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The Heart of Inter-Being: Understanding Dependent Origination

October 18 - October 20

The Heart of Inter-Being: Understanding Interdependent Origination

Online or In-Person | Oct 18-20 2024
What makes you “you”? How does everything “you” perceive arise? Why does this matter? Together we’ll study a powerful map of consciousness: the wheel of dependent origination. This is a foundational philosophical doctrine shared by all schools of Buddhism, recommended for students of all levels. It directly correlates to suffering, and how to become free, wise, and compassionate.

Understanding Dependent Origination: Paṭiccasamuppāda

meditation perception
dependent origination wheel of samsara

Ask yourself—what makes up a human? The 12 elements of the wheel of dependent origination teach us to look at the basic building blocks of the human being. The result of this understanding? Suffering goes down. Wisdom and compassion go up. This is the power of what it is to know thyself – the heart of inter-being.

All schools of Buddhism share this fundamental teaching of the wheel. It is a highly recommended foundational perspective that has deep repercussions on how you see and experience your life, the body-mind continuum, and the world around you.

The focus of Buddhadharma is to become free of being subject to suffering. There is necessary suffering (sickness, old age, diseases, joint pain, babies—that which is part and parcel of living), and unnecessary suffering (our personal dramas, relationship pains, self-image). If you look at the nature of suffering, you see how nature pushes itself forward because of suffering. The purpose of the wheel of dependent origination is to help us ask, “What is necessary, and what isn’t?”

In your life, what is necessary, and what isn’t?   

This is course for you if:

  • You’d like deeper foundational understanding of core Buddhist philosophy.
  • You want to learn a 2000 year old science of consciousness
  • You’d like to deepen your spiritual understanding in modern language and practical applications, with a wisdom teacher in the Namgyal lineage.
  • You want greater ability to apply your meditation insights in your daily life.
  • You want inspiration and motivation to change your life according to what is possible through conscious awareness.

Other Resources

Meet the Teacher

Catherine Pawasarat Sensei

Catherine Pawasarat Sensei is a contemporary Dharma teacher, attendant, consort, co-teacher via Planet Dharma and co-founder of Clear Sky Retreat Center. In addition to Buddhist philosophy and its applications to daily life, Catherine also draws on generative living and universal spiritual tools including transpersonal astrology and Japanese arts.

She 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. 

More About Sensei | About the Lineage

What’s Expected of Me?

  1. An open mind and heart, and a spirit of adventure are excellent things to bring!
  2. It’s human to have some apprehensions about doing something new, meeting new people, or going to a new placeparticularly when all three happen together. We try to make this as supportive as possible.
  3. When exploring our growth edges, it’s natural to feel uncertain and awkward. And it’s very fruitful to transform that emotional tension into creative energy by drawing on your own inner resourcessuch as inquiry, going with the flow, and self-reflection, just a few of the many kinds of constructive engagement.
  4. To maximize your retreat experience, we ask that you refrain from reading, using the internet, phone or listening to music during the course.
  5. Students are expected to be silent during the silent parts of the retreat, and participate in all classes, group meditations, activities, and discussions.
  6. We ask that you refrain from microdosing or consuming mind-altering substances before or during this retreat and in the days immediately following it.

The Location – Clear Sky Center

  • Located in the BC rocky mountains, Clear Sky offers over 300-acres to deepen your practice and reconnect with nature. Founded by Qapel (Achariya Doug Duncan) and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei, the center is home to students from around the globe who are dedicated to co-creating a supportive and innovative space for awakening in our modern world.

Retreat room beds
retreat Stages of Emptiness
CS Retreat Shrine Room Meditation Sangha

Course Details

Time and Location

This weekend retreat will be led by Catherine Pawasarat Sensei at Clear Sky Meditation Center in Eastern BC.  This course is offered online or in-person.

Schedule / Class Times:  Classes will be 60-90 mins in duration, with classes in the morning and evening and possibly the afternoon each day (Mountain Time) – the exact schedule to be confirmed. Please ensure you are available for the whole weekend to focus on the course material and attend classes live. 

Online participants are expected to attend classes live.  We will arrange class times to be comfortable for most time zones. However we understand that some class times might occur after midnight in some regions, if this is the case for you, please let us know when you register.  Then we can provide a recording so you can catch up on that particular class.

What Does the Course Cost?

In-Person Participants: 1) dāna to the Teacher plus 2) accomodation and meal costs for your stay Clear Sky Meditation Centre.

Online Participants: 1) dāna to the Teacher  2) online administration fee of $150 CAD.

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 but 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. 

Conversely, 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, it can be surprising the costs of setting up a good infrastructure to support effective teaching and connection online. The admin fee changes based on date of registration.

*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!

We work hard to support the online learning experience.

  • We have been delivering online offerings since 2012 and are always looking for new ways to optimize your experience.
  • Classes are live-streamed and some recordings are available for a certain time.
  • HD cameras and professional audio equipment provide high quality video streaming.
buddhist meditation retreat
Bardo 2024
Bardo 2024


If you have questions about the retreat, please contact the Clear Sky Retreat Manager at 250-429-3929  (phone) or at [email protected] (email).


Why Retreat In-Person?

Retreating in person at a retreat center is the best way to retreat – why?

  • You can’t beat live interaction with the course Teachers. Being in the same space with clear beings ‘tunes’ you to more wholesome states.
  • We create a welcoming environment and follow a supportive retreat schedule, based on decades of hosting successful retreats worldwide.
  • Wholesome and delicious food is provided so you don’t have to spend time cooking for yourself.
  • Breath-taking and restful, natural environment puts your body and mind at ease and resets your nervous system.
  • Retreating at our center gets you out of your usual home environment and routines – they can be distracting.
  • Retreating with others (your co-retreatants) is incredibly supportive and energy building.
Clear Sky Cabin/nature
12 Manjushri meditation retreat
Clear Sky residence;)

What Do Previous Retreatants Say?

Jenai Lieu

These are ancient teachings that I feel are important to understand if someone is serious about meditation. I appreciate Qapel and Sensei’s unrelenting perseverance to teach about the roots and traditions of these life changing practices. They explore the rich history with us and also deliver the material in a very understandable and relevant way.

Jenai Lieu
Psychology student, Canada
Kira MacDuffee

Working with Qapel and Sensei at the five day hero’s journey workshop was deeply impactful and has clarified not only my deepest heart’s desire, but what I need to overcome to manifest it. They are extraordinary facilitators with a great depth of knowledge, wisdom and presence to share.

Kira MacDuffee
M.Ed / RCC
Dr. Duncan Cryle

Doing karma yoga, I watch how everyone gains new insights.  These many “a-ha moments” makes it clear to me that this type of active 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
Evangelos Diavolitsis

Qapel and Sensei have consistently been honest, accurate and candid with me. It has sometimes taken me years to admit my self-sabotaging blind spots. Clear and radical self-honesty liberates my sticky parts. Thank you to my master teachers for helping me free up all the energy knots – especially the ones created from unconscious patterning around money, sex and power.

Evangelos Diavolitsis
Peter Ujlaki

Qapel and Sensei 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 diverse types 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 to be powerful and liberative experiences that also provide tools of great value in my day-to-day practice.

Cara Conroy-Lau