Kagyu Changchub Chuling was founded in Portland in 1976 by the Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche. Born in Eastern Tibet in 1905, Kalu Rinpoche was one of the great meditation masters of the 20th century. As an adolescent, he was sent to Palpung, one of the most important centers of learning in the Karma Kagyu school. There he studied with a group of teachers that included the most accomplished masters of the lineage and completed two three-year retreats. He became a solitary yogi after leaving Palpung, and by the time he was forty, he had spent half his life in solitary retreat. Much later in life, Rinpoche began traveling throughout the West, where he founded a number of centers for Western students, including KCC in 1976.
Kagyu Changchub Chuling
KCC's first resident teacher was Lama Thinley Drupa, asked personally by Kalu Rinpoche to leave his monastery in Sonada, India, to help establish the center. Lama Thinley served from 1980 until 1991. During his tenure, KCC found a permanent home in its current location at 73 NE Monroe in 1981. Following Lama Thinley's departure, Michael Conklin arrived from California in 1993 to serve as KCC's resident teacher. Michael was among the first American-trained teachers authorized to lead a center, and remains KCC's resident lama.
KCC has enjoyed the support of some of Tibet's eminent spiritual masters during its 30-year history. In addition to Kalu Rinpoche, a number of these teachers visited KCC, including His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Jamgong Kongtrul, Dezhung Rinpoche, Tai Situ Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim, and Thrangu Rinpoche, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, among others. Following Kalu Rinpoche's death in 1989, KCC was fortunate to develop an active relationship with his spiritual heir, the Venerable Bokar Rinpoche, who visited KCC in 1996.
In 2000, KCC launched its long retreat project, purchasing 240 acres of wooded land just north of Goldendale, Washington. (Read more about the project.) KCC currently has five teachers, a membership of around 100, and hosts weekly meditation sessions and regular group retreats.