Welcome to our February issue of KCC’s e-newsletter. This month, we share a precious encounter with Khenpo Rinpoche during his visit in November. We invite you to remember KCC at this time of year, when we celebrate what we love. We also have special practice opportunities to announce.
We value your comments and suggestions for improving this newsletter. Please be in touch!
An Ecstatic Welcome for Khenpo Rinpoche: A Moment of Cross-Cultural Generosity in the Gorge
In November, KCC brought Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche to the Northwest for two weeks of formal teaching. In the middle of his visit, this spontaneous blessing occurred:
The caravan of cars was just outside of Lyle on the Washington side of the Gorge, driving Khenpo Rinpoche and his entourage back to KCC from their Thanksgiving visit to SCOL. The bare hills and basalt cliffs reminded Rinpoche of Tibet, and he asked the driver to pull over for a photo of the monks in a place that looked like home. All three cars stopped in a gravel turnout, and maroon-robed monks piled out to pose.
Suddenly, a big white truck heading east on Highway 14 made an abrupt u-turn and pulled up behind the KCC party. “A big, burly fellow jumped out of the truck,” says Jikan Quintoro, cook at SCOL who was with the group.
“I know who that is,” the man shouted happily, “I’ve seen him on TV! What’s he doing in Lyle?! Oh, this is so great!”
“I did inform the man that the monk was Khenpo Rinpoche from Bokar Monastery in Mirik, India, that the others were his entourage,” Jikan recalls, “and that we were on our way to Portland where Rinpoche would be offering Dharma teachings—I’m not sure if this was understood. But seeing that the gentleman had a mobile phone, I asked if he would like to take a photograph of Khenpo Rinpoche. The next thing I know he was standing next to Rinpoche with his arm around his shoulder.”
For the others from KCC, this was an uncertain moment. They had been so careful to show respectful etiquette throughout the visit of this revered teacher, including not to touch him; but Rinpoche seemed delighted.
“This was such a precious moment to witness,” says Jikan. “Everyone was laughing and smiling. The man was so elated, and couldn’t wait to share his tale with friends. He kept saying ‘No one is going to believe this—what is he doing in Lyle?! Thank you! Thank you.' I pressed my hands palm to palm in farewell to him–the joys of dharma.”
Windhorse Campaign Update
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.”
–Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s marvelous expression of love might just as appropriately express love for the three Jewels–the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Her sonnet is most often called to mind in February when Valentines, chocolates, and roses seem insufficient expressions of love and affection for friends, family, and the loves of our lives. How do we who benefit from KCC programs and the sangha family express devotion and gratitude for the opportunities we enjoy at KCC?
Some of us have discovered that becoming a Supporting Member is a perfect solution. Becoming a Supporting Member is as easy as mailing a Valentine. By becoming a Supporting Member of KCC at any level, you are in effect sending a Valentine. Its message:
“Because KCC is important to my life or to the life of someone I care about, and to the many beings beyond my ability to comprehend, I offer this expression of love.”
While many of us wait until the end of the year to give, consider the alternative of giving early in the year. To send the best KCC Valentine possible–complete a gift/pledge form indicating that you will contribute a certain amount on a regular basis over the remaining months of 2014.
Such commitments are not binding. If circumstances change, just say so and your pledge will be canceled. Pledges allow KCC to plan with confidence. The gift of confidence is far more valuable than chocolates and roses and great poetry.
Upcoming Events in February
Seven Points of Mind Training
Event Leader: Julia King Tamang
Location: KCC Urban Center
Friday, February 21: 6:30pm - 8:30pm and Saturday, February 22: 9:00am - 3:00pm.
Register now here
Since 200-300 CE, there have been many Mahayana ‘mind training’ traditions in Indian Buddhism. Each included concepts, views, and practices to transform relationships through awakening loving-kindness and compassion. About 900 years ago, Serlingpa, an Indonesian spiritual master, taught mind training to the great Dharma master, Atisha, and Atisha brought the training to Tibet, where it flourishes and is revered by all the Tibetan Buddhist schools, even today.
Originally mind training methods were taught secretly, reserved for students whose capacity and sincere intention indicated a readiness to receive the teachings. But Chekawa Yeshe Dorje (1102-1176) organized the training into Seven Points, and taught them widely.
The Seven Points system is a complete path, emphasizing both relative and ultimate bodhicitta. The system includes tonglen or ‘taking and sending,’ about which much has been written in contemporary Buddhist press. The system also includes more than fifty slogans to guide daily practice. Though many of the mind training slogans are transparent, a few are somewhat cryptic. Many people find it helpful to have a formal introduction.
This seminar will focus primarily on the aphorisms (tonglen is the focus of a retreat offered later in the year). The Seven Points of Mind Training system is known for being excellent for busy householders, who can use the aphorisms as focal points for carrying practice throughout the day, thereby increasing practice without necessarily increasing time on the cushion. For questions on the content of this seminar, contact Julia King Tamang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a non-residential seminar.
Friday, February 21: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Overview of The Seven Points of Mind Training
Saturday, February 22: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Practical application and practice sessions, with brown bag lunch break and tea breaks.
The suggested donation for this event is $20 for Friday evening only / $80 for Friday and Saturday. Your donation of any amount is appreciated. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. For information regarding registration and other practical questions, please contact David McWherter at email@example.com.
Teacher Supported Practice Session
Event Leader: Julia King Tamang.
Location: KCC Urban Center.
Saturday, February 15: 7:00am - 10:00am.
No registration is necessary.
In an effort to help us all keep practice commitments in 2014, we are offering a simple "extra" practice time at KCC for the next several months. There is no fee and no registration required to engage in this—just show up! Offerings to Julia and/or to KCC will be gratefully accepted.
You may do any practice taught at KCC. This means that there will be more noise than usual as people softly recite mantra or do prostrations, mandala or other practices. We'll work with this expectation and hopefully, in harmony. Those of you who have no practice commitments are also welcome—just come and sit as we do on Sundays. There will be a ten-minute practice break each hour and, though there is no question and answer session, Julia is happy to privately answer questions during the short breaks.
Out of respect for the KCC residents, please come and go quietly, use the downstairs restroom only, leave on time and, clean up after yourself. There is no childcare available.
Volunteering at KCC
Over fifty people volunteer regularly at KCC these days. They serve as chant leaders and cooks, gardeners and book sellers, photographers and data base whizzes, video streamers, board members, pecha organizers, legal advisors, class coordinators, check signers, teachers in the children's program, fund raisers, editors, graphic artists–you name it. In fact, virtually everything that happens at KCC depends on volunteers, and the community owes them deep gratitude.
Their work is organized by committee, and all of those committees could use another few people. If you've come to depend on dharma practice and study at KCC; if you draw strength from the support of the sangha and want to be part of the work that keeps it whole, there is a place for you.
The Volunteer Support Committee is newly constituted and eager to help everyone find a job that fits her or his desires and available time. Please contact us through Linda Besant at firstname.lastname@example.org.