Dharma If You Dare
About Dharma If You Dare
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
In today’s episode, Catherine Pawasarat Sensei and Doug Qapel Duncan introduce the topic of the Western Mysteries, or better named, the Divine Mysteries. They outline an overview of the main parts of the spiritual journey: the call, the initiation and the return. They also explore the historical place these traditions have had and some of the ways their influence shows up today. Today’s recording is content from a previous course by Sensei & Qapel introducing this topic. This summer at Clear Sky Center (and virtually for those unable to travel) they will be leading a retreat on the Tarot & Western Archetypes, 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. Later, in the fall, Qapel & Sensei will be in Europe to lead an in-person interactive retreat on The Hero’s Journey, a powerful mythical journey experience, integrating Eastern & Western traditions. Accepting the challenge of the Hero’s journey will leave you with a healthier, strengthened ego – one more fully integrated with the ‘shadow’ and thus more energetic and less susceptible to stress. Learn more about these retreats by visiting planetdharma.com/2022.
In today’s episode, Catherine Pawasarat Sensei and Doug Qapel Duncan dive into intimate relationships, and explore the skills needed to make a partnership truly work. They look at how our cultural and family conditioning plays out in how we relate to our romantic and life partners. Qapel and Sensei also highlight some ways we can begin to shift our incomplete views about how relationships should be so we can use them to truly become more conscious. Today’s recording is part of a full audio course called Conscious Love. In the 4-part course, Sensei and Qapel cover a wide variety of topics related to intimate relationships. They explore the conditioning that impacts our relationships and how we experience our partners, including imprinting in the womb and our early experiences with family. And most importantly, they show us how we can use what our relationships show and teach us to wake up. Podcast listeners can download the entire course for free at planetdharma.com/podcastlove.
In today’s episode Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei explore the topic of The Clear Light of the Mind. They outline how our sense of reality is formed, including how early stimulation and imprinting creates the sense of solidity of our selves and our environment. They explore how we can use dreams as a way of understanding the ephemeral nature of our experience. And they look at how traditional buddhist practices help us to reconnect with the essential light nature of the universe. Looking to engage with cutting-edge 21st-century dharma in a way that’s right for you? Each year, Planet Dharma offers a variety of programs and retreats to catalyze awakening for spiritual seekers. Over the course of this year, in addition to the Tarot retreat, Planet Dharma will be offering a variety of in-person and online retreats of various lengths. These offerings will be complemented by online courses and Enlighten Up dharma talks. There is also a dharma trip to the Baltics being planned for the fall. To learn more about these events and to see the diversity of material being offered, visit planetdharma.com/2022.
In today’s episode Doug Qapel Duncan gives an overview of the major arcana from the Tarot. He goes over all 22 of the cards from the Fool to the World, giving pithy summary statements about each one and brief comments on how you can use or work with them. The mandate of Planet Dharma is to help people awaken in this lifetime. In this recording you get a sense of this, both via the urgency of making every aspect of our experience conscious, and the framing of these 22 archetypes as an integrated path of spiritual awakening rather than simply a divination tool. If you are interested in doing a deep dive into the Tarot, Planet Dharma is running a retreat called Tarot & Western Archetypes this summer. The retreat will take place at the beautiful Clear Sky Center in the British Columbia Rockies. There will also be the option to join virtually for those who are unable to travel. You can visit planetdharma.com/tarot for more information.
Today’s episode is our third in-a-row exploring the topic of leveraging archetypes for our spiritual unfoldment. In this talk, Doug Qapel Duncan discusses archetypes specific to the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition: tantric deities. He talks about the representations of body, speech and mind in the forms of Vajrapani, Chenrezi and Manjushri. He also introduces the 5 Buddha Families, and the 8 Bodhisattvas. Qapel explains how tantric deity practices transform our experience and help us move through negative patterns. The recording ends with a closer look at the Chenrezi practice, including an explanation of its symbology and mantra. If you are interested in doing a deep dive into tantric deity work or learning how to get the most out of your work with sadhanas, the texts that describe these practices, Planet Dharma is about to run a weekend-long retreat called Practices for Power. There is still room for virtual participants, so check out planetdharma.com/sadhana to learn more about the home retreat.
In today’s talk, Doug Qapel Duncan continues to dive deeper into the topic of archetypes, which he introduced in the talk we heard in Episode 11. He explores how archetypes operate at the personal & psychological level, and why we are drawn to them in contexts like storytelling. Qapel also explains the difference between what happens when these archetypes are operating consciously vs. unconsciously. Spiritual archetypes, which we will hear more about in an upcoming episode are a vehicle for accessing higher states of consciousness. Arising yoga, also known as tantric deity practice, is one such manifestation of how to use spiritual archetypes as an awakening tool. If you are interested in doing a deep dive into arising yoga or learning how to get the most out of your work with sadhanas, the texts that describe these practices, Planet Dharma is running a weekend-long retreat called Practices for Power for both in-person and virtual participants. Check out planetdharma.com/sadhana for more information.
In today’s talk, taken from their course Beyond the Cushion delivered in the early days of the pandemic, Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei explore the idea of the modern monastery. They explain what traditional aspects of the monastic model are being carried forward and what new approaches and structures are being introduced to make the model relevant and effective in these times and beyond. Qapel and Sensei discuss how they are working with students in community at Clear Sky Center as well as virtually to bring these approaches and structures into focus through the idea of a living lab. They touch on the topics of dharma training, karma yoga, study and other modalities to help support people’s spiritual awakening. There are many ways to experience this modern formulation of the teachings. Planet Dharma offers 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.
In today’s talk, Doug Qapel Duncan introduces the topic of archetypes. He gives an overview of what archetypes are, how they operate in our lives and explains how to harness their power by making them conscious. In the talk, Qapel touches on the topic of refuge and its connection to how we relate to archetypes. He also briefly talks about samadhi, states of absorption, which you can hear more about in last week’s bonus episode. This recording was made during the first course that had to switch to online only during the early days of the pandemic. Catherine Sensei was in a writing retreat at the time and so Qapel led this course on his own. Interestingly, Sensei was finishing her book about the Gion Festival. If you would like to learn more about this fascinating and beautiful 1150-year-old month-long purification ritual focused on warding off epidemics, check out Catherine Sensei’s book, The Gion Festival: Exploring Its Mysteries. Sensei is the world’s foremost English language expert on the festival, and has used this position to help reintegrate people’s understanding of the festival as a massive spiritual ritual. You can find it, and some videos on the topic at gionfestival.org/book.
In today’s talk, Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei go over 4 secrets that make up a core part of how we orient ourselves in the world. Drawing on material from their bestselling book, Wasteland to Pureland, Sensei and Qapel explain each secret, how they operate in our lives and what possibilities open up when we integrate them into our conscious awareness. Today’s episode covers ideas that Qapel and Sensei explore in detail in their bestselling book, Wasteland to Pureland. If you’d like to explore these ideas further, you can visit the Planet Dharma website to receive a free copy of the chapter entitled ‘Protecting Against Hurt Is What Hurts’. Podcast listeners can download this free chapter of the book by visiting planetdharma.com/purelandchapter.
In today’s talk, Catherine Pawasarat Sensei explores the topic of Women in Buddhism. She talks about her early years as a feminist, becoming an attendant for her male teacher, shifting views in the buddhist world around female rebirth & elevating female tantric deities, among other subjects. Wisdom Publications has just published an interview with Catherine Sensei and Qapel on their Wisdom Podcast. It’s a wide-ranging interview, the first half of which lays out a detailed account of the life of Namgyal Rinpoche. It’s a great synopsis of the legacy that this generation of the lineage is currently carrying forward. The second half of the interview explores the ways that Qapel and Sensei are honoring the Namgyal tradition of bringing the teachings to new frontiers. You can find the interview - Episode #128 of The Wisdom Podcast - on your favourite podcast app and at wisdomexperience.org/wisdom-podcast/128-duncan-pawasarat.
In today’s talk, Catherine Pawasarat Sensei and Doug ‘Qapel’ Duncan explore the topic of Buddhanature. They look at the various terms that are used to describe it and highlight the challenge of talking about Buddhanature in a way that doesn’t fall into a conceptual trap that actually separates us from it. Qapel and Sensei also discuss switched off and switched on potential, how Buddhanature gets obscured and how an effective spiritual practice helps remove these obscurations. Helping people experience spiritual awakening is the reason Planet Dharma exists. If you are also passionate about unfolding and awakening deeper and more quickly, we encourage you to enroll in one of our online courses. Each year Qapel and Sensei host multiple online courses live on various topics with the goal of empowering participants to dive deep into their awakening spiritual practice. Learn more about upcoming opportunities to join these online offerings at planetdharma.com/online.
Today’s recording is a talk that Doug ‘Qapel’ Duncan gave recently on the topic of death, dying and the bardos. In the talk, he explores how we really experience a death in every moment, and describes in detail the steps in the death process and how consciousness finds its way to its next rebirth. If you are looking to incorporate more activities into your life to support contemplation and introspection, we recommend our weekly reflection series called ‘52 Reflections’. Sign up for free and once a week you’ll receive a short passage and follow-up prompt that you can use to frame your day, your week or a meditation session. You can learn more and sign up for free by visiting planetdharma.com/52reflections.
In this interview, Catherine Pawasarat Sensei talks about the impact our views of connection with - or disconnection from - our natural environment have on the quality of our lives moment to moment. She highlights the centrality of natural laws in the very essence of the meaning of ‘dharma’. She also talks about her own journey of fully connecting with her ecosystem and reflects on what we can do as practitioners to help us do the same. If these teachings resonate with you, we recommend you check out Planet Dharma’s library of articles on the website. There are over 100 blog posts offering dharmic perspectives on all sorts of issues of interest to awakening beings. You can check them out at planetdharma.com/articles.
In this episode, Catherine Pawasarat Sensei and Doug ‘Qapel’ Duncan explore parts of our natal charts that are particularly connected to spiritual and personal transformation, including Chiron, Saturn, and North and South Nodes. They explain how these lenses can help us get unstuck, transform challenges into tools, and take things in our lives less personally. This includes how to use astrology to integrate our shadow and realize our fullest potential. Today’s recording is a continuation of a talk from Season 3 (Episode 11) entitled “Astrology + Buddhism: Introducing AstroDharma”. Interested in developing a working understanding of astrology as a system of personal and spiritual transformation? Looking to explore the material from today’s talk and look at how it applies to your own life? Catherine Sensei’s self-study course Intro to AstroDharma goes step-by-step through everything you need to know, and includes fun, meaningful and engaging exercises, including analyzing the Dalai Lama’s chart and guided activities to deepen your understanding of your own natal chart. Visit planetdharma.com/astrodharma to learn more about the course and to access some free resources. You may also like what's going on in our AstroDharma Facebook Group. You can see what's happening there by visiting www.facebook.com/groups/2858034031184361
In today’s talk, Doug 'Qapel' Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei explore the topic of 'Spiritual Energy Traders' in more detail. (Season 3 Episode 22 introduces this material.) They look at the unwholesome aspects of capitalism and how it reinforces negative patterns both in our individual lives and in our collectives: our communities, countries and corporations. They outline suggestions for how we can shift our attitudes and behaviors to transform our world into a place where we are motivated by exploration, compassion and a vision for humanity that is much bigger than ourselves. Today’s episode covers ideas that Qapel and Sensei explore in detail in their bestselling book, Wasteland to Pureland. The third section of the book is entitled Crazy Wisdom and covers a wide variety of topics, including The Shadow, Tantra, and Money, Sex & Power. Podcast listeners can download a free chapter from this section of the book by visiting planetdharma.com/crazywisdom. Note: the extended version of this recording, with 5 extra minutes of material, is available to our supporters on Patreon at patreon.com/planetdharma.