we understand cause and effect? What is the role of loving kindness and compassion?


Top image: Je Gampopa, Dagpo Rinpoche, Sonam Rinchen
Source: Dakini Translations

Left image: Je Gampopa with 1st Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa. Source: Dakini Translations

The [Online] course went beyond my expectations, I feel I learned a lot of new things or new ways of seeing things. The teachers have an incredible way of presenting the themes in a way that makes it easy to understand. They also make the teachings fun and suggest exercises so that you can apply them in your life.

Irene Arriaza, Guatemala / Spain

I was expecting to get pearls of wisdom and I always get far far more. The  teachings always speak directly to me. It is uncanny. It is like hearing a language that I spoke in some other life-form and suddenly it rings a bell. And bell after bell. Like a universal language that we all used to speak but have forgotten, and now as if a new pathway in the brain has opened up and the signals coming in are making sense! Directly from the cosmos via Doug and Catherine Sensei.

Renata Drtinova, Czech / Spain

Psychotherapist (Gestalt therapist)

The teachers of Planet Dharma [Online course] aim to provide opportunities to learn from age old teachings while including modern information as they are examples of continuing to learn about the fascinating, yet troubled world we live in. They help one to develop ideas how to help out society, live in society and contribute to themselves and others.

Daniel O'Brien, USA

Author, Japan Series

Course Schedule

Starts May 17, 2021

PLEASE NOTE to deepen and integrate your experience, we are offering three optional weekly Master Classes during the course and an at-home Flash Retreat at the end. See below for more details.

MON, May 17

Class 1

How do we get enlightened? Why wouldn’t we? Gampopa explains different kinds of potential for enlightenment, and the features of how exactly a precious human existence is the fertile ground for awakening. With this cause and basis for enlightenment, we look at what a practitioner needs next: a guide. What are the reasons for having a mentor, and what’s the nature of this relationship?

MON, May 24

Class 2

We review Gampopa’s (and our) perspective on some of the most fundamental aspects of our path: the nature of karma, the importance of loving kindness and compassion, and the essential nature of proper refuge. What do these look like in our practice and in our daily lives? We also explore bodhicitta, the innate potential of a human being to awaken. Sometimes it’s called the desire to awaken: how can we cultivate this? Lastly, what is the Bodhisattva Vow, and how do we practice it?

MON, May 31

Class 3

The meditations on the Paramita—Six Perfections or Buddhist Virtues—are easily summarized, but their practice involves a lifetime of living each one more deeply. We look at Gampopa’s descriptions of each Parami (translated here as generosity, right conduct, forbearance, diligence, meditation, and wisdom), and describe how we can practice them meaningfully in our contemporary lives. This helps us to both awaken further and benefit all beings more.


MON, June 7

Class 4

Our spiritual paths have different phases: what are they and how do we recognize the road signs? Since we’re practicing the bodhisattva path, we’ll enrich our experience by getting to know its 10 levels, and what lies beyond those: Buddhahood. How does a Buddha show up in the universe, in the different realms? As practitioners we make efforts to benefit all beings; how do Buddhas do it?

Study and Meditation Electives

Master Classes

Three Sundays

There are weekly Master Classes (akin to online Q&A Office Hours) during this online course to support your deepening learning and practice, on May 23rd and May 30th at 3pm MST and June 6 at 4pm MST:

  • Sun. May 23 (3pm MST)
  • Sun. May 30 (3pm MST)
  • Sun. June 6 (4pm MST)

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.

Flash Retreat

June 11-13, 2021

Elect to deepen your practice via a Flash Retreat during the last weekend of this course.  The 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, June 13.

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

Catherine Pawasarat
Catherine Pawasarat
Doug Duncan
Doug Duncan

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.

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 Flash Retreat on June 11-13, 2021.

What Does the Course Cost?

 This course is offered based on the unique combination of 1) dāna  and 2) a $100 USD administrative fee. Click on the tabs below to learn more:

You may have come across this elsewhere in 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.

The dharma has been built on generosity. No one is excluded for lack of funds. However, it is also extremely beneficial to give as much as you are able.

Typically people give in a range of $120-$500 USD for a course.

As we’re committed to ensuring everyone has access to the Dharma, please feel comfortable to give less if you are not financially secure. Another form of giving dāna is to offer service, and if you are interested in providing support in a non-financial way, we invite you to contact us.

If you are financially secure, we invite you to generate merit by providing more financial support to the Triple Gem. Contributions like these make the difference in supporting our teachers, teachings, and center.

Learn more about the practice of dāna here.

In a traditional model of in-person teachings, a retreat center or urban meditation center invites teachers to visit. In these cases the centers have infrastructure and organization costs to cover, which might be covered by an admin fee. For the teaching itself, dāna to the teachers is offered in a bowl. This honors both the sustainability of the teachers, and of the supporting center.

We’ve tried to recreate this approach online. The teachers’ time and the teaching themselves are offered on the basis of dāna, separate to the admin fee. With our dāna offering we are making a direct gift of generosity to the teachers to support their teachings and livelihood.

The admin fee* goes to support the infrastructure and organization necessary to support them to teach. As anyone with an online business will know, the costs of setting up good infrastructure to support effective teaching and connection online can be surprising.

Our admin fee changes based on the date of registration.

Register four + weeks prior: $80
Register two to four weeks prior: $100
Register less than two weeks prior: $120

*We also do not wish to exclude anyone from the Teachings, so if you are not currently in a financial position to afford the admin fee, please contact the course Registrar via [email protected] so we can support you to attend.


Below are a few of the work and benefits that your admin fee payment is supporting:

  • High speed internet (to allow interviews and classes on-line)
  • Online class systems (Zoom)
  • Registration / admin systems (Eventbrite, Basecamp)
  • Communication systems to keep everyone informed, share connection details, teachings and other resources (Mailchimp)
  • Online storage (for example, Dropbox, to allow us to let students watch recordings, and to store and share selected teachings in other forms such as podcasts and video later, and Amazon cloud)
  • Quality sound, video and editing equipment (both for live teachings and to provide good enough quality for later sharing as podcasts and video). We are regularly updating our equipment to improve your user experience.
  • Online calendar booking system to allow students to book interviews
  • Website hosting and maintenance for sharing upcoming courses, teachings, blogs and other resources.

We welcome any questions. May all our efforts be sustainable, abundant and for the benefit of all beings!


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.

Ronda Clanfield, Canada

Resources Specialist, CBC National TV News (retired)

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!

Brendan Ries, USA / Australia

Life Coach, Teacher and Artist

[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. 

Andrea Netscher, Germany

Physiotherapist, Germany

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May 17, 2021
June 13, 2021
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