Conquering fear, discovering the freedom to love and explore…
Meditation Retreat Location: Maitreya House, Herefordshire, UK
This week-long retreat in rural England will be an opportunity for you to delve into the Buddhist tantric tradition with Tantra Masters Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat.
Tantra is a weaving of a clear mind and a blissful heart and the image often used to portray the metaphor of these dualities of consciousness is the dance of male/female in union. It is a method for exploring the relationship between our inner mental workings and our outer contact with the everyday world.
We will learn how our fears can be harnessed to become a tool for overcoming the anxieties we experience in daily life. The retreat will enable us to develop trust and confidence that conquers fear and establishes freedom to love and explore.
The retreat begins with a 21 Tara empowerment in Tibetan tradition, which lays the foundations of the practice. Throughout the week there will be opportunities to develop this practice with guidance through classes, activities and meditation.
Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced practitioner, the week promises to be a deep and transformative one.
This meditation retreat is for people who:
Are new to meditation
Want to go deeper into their meditation practice
Want to find out what tantra is all about
Want to develop their tantric practice through the 21 Taras
Want to empower their lives and change their relationship with fear and love
What will be covered in this meditation retreat?
During the week-long retreat you will become more familiar with the four levels of tantra:
In Action Tantra, traditionally the image of a ‘smile’ between male and female is used. A smile is an invitation and a connection. It is relatively low risk and decently far enough away to ensure time to assess if further dialogue is desired or possible. As a karma yoga practice it involves service and generosity in practice.
Relational Tantra uses the metaphor of ‘holding hands’ as a symbol of closer communication and therefore deeper connection than just a smile. Here dialogue between teacher and student or between one’s actions and one’s psychology is deepened. At this level more honesty is required, not only between the teacher and student, but with one’s self as well.
Completing Tantra, requires more vulnerability, greater trust and deeper courage. The metaphor here would be ‘making out’, to use colloquial language. Not everything in our ego is nice. The monsters of our shadows and the deeper part of our hurts, our loneliness and betrayals, will be unveiled. But, also the strengthening of our hearts and minds occurs here.
Finally, in Union Tantra the illusion of separation between beings evaporates. One comes to realize that only loving kindness and compassion exist in the heart/mind of clarity. We are joyous and equanimous in this level of tantra. And as one might expect from the previous metaphoric images, union is depicted as the surrender anticipated in sexual union.
You will also have the opportunity to attend a 21 Tara empowerment and receive guidance in practicing this as a personal meditation.
How will this meditation retreat help my life?
Working with Doug and Catherine on this retreat and exploring the different levels of tantra through the 21 Tara empowerment will give you the opportunity to explore how your inner thoughts affect your contact and relationship with the world around you.
You will begin to see how fear itself becomes a tool which supports you in your daily life. Once you begin to understand this, your exploration truly begins and your week at Maitreya House is just the start – what you learn and experience there will travel with you long after the retreat.
Suggested Reading: Introduction to Tantra: A Vision of Totality, By Lama Yeshe, Compiled and Edited by Jonathan Landaw, Wisdom Publications, London: 1987.
About Teachers Doug Duncan & Catherine Pawasarat:
Doug Duncan is a Canadian-born Dharma teacher and counsellor who has travelled, explored and meditated for most of his life. He has studied extensively in the Theravadin, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions under the principal tutelage of Namgyal Rinpoche, as well as other teachers.
His desire to see the world and understand it more fully began at a young age – as a child he was repeatedly found wandering and had to be returned home by the police!
He teaches at and founded Dharma Japan and the Clear Sky Meditation and Study Center in British Columbia and he is a visiting teacher in the UK and many other countries. His teaching draws on contemporary psychology and science.
Catherine Pawasarat studied languages, literature and philosophy at Columbia University. She moved to Japan to explore the traditional arts and worked as a journalist, interpreter and translator.
After a year studying shamanism in the Brazilian Amazon in 1996, she returned to Kyoto and began an intensive Dharma apprenticeship with Doug.
In 2003 she received lay ordination from Namgyal Rinpoche, just before his passing. She helped found the centres for awakening in Japan and Canada.
Catherine’s teaching style is all-embracing and inclusive. She draws on her long-held interest and advocacy in working for social and environmental justice. In particular, she focuses on sustainability within dharma training and the practice of awakening.
What others say about them:
Doug & Catherine are continuously pushing the envelope of experience, often with irreverent humour in challenging others to do the same & doing so with heart for Dharma that isn't afraid to think outside the box.
Operations Manager, Clear Sky Center
If you get a chance to study with Doug-sensei and Catherine, don't miss it. Through the power of long dedication, deep meditation, and wise guidance, life can definitely be transformed.
Retired Professor & Meditation Teacher
Doug Sensei and Catherine Pawasarat have woven together a finely-textured tapestry of Buddhist Philosophy that has made the basics of the practice come alive for me and accessible and pertinent to my every-day life.
Resources Specialist, CBC National TV News (retired)
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.
Art Dealer, Japan
Doug and Catherine's ability to translate the heart of the Buddhist teachings into wisdom that is relevant and applicable in today's world mean that their teachings go far beyond theory to have real impact on lives. The crucial balance of care, support, insight and challenge they have offered me has been instrumental for a greater experience of love, connection and aliveness in my life. My deepest heart thanks go out to them for all that they have done for me and all beings.
Choreographer & Dance Teacher
Doug Sensei and Catherine Sensei demonstrate and challenge us to recognize that nowhere is the Awakened mind not present or available to us. They model and challenge us to be ruthlessly self-honest, practical and to work together to build and shape healthy communities and relationships in all that we do.
Sensei and Catherine's teachings have helped me create a spaciousness in my being to find generosity, abundance, and energy with my self and my potential. I am immensely grateful to them for their patience and love and personal connection to my growth and unfoldment.
Teachers suggest, guide and train - the student's responsibility is to get involved and be willing to dance. I accepted that opportunity to dance, the opportunity of a lifetime, and with such excellent dance partners (Doug and Catherine) I have thrived in my unfolding.
As a result of studying with Doug and Catherine, I’m more awake: I have more clarity, compassion, and calm. These characteristics have made me a better dharma student, dharma teacher, parent, friend, colleague, manager and leader.
Doug and Catherine Sensei have a complimentary teaching style that empowers me to take on life's numerous challenges. Thanks to their guidance, I understand the role of fiery masculine energy and how to integrate it with softer more receptive earth feminine energy. They are Yin and Yang in human form. I could not ask for a more complete or effective spiritual teaching.
The first time I met Doug & Catherine Sensei was at the Clear Sky Center, BC as a Karma Yogi (volunteer). Despite being new to the teachings, despite my past, despite my attitude they welcomed me and created space for me to connect with everyone. I know they see Buddha Nature in everything and welcome it with a warm heart.
Doug, Catherine & the community around them are phenomenal teachers, supports and guides. I've never seen any therapy and meditation teaching that goes to such depth, one on one and in community, anywhere else.
The first time I met Catherine and Sensei at Clear Sky Centre for a one week silent meditation retreat, at the end I burst into tears. I found home.
Dharma Trips around the world with those two cutting edge masters have also allowed me to see the world from a whole new prespective.
Thank you again for all the teachings! They have impacted my life in such a positive way that it is unexplainable with words 🙂
It is one thing to hear or read the Dharma and understand it intellectually. This workshop went so much further than that, as I found myself receiving realizations of the teachings on a visceral basis, going far beyond simply understanding.
Working with Doug and Catherine at the 5 day hero’s journey workshop was deeply impactful and has clarified for me not only my deepest heart’s desire but what I need to face and overcome to manifest it. Doug and Catherine are extraordinary facilitators with a great depth and breadth of knowledge, wisdom and presence to share.
M.Ed / RCC
Doug and Catherine Sensei demonstrate how every encounter in our lives is not only a litmus test that shows if we are acting with compassion or not, they hand us the polish for the silver that we can use to rub away the tarnish of our egocentric mode of perception to reveal the inherent sparkle of a compassionate heart and mind.
Translator, Japanese to English
Cata and Doug Sensei teach their own brand of profoundly sensible Dharma.
This retreat was right on the mark, a perfect blend of focused inner work along with space for reflection in a trusting and comfortable setting. The teachers were wonderful, insightful, humorous, and extremely attentive to our individual needs for understanding. The journey has opened access to undiscovered strengths in myself and I could not be more thankful.
Manager of Software Engineering
I came to Clear Sky after years of wandering on the path of self-transcendence; I was trying to do it by myself and it just wasn’t working. Dharma Teachers Doug & Catherine immediately saw my self-imposed limits and provided me with clear, direct instructions on how to really accelerate growth. After putting my personal preferences aside and deciding to work with awakened teachers I have become far more focused and clearer than I could ever have been on my own.
Doug and Catherine Sensei are living examples of the dharma teachings. For me, their teachings give me a place to begin to apply the dharma in my own life. I trust in their one-pointed focus on whatever it takes to speed their students unrealized potential.
Counsellor and Mom of two
Precious and few are the teachers that have the charisma and skillful means to genuinely awaken us to the depth of our own TRUE NATURE!
What does it cost to attend this meditation retreat?
Doug and Catherine teach by the ancient practice of dāna or generosity. Please follow this link to learn more about this profound practice before you register. You can bring your donation when you come to Maitreya House – cash and cheques are both accepted.
Course and centre costs
The full retreat cost (excluding dāna to the teachers) is £575, which covers course fees, food and accommodation.
Whichever payment option you choose, register now as places are limited!
Send us your £100 non-refundable deposit to secure your place today.
Please arrange a bank transfer to the account listed below email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can confirm receipt of your payment.
Sort code: 60 22 25
Iban bic or swift: NWBKGB2L
Bank Address: 73 The High Street, Walton on Thames, Surrey, KT12 1DW, UK
As I head down the winding lanes, surrounded by hedgerows, I feel like I am entering a different world. There is a calmness at Maitreya House which I feel as soon as I arrive. I feel supported and at ease.
–Zoe, Calm and Clear Retreat, UK, April 2016
Other Course Details:
Please arrive by 4pm on Friday 21st April to allow yourself time to settle in, meet the other retreatants and have an orientation session
The retreat will finish at lunchtime on Saturday 29th April
Please advise us if you have any food allergies
If you are travelling from overseas, please aim to arrive a few days before the retreat begins to get over jetlag. Do contact us if you need any additional advice on arranging accommodation and travelling to Maitreya House
A typical day on your Meditation Retreat*
9.00-10:30am: Dharma teachings by Doug and Catherine Sensei
11.00am: Walk / meditation
2.00-3:00pm: Group meditation
3:30-5:00pm: Dharma teachings by Doug and Catherine Sensei
5:30- 6:30pm: Karma Yoga
8:30-9.30pm: Group meditation
*This is a sample schedule. May be subject to change.
What else to know/bring to the meditation retreat
Maitreya House is a beautiful retreat centre located in a remote part of Herefordshire, near the English-Welsh border. It comprises a converted cottage and several wooden cabins on a four-acre site overlooking wonderful views to the Golden Valley and Hay Bluff, an unspoilt rural setting.
Access to shops during the retreat will be limited, so please do make sure you bring any toiletries and medicines that you may need during your stay.
In addition, please bring:
Sheets, pillow cases, duvet covers and a towel
Watch or clock
Waterproofs, wellies or walking boots for outdoor activities
Slippers or thick socks to wear inside (no shoes allowed)
Pen and paper
Torch and batteries
Phone and internet access at Maitreya House are limited, making for an optimal meditation retreat. Tie up all your business before you arrive so that you’ll get maximum benefit from this precious retreat.
This was my first real retreat. I did not know what being on silent retreat for a week would be like. It turned out that I found peace in the silence. Being in the presence of others with no requirement to engage. The shape of the days interspersed with Doug’s teachings fed my mind and gave focus, brought questions and deep personal space, but not alone.
– Brigid, Calm and Clear Retreat, UK, 2016
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