Dharma If You Dare Podcast
What does it take to live a life of meaning and compassion in our busy day-to-day lives? Tune in to get the knowledge and tools you need to help you tackle life’s biggest obstacles joyfully … if you dare!
About Dharma If You Dare
A Planet Dharma Podcast
Dharma Teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat with to share with you the journey to a life of clarity and bliss. Join them on this podcast of excerpts of their live teachings. They share ancient wisdom updated to speak to the current and evolving paradigm of spiritual awakening in our modern age.
Meet the Speakers
Dharma Teachers Qapel (Doug Duncan) and Sensei (Catherine Pawasarat) are spiritual mentors to students internationally and at their retreat center, Clear Sky, in BC, Canada. They are lineage holders in the Namgyal Lineage, both studying under the Venerable Namgyal Rinpoche and other teachers.
Having lived internationally for many years and traveled extensively, Qapel and Sensei draw on intercultural and trans-cultural experience to broaden the range and depth of their understandings of liberation that they share with others.
Dharma if you Dare podcast
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In this final regular episode of Season 4, we finish up our series on the 4 pillars of Planet Dharma’s approach to working with students with a look at Shadow Integration. In this excerpt from their online course, Beyond the Cushion, Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei explain what the shadow is, how it shows up, how it can be reintegrated, and the tremendous benefits this work offers those who undertake it.
We hope you enjoyed this Season! Please take a moment to rate and review Dharma if you Dare on your favourite podcast app. It really helps people discover what we’re doing. And don’t forget to subscribe to notifications when the new season starts, along with any bonus content that may be shared this summer.
We hope you enjoy today’s soundbite in which Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei answer a question about why they wear red hats when they teach.
Theoretical understanding and food for thought are helpful inputs as we go about our daily life, but for deep spiritual change and liberation from suffering we need to engage in depth work. In this tradition – as you hear in this recording – along with retreat work, this manifests as personal engagement with qualified spiritual guides. As engaging, practical and empowering as these podcast recordings are, working with Qapel and Sensei in person is where the transformation really happens. If you are looking to actually transform your life and awaken in this lifetime, check out planetdharma.com to find your best way to connect and move that dream closer to reality.
In this third episode in our series on the 4 pillars of Planet Dharma’s approach to working with students, we will hear about Karma Yoga, also known as ‘the path of service’, or ‘meditation in action’. In this excerpt from their online course, Beyond the Cushion, Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei explore the many facets of karma yoga, and explain why it is such a good fit for many modern practitioners.
The path of karma yoga is a powerful approach that readily lends itself to supporting a 21st-century awakening. If this path of meditation-in-action appeals to you, we think your best bet is the 3-Month Intensive Karma Yoga program at Clear Sky Center. The program brings spiritual awakening into the modern context – by integrating karma yoga, meditation, psychology, environment, career, and community. To learn more, visit planetdharma.com/kyprogram.
We hope you enjoy today’s soundbite in which Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei give a brief introduction to the Tarot. In addition to looking at the deck’s origin and how it can be used, they give a short introduction to the first card, the Fool.
This summer at Clear Sky Center (and virtually for those unable to travel) Qapel and Sensei will be leading a deep dive on the Tarot & Western Archetypes. This practice is part of a powerful and concise path of liberation that draws on our own life experiences as Westerners and our native intelligence to help unfold deeper wisdom and understanding of our mystical life. You can learn more about the Tarot retreat, and learn how to attend in person or virtually at planetdharma.com/tarot.
Welcome to this Dharma if you Dare bonus episode. We hope you enjoyed today’s sound bite in which Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei give a brief introduction to the Tarot. In addition to looking at the deck’s origin and how it can be used they give a short introduction to the first card: The Fool.
Q: This week we’re talking specifically about the tarot cards and their principles and elements. So there are 22 major arcana, that’s 22 high cards, if you think about a playing deck. And 56 minor arcana, which we don’t have time to go into -they would be like the lower cards in a playing deck 1-9. And the interesting thing about this is that the playing cards that you use to play poker or bridge come from the Western Mysteries and what they did is they took out the major arcana leaving the joker in the deck as a symbol or an icon for those that have eyes to go: “Where is this joker coming from?” So the other four cards that are missing out from the normal playing deck of cards are the four knights. So the jack is the page and the queen is the queen and the king is the king and the ace is the ace. And the joker in a normal deck is the Fool. Now, normally in a layout -there are very, there are a lot of different ways to do layouts in tarot, in terms of readings, taking readings, for things that you’re interested in or investigating, like questions.
Sensei: Like one, for example, is of all the chakras, that’s one of the past present and future that you mentioned. Or just picking one card for a theme to reflect on – those are a few.
Q: You can have a cross right, which is above and below, inner and outer, and then present environmental situations in the future. So there are many different ways to do that. We’re not going to talk about that too much but we would like to refer you to this one which is a nice overview which is the Fool above. And then the three rows of seven. Which are principles, paths or agencies, and results.
CPS: This is a good way to study the tarot because they’re presented in order. Okay, so at the top by itself is the Fool – the first card, zero, number zero. And, as Sensei said, there are three rows of seven.
Q: So these can be used in the same way that a shaman does a ritual or an initiation – calls forth for a kind of inner psychic experience, similar to the I-Ching and in some ways similar to astrology as well. And you can learn more about how astrology uses this kind of descriptive analysis of psychic phenomena by going to Catharine’s Astrodharma course on the internet.
CPS: Okay, the first row is principles, the second is paths and then the third row is life experiences or results. So they’re coordinated horizontally as well as vertically.
Q: For instance, the Magician through the Strength card through the Devil card, but again, we don’t have time to go into that kind of detail. So, we’ll move on. So Tarot: you can say ator, orat, tarot.
CPS: These are all anagrams with the word tarot.
Q: Yes, so you could say ator, orat, rota, Torah, tarot. Ator is a name for God, Orat is to speak, Rota is a wheel, like rotation, Torah is the law, and tarot is the study or the method. So you could say: God speaks the wheel of the law through the Tarot, or you could say The Wheel of Tarot speaks the Law of Nature – and you just reverse the words around. You’d get rota-wheel. Tarot. Orat, speaks. Torah, law. And Ator, God or nature. So this anagram of this word is how tarot became Tarot.
CPS: This can all be seen on the Wheel of the Fortune Card, which is # 10. So around the wheel are those letters. And as Sensei points out, depending on how you read it, they make up the different words.
Q: Okay, so the first card we’re going to start with is the fool.
CPS: This is our inner self about to engage on yet another adventure. It’s a little bit like ‘the fools go where wise men fear to tread’ saying. You can see he’s about to step off a cliff, but he’s quite joyful.
Q: He’s a being, which is not the same thing as a personality. So you have to come to terms with that one. It’s kind of a state of being rather than a person with a personality.
CPS: And he’s joyful, that’s really key.
Q: This is our divine breath and it reminds us to seek and explore ourselves. We breathe in order to explore our world and we breathe in order to explore ourselves. So he’s a happy guy. He’s in exploration mode. He’s always on the verge of a new discovery, and he stands in the middle of the circle of life. So if you put all the cards in a circle he’d be in the middle.
CPS: So if you have a deck of tarot cards and you don’t have them with you, you might want to grab them because we’ll be going through them.
Q: So, he’s not fooled. He’s the awakened mind.
CPS: He’s the Fool but he’s not fooled.
Q: He remains unmoved, he’s the unmoved mover. In this case, his intelligence is called the scintillating intelligence, which kind of sharpens you up and it’s attributed to Uranus astrologically.
CPS: Transformation through revolution.
Q: So he’s always on the verge of a revolution. Revolutions don’t necessarily have to be violent. It can be a very peaceful revolution of the spiritual. Revolution of your view. Revolution of your behavior and so on. So a little bit on the Fool.
We hope you enjoyed today’s sound bite this summer at clear sky center and virtually for those unable to travel, Qapel and Sensei will be leading a deep dive on the tarot and western archetypes. This practice is part of a powerful and concise path of liberation that draws on our own life experiences as Westerners and our native intelligence to help unfold deeper wisdom and understanding of our mystical life. You can learn more about the tarot retreat and learn how to attend in person or virtually @ planetdharma.com/Tarot. See you next time and may all our efforts benefit all beings.
In this excerpt from their online course, Beyond the Cushion, Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei talk about the value of meditation and the reason most of us find it so hard to maintain a solid practice. They also talk about their focus on ‘Meditating on the Fly’, the idea of integrating meditation into our daily lives outside of our formal daily practice, and the tremendous impact this can have.
There are many ways to experience this modern formulation of the teachings. These 4 pillars are infused into Planet Dharma’s diverse range of in-person and virtual programming to meet spiritual seekers where they are. From online courses and classes to full-length meditation retreats on topics ranging from Buddhadharma to the Western Mysteries, you’ll find an offering that works for your context to speed up your spiritual unfoldment. Visit planetdharma.com/events to see which experience will help you with your awakening this year.
We hope you enjoy today’s soundbite in which Catherine Pawasarat Sensei talks about how meditation works and why we need to value the experience of the practice and the insights we uncover. Sensei also talks about the importance of having guidance and a support community to make the practice more secure and effective.
Although Planet Dharma also incorporates study, service and integrating the shadow into its approach, Sensei and Qapel are quick to underscore the invaluable benefits of a meditation practice. And one of the most powerful experiences available on the spiritual path is the meditation retreat. Each year, Planet Dharma offers a number of group retreat options. These span a large number of topics and practices, but each is grounded in transformational meditative practices. You can learn more and find the retreat to take your practice deeper at planetdharma.com/retreat.
We will finish this 4th season of the podcast with a series of four episodes that explore Planet Dharma’s 4 pillars, the framework that Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei employ to help people progress on the spiritual path. The 4 Pillars are Study, Service, Meditation & Shadow Integration, and were introduced in Episode 12 of this season.
In today’s excerpt taken from their online course, Beyond the Cushion, Qapel and Sensei explore the power of studying the myriad aspects of our experience. They look at how applying this approach helps us understand our mind, emotions and our material world, including being able to more skillfully be in community together.
There are many ways to experience this modern formulation of the teachings. These 4 pillars are infused into a diverse range of in-person and virtual programming to meet spiritual seekers where they are. From online courses and classes to full-length meditation retreats on topics ranging from Buddhadharma to the Western Mysteries, you’ll find an offering that works for your context to speed up your spiritual unfoldment. Visit planetdharma.com/events to see which experience will help you with your awakening this year.
We hope you enjoy today’s soundbite in which Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei respond to an insight shared by a participant after he had a breakout room conversation with other people in the class.
Catherine Sensei will be leading a breathing retreat at the beautiful Clear Sky Center in May. This is an opportunity for practitioners of any level to deepen their connection to this powerful practice, guided by a world-class teacher, in person or virtually. Sensei will be fresh off her own 3-month personal cabin retreat, jumping back into teaching to lead this retreat on the practices from the Ānāpānasati Sutta, the Mindfulness of Breathing Discourse. You can learn more and register at planetdharma.com/breathing.
Welcome to the Planet Dharma bonus episode. We hope you enjoyed today’s sound bite in which Doug (Qapel) Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat. What Sensei responded to an insight shared by a participant after he had a conversation with other people in the class during a breakout session:
“As we were talking in the group of five, I recognize I fell into a preference for seeing the clear side of the prism rather than what the clear light becomes when it acts in the world. But theoretically, I don’t think that’s true, is it? I mean, it’s like there’s no preference at all, it’s what is. And I’m seeing that this preference is there.”
I don’t know if that’s a comment or it’s a question – if it’s a comment, we agree. If it’s a question we would say you’re clinging to happiness because you have some aversion or dissatisfaction with the world of objects. But from the point of view of the teaching of course forming…
Emptying is forming; forming is emptying in the forming. There’s emptiness and in the emptiness, there’s forming. There are just two sides to the same coin. So I think maybe what you want to do is you want to bring a little Milarepa in – as in “I am the great happiness” and sort of bring your joy, your joy and your love of form and desire, mind and object back in the game as a kind of play of the universe.
See it as Maya’s great illusion rather than an oppressive thing that you’ve got to handle. Yeah, and I know you’re familiar with this, but for people who are less so, this is part of the Bodhisattva’s vow to manifest in this world of illusion in this world of form and help bring the sense of spaciousness and light and emptiness to that, to help alleviate suffering for the benefit of all beings.
That’s very good. So if we happen to be your teachers and we don’t claim that and we don’t assume that you claim it either. But if we happened to be your teachers, we would probably encourage you to get involved. Help dharma, so Dharma Europe becomes more robust and vibrant and grows the dharma for the Namgyal lineage. Namgyal Rinpoche was indubitably a master teacher, and the more his message can get out through us, the better for humanity.
We hope you enjoyed today’s sound bite. Catherine Sensei will be leading a breathing retreat at the beautiful clear sky centre in May. This is an opportunity for practitioners of any level to deepen their connection to this powerful practice, guided by a world-class teacher in person or virtually Sensei will be fresh off her three-month personal cabin retreat, jumping back into teaching to lead this retreat on the practices from the Anapanasati sutta and the mindfulness of breathing discourse to the mindfulness of breathing discourse, You can learn more and register at planet dot com slash breathing.
Okay, see you next time, and may all our efforts benefit all beings.
In this interview, Qapel talks about the part the Western Mysteries played in his own path and how his teacher, Namgyal Rinpoche, employed these teachings. He also discusses the similarities and differences between the Western and Eastern esoteric teachings, and how practitioners can leverage the Western mystical tradition as a path unto itself or as a way to complement Eastern practices.
Today’s interview provides context for the upcoming Western Mysteries retreats: Tarot & Western Archetypes and The Hero’s Journey. You can learn more about these retreats, and learn how to attend in person or virtually at planetdharma.com/2022.
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