Kagyu Changchub Chuling seal   Newsletter — October 2016
Greetings, !

We have historic news to report in this issue - KCC has entered into an agreement to purchase a new urban center for the Sangha. While there are still contingencies on obtaining final ownership, this is truly a remarkable milestone in a 17-year-long effort.

At the same time, KCC is fortunate to be hosting a multi-day visit with esteemed Ringu Tulku Rinpoche in late November. Please read about the teachings he will be offering and consider attending. 

Also included in this issue are a recap of the innovative painting fundraiser at SCOL, an update on its Fuel Reduction Program and news from our bookstore. But the newsletter would not be complete without an offer of gratitude for a year full of inspiring teachings and retreats. May you enjoy this newsletter and the transition to a new season.

With Gratitude

By Jennifer Cox

This month KCC gives boundless gratitude to the program council, teachers, guest teachers, and sangha members moved to bring dharma groups together.

As summer turns into shorter crisper autumn days, it feels like a chance to pause and look back on the abundance of teachings, retreats and classes KCC has brought to the sangha this year. Every month this year, there has been either a class series, a week-long retreat, a study group, or all of the above. This has been a year filled with juicy practice opportunities. The teachers have had their hands full in creating the 2016 schedule and they deserve boundless gratitude for the extensive time and care they gave to giving us year-round dharma opportunities!

A big thank-you to: Lama Michael, Bill Spangle, Dora Decoursey, Zopa Herron, Erik Fromme, Jeff and Sally Alworth, Julie Hurlocker, Eric Treibelhorn, Tim Campbell, and Holly Hisamoto.

Thank you all for a wonderful year of learning!

In This Issue

With Gratitude

New Urban Center

Ringu Tulku Visit

Painting at SCOL

SCOL's Fuel Reduction Program

Bookstore Update

Events Update




Jennifer Cox,
John Jennings, Diane Lucas,
Rosemarie Sweet, and
Ryan Fitz contributed to the production of this newsletter.

The Search For a New Urban Center:  One Giant Step Forward

By John Jennings

The KCC New Urban Center Committee is happy to report that KCC made an offer on the church at 4936 NE Skidmore and the owner has accepted it! It was a very intense few days after the seller told us the current tenants were not going to buy the church and that he was going on vacation in a few days. Luckily, we were already planning to prepare an offer to serve as a back-up, anticipating that the tenants would back out. We also have Dora, who tirelessly worked with committee comments and review by KCC’s lawyer, Bruce Howell, and negotiated final details with the seller’s lawyer, literally right up to the night before her departure for Taiwan for Yidam retreat. KCC Board Chair, Tim Campbell, also went out of his way during a time when his work had critical deadlines to meet. He made himself available to review and sign documents and communicate with the Board and Lama Michael. Mark Eichstaedt and Phil Wallin played key roles as well.

While everyone, including the Board and Lama Michael, is very excited about this, it is important to remember that it is not a done deal until we finally close on the sale after our due diligence period.  However, Lama Michael says “this particular deal looks like it could be a winner for both the buyer and seller; so if the deal goes through it looks now like there will only be winners.” There is a decent chance that the sale will be consummated in the next few months, depending on how long due diligence really takes.

Due diligence is a period designed to allow buyers of a building to inspect it to make sure it really meets their needs and has no hidden flaws or insurmountable challenges. Under our sale agreement, we have up to 55 working days to do this, which puts the closing date, at the latest, near the end of November. At that point, if all our contingencies are met and the condition of the building is deemed acceptable to us, we hand over the remaining funds owed to close the deal. Then reality sets in and we begin some anticipated repairs and cleaning and minor alterations before we can actually move in. At that time, we will begin the process to sell Monroe Street and move out. Funding and volunteers will be needed for cleaning, painting and making minor repairs. In the future, additional funding will be needed for more major alterations to enhance the space.

This is an historic moment for our Sangha. At long last, we are within reach of an urban center with room to practice, room for programs and workshops, room for visiting teachers, room for a growing sangha. The good news is that with the resources we already have - Monroe Street, existing donations, bridge loans from members - we are close to being able to cover the purchase price. AND the really important news is this:  at this very moment, we need every sangha member to make a special effort to seriously consider what they can contribute, so that we will be able to pay for the improvements we must make to the Skidmore property before we move in. It makes sense to do as many projects as we can before we move in so we do not have to sit in a construction site. If you have been waiting until there is an actual building project to make a contribution, now is the time.

So, for now the status is SALE PENDING. You will be hearing from the Board and volunteers over the next two months as the purchase and estimate for repairs take shape.

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche—DATE CHANGE
November 26—27:  Teachings in Downtown Portland
November 28—29:  Additional Events to Be Announced

Recent changes to Ringu Tulku Rinpoche's schedule have resulted in changes to the event schedule for his KCC-sponsored Portland teachings. Please update your calendar.

On Saturday evening (November 26), Rinpoche will discuss Buddhist approaches to working with emotions including ways to release and transform emotions to reveal our innate wisdom. The teachings will touch on how to observe habitual tendencies as they arise and become aware of their origin and their impact on ourselves and others. It will also address how to use this awareness as a foundation for transforming emotions and gaining insight into our innate wisdom nature.

The program for Sunday (November 27) will cover the union of relative and ultimate bodhicitta, or, in other words, the union of profound compassion and deep insight. The relationship between cultivating tranquility and insight through meditation and developing compassion can at times seem paradoxical. Sitting alone in meditation practice can feel very self contained, perhaps even selfish. How can this be connected to compassion? On the other side, the prospect of developing compassion for all beings can be overwhelming. How can this lead us toward freedom? This weekend teaching will address how the Buddhist practice integrates these two aspects of the path. Ringu Tulku introduces this in his book “Confusion Arises As Wisdom”:

“Bodhichitta brings wisdom and compassion together. One way this happens is that as our compassion grows, our self-centeredness lessens. With less self-absorption, our attachment and aversion decrease as well. The less attachment and aversion we have, the more our wisdom grows. In this way, compassion leads to wisdom.


It can also go the other way—wisdom leads to compassion. Wisdom is the direct experience of the true nature of our mind and our world. As our understanding becomes stronger, we become more fearless. As we become more fearless, we become less self-centered. This leads to less aversion and attachment, and this makes us more compassionate.”

There are tentative plans for Monday and Tuesday morning (November 28-29) in Portland, including a Monday evening discussion period when Rinpoche may address topics such as Chenrezig and Mind Training. On Tuesday afternoon, Rinpoche will be driven to SCOL to spend two days with our Three-Year Retreatants and the SCOL staff.

Complete program details will be announced when confirmed.

Read more about Ringu Tulku Rinpoche.

Painting At the Land of Retreat—A Recap

By Jennifer Cox

Pulling off a non-dharma fundraising series for a dharma center, I knew was a bit of a gamble when the idea began. But it was an idea I was willing to test. The thought stemmed from my personal desire to connect more with the SCOL land. Given that I have a long yet rusty relationship with painting, it seemed like a perfect way to take in the beauty while bringing in people to enjoy the land. I immediately went to Jef Gunn, one of KCC’s seasoned landscape painters, to ask him for his thoughts. A cup of tea and half a sandwich later, I had a list of artists, a plan in place, and Jef on board to teach not one but two classes out of the four-part landscape painting series out at SCOL.

The June class ended up being cancelled. By July’s class, which was open to all skill levels, the series began. Sangha members who never painted came as well as people from the landscape painting community. The day was hot, but there was shade and the beginning painters were in good hands with Jef as an instructor.

All three classes, two led by Jef Gunn and and one led by Phyllis Trowbridge, brought similar tones. Everyone had a wonderful time and was happy with their paintings. The connections with sangha members and painters were warming to the heart. There was a lot of laughter and a slow-moving wandering stillness. These classes were moments where a group came together to listen to the land, to observe and truly watch what was happening around them. Such interesting things happen when you sit in one place for hours and hours and let yourself sink in. Your body calms, your mind calms and you get to really see what is happening around you without doing anything. Similar to what any dharma practitioner understands. A deeper connection to where you are becomes clear and noticeable. This was what the series brought: deeper connections, deeper roots.

Bringing people out to the land connected the group to SCOL. It also connected SCOL to the Sangha. Peg, Jake, Abby and Marie were all so happy to have people out there. Marie, who is an artist herself, was thrilled to have a day to dedicate to art. These were days of important connections.

Stewarding the Land at SCOL

By Rosemarie Sweet

As Peg Swift stated in an article early this year, KCC and its staff have two primary responsibilities at SCOL. Its central duty is to be a supportive container for the Three-Year Retreatants. But KCC is also a steward for 240 acres of land, where it nurtures the lives of numerous beings, human and non-human.

In its stewardship role, KCC is a partner with the Washington Department of Natural Resource in a Fuel Reduction Plan, a cost share arrangement where the state pays half of the expenses for the work. We first reported on this partnership in January 2016. This program aims to reduce the risk of fire while improving the health of the trees. Beginning in November 2015 and ending in May 2017, it is focused on the 15 acres near the north egress road. This site was chosen in order to improve the chances that fire will not reach the road. SCOL staffer Jake Cummings is leading this effort.

Goldendale has been in a seven-year long drought. This has made it easier for Ips pine beetles to establish themselves in the pine trees. Mistletoe, which burrows into the cambian layer of the pines and causes circulation problems, is also growing. Both threaten the health of the SCOL tree canopy. If drought were not an issue, the trees would be better able to resist these infestations.

During the colder months of October through January, SCOL staff and volunteers have been cutting down trees that have been harmed by beetles and mistletoe. This decreases the chances of spreading them to other trees. If this work is done in warmer months, it actually attracts more beetles. In the summertime, they use hand tools to remove bitterbrush between the trees.

Jake explains that, each time he goes out on the landscape, he examines a stand of trees within the project. He identifies the strongest trees. If he sees, for example, a healthy oak tree right beside a troubled tree, he marks the troubled tree for removal. This provides the healthy trees with a greater share of available water and reduces fire hazards.

Many volunteers and staff members have helped with this project. Volunteers include Greg Kust, Harlan Barcus, Michael Hilsen, Robert Wiley and Peter Frothingham. Staff members Abby Cummings, Anthony Kimple and Peg Swift have also worked with Jake on the project.

SCOL has a wonderful partnership with its neighbors, Russel and Lane Schroeder.  The Schroeders, father and son, help take down the dead pine trees on SCOL’s land. With their on-site mill, they plan to mill the recovered timber and split it evenly with SCOL. At SCOL, close to six cords of firewood have been cut and organized. Staff aspire to sell this wood for the benefit of KCC.

If work on the 15-acre site already underway is successfully completed, KCC has the option to continue its partnership in two-year increments for a total of ten years. We will continue to keep you updated as work progresses.

Notes From the Dharma Store

By Diane Lucas

Sometime in the coming winter, date and time yet to be determined, KCC’s dharma store will be hosting a used book sale. You can help by holding on to your used Dharma books, tapes, CDs, and DVDs. If you absolutely need to move them sooner, please let one of us know.

In anticipation of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche’s visit in November, we are working to have many of Rinpoche’s titles available for sale. With a mastery of the English language, borne of the fact that he fled Tibet and learned English in India at a young age, in addition to his grasp of the western mentality and his penchant for story telling, Ringu Tulku’s books make some difficult subjects eminently readable. We have been happy to learn that a number of his books, which have been difficult to obtain, are being reprinted in anticipation of his North American tour and will be available to us before his visit. Several titles already await you in our store, where your purchase helps support KCC.

As always, please feel free to suggest ways we can better serve your needs.

Events in September and Early October

Upcoming events at KCC include some new and some continuing opportunities. Watch the website, www.kcc.org, for updates. For now, here is what is happening:

All events are at KCC Urban Center unless otherwise noted.

Death and Dying Seminar

Eight classes to be held on consecutive Sundays at Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple, beginning in October. Participants are not required to attend every session.

Sundays, October through November 20 - 3:30pm to 5:30pm

October 2, 2016
October 9, 2016

October 16, 2016
October 23, 2016
October 30, 2016

Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple

Led by Chozen Bays (co-abbot and co-founder of Great Vow Zen Monastery and Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple), and by Erik Fromme
Co-taught by Mary Woods and David McWherter

Register through Heart of Wisdom

Young Adult Group

This monthly meeting welcomes the under-40 set to gather and talk about the dharma as it relates to daily life.

Friday, October 7, 2016 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Mandala Practice: Holding the World in the Palm of Your Hand and Letting Go—
Invigorating Your Practice In the Mahamudra Program - Class Four

The fourth and final class in this Mahamudra Program support series, this event will include a prepared teaching on the Mandala practice, Mandala group practice together (rice and mandala set-ups included), an opportunity to share experiences in community, and a ngondro and mahamudra question and answer session.

Saturday, October 8 - 9:00am to 12:00pm
Led by Erik Fromme and Bill Spangle


KCC Mind Training Group

The biweekly Thursday KCC Mind Training Group resumes this month, with Tim Campbell and Zopa Herron co-leading an exploration of the entire Lojong, or Mind Training tradition, including the Seven Points and beyond.

Thursdays, October 13, and 27, 2016 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

SCOL Work Party

Help with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Please bring work clothes, gloves, a water bottle and your own lunch. "Restroom and good vibes provided."

Saturday, October 15, 2016 - 10:00am to afternoon

Board of Directors Meeting

Sunday, October 16, 2016 - 1:30pm to 4:30pm

Newcomers’ Night

This is a great opportunity to stop by KCC, ask questions, and get acquainted with the community, as well as the ways of Tibetan Buddhism as practiced at KCC. If you are new or sort of new or just want the chance to be reintroduced to KCC, please stop by.

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm

Children's Blessing

Lama Michael leads the teachers and community in welcoming children into the KCC sangha and celebrating our community's families. All are welcome.

Sunday, October 30, 2016 - 11:15pm to 12:00pm

For more events, view the KCC calendar.


KCC now streams most events on YouTube at this URL: http://www.youtube.com/user/kccmedia

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