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Qapel (Doug Duncan) and Sensei (Catherine Pawasarat) are Dharma and meditation teachers who founded Clear Sky Meditation Centre, BC, Canada.
Qapel (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, Qapel embraces various traditions, contemporary psychology, and science, to mentor all beings to a more awakened state.
Catherine Pawasarat Sensei trained daily with Qapel 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 Sensei also draws on generative living and the arts. With Qapel she is co-founder of Clear Sky Retreat Center in the BC Rockies.
- Qapel (Achariya Doug Duncan)
- Received lay ordination from Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche in 1978, and is now a lineage holder in that teaching.
- Taught universal practices of spiritual unfoldment since 1985 to hundreds of students.
- Received teachings from the 16th Karmapa, the Ven. Sayadaw U Thila Wunta, and from a Master of the Western Mystery School.
- Catherine Pawasarat (Sensei)
- Since 1998, trained daily with Achariya Doug Duncan (Qapel) in an intensive spiritual apprenticeship.
- Received lay ordination from Namgyal Rinpoche in 2003
- Lived in Kyoto, Japan for 20 years. Worked as an advocacy photojournalist and studied traditional Japanese arts culminating in her landmark work at GionFestival.org.
- Early 1990’s, Catherine studied metaphysics, Western spiritual traditions, and the ayahuasca sacraments.
- Both Teachers
- Their teachings draw on Buddhism, Western Mysteries, contemporary psychology, science and intercultural and trans-cultural experience.
- Founded Clear Sky Center in 2004 in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
- Have collectively taught for over 50 years, in Antarctica, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America.
News and Story Ideas
- How can concerns about environment/politics/economy be positively used as a meditative practice?
- Don’t have time to meditate or go on retreat? How can you turn your career into your meditation practice?
- What is the unique experience and role of women in Buddhism?
- Where do ancient Buddhist beliefs and practices fit in our rapidly changing modern world?
- What is the relationship between money, sex, power and your spiritual practice?
- How can your relationships/career/daily life become your meditative practice?
- You mention that someone’s career, sex, relationships and daily life can become their spiritual practice. What do you mean by that?
- How do we transform mundane tasks and everyday stresses into a meditative practice?
- You say that Wasteland to Pureland is applicable to our changing modern world and yet you also draw on ancient Buddhist philosophy. How do you integrate the two?
- The topic of money comes up throughout the book. You say that the way we make money can make us happy and you also have a chapter on money, sex and power. What is the relationship between money and spiritual practice?
- You have a chapter in your new book called ‘protecting against the hurt, is the hurt’. What do you mean by this? Could you explain?
- Mindfulness and spirituality have become such popular topics, what makes Wasteland to Pureland different from other books in this genre?
- Your first book Dharma if you Dare came out in 2013. How have your teachings evolved since then?
- What is the most important thing that you want people to take away from Wasteland to Pureland?
- You have a chapter in your new book called ‘protecting against the hurt, what hurts’. What do you mean by this?
- What is the relationship between money, sex and power?
- You say that money, sex and power can be exciting explorations. How do you suggest people explore this?
Contact: Ava MacLean
Organization: Planet Dharma
Phone: (250) 880-0246
Email: [email protected]
AMAZON #1 HOT NEW RELEASE BEFORE IT EVEN LAUNCHED
We were surprised too
Fort Steele, B.C., November 10th, 2018 – How do you maintain a spiritual practice when you’re too busy to even read this? Launched September 21st, 2018 on Amazon, Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat’s self-published book, Wasteland to Pureland: Reflections on the Path to Awakening, reached #1 in Canada and Japan and #3 in the UK and USA. Their bestselling book brings transformative spiritual practice out of the monastery and into the boardroom, bedroom and bus stop.
“Money, sex, and power (a.k.a. control) are central to our all lives; these spheres can be a battlefield, but they can also be exciting explorations. How we experience them is up to each of us and our own choices”
~ Duncan and Pawasarat, Wasteland to Pureland.
Acariya Doug Duncan received lay ordination from Namgyal Rinpoche in 1978, and is a lineage holder in that teaching. 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. Together Duncan and Pawasarat embrace various traditions, contemporary psychology, science, and humour in their teachings.
Wasteland to Pureland dives into the heart of the uncertainty and busyness of our world, and provides clear steps to greater fulfillment and spiritual growth. Drawing on over 50-years of teaching experience, the book shows how career, creativity, relationship and daily life can become your spiritual practice, how ego and trauma are holding you back – and how to transcend it, and maps of the self that draw from Buddhist philosophy, western psychology and wisdom traditions such as karma yoga, astrology and tantra
Planet Dharma is an international virtual monastery. Based at Clear Sky Meditation and Study Foundation in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, we are the crossfit of Dharma, and our mandate is to attract fearless warriors of transcendence who are dedicated to awakening in this lifetime.
About Wasteland to Pureland
by Canadian best-selling authors Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat
We all have that experience of waking up one day and feeling like our life is really not what we have always wanted it to be. We might wonder, ‘How did I get here?’ That’s an important question, and part of being human. It can also be a real time of despair.
Wasteland to Pureland is about how we get from that moment of despair to a more beautiful place: the Pure Land. According to Buddhist philosophy, the Pureland is a place of clarity, compassion, and wisdom. Our book addresses how we can find this place in our daily lives, through typical experiences like relationship, career, joy, and loss. It also introduces practices that we can use––such as meditations, reframing, tantras, therapies and other approaches from diverse wisdom traditions––that open doors to help us get unstuck and into a better space.
Further details: Wasteland to Pureland
- Wasteland to Pureland is a contemporary guide to awakening in the 21st Century
- Written by Achariya Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat, who have collectively taught internationally for over 50 years.
- Wasteland to Pureland is not a light summer read. It will challenge your beliefs, push your awakening edge and ultimately bring more joy, clarity and humour into your life.
- Wasteland to Pureland gives practical advice on:
- Turning career, creativity, sex, relationship and daily life into a spiritual practice.
- How to discover our personal gifts and use them to create positive change in our world.
- How to recognize self-limiting views.
- How the ego, trauma, and unseen wounds are holding you back – and how to transcend it.
- Maps of the self that draw from Buddhist philosophy, western psychology and wisdom traditions such as karma yoga, astrology and tantra.
- Learning to embrace ‘what is’ and transforming ourselves, our relationships, and our world from the inside out.
- Wasteland to Pureland gives practical advice on:
A must-read for anyone interested in exploring the true nature of reality…
“If happiness is a result, it begs the question: result of what? If objects don’t make us reliably happy, what does?”
Where do we find happiness and security amidst environmental degradation, unsustainable resource consumption, and a growing gap between the rich and the poor? How do we work with suffering in ourselves and those around us?
Master teachers Acariya Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat draw on decades of experience in this guide to awakening in the 21st Century. Rather than retreating from suffering, Wasteland to Pureland dives into the heart of the uncertainty and busyness of our modern world, and provides clear steps to greater fulfillment and spiritual growth.
In this book, you will discover:
- How career, creativity, sex, relationship and daily life can become your spiritual practice.
- That the ego and trauma are holding you back – and how to transcend it.
- Ways to push your awakening edge.
- By learning to embrace ‘what is’ we can transform ourselves, our relationships, and our world from the inside out.
Excerpts from Wasteland to Pureland: Reflections on the Path to Awakening
The spiritual path is, among other things, about using bliss and insight to decrease suffering and ignorance. That’s why a healthy spiritual path feels so rich, wonder-filled and generally happy. The Great Happiness arises when bliss and insight come together to manifest through everything we do and are. …
Training helps us see how much of our ego gratification is hidden in unconscious habits of manipulation and control. We also begin to perceive how it’s these very habits that are interfering with our desire and ability to experience spiritual transcendence. …
When we transcend the ego’s limits we find ourselves reunited with totality or oneness of awakening. That experience is spacious, clear, radiant, and incredibly blissful. From there we put our egos back on and go work out the solutions to the problems egos tend to cause. …
While neuroscience is making astounding beneficial discoveries about the nature of the brain and how it functions, the experiential study of the mind is a distinct pursuit of its own, and of consummate benefit. All kinds of mental/physical states can arise that are difficult to conjure up without meditation. The inner world is as rich and as diverse as our outer world. …
If happiness is a result, it begs the question: result of what? If objects don’t make us reliably happy, what does? The ego may be temporarily satisfied, but never satiated. Moreover, happiness is a result of living a good life that we love and feel fulfilled by, not an object to get to help us feel fulfilled. …
A spiritually awakening being is one who abides in the clear sky realization, even as they live, relate and work in the world with clouds. …
When the Buddha said that “all formations are struggling,” it was a call to freedom. The purpose of the Hero’s Journey is to resolve this dilemma. Most of us try to drown out this fact of struggling by ignoring it or distracting ourselves from it with bread and circuses. Some of us can’t or won’t do this: this is when the call to awakening is heard. In fact, for those of us who can’t escape the suffering of our lives by burying it under possessions, relationships, families, career, entertainment or drugs, the spiritual life is not just the best option, it’s the only option. …
Spiritual awakening involves abiding in a unitive state that allows us to act with loving-kindness and compassion. … Even though the universe can appear chaotic, it is in fact highly ordered, and spiritual awakening is no different. The work of the human being is to perceive and understand patterns, and that is what the discipline of the spiritual quest is about. …
Perhaps the greatest anxiety the modern being faces is loneliness. The self always is alone by definition. Awakening conquers loneliness by stepping over the self into a state of totality, and from here one returns to the world and acts. …
Hopes, fears and everything in between arise in meditation and as one watches them come and go and repeat, and repeat again, one sees their coming and going as impermanence. In a sense, they have nothing to do with you. They are seen as movie scripts with movie characters and one starts to relate to them less personally. This letting go opens the door to radiant spaciousness, the good emptiness, whereas before emptiness was seen as the bad kind, meaninglessness. Only in retreat can we learn to cultivate the calm and quiet necessary to hear the depths of our mind as it connects to the Universal Mind. …
It seems fairly clear that most of us busy, modern people aren’t really geared towards being still and contemplating. This is particularly true in the West, where we don’t have a millennium or more of history with sitting meditation. But we have good news for people who feel challenged around having a regular meditation practice: there are alternatives! We propose that the path of spiritual awakening for modern beings may well be through action. …
Spiritual awakening is the only sustainable mindstate. In other words, coming from a place of ego or self-centeredness is tiring and actually unpleasant—and ultimately, unprofitable—both for ourselves and others. Unawakening or unwholesome mindstates could be considered pollution of the mind’s natural, radiant, awakening state. Since unwholesome mindstates manifest through our actions, the latter become defiled as well. Conversely, an awakening mindstate naturally leads to sustainable actions in the world, taking into account the karma of our decisions regarding the environment, people, and finances … and anything else. With this in mind, we naturally make the best choices we are aware of, to support the best possible results for everyone and everything that’s involved. …
What is awakening? Simply put, awake is the opposite of asleep. Our habitual pursuit of comfort puts us to sleep. It does take effort to wake up. But once we are spiritually awake, life becomes so much better and so much easier. It is the most sustainable, ethical, efficient, fruitful and joyous state available to human beings. It takes far less effort than all the other pursuits of the self-referencing ego identity, because we are no longer attached to the struggle and concomitant pain of chasing them.
Praise for Wasteland to Pureland: Reflections on the Path to Awakening
Wasteland to Pureland is a crystal clear guide to the many pitfalls, nuances, and puzzlements that can arise on the path to enlightenment. Authors Duncan and Pawasarat write from experience, offering the reader calm authenticity and heartfelt encouragement. Highly recommended for both fledgling and experienced travelers.
~Dean Radin, Ph.D. Chief Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences
Catherine and Doug skillfully apply insights from their years of spiritual practice to the critical issues of modern life. Their book challenges us to explore what is truly needed to live a fulfilling life and to make a contribution that is larger than ourselves.
~ Susan Skjei, Ph.D., Director, Authentic Leadership Center, Naropa University
Wasteland to Pureland provides a priceless map to guide you to your Best Life through a practical, accessible and deeply enjoyable program of spiritual growth. Longtime Buddhist teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat have described a path that anyone can follow through the process of engaging spirituality with your life, your family and your work. Their path leads from your office to the stars and back, providing a limitless environment in which to fully engage with your life and your world. I can imagine returning to this book again and again.”
~ Bryan Welch, writer, consultant, entrepreneur, longtime publisher of Mother Earth News, Utne Reader and many other magazines about mindfulness and sustainability.
This wonderful book is a timely and welcome beacon of light and hope in a world increasingly consumed by chaos and darkness. Profound, yet filled with practical and grounded wisdom, Wasteland to Pureland is not merely a book, it is itself a journey that if followed, offers a clear path to liberation and awakening. This is a must-read guidebook for all spiritual seekers.
~Deborah Price, Founder/CEO of the Money Coaching Institute and author of ‘Money Magic: Unleashing your Potential for Wealth and Prosperity’ and ‘The Heart of Money: A Couple’s Guide to Creating Financial Intimacy’.
Continuing on the path of the great wisdom traditions, Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat provide us with an invaluable contribution—relevant teachings placed within the contemporary crisis of our time. In these writings, we are given a map to negotiate the spiritual and the material, the inner and outer landscapes of our collective soul co-evolving here on this planet. As we arrive in this illuminated state called ”the Great Healing,” we discover that we can invoke awe, wisdom, and wonder to solve even the deepest challenges of our wounded world.
~ Lauralee Alben, Founder and CEO, Sea Change Design Institute
Doug and Catherine have always touched me with the depth of their presence, wisdom, humility, and humor. All of them comes through as a clear transmission of deeper states in this book, and their descriptions of how to recognize, journey toward and enter into those deeper states are invaluable. This is not a book only for the mind, or for the body, or for the spirit, but all of them at once. In the world of spiritual literature, esoteric teachings can become dry and removed. Nope––this book is juicy!
~Mark Silver, M.Div., Master Teacher in the Shaddhulliyya Sufi Tariqa and founder of Heart of Business
If we include the health of the planet and communities in our notions of self and value, as this book resoundingly does, a culture of generosity emerges naturally. This fresh and visionary book offers maps for true economic freedom––where wealth is generative, interdependent and sustainable.
~ Joel Solomon, Chair and Co-Founder, Renewal Funds, Author of ‘The Clean Money Revolution’
Wasteland to Pureland is a journey. The authors have walked the path of spiritual awareness and share insights gathered along the way. This book is an in-depth exploration of the journey. Well written, it guides the reader in the exploration of enduring spiritual truths and the quest towards wholeness.
~ Bob Stilger, Ph.D., Co-President, NewStories and author of ‘AfterNow: When We Cannot See the Future, Where Do We Begin’?’
Reviews from verified purchasers on Amazon:
- This is the book I’ve been waiting for!!! It’s so easy to read, no matter how much you’ve studied Buddhism before. I found myself reading a page at a time and letting the messages set in. There’s so much here to absorb. Unlike so many books that are either doomsday or impractically optimistic, this book shows me a path in the middle to a different way of being and thinking, and reassures me that I’m not alone in my quest for real peace. It’s clearly written for persons like me who have busy lives, relationships, and careers, and inspires me to use these aspects on my own spiritual path to awakening. I’m so grateful to have found these teachings.
- I found this book is packed with gems and thought-provoking explorations that have been worth reading again and again. The authors bring a wealth of insights from their own personal paths and from their deeply authentic work with students. Their approaches to weaving spirituality into career and relationships are both profound and practical. Most importantly and refreshingly, they are not afraid to address very real but often taboo topics around the shadow, a healthy relationship with money, as well as blocks around sex and power. We all face these issues by it’s rare to find spiritual teachers ready to address them head on and in such a grounded and authentic way. Congratulations to the authors for having the integrity and courage to share these teachings. This is a precious book I would highly recommend to any spiritual explorer.
- As soon as you open the book it is clear that Doug and Catherine ‘walk the walk’. Wasteland to Pureland is a lofty endeavour that will leave you feeling inspired, challenged and equipped for taking your spiritual practice to new heights. Doug and Catherine bring their signature humor and in-depth analysis into, what could be, a manual for enriching all facets of your daily life. Highly recommended for anyone ready to voyage to the pureland.
- This book packs a lot of insights and useful tips on how to navigate the modern societies and stay tuned to the spiritual path to awakening. It is one of the rare books that are so practical but yet full of wisdom from the traditions.
- I love the thoughtfulness, care and inspiration that come through in this book while at the same time it stays so relevant to life in our ‘modern’ world.
Thanks so much for sharing about Wasteland to Pureland with your communities. Here are some suggestions for how to talk about the book on social media and in your newsletters.
Social Media Suggestions:
- We have some major challenges ahead of us, personally and globally: how do we find a sense of peace amidst environmental degradation, unsustainable resource consumption, and a growing gap between rich and poor? How do we work with suffering in ourselves and those around us? My good friends and master teachers, Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat, explore this question in their book Wasteland to Pureland. Watch the book trailer here: https://youtu.be/l4WbuxzJfS4
- Few people want to join a convent or monastery, or to become a monk or nun. But if you still have a spiritual aspiration, how can your daily life become part of your practice? Dharma Teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat assert that ‘What we work with carries us to God’. How? Find out in their book, ‘Wasteland to Pureland’. Here’s a recent interview: https://youtu.be/tvWkGtiCLvA
- Rather than retreat from uncertainty and busyness of our modern world, how do we find greater fulfillment and global connection? Today, in honor of the International Day of Peace, my good friends and master teachers, Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat, explore this question in their new book Wasteland to Pureland. The book is available on special, along with inspiring bonus gifts. Get a copy here: https://bit.ly/Pureland/
- Interested in transforming your life? Wasteland to Pureland is the new book by Buddhist teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat, founders of Clear Sky Meditation Center in British Columbia. If you head on over to buy their book today, you’ll receive bonus gifts to celebrate. Highly recommended – https://bit.ly/Pureland/
- Wasteland to Pureland is about how we get from moments of despair to a more beautiful place: the Pure Land. “Whether we call it spiritual awakening, the Hero’s Journey, or something else, the fundamental message is: “Wake up! The universe is love. Go forth and explore and share. You are free.” Get the book alongside some inspiring free bonuses : https://bit.ly/Pureland/
- Few people want to join a convent or monastery or get ordained. And if we still have a spiritual aspiration, how can our busy daily lives be our practice? The new book Wasteland to Pureland draws on Doug and Catherine’s decades of experience with contemporary practitioners to explore what they’ve found to be the challenges, and how to transform them into qualities and skills that enrich our lives even more.
General Links for Sharing:
Link to the book page: https://bit.ly/Pureland/
Share our Book Trailer: Pureland Video Trailer
About Dharma if you Dare: Living Life with Abandon
by Doug Duncan
Are you looking for something more? Happiness? Meaning? Challenge? Transformation? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then keep reading. Doug Duncan Sensei’s pithy book, Dharma if you Dare, offers an empowering starting point for addressing these common desires. This humorous and accessible book allows you to explore how you contribute to your own feelings of longing and dissatisfaction while providing practical tools – based in the Tibetan Karma Kagyu lineage and other wisdom traditions – which help you to free your mind.
Dharma if you Dare offers concrete examples and illuminating metaphors compassionately intended to help you speedily reconnect with your real purpose for being here — awakening in this lifetime. Here’s a sneak peak into some of the book’s insightful and liberating lessons: Do you feel as though you’re running in circles? “There was a point in your life when you needed to run. But you’ve done that already. You can’t keep running. Its time to stop, turn around, and meet whatever you’re afraid of.” Are you struggling to find your calling? “When you don’t know what your calling is, it’s because your highest motivation is to get pleasure or avoid struggle.” Why meditate? “The purpose of meditation is to get a little key into a little lock to open the door to freedom.” What is meditation? “In the beginning, meditation is mostly finding out what it’s not. It isn’t your internal dialogues; it isn’t the feelings that arise. Meditation is the process of watching those things become apparent until eventually your whole makeup is revealed.”
Further details: Dharma if you Dare
**Now includes additional resources to deepen and enrich your reading experience. Only available in editions printed in 2020 and beyond**
Dharma if you Dare is a witty and compelling wakeup call for the modern world. It pulls you out of negative patterns to uncover the beauty and bliss that reside in and around us at all times.
- In an increasingly divided, financially imbalanced and environmentally taxed world, it can be easy to feel hopeless, afraid or numb.
- Dharma if you Dare points towards a life that transcends uncertain times and benefits all beings.
- Based on an eclectic range of wisdom traditions, this book offers practical teachings, tools and meditations to help you reconnect with your real purpose: spiritual awakening in this lifetime.
Some of the book’s insightful and liberating lessons:
- Why meditate: “Meditation allows you to see that whenever you are interrupted or challenged, you react like a two-year-old-pouting or throwing a tantrum. You may not show that behavior to anyone except your intimate partner or family, but this is what’s going on inside you. Seeing through your conditioning will allow you to choose your response rather than operate from a knee-jerk reaction to parental authority.”
- Authenticity: “The emotions and the body need space to dialogue. If you want to be authentic, you have to contact the whole gamut of emotions, from apathy and anger to excitement and joy.”
- Facing your Fears: “There was a point in your life when you needed to run. But you’ve done that already. You can’t keep running. It’s time to stop, turn around, and meet whatever you’re afraid of.”
Interview with Farah from Drishti Point Radio
Dharma if you Dare Podcast
Click here to listen to Planet Dharma’s podcast examining the current and evolving paradigm of spiritual awakening in our modern age.
Praise for Dharma if you Dare: Living Life with Abandon
This gem of a book is full of accessible, lively and challenging teachings for how to apply Dharma into our lives. For anyone up for the adventure, this book is an informative and thought-provoking call to action.
~Duncan Cryle, Ph.D
This book is like a fresh spring breeze. It’s inspiring, powerful and gives real life perspectives of how to live one’s spiritual path.
~ Cara Conroy Low, R.Ac
Doug Duncan shows us how living your calling can be easier than we think–and if you follow his witty and practical insights, you’ll find that these techniques really work.
~ Michelle Heinz, Retreat Guru
Reviews from verified purchasers on Amazon:
- It’s incredible how many gems are packed into this small, concise book. Each chapter is separated as a learning to explore, and each one feels personally written for me. I love how accessible and easy the book is to read and apply. After reading the book, I returned and bought 20 more to give away to friends. The messages in the book are universal and so applicable to everyone’s daily life.
- I first read Dharma if you Dare five years ago and it started me on a life changing journey. Doug Duncan’s funny and down-to-earth insights inspired me to focus on what truly mattered in life and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the person I am today were it not for his teachings on awakening.
- This is a very enjoyable and refreshing book to read. It presents the path to awakening and traditional Buddhist teachings in a way which I find very easy to relate to my daily life. The content is thought-provoking and encourages me to question and challenge the patterns I so easily slip into. A great book to read from cover-to-cover, or to dip into for daily inspiration and reflection.
About The Gion Festival: Exploring Its Mysteries
by Catherine Pawasarat
A must-have resource for anyone wishing to unlock the mysteries of Kyoto’s 1150-year-old Gion Festival.
This book empowers you to make the most of your visit to this extraordinarily rich and vast World Heritage Event, known in Japanese as “Gion Matsuri”. Whether used as a guidebook or as a window into the wisdom and beauty of traditional Japanese culture, The Gion Festival: Exploring Its Mysteries is an enriching read that allows for a deep dive into the multi-faceted aspects of Japan’s most famous annual festival.
Author Catherine Pawasarat explores and explains the gigantic festival’s many elements in vibrant and engaging detail, including its origins in the ninth century and an overview of its history and cultural context. Throughout the book you’ll find fascinating details about the Gion Festival’s transformation as it creates new ways to adapt to the modern era. You’ll come to share the author’s affection for the festival and her appreciation of the cultural event as a priceless part of our human heritage.
Further details: The Gion Festival: Exploring Its Mysteries
In The Gion Festival, you will discover
- The history of the Gion Festival
- Its spiritual and cultural origins
- Descriptions and background for each of the 34 Gion Festival floats
- A guide to potential activities
- Practical information and tips to get the most out of your participation in the festival
- Creative ways the festival is meeting the challenges of our rapidly-changing modern world
- Lessons for cultural sustainability and how to preserve our collective human heritage
- A guide to potential activities, supported by detailed maps and schedules
Excerpt from The Gion Festival: Exploring Its Mysteries
“A month of rituals, five processions, countless deities, shrines and portable shrines, thirty-four floats, antique treasures and fine arts, otherworldly music, an array of spiritual traditions, family heirlooms on display, kimono, people watching, thousands of dedicated volunteers, more than 1150 years of history-the Gion Festival is truly a world-class celebration.
It also takes place in the subtropics in midsummer: it’s hot as blazes, very humid, and prone to pouring rain, even typhoons. Add a very foreign language and a million visitors in an area less than a mile square.
Why I Wrote a Book about the Gion Festival
Books on Asia Podcast Ep. 13: Kyoto’s “Gion Festival: Exploring its Mysteries” with Catherine Pawasarat
More videos and information: Gion Matsuri Festival
Praise for The Gion Festival: Exploring Its Mysteries
“The definitive guide to the Gion Festival.”
The Gion Festival is the most important annual traditional event in Japan – and one of the richest cultural celebrations anywhere in the world. Yet until now there has never been a book devoted to it in English. Catherine Pawasarat’s book, a labor of love involving decades of experience and research, will remain for many years to come the definitive guide to the Gion Festival.
~Alex Kerr, Author of Another Kyoto
“In ground-breaking territory”
At long last, the spiritual, communal, and artistic facets of the magnificent Gion Matsuri are plainly explained in this comprehensive guidebook. The author’s personal knowledge and deep commitment to the sustainability of the festival places this guidebook in ground-breaking territory.
~John Einarsen, Founding Editor, Kyoto Journal
“A whole new perspective of the Gion Matsuri that I had never known before.”
I grew up immersed in the traditional world of Kyoto culture. But Catherine’s book showed me a whole new perspective of the Gion Matsuri that I had never known before.
~Yuka Tsuen, President of Tsuen Tea International, 24th generation tea vendor
“Offers insights into both the beauty and significance of this complex festival.”
Catherine Pawasarat’s book offers insights into both the beauty and significance of this complex festival, and in doing so, unlocks some of the mysteries at the cultural heart of this 1200-year-old city.
~Diane Durston, author of Old Kyoto, Kyoto: Seven Paths to the Heart of the City, and Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life.
“A must-have for anyone traveling to Kyoto for the summer festivities.”
With background stories on the historical and religious roots of the festival, and detailed information on each individual yamaboko float, as well as links to interactive maps, Pawasarat’s guide to the Gion Festival is a must-have for anyone traveling to Kyoto for the summer festivities.
~Marc Peter Keane, Garden designer, author of Japanese Garden Notes.
“Never previously available in English, it is an invaluable aid to personal exploration.”
This publication is the closest approximation to the as-yet non-existent museum catalog. Providing comprehensive descriptions never previously available in English, it is an invaluable aid to personal exploration. Its maps are detailed, as is the events schedule, and links are provided to a companion website, including YouTube videos.
~Ken Rodgers, Managing Editor, Kyoto Journal