Kagyu Changchub Chuling seal     Newsletter — November 2015

Greetings, !

Welcome to the November issue of KCC’s e-newsletter. This month, we offer a blend of updates and important news for the community.  In keeping with this time of year, we have also devoted space to thanking the many people who help this sangha to thrive.  In addition, please be sure to read about the Milarepa Tsoks taking place at SCOL; this too is a form of gratitude and faith-keeping.

We hope you find this issue provides you with renewed appreciation for the vibrancy of the KCC community. 

Interviews with KCC Teachers
by Zopa Herron

Erik Fromme, Zopa Herron, Bill Spangle & Dora Decorsey
Erik Fromme, Zopa Herron, Bill Spangle, and Dora Decorsey

Why have an interview?

An interview is an informal conversation about your practice that allows you to raise questions and to get specific advice about your practice. Talking one on one with a teacher, you can discuss ways to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities that are arising. Interviews can also allow you to develop an ongoing relationship with a spiritual mentor, which can become  helpful as your practice deepens over time.

News and Events

In This Issue

Interviews with KCC Teachers

Sangha Celebration

Buy Once, Gift Twice

Upcoming Events

Milarepa Tsok

Search for New Urban Center



Linda Besant, Zopa Herron, Julie Hurlocker, John Jennings, Linda Logan, Barbara Miller, Rosemarie Sweet, and Deborah Brink Wöhrmann ​contributed to the production of this newsletter.

Interviews are not always the best way to address questions or concerns. For advice on personal matters, it is sometimes better to turn to close friends or a counselor. For general information about the Dharma you can rely on teachings, books, and classes. And many questions can be fruitfully and appropriately addressed in a Q&A session at KCC.  However, to explore issues more specific to your practice, you may wish to set up a one-on-one meeting with a teacher.

Julie Hurlocker
Julie Hurlocker

How can I best prepare for an interview so that my practice grows?

Interviews are generally twenty minutes to an hour and are usually centered on your questions, so it is important to spend some time thinking before you come.

Here is a suggestion: Make a list of the two or three things you'd like to cover in the interview and prioritize them.  First making an overall list of your current Dharma questions, even though you will not be able to cover all of them, may help you see what is most important.

What is the charge for an interview?

There is no charge for an interview, as the Dharma is shared freely at KCC.  Still, recognizing that the teachers and the Center do need financial support to continue sharing the Dharma, you may wish to consider giving a donation to the teacher or to KCC, according to your capacity, as a practice of generosity.  What you give is completely up to you. You do not need to be a member of KCC to request an interview.

How often should I request an interview?

Once or twice a year will be sufficient in many cases. In periods of deep practice or during challenging transitions, you may need more support for a period of time. This can be discussed with the teacher.

Who offers interviews at KCC and how can I contact them?

Lama Michael has authorized the following people to offer interviews: Bill Spangle, Dora DeCoursey, Zopa Herron, Eric Fromme and Julie Hurlocker.  Learn more about KCC’s teachers on our website.

Due to the responsibilities for guiding the Three Year Retreat, Resident Lama Michael Conklin is able to schedule interviews only with students who have practiced with KCC for serveral years and have taken on leadership roles at KCC.

May your interview support and nourish your practice and, in that way, assist all beings, everywhere, without exception!

KCC Gathers to Celebrate Community and Service
by Linda Besant

In a sweet and gratifying Sangha Celebration on October 17, Board President Tim Campbell, Assistant President Linda Besant, and Assistant Teacher Zopa Herron thanked eighty people for their generosity in providing volunteer support to the sangha in 2015.

Tim had planned to give everyone a “golden walnut award” each time a person was thanked, but so many people were to be called out for several types of service that he couldn’t find enough walnuts in the stores, and had to make a spontaneous shift to “golden pecans.” Many people had piles of pecans in front of them by the time the afternoon was over. When it was Lama Michael’s turn to speak, he was visibly moved by the irrefutable evidence of how deeply committed this community is to serving the Dharma and the lineage.

Progress reports on KCC’s goals for 2015 were woven in among the thank-you’s:

—At SCOL, we completed staff quarters, hired qualified staff with deep commitment to caring for the place and the retreatants, and began the long-awaited Three Year Retreat.

—In town, we’re working to advance the “business” side of KCC to be as efficient and effective as possible in preparation for acquiring and running a new urban center, in particular by hiring Jennifer Cox as administrative coordinator.

—As beloved teacher Julia King Tamang went into Three Year Retreat, three senior practitioners in the sangha humbly accepted the invitation from Lama Michael and the Program Council to step into new levels of service—Erik Fromme and Zopa Herron are teaching on Sundays and conducting interviews, and Julia Hurlocker is conducting interviews.

—Financially, we are doing okay, but just barely, and only because of a generous bequest from beloved long-time sangha member Ephraim Miller. Pledges and one-time donations are running far behind the 2015 revenue goal. We must address this challenge as a community. There is no way around the fact that operating a center generates expenses that have to be covered.

—The New Urban Center Team is continuously combing the area for just the right property.

The crew that worked on KCC’s yard sale in September saved a few particularly chic items from the donations because they were so perfect for certain KCC community members. During the sangha celebration, we gave Lama Michael an incomparable book about folk sayings called Hog on Ice; kid-at-heart Carolyn Peck received a flower pot puppet; and Peter and Elvida Frothingham were gifted a cactus candelabra.

And of course, there was pie. The fifty-two people in attendance could barely make a dent in all the magnificent pie.

Buy Once, Gift Twice
by Linda Logan

The holidays are fast approaching, and even though we may not have a Buddhist holiday to celebrate, most of us find the need to purchase gifts for friends and family. Buy once and gift twice allows us to achieve two goals at the same time—provide a meaningful gift to a loved one and support KCC!

KCC’s expanded Dharma Store now offers gift items with just this idea in mind. We have beautiful beeswax candles, hand made in Eugene, in various sizes. For children, we offer Buddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and and Wisdom for you to read with your child. The artistry of KCC’s own Sanje Elliott graces our Sacred Images of Tibet wall calendar. For your favorite practitioner, we have a wide assortment of malas and practice items in all price ranges, as well as beautiful warm prayer shawls. If you browse our books, you are sure to find something to inspire.

For stocking stuffers, may we suggest our newly arrived incense, or one of seven varieties of organic, free-trade chocolate. We have beautifully illustrated Kwan Yin travel-size journals and engagement calendars from Tim Campbell's company, Amber Lotus, and unique wrist malas and bracelets. Also, there are one-of-a-kind mani stones lovingly gold-painted by Sanje with the compassion mantra, OM Ma Ni Pe Me Hung. 

Thank you to all these people who generously shared their time, energy and skill in service to KCC this year:

Ronda Adkins
Jeff Alworth
Sally Alworth
Linda Angst
Sonia Arion
Barbara Bell
Melinda Bell
Joe Bertagnolli
Linda Besant
Tani Biale
Sherry Bohannan
Deborah Brink Wöhrmann
Tim Campbell
Jennifer Cox
Abby Cummings
Jake Cummings
John Cusak
Michael Davis
Dora DeCoursey
Sophia Douglas
Don Dyer
Mark Eichstaedt
Marylinda Eichstaedt
Sanje Elliott
Ryan Fitz
Erik Fromme
Peter Frothingham
Susan Giese
Celedra Gildea
Alan Gladstone
Jenn Goff
Jef Gunn
Miriam Hammer
Zopa Herron
Adele Hilsen
Michael Hilsen
Holly Hisamoto
Bruce Howell
Julie Hurlocker
Cynthia Irvine
Margaret Janssen
John Jennings
Phuntsok Johnson
Charlotte Kangas
Betta Ledbetter
Linda Logan
Gwen LoVetere
Diane Lucas
Marie Maretska
Karen Marks
Barbara Miller
Chuck Murray
Bonnie McLean
Lynn McClenahan
Dave McWherter
Sally Mead
Barbara Miller
Patrice Morris
Cathy Neumann
Pat Parker
Steve Parker
Carolyn Peck
Sandy Pollock
Jikan Quitorio
Marci Roth
Rachel Simons
Jacob Skye
Bill Spangle
Jeanne Strope
Tara Sullivan
Rosemarie Sweet
Peg Swift
Phil Wallin
Martha West
Devin Wiley
Bob Wilson
Bonnie Wilson
Peter Wood
Mary Woods
Michele Zimmerman
Luisa Zini

A thousand apologies if we inadvertently left your name off of this list. Please know that our gratitude is still boundless.

If you’d like to join in this community of sangha-servers, please contact Jennifer Cox, jcox@kcc.org.

In addition, the Dharma Store's large, high quality prayer flags are marked down 50% through the holidays, as are our beautiful bronze Buddha statues.

Before you shop just anywhere, please take a look at what KCC has to offer. Also, if you shop Amazon or Powell’s Books through our web site Study page, or you shop through smile.amazon.com (sign up to support KCC at smile.amazon.com/ch/93-0799664), you can also contribute to KCC. Little by little, it all adds up to real support for our center.

Upcoming Events at KCC

More information about each of the following events can be found on the KCC website. All are welcome.

Young Adult Group
Friday, December 4 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

All-Day Sit: Chenrezig
Sunday, December 6 - 9:00am to 4:00pm

Seven Point Mind Training Study Group
Second and Fourth Thursdays: December 10 & 24 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Milarepa Tsok at SCOL
Saturday, December 11

Newcomer’s Night
Third Thursdays:  December 17- 7:30pm to 9:30pm

Bodhisattva Night
Saturday, December 19 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Board of Directors Meetings
Third Sundays:  December 20 - 1:30pm to 4:30pm

New Year’s Retreat
Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 9:00am to Friday, January 1, 2016 - 4:30pm


For more events, view the KCC calendar at www.kcc.org.

Milarepa Tsok at SCOL
by Julie Hurlocker and Deborah Brink Wöhrmann

In the Tibetan tradition, Tsok is a ritual offering expressing gratitude to teachers and the lineage. It is an opportunity to repair and renew our sacred commitments or vows. A Tsok is often offered following a retreat, such as Mahamudra. This has been the tradition for us at KCC, since beginning the annual Mahamudra Retreats in 1997.

While there are other Tsok practices, in our tradition, it is the Milarepa Tsok that is most commonly offered. “Milarepa is a great inspiration and one of my spiritual heroes,” says Julie. “He was a real person struggling with his demons. He was an outlaw, murdered members of his family, committed awful actions with black magic. He became powerfully motivated to turn his path around. In the process, he suffered enormously and was suicidal before working his way out of his darkness and eventually becoming a great yogi and renowned teacher...It required the most profound devotion to his teacher and the path. There’s a model for me! Besides, he's the subject of so many great stories.”

Any meaningful event could be the occasion for this special celebration. Those who completed the One Year Retreat in April 2014 offered a Milarepa Tsok following their emergence from retreat in honor of KCC, the sangha and teachers, who made their retreat possible. They sponsored another Tsok for the Three Year Retreatants, just before they entered their current retreat at SCOL.