Kagyu Changchub Chuling seal     Newsletter — August 2014

Greetings, !

As you see from this issue, KCC has large and exciting transitions underway.  Share our excitement at the near completion of SCOL, our long-retreat facility.  Also please consider coming to our Annual Meeting on September 27, where we will launch our plans for a new urban center. In addition, we have a full slate of workshops and changes in our childrens program to report.  

Enjoy this issue and let us know if you have ideas for articles or other ways we can improve this offering.

Final SCOL Building to Go Up

Within the next few weeks, KCC will break ground for the final building of Ser Chö Ösel Ling’s long-retreat facilities—the staff residence. What a time for our community to celebrate the culmination of fourteen years of effort by sangha members and other generous supporters of the Dharma! 

Contractor Mike Herin of Goldendale is in charge of the construction, with SCOL Rural Operations Manager Galen Doucette as KCC’s liaison, and Architect Kiyan Mizani watching closely. Construction is targeted for completion in time for the stipended volunteers who care for SCOL and support retreatants to settle in before KCC’s first Three Year Shangpa Kagyu Retreat begins in March of 2015. 

Architectural Rendering of SCOL Staff Residence

Artchitectural Rendering of Staff Residence
Kiyan Mizani, Partner with eMZed Architectural

The site was blessed by Venerable Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche over Thanksgiving weekend in 2013, when he and his entourage visited SCOL during his trip to the Pacific Northwest to conduct the Mahamudra Seminar and other classes for KCC. He was moved by the beauty of the land at SCOL, saying that it felt like home. He tossed rice to the four corners of the building, and encouraged KCC for all the work that it does to make possible the practice of the Dharma.

Khenpo Rinpoche Blessing the Site, November 2013

As we wait with baited breath for Mike Herin’s bid to be finalized, it appears that it will be close to the $352,000 that KCC has raised for the staff residence, prompting a sigh of relief and a whoop of joy that the capital campaign for the long-retreat center is nearing completion. The long effort to establish SCOL raised slightly over $3 million from 1999 through 2014.

For a fascinating window into the perseverance and generosity involved in purchasing the land and building the long retreat facilities at SCOL, go to www.kcc.org/about-kcc/archives/scol-updates and tap into some of the SCOL Updates. They are full of awe-inspiring photographs and insights into the relentless march of construction work and fundraising effort that led, inch by inch, to: 

  • Two cloisters that each have eight retreat cabins, a meditation hall, dining room, bath house and exercise room, surrounded by a cloister fence
  • A central kitchen and administrative space 
  • Two teacher’s cabins 
  • And finally, a staff residence

Ser Chö Ösel Ling is the manifestation of KCC’s devotion to the Dharma, and to Venerable Bokar Rinpoche, who asked the community to create a facility for long retreat. Bokar Rinpoche gave SCOL’s 240 acres the sacred name “Land of the Clear Light Golden Dharma.” 


News and Events

In This Issue

Final SCOL Building to Go Up

Annual Sangha Meeting

Children’s Program Changes

Upcoming Retreats and Seminars


Upcoming Events

Tibetan Language Seminar III

Tonglen Retreat

Lama Drupgyu Teaching

2014 Sangha Meeting

North American Mahamudra Seminar

Combined Mahamudra and Yidam Seminar in India



Jessica Dennison,
Barbara Miller,
Linda Besant,

Carolyn Peck,
Deborah Brink Wohrmann, and
Rosemarie Sweet
​contributed to the production of this newsletter.

Come and be heard at:

KCC’s Annual Sangha Meeting

September 27th, 2014, 11 am to 3:00 pm

Central Lutheran Church
1820 NE 21st Avenue, Portland

This is a red-letter, bells-and-whistles, major-event annual meeting.

In this meeting we will (drum roll, please) launch our efforts towards a new urban center for KCC after at least fifteen years of discussion.

You will not want to miss this chance to weigh in with your priorities and hopes for our new dream home.

You will not want to miss hearing about the actions planned for the first year of work on the new urban center.

You will not want to miss the cake that will be there to celebrate this long-awaited milestone.

The meeting will also include

  • An update from Lama Michael and Bill Spangle about the planning underway for classes, retreats and teaching for next year.
  • A report from this year’s leadership retreat, held August 21–25, with maybe even a hit act or two from the “Golden Light Medicine Show” that was part of the retreat.
  • What is going on with construction of the staff residence at SCOL.
  • And, as always, an unsurpassable KCC potluck.

If you consider KCC your spiritual home, if your heart has chosen this community as your Buddhist family, please make every possible effort to attend this annual meeting. We need to hear what you want.

But we will not be starting from scratch. KCC has been talking for years about what a new urban center needs to encompass, through three major planning processes and many smaller discussions. The list we have generated each time has been remarkably similar. Below is a merging of those lists from three major documents:

  • An aesthetically pleasing foyer/entry
  • Sitting space/shrine room for between 100 and 200 people for Sunday puja and Q and A, and special events
  • A foyer for shoes and coats
  • A separate shrine room for Vajrayana practices
  • A big space for meetings, events, and informal gatherings, suitable for pot lucks or eating, with a commercial grade kitchen or the capacity to create such a kitchen
  • Three classrooms for programs for toddlers, young children and teens; for adult classes and study groups; and for board and committee meetings
  • Office spaces for operations, bookkeeping and other management activities
  • Two interview rooms for personal interviews with teachers
  • Space for a substantial bookstore
  • Ample storage for tables, chairs, etc; and for equipment for special Dharma events
  • Two to four living spaces (rooms or simple apartments) for resident caretakers/trainees, and to host visiting lamas or dignitaries
  • Adequate parking on site or at least no legal hassle about on-street parking
  • Handicapped accessibility or ready adaptability
  • Adequate restrooms including handicapped accessibility or adaptability
  • Reasonable energy efficiency
  • Seismic retrofitting (or be aware of costs involved because we will have to do this)
  • An agreeable location that would not seriously dislocate our existing community
  • Everything street legal as far as zoning and codes
  • The intangibles like look and feel have to be right as well

(This list is compiled from KCC documents that span from 1999 to 2013.)

During the meeting, we will delve into this list to answer two questions: Is there anything missing? If we cannot afford it all, where do our priorities lie? We hope you will think carefully ahead of time and come help make sure we are clear about what we want, because this is the year we are going to start making it happen. We promise. And we’ll tell you why at the meeting…

SEE YOU September 27th!

KCC’s New and Improved Kids Program

The KCC Kids Program is pleased to announce that this year, the Upstairs Children’s program will be meeting at KCC every Sunday, 9 am to 11 am, beginning September 7, 2014.

The first hour of the Upstairs Program will consist of meditation-oriented activities, a lesson from the curriculum developed by Julia King Tamang  (found online at Poogoo.wordpress.com) and a participatory activity.  The second hour will consist of outings to the newly revamped Dawson Park on Williams Avenue, weather permitting, or games and art projects.

The Kids Program also hosts the Boddhisattva Night held the third Saturday in December. In the fall, they begin preparations by making a poster and preparing a play or a musical number to perform that evening. 

Childcare for babies and toddlers will be offered downstairs from 9 am to10 am on the first Sunday of every month. We would like to offer this service every Sunday, but need volunteers to staff it. We also need people willing to be on standby in case there are more babies than expected or a range of ages requiring additional help. Please contact Carolyn Peck at 503-334-9802 if you would like to join in offering this service for our sangha.

This September, there will be personnel changes in the kids program. Joe Bertagnolli, who has been teaching the kids program for more than three years, will be phasing out his service. He will continue to offer assistance to the three new teachers by co-teaching during the month of September.  Great thanks go to Joe for his years of inspired teaching.

We welcome Patrice Morris  and Susan Giese as new teachers in the Upstairs Childrens program. Susan has provided childcare for the very young downstairs for seven years. Patrice has experience with children and ready skills activated by the thought of working with children.  In the coming months,Usha Noble will also be part of the program. Her daughter Samaya is a regular participant.   In addition, Mary Woods brings her musical and mala-making abilities to the classroom, where she has already brightened the children’s lives. 

Cindy Irvine is providing continuity by continuing to teach one Sunday a month in the Upstairs Program. Cindy’s son Leo has been in the program since he was an infant. Sonia Arion will remain a support for teachers and the program.  She created a format for teaching four to six year olds that has made it easy for all the teachers to reach that age group effectively.

Carolyn Peck will move from three years of teaching in the Upstairs Program to the basement where she will offer the first hour of First Sunday for baby and toddler care, and the first hour on one additional Sunday. 

If anyone else is interested in assisting, we can use substitutes and regular staffing. E-mail Cynthia Irvine or phone her at 503-284-1757.

Upcoming Retreats and Seminars

Summer has been a busy time at Ser Chö Ösel Ling (SCOL), KCC's retreat land. More retreats and summer events are scheduled, with some taking place in Portland. Below is a rundown of what is to come.

We also want to let you know that the Retreat Committee is researching possible locations for KCC retreats once the Three-Year Retreat begins at SCOL in the spring of 2015. To learn more about that retreat, go to http://www.kcc.org/retreat/three-year-retreat, and contact Julia King Tamang.

​Tibetan Language Seminar Level III

KCC Urban Center

Friday, August 29, to Sunday, August 31, 2014

Event Leader: Lama David Curtis

This class is a dharma-centered Tibetan language intensive, with a goal to empower students to do all of their meditation practices in classical Tibetan, led by Lama David  Curtis of the Tibetan Language Institute.

Tonglen Retreat at SCOL

Friday, September 19, to Sunday, September 21, 2014

Event Leader: Julia King Tamang

As you turn the mind from personal benefit toward the welfare of others, compassion beyond ordinary sentimentality develops. As you let go of personal projections and territory, insight into the true nature of phenomena becomes possible. 

This retreat includes formal instruction in meditation and contemplation practices specific to the "Mind Training" tradition. The emphasis in this tradition is the application of dharma to everyday life. Personal interviews will be available on this retreat.

Pre-requisites: This retreat is suitable for beginning and experienced practitioners, regardless of background. If you have not been to this retreat before, it is necessary to contact Julia King Tamang before registering. 

Register Now

Teaching by Lama Drupgyu,
Embracing Reality : A Vajrayana Approach

KCC Urban Center

Saturday, September 20, 2014 - 7:00pm

Event Leader: Lama Drupgyu of Tsadra Foundation

Join us for a very special opportunity to hear teaching from Lama Drupgyu speak about the challenge of waking up to the reality and responsibility of our inherent Buddha nature - and the view and methods that vajrayana offers those willing to accept this challenge.

Register Now

2014 North American Mahamudra Seminar in October at SCOL

Tuesday, October 7, to Saturday, October 18, 2014

Event Leaders: Lama Michael Conklin and Lama Tara

This retreat provides the essential teachings for the Mahamudra Program established by Venerable Bokar Rinpoche. The program is based on the idea that in the midst of daily life it is necessary to have a coherent approach that presents the essential elements of practice in a clear and concise progression.

Retreat Requirements

Already practicing Buddhism, or ready to commit to the Buddhist path.
Attending the full retreat, starting with the orientation session on the evening of Tuesday, October 7th, through the closing session on the morning of Saturday, October 18th
Willing to make a commitment to a program of daily meditation practice for one year. First timers may choose from several levels of practice commitment.

Registration for this event will close September 22 at midnight or when retreat is full.

Register Now

Combined Mahamudra and Yidam Seminar in India 

Friday, December 12, to Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Event Leader: Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche

Location: Bodhgaya, India

For the 2014 International Seminar, Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche will offer a special program in Bodhgaya, India which will include teachings for all practitioners as well as instructions specific to the different levels of the Mahamudra and the Yidam programs. As part of this special occasion, His Eminence Gyaltsab Rinpoche, one of the most senior teachers of the Kagyu lineage, will offer teachings and the blessing of empowerments. 

Register Now

As always, please find more info on the KCC website. Please do not hesitate to ask questions of event leaders or the Retreat Committee chair, David McWherter.

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