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Pārami: Practices for Freedom
January 14 - January 16
Pārami: Practices for Freedom
Weekend Retreat | Jan 14-16 2022
How do you act in the world with compassion, clarity and kindness? Discover the ‘Pārami’ or ‘Pāramitas’, ancient qualities or ‘perfections’ that open the gateway of freedom in one’s being. This weekend course is offered by Catherine Pawasarat Sensei – in-person at Clear Sky Meditation Center or online.
This is an important foundations course for newer Dharma students, as well as experienced practitioners who wish to learn to teach Dharma Fundamentals.
Why Study the Pārami?
The Pārami are Practices for Freedom
We all have habits. Habits are comfortable! We do them every day, usually on auto-pilot. The difficulty with habits is that we’re not present. True freedom and well-being come from the degree to which we are present in each moment. By practicing the Pārami, or the ‘Perfections’, we experience new ways of engaging with the present moment that bring greater awareness and clarity. This interrupts our habits, which tend to be self-focused and unconscious.
When practiced in earnest, and with curiosity, we learn to apply the perfections in more and more situations. Over time, our experience of them deepens and we grow into richer states of freedom year by year. The pārami serve us well for our entire lifetime, and beyond.
There are countless translations of the Paramis, and they can be practiced in any order:
- Generosity (Dāna)
- Ethics (Śīla)
- Patience (Kṣānti)
- Effort (Vīrya)
- Concentration (Dhyāna)
- Wisdom and Insight (Prajñā)
In this course we will study the Six Pārami of Mahayana Buddhism (and learn how to survive the zombie apocalypse).
More Resources on Paramis
The Paramis could be described as ‘assets beyond measure’ – they provide healthy soil for spiritual unfoldment to grow. They keep the ego in check and our hearts open.
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.
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. In addition to Buddhist philosophy and its applications to daily life, Catherine also draws on generative living and the arts.
Time and Location
It is possible to attend the course in these ways:
- Online Retreat (Registrations open)
- In-Person Retreat at Clear Sky (Registrations now closed)
Each of the classes in this retreat will be held live at Clear Sky Meditation Centre. There will also be a video streamed live for online participants. The current class schedule is as follows.
- Friday Jan 14th: 7pm MST
- Saturday Jan 15th: 8am MST, 2pm MST, 7pm MST
- Sunday Jan 16th: 8am MST, 2pm MSt
We have arranged class times to be comfortable for most time zones. However we understand that some class times might occur after midnight in some regions, so please contact us if that is the case for you, and we will provide a recording so you can catch up on that particular class.
What Does the Course Cost?
This course is offered based on the unique combination of 1) dāna and 2) course fees.
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.
*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!
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.
And, we work hard to support the online retreat experience.
- We have been delivering online offerings since 2014 and are always looking for new ways to optimize your experience.
- You will be provided with recommendations for making your retreat supportive and generative at home, where there are usually many distractions.
- Classes are live-streamed and some recordings are available for a certain time.
- Group sits with your co-retreatants are streamed to support your practice routine.
- HD cameras and professional audio equipment provide high quality video streaming
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.