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Dharma If You Dare

Jan 2022

Beyond the Cushion: Bringing Monastic Life to the Modern World

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.     

Jan 2022

BONUS Setting Intentions: Where Will Your Refuge Be This Year?

In this soundbite taken from his Enlightened Archetypes talk, Doug Qapel Duncan outlines the three levels of refuge. For many of us, just getting to the point where we are taking refuge in the buddha, dharma and sangha can feel like our biggest challenge, but it is important to be aware that in a way this is just the first step in the taking-refuge process. 

Right now there are lots of things going on in the world that are challenging physically, emotionally and mentally. Reflecting on refuge reminds us that we will never fully resolve any of these challenges because, as phenomena rooted in samsara, they are inherently unresolvable. When we deepen our wholesome refuge we are actually able to address the challenges, without allowing our relative level of success to affect our clear, blissful and radiant state.

Taking a moment to rate and review Dharma if you Dare on your favourite podcast app is a great way to reinforce your aspiration to support wholesome, awakening activity and helps us connect with more people.

And check out the programming that we have on offer for this year: there’s a wide variety of opportunities for in-person and virtual learning and retreats. Check out planetdharma.com/2022.

Dec 2021

The Program That‘s Running: Introducing Archetypes

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.

Dec 2021

BONUS The 3 Types of Absorption in Samatha Practice

We hope you enjoy this soundbite from Doug ‘Qapel’ Duncan on the three forms of meditative absorption: kamma samadhi, upacara samadhi & appana samadhi. 


If you are looking to incorporate more activities into your life to support contemplation and introspection, I 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.

Nov 2021

Freedom from Unconscious Patterns: Uncovering 4 Contemporary Secrets

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.

Nov 2021

BONUS Supporting Loved Ones Through the Death Process

We hope you enjoy this soundbite from Doug ‘Qapel’ Duncan on how to support loved ones through the dying process.

For an extended look at death, dying and rebirth, check out Episode 7 from this season, about 5 recordings back in the podcast feed. You can also watch that talk as a video on your YouTube channel at youtu.be/rzgLkJ1Yxxk.

If you are finding the teachings of Planet Dharma resonate and are wondering how to explore them further, we recommend the free online course called Wake Up: 4 Paths to Spiritual Awakening. This self-study course gives an introduction to the main approaches that Doug and Catherine employ with students to help them find their speediest path to spiritual awakening. You can learn more and register for free by visiting planetdharma.com/wakeup.

Nov 2021

Women in Buddhism: Elevating Our Voices

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.

Nov 2021

BONUS Mindfulness and Stages of Development

We hope you enjoy this soundbite from Doug ‘Qapel’ Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei on the difference between states and stages - models from Integral Spirituality - and the roles meditation work and ego work play in developing the stages of development that we have access to.

Have you checked out our Patreon page yet? By becoming a micropatron you can help us upgrade our equipment, expand our production bandwidth and grow our listening audience. This also gives us a chance to connect with our most enthusiastic listeners with monthly updates and extended cuts of recordings. You can learn more and participate at patreon.com/planetdharma.

Oct 2021

Flipping the Switch: Realizing Our Buddhanature

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.

Oct 2021

BONUS Chakras and the Shadow Before Psychology

We hope you enjoy this soundbite from Doug ‘Qapel’ Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei on how Buddhism worked with the shadow before modern psychology existed to name this aspect of our psyche. 

And a note of clarification: In the talk, you’ll hear Qapel and Sensei reference Passionate Enlightenment, which is a book by Miranda Shaw on the history of women in Tantric Buddhism.

Today’s bonus recording covers ideas that Qapel and Sensei explore in detail in their bestselling book, Wasteland to Pureland: Reflections on the Path to Awakening. 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.

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