From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Walking the Eightfold Noble Path
April 14 - May 5
From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Walking the Eightfold Noble PathOnline Course | Four Weeks
The Eightfold Noble path is about methodology—walking the talk. And what is the talk that this Buddhist wisdom ennobles us to walk? Freedom. Compassion. Wisdom. As applicable now as 2,500 years ago, when the Buddha first taught it.
Walking the Eightfold Noble and Ennobling Path
We want peace and harmony—well-being? Wholeness? What about… emptiness? Whatever we think and say we want—which at our core is all the same—how do we put all the talk and philosophy into place in a meaningful, practical, and grounded way in our lives?
The 8 steps of the eightfold path are:
- Right View: sammā-diṭṭhi
- Right Intention: sammā-saṅkappa
- Right Speech: sammā-vācā
- Right Action: sammā-kammanta
- Right Livelihood: sammā-ājīva
- Right Effort: sammā-vāyāma
- Right Mindfulness: sammā-sati
- Right Concentration: sammā-samādhi
Though the word ‘sammā’ is often translated as “right,” the original Pali could be better translated as “complete” or total. The Western mind is quite steeped in notions of “good” and “bad,” “right” and “wrong”—but this idea of “complete” is more about wholeness. The eightfold path is something we practice and develop over time for an ever more complete understanding or embodiment of that quality—from Complete View to Complete Concentration. We like to use the image of a mandala as an example: your being is a mandala, but you’re most likely only seeing and manifesting certain, fragmented parts, where the Eightfold Path gets you to the whole picture.
Our thinking and perceptions get us stuck. Through this study, the practice of this Path, and by really seeing the stuckness of our patterns, we will begin to loosen our tight sense of who we are. The results? Greater freedom, compassion, and clarity. From ordinary to extraordinary. It’s a win-win.
Living in accordance with truth means living by the laws of nature. The human task of awakening is to realign with nature and its laws. To do so, we have to work with our views, our livelihood, and our speech.
By seeking the best state of being, and the best supporting conditions for that state of being, we can see through what the consumer marketplace usually offers: second-rate goods dressed up to be shiny and appealing. The best life we can live is one that is complete, in its integrity.
April 14 – May 5, 2024
Class Times (Mountain Time)
- Sunday April 14 – 9:30-11am
- Sunday April 21 – 9:30-11am
- Sunday April 28 – 9:30-11am
- Saturday & Sunday May 4-5th – 9:30am and 2:30pm (approx 60-90 min classes)
The formal and participatory teachings for this course will occur on Sundays with a Saturday-Sunday flash retreat on the fourth weekend. Class times are estimates and may change slightly.
We encourage you to connect with sangha outside of class times to discuss and deepen your learning of the material.
Flash Retreat Weekend: May 4 – 5th
To deepen and integrate your experience, the final (fourth) weekend during the course will also be a Flash Retreat (May 4 – 5). This can be done at home, or with us at Clear Sky Meditation Centre, in Eastern British Columbia. We highly recommend clearing your schedule over the weekend to focus on the retreat. Formal group sessions will be held at these approximate times.
- Flash Retreat morning session: 9:30am MT
- Flash Retreat afternoon session: 2:30pm MT
- Sessions will be 60-90 mins in length.
Meet the Teachers
Qapel Doug Duncan
Qapel 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.
Time and Location
Each of the four weekly classes in this online course will be streamed live at 9:30-11am MST. We ask participants to attend live whenever possible. The recording of each class will be available for one week after each class. We encourage you to connect with sangha outside of class times to discuss and deepen your learning of the material.
The course culminates with a Flash Retreat on May 4-5, 2024, with formal group session times held at approx 9:30am and 2:30pm Mountain Time on Saturday and Sunday, with a 60-90 min duration.
What Does the Course Cost?
This course is offered based on the unique combination of:
1) dāna, and
2) a $80-120 USD administrative fee:
- Register by March 17 2024: $80
- Register by March 31 2024: $100
- Register less than two weeks prior: $120
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!
This kind of Dharma is much needed, practical and insightful. It is something we need in our modern society where everyone is trying to get ahead of others. Learning with Qapel and Sensei helps me see clearly, lead genuinely and be more willing to step into the unknown, to serve others and to learn.
Qapel and Sensei teach in a light but profound way – taking us on a brilliant journey of understanding with guile and humour.
Male and female perspectives help balance with differing approaches. Explaining a complex but genius system that holds all life understanding from religion, science, psychotherapy and wisdom traditions is not easy. I think Ken Wilber would have enjoyed it.