The Launch Pod
Talks by Doug Duncan Sensei, introductory level
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  • Why Guru Yoga?
    published on 22 Dec 2013

    To combat pride, which is very subtle!

    listen / download now [ duration: 00:00:51 size: 0.50 MB ]

  • On Traditional Wisdom
    published on 11 Dec 2013

    Doug Sensei teaches on traditional wisdom in Australia in December 2013.

    listen / download now [ duration: 00:02:07 size: 1.07 MB ]

  • Pattern Recognition
    published on 29 Nov 2013

    From an interview conducted in October 2013 with Doug Duncan Sensei…


    Well again, it’s mapping, it’s patterning. I won’t go into those particularly, but pattern recognition. It’s what the human consciousness is particularly good at. “Oh, winter’s coming. Oh, nuts are under the snow. Hmmm…. let’s build a shed, put the nuts in the shed. I can get to the shed. I can’t get under the snow.” It’s a kind of pattern recognition.

    So, cabbalistic teachings, Christian teachings, Islamic teachings, Buddhist teachings… it’s all about pattern. It’s all recognizing pattern, seeing how things work, how things tie together — psychology, science, mysticism. It’s all patterns. “Occult” means “hidden” — that which is hidden — so if you’re an occultist, you’re studying that which is hidden. Science is “anti-occultism.” You’re studying that which is apparent. Although, I suppose if you’re a quantum physicist the distinction starts to (laughs)… starts to fall away.

    So, everything is teaching. Everything is a potential teaching — human relationships, psychology, marriage — again, pattern. What kind of patterns evolve in relationship? Guru/student, teacher-guide/adept relationships. What’s the patterning? How does that patterning work? Who gets the high seat? Who gets the low seat? What pattern is involved in that?

    So, when one is hurt, one tends to see other people’s patterns as being abusive. When one is in a state of loving-kindness, one tends to see other people’s patterns as being abusive, but not so much to oneself as to others…well, to oneself and the person who is suffering.

    So the idea is that as you become more and more conscious of patterns, you become more and more conscious of the interconnecting factors in those patterns. You see that more and more everything is a teaching — science, art, music, relationship. The spiritual teachings are teachings that are focused particularly on trying to draw your attention to the awakened/awakening consciousness. And from many perspectives, the real purpose of awakening is it puts you in a position where it’s just much easier to learn without a lot of baggage.

    So, if you were going to take a shower, would you go in with your clothes on? Or would you go in naked? The idea is you go in naked, because it’s much easier to get clean that way and much easier to have that experience. So, too, the transcendent nature is getting naked to life so that you can be washed or have the experience more fully. Having clothes on in the shower, you might get cleaner than you were when you went in, but there’s a lot of unnecessary dukkha/struggle in that. The nature of spiritual teachings is to bring you closer to fundamental patterns of how consciousness works and how the self, the ego, gets structured and therefore caught up, and so on.

    So, whether it’s caballistic teachings or Buddhist teachings, or whatever, the idea — the core understanding — remains the same. “What is this thing called ‘transcendent consciousness’?” “How do I recognize it and how do I live it?” And from there you go to other teachings, like science, art, music, and so on… business.

    listen / download now [ duration: 00:04:14 size: 2.04 MB ]

  • All Suffering Is Self-Created
    published on 29 Oct 2013


    Student: The ego is hurt…somebody steps on you.

    Doug Sensei: “The definition of ‘you’ is ‘hurt’. Be very clear about this. ‘You’ is ’separation’. Separation is, by definition, hurt. You don’t want to know the cruel taskmaster who owns you — the ‘you’ — is an illusion…because ‘you’ aren’t there. And if you knew, the ‘you’ would disappear. It would evaporate like a fog. You don’t want to know that ‘you’ are an illusion — an image in a mirror, a reflection in a pond. You want ‘you’ to be there, and so you purposely get distracted. It’s a choice to be distracted. And in that distraction you appear.

    (That’s the problem with all these you’s.) If you are not distracted, you dissolve. And then there’s bliss; clarity; non-clinging awareness. But your program — the whole story of you, the whole story of ‘me’ — is to be distracted. The minute I’m not distracted, I’m not there anymore.

    There’s sensation; there’s perception; there’s cognition; but none of those things make a ‘me’ until I attach to this one and push off of that one.

    So why does suffering continue? This is a hard one. Are you ready? Because you want it to…. Ouch.

    All suffering is self-created.”

    listen / download now [ duration: 00:02:15 size: 1.14 MB ]

  • Basic Trust in the Universe
    published on 18 Oct 2013

    Doug Sensei teaches on the enneagram, drawing from this source:

    Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas by A.H. Almaas, 1998; Chapter 4, Basic Trust
    Search inside:

    Extended paraphrase:

    The ego is a psychic structure that is based on crystallized beliefs about who we are and what the world is. We experience ourselves and the world through the filter of this structure. Spiritual awakening involves connecting with those dimensions of experience obscured by ego structure.

    The first step is becoming aware — actually perceiving the particular beliefs and images that we have identified with and taken to be true — then dissolving that facet of the ego structure. This means letting go of part of one’s identity, which can be painful or frightening because the old sense of your identity crumbles and you don’t know what will take its place. Letting go of what has felt real feels like jumping into an abyss.

    The jumping can be easy or difficult depending on the presence of “basic trust” — the sense that whatever happens will ultimately be fine. The ego’s perspective arises out of a lack of this trust. It is based on distrust, paranoia, and fear that the universe will not take care of you in the ways that you need. Basic trust is a confidence that the universe and human nature is fundamentally good and loving, that life is fundamentally benevolent. It will help you take that plunge.

    You don’t need assurances that things are going to be okay because you implicitly know things are going to be okay. Basic trust gives you the capacity and willingness to let go of the identifications, beliefs and concepts — remnants of the past — that make up the ego.

    If you don’t have basic trust, you will react to what arises in accordance with your conditioning and will want things to go one way or another, rather than to just be, without reacting, which is allowing the ego to die. The more that basic trust is present, the more smoothly the process of realization and transformation can proceed.

    If we lack basic trust, it is important to develop it. With basic trust, our lives have a sense of freedom. The desire to know where things are going arises out of simple curiosity rather than a desire to control the unfoldment. Tension and stress from constantly struggling and fighting with our reality become relaxed into a sense of peace that allows a spontaneous and natural unfoldment of one’s being. A new outlook emerges, allowing us to see that whatever happens is right even if it’s painful. Things that we had thought were bad turn out not to be bad.

    listen / download now [ duration: 00:04:44 size: 2.27 MB ]

  • The Next Step of Unfoldment
    published on 04 Oct 2013

    Spiritual unfoldment talk transcript:

    “The important message that I want to convey tonight is: in order for you to move to your next understanding, your basic position about how you position yourself in relationship to your world has to go, has to change…in order for you to make the next step of unfoldment. It can’t not go to the next level. And if you watch teachers, they do it throughout their lives.

    I watched it with my teacher. He reinvented himself, not in terms of just giving classes — that’s what he did, that was his job — but in the way he imaged himself. Every decade it would go through a whole new turn — a whole new person there if you had the eyes to see it. Outwardly it didn’t look all that different. But he went from a stern Theravadin into a yahoo-ey Vajrayana to kind of an interesting epicure, connoisseur-y, renaissance-y kind of guy, to the gentle, relatively gentle, old man. But with each change the appearance changed. So if you look at the pictures of my teacher through the ages it almost looks like 15 different people, even though my experience of him, and I knew him for 30 years… he in some ways struck my ego as kind of the same. But if you look the pictures of him over time: completely different personic imagings.

    So, for you, (fill in your name), for you to make the next step in your spiritual unfoldment, unless you’ve already done it just recently, [you need a] complete shift and change in the environment. Why not? If someone else did it, it would be okay, right? ‘But not me.’ That’s the point. Not that you have to do that, but why is it that you can’t?”

    Talk originally given on Oct. 19, 2009 in Kyoto, Japan.
    Doug Sensei’s teacher was the great Canadian lama, Namgyal Rinpoche.

    listen / download now [ duration: 00:02:24 size: 1.21 MB ]

  • Paralyzed and…Free!
    published on 04 Oct 2013

    Part two of the “Why Practice the Paramis?” podcast from Aug. 23, 2013.
    The “he” referred to at the beginning is “Gerry,” who was laid up in the hospital for 8 weeks unable to move. This talk was originally given on Dec. 13, 2007, in Kyoto, Japan.

    listen / download now [ duration: 00:03:35 size: 1.75 MB ]

  • Why Practice the Paramis?
    published on 22 Aug 2013

    What are the paramis?
    They are qualities of character, or “perfections” of heart and mind that can be developed to support the path of awakening–practices which develop wholesome activity, growth and enlightenment.
    In the Theravadin school of Buddhism there are ten. In Mahayana, six, considered to indicate a sequence of development: generosity, virtue (coolheadedness), patience, energy, concentration, and wisdom.
    For more on the paramis, search for “A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life” or “paramita.” Also, “The Path Of Victory: Discourses on the Paramita” by Namgyal Rinpoche can be ordered from

    For a free transcript of this talk, email: podcast[at]

    listen / download now [ duration: 00:04:18 size: 2.07 MB ]

  • Bliss arises…
    published on 29 Apr 2013

    A one-minute excerpt from a talk by Doug Sensei on the Diamond Sutra held at Zofukuji Temple, Miki, Japan, on Jan. 4, 2013.

    You’ll want to listen to this one over and over again.


    “Bliss is present because there is no one trying to do anything. Be very clear about this: bliss arises when you no longer try to do anything.

    Whether it’s a golf shot, a poem, a recipe, or singing a song in a band. You’re not trying anymore. The minute you don’t try to do anything, there it is — the flow, I guess.

    You only can be a samurai when you realize you are already dead. The minute you put in a defensive motif of any kind it tightens your muscles, it slows down your reaction time, puts you in a sense of separation […]

    So recognize awakening is you already have to see your life as being over. My life is over. MY life is over. There’s just life. My preferences and non-preferences are over. There’s just options.”

    listen / download now [ duration: 00:01:09 size: 0.63 MB ]

  • A New Year’s Resolution
    published on 04 Feb 2013

    Sensei offers a suggestion on something to do for a New Year’s resolution for 2013.

    Some quotes from Sensei:

    “Where do you tend to undermine your own unfoldment?” “It’s not hard to awaken. You just have to want to do it.”

    Definition of “passer le temps”: doing something simply to pass the time

    listen / download now [ duration: 00:06:18 size: 2.99 MB ]

Achariya Doug Duncan
Achariya Doug Duncan is a Dharma teacher born in Canada and known for his energetic, insightful, humorous, and highly practical approach to teaching paths of awakening. If you are interested in learning more about awakening and Doug Sensei visit the links below and enjoy the podcast. Please note that these talks are edited to remove extraneous material. May all beings awaken speedily.
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