Kagyu Changchub Chuling seal     Newsletter — July 2014

Greetings, !

In this issue, we have exciting news to report about the Raise the Roof fundraiser and birthday celebration for Lama Michael Conklin. One purpose of the event was to raise funds to complete the staff quarters at SCOL.  As you can see, the celebration demonstrated both the strength of the KCC community and the great generosity that has resulted in a nearly complete retreat center at SCOL.

Please also review the many learning opportunities available at SCOL before the start of Three Year Retreat. During this dynamic time at KCC, we look forward to keeping you informed of all the positive changes underway.

KCC Raises the Roof with Great Success

June 13 was an evening of surprises. Yes, it was an auspicious full-moon date.  Yes, everyone expected a birthday celebration for Lama Michael Conklin.  But few expected the level of good spirits, generosity, and energy that would bubble forth at Raise the Roof for KCC.

Raising the Roof for KCC

News and Events

In This Issue

KCC Raises the Roof
with Great Success

Upcoming KCC Retreats!


Four Foundations of Mindfulness Retreat
August 15th-17th

Tonglen Retreat
September 19th-21st

North American Mahamudra Seminar
October 7th-18th




Jessica Dennison,
Rosemarie Sweet,
Julia King Tamang, ‚Äč
and Barbara Miller
‚Äčcontributed to the production of this newsletter.

In the gracious setting of the Laurelhurst Club, Vibrant Table’s catering staff served delicious canapés. Reunions among friends and lively conversation with visiting Lamas were energized by the piano music of Sanje Elliott. During the silent auction, guests competed for the tempting art, jewelry, experiences and classes offered by the talented professionals and artists of KCC . Volunteers roamed around selling raffle tickets for a Mexico vacation and a Neskowin Beach weekend. 

Then came the surprising announcement of a $100,000 challenge gift.  This raised the possibility of bringing fourteen years of fundraising for the long retreat center to a successful conclusion during this one event.

Linda Besant and Tim Campbell began a paddle raise accompanied by a snappy, animated slide show created by Chalice Mitchell. Flying toilets, swaying showers, dancing light fixtures and studs illustrated the supplies needed to properly care for SCOL staff. Donations via a paddle raise came so quickly and at such breathtaking levels that the room was buzzing with excitement and delight. Applause burst forth as a preliminary figure of $43,000 was announced for the paddle raise alone.

What a fitting gift for Lama Michael.  

Friends of Lama Michael shared stories and good humor as guests enjoyed home baked pies and birthday cake.  Lama Sonam spoke of his long association with Michael.  Ken McLeod wished Michael “many happy returns, if he wants them” and thanked him for being a “rock” whenever he needed a friend.  Representing Heart of Wisdom Zen Center and Great Vow Monastery respectively, Hogan Bays, Roshi, gave remarks and Chosen Bay, Roshi, sang an extemporaneous song that delighted guests.  Lama Michael’s former business associates Paul Terry and Deborah Hill recalled their work with him in cheese shop and technology businesses.  All spoke of Michael’s steadfast friendship and ability to be completely attentive to customers, friends, and students. 

Lama Michael Conklin and birthday cake

Lama Michael responded by promising to work hard to forget all that was said about him.  He then thanked all who had gathered and given volunteer time and money on this occasion. 

In a final surprise, Emmett Rothermich drew a raffle stub for the Mexican vacation.  There was a confused pause.  It had a phone number, but no name.  He called it out and with a surprised “whoop,” Associate Teacher Julia King-Tamang recognized that someone had entered her in the contest.  It seemed a perfect close to a remarkable evening, but the ultimate surprise is even better.

Now that gifts and expenses are tallied, the Board of Directors is thrilled to announce that Raise the Roof net proceeds of $160,000 brings KCC so close to the $400,000 construction goal that construction will begin this summer.

Click on the included photos to see more of Marci Roth’s album on flickr, or click here to view the Raise the Roof video.

Upcoming KCC Retreats!

Summer is in full swing, and so is retreat season at KCC’s retreat land near Goldendale, Washington—Ser Chö Ösel Ling—“Land of the Clear Light Golden Dharma.” We are fortunate to have teachers leading weekend sessions as well as the recent Chenrezig Retreat, July 5-12, which gave participants a longer time to step away from the day-to-day bustle for contemplation, practice and quiet.

In the midst of it all, the Retreat Committee is changing.  Many thanks go to Susan Gladstone, longtime, wonderful and dedicated chair.  She is stepping down at the end of July to prepare for her participation in the 2015-2018 Three Year Retreat at SCOL.  David McWherter will serve as committee chair.  Liza Baer, Ryan Fitz, and Deborah Brink Wöhrmann are also on the Retreat Committee. All members welcome questions and ideas.

Ryan participated in the recent Chenrezig Retreat, led by Bill Spangle. “The first few days were difficult, but then I settled into the routine,” he says. “After the second or third day, I began understanding the practice—and carrying it between sessions.” Ryan began Buddhist practice in 2011 and has attended numerous retreats in various traditions. He says he appreciated this opportunity to focus on Chenrezig—a compassion practice important to the Kagyu tradition.

“It was more of a shock than expected to re-enter ‘the world’ and see how much work I still have to do! Working with the practice under Bill’s guidance at SCOL—in an incubator of sorts—was edifying and very helpful; I can't imagine moving forward that much on my own. But the most important and challenging work will be to carry it into daily life. Can I see myself as Chenrezig pretending to be this person while I wait for Oregon drivers—who are also Chenrezig? Difficult!”

SCOL’s open retreats will end after the Personal Retreat Season in January of 2015. In March, the Three-Year cloistered retreat will begin. In other words, most of us will not be able to visit SCOL for quite a while if we do not get there soon.

Consider any of the following happenings at SCOL, and please contact David McWherter if you have questions.

Four Foundations of Mindfulness Retreat
Friday, August 15, 2014, 6:00pm, to Sunday, August 17, 2014, 3:00pm

Enjoy a summer weekend at Ser Chö Ösel Ling, practicing what the Buddha called the “direct path to enlightenment.” Alan Wallace says, “These simple but powerful techniques for cultivating mindfulness will allow anyone, regardless of tradition, beliefs, or lack thereof, to achieve genuine happiness and freedom from suffering.” Grounding ourselves in the body, we come face-to-face with the continuous arising and dissolution of feelings. Resting in stable awareness, we are free from habitual patterns that drive unskillful behavior and suffering. Examining mental phenomena, we see their nature and attachments weaken. Spend a few leisurely, practice-focused days on these delightful, subtle meditations and go home set to continue on your own, armed with four powerful antidotes to the very root of suffering.

More Information      Register Now

Additional upcoming SCOL retreats:

Tonglen Retreat
Friday, September 19, 2014, 6:00pm, to Sunday, September 21, 2014, 3:00pm

More Information     Register Now

2014 North American Mahamudra Seminar
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 , 4:00pm to Saturday, October 18, 2014, 10:00am

More Information     Register Now

For easy access to information and registration for all SCOL retreats, visit www.kcc.org/retreat, or view the KCC calendar—look for the list of this year’s retreats in the right sidebar.

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