Kagyu Changchub Chuling seal   Newsletter — December 2016
Greetings, !

In this festive month, we have so much to celebrate - a just-completed successful and rewarding visit by Ringu Tulku, a new urban center, the plan to hire our first full-time employee, and our upcoming gatherings.  We report on this and more in our December newsletter.

Enjoy this issue and let us know how we can improve this offering and allow it to better serve our community.  

With Gratitude

This month we offer gratitude to Ringu Tulku for his generous and enlightening presence with our sangha in November. The benefits of his teachings and blessings will ripple through KCC for years to come.

We offer special gratitude also to the 29 volunteers who worked so joyfully on the many events that filled Rinpoche’s schedule; especially Rosemarie Sweet, who graciously led the organizing committee; Bill Spangle and Dora DeCoursey, who made the connections and preparations that facilitated Rinpoche’s visit; Charlotte Kangas, who cooked for Rinpoche; Lynn McClenahan, who made all the arrangements with the Unitarian Church; Ryan Fitz and Linda Besant, who handled publicity and managed so many details expertly. All of us who will make use of audio recordings of Rinpoche’s teachings also express our gratitude to Ryan Parsons, who so skillfully recorded each session.

In This Issue

With Gratitude

New Urban Center

Ringu Tulku Visit

Project Management Coordinator Hire

Annual Sangha Meeting

Milarepa Thangka

Bodhisattva Night

Dharma Store

Events Update

DONATE

SUSTAIN

VOLUNTEER


John Jennings,
Linda Besant,
Linda Logan,
Mary Woods,
Sanje Elliott,
Deborah Brink-Wohrmann,
Tim Campbell,
Rosemarie Sweet, and
Ryan Fitz contributed to the production of this newsletter.

Crossing the Goal Line:  New Urban Center Update

By John Jennings

A new era begins. The New Urban Center Committee has satisfactorily answered the three key questions –
1) Will the building accommodate our needs?
2) Can we accept the condition of the building?
3) Can we afford the repairs and renovation work it might need?

With these answered, the Board approved proceeding with the purchase! And on December 2 we closed on the deal. The two final details, the decommissioning of the oil tank by the seller and transfer of funds by KCC into the escrow account, were resolved just days before closing.

The answers to the questions, as expected, are conditional – things are rarely perfect.  We have found that the building, with minor alterations, will meet our space needs well enough. We have determined that the general condition of the building is such that, with some efficient skilled work and some new equipment, like a modern heating and cooling system, it can indeed be safe and comfortable.

As to whether we can afford the repairs and renovation--there are two parts to that question.  First of all, what will it cost?  The New Urban Center technical subcommittee has been working hard to identify the most critical work and estimate the costs.  Exact numbers will only become available as we gather bids for the work.  Whether we can afford them or not will depend on how much we receive for the sale of 73 NE Monroe St. and what funds we can raise to add to the amount already in our capital account from previous donations.  What is clear is that we have sufficient funding to carry out some of the most critical tasks, yet we still need more to achieve the minimum level of renovation the committee recommends at this time.

The Committee is now shifting its focus to the building work and the next task is to plan the construction activities so they can be done as the funds become available. Essential work prior to move in comes first, essential work after move in next, then desired work after that. The work could change as we succeed in raising additional funds. It would be ideal to complete as much of the essential work as possible prior to move-in.

The planning, design and construction phase ahead of us is expected to take four to six months, depending on availability of funds and volunteers. So we will not be moving out of Monroe Street for a while yet. Nonetheless, anticipate a lot of hustle and bustle as planning unfolds.

Linda Logan will guide the subcommittee working on selling Monroe Street and Adele Hilsen has stepped up to lead the move-out and move-in effort. Hats off to both of them! A number of volunteers have already offered to help with the physical labor and skilled carpentry needed for the construction work.  An interior design work group is being formed to work with an architect.

If you are interested in helping in any of these areas, please contact me.

Reflections on Dharma Talks by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Thanksgiving Week

By Deborah Brink Wohrmann

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche says most dharma happens in daily life. "The real practice is living in the world," he said. We need to realize how we impact another person all the time, he emphasized. "If I'm laughing, you laugh. If I'm crying, you cry."

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche has a way of telling stories and speaking that invited me to smile at my own awkwardness rather than squirm in embarrassment. I appreciated his kind presence, his clear sharing, and also appreciated those bold and generous members of the audience who asked questions. A highlight that evening was when a woman asked about her frequent feelings of anger.

"What makes you so angry?" he asked her.

The woman gave a similar response to what I might have said: she becomes angry when she feels she has been treated unfairly, insulted, or left out. She gets upset by what someone says or does, or when she feels slighted.

Here is when Rinpoche introduced the problem of expectations: "Our expectations cause us to want to be treated differently than how we are treated," he said. "But people have their way and we can be grateful for how they offer what they offer: It is their way."

"I love to eat," he said. "I'm one of those people who lives to eat, but when I'm in Germany the people are working so hard they forget to eat lunch or dinner. . . and they feed me thin slices of dark bread and some cheese. . . I could feel insulted, but this is also what they are eating. It is their way."

I was laughing so hard with a slice of my mother-in-law's pumpernickel bread in my mind's eye! My husband and friend were next to me and also laughing because they knew about my experience of going hungry in Germany! On my first visit, I didn't much like this bread, but now we sometimes make it at home because we miss it between visits to my husband's family.

Another story told was about a young woman in Maine who was anxious and depressed. She was having a real hard time of it, and then one day she backed her pickup truck into a very expensive car while at the gas station.

"I'm so sorry!" she said to the older woman who emerged from the driver's seat of the expensive car. "I will call the police," said the young woman.

"No need for that," said the older woman. "Just give me your phone number. This is no big deal. I will call you in a few days."

The young woman was so surprised and grateful. "Thank you," she said.

In a few days the older woman called and told her she had not yet found anyone to fix her car for a reasonable price. "They want $2000, and that's too much. I will call you when I find a better offer."

Another week passed, and the old woman called again. "I have found someone who will fix my car for only $500. If you have money you can pay for this repair, but if you don't, don't worry about it. It's no big deal," said the old woman.

The young woman had no insurance. She had been out of work and she was struggling in every way.

"Soon her anxiety and depression lifted. She felt so much better," Rinpoche said. One person's kindness and generosity helped another person to overcome her dark feelings.

It is good to be reminded in such concrete terms of how I can impact another's life. The older woman driving her fancy car could have been furious. She could have called the police. She could have also done what she did but in a way that left the young woman feeling guilty and anxious. But this wise woman showed such love and understanding that it helped a stranger to heal.

I appreciated how Rinpoche, throughout the weekend, reminded me to develop my capacity to be patient and act wisely, with compassion. Rinpoche's comments on anxiety and depression also stay with me. "In the West people have freedom, but this lead them to expect so much of themselves. They want to be the best at everything... So maybe the problem isn't that a person doesn't love herself enough but that she loves herself too much but expects to be different from how she is."

And when the topic of post-election fears came up, Rinpoche suggested that we act as we need to act. "If we can do something to improve a situation, do it," he said. We need to remember the part about doing something, 'Don't worry, do something." I'll continue to ask myself, "What is it I can do?" And how will I contribute to growing peace, including all beings in my family?

KCC Seeks a Full-Time Project Management Coordinator

After decades of successful volunteer effort, KCC is ready to employ a full-time Project Management Coordinator (PMC) to assist the Board of Directors in managing an organization of our current complexity. This is a significant milestone for our community, concurrent with our move to a new Urban Center.

We seek a full-time management coordinator who will oversee the work of KCC’s multiple volunteer administrative and Dharma-related committees; who is excited by the challenges facing this community and will play a major role in helping us meet them; who enjoys supporting others to organize their work; who loves to set up systems and build volunteer support structures; and who can call on the paramita of patience when working in an organization that is undergoing substantial change and will still be 90% volunteer-run.

We seek applicants with the following core competencies: Strong verbal and written communication skills; excellent interpersonal skills; volunteer management; planning and project management for an organization; leadership and independent judgment; computer skills in word processing and data management; knowledge of financial reports and budgets.

This is a 40 hrs/week position. Work hours will be flexible to accommodate evening and weekend meetings and events. The position is salaried, including support toward health care benefits.

To receive a full job description, please email Linda Besant. We request a letter of intent, resume and three references by December 9th. We will schedule personal interviews and request a writing sample from selected applicants, with the hiring decision to occur in January.

Annual Sangha Meeting At Our New Home

By Tim Campbell, Board President

It is our great joy to inform you that we will be having our 2016 Annual Sangha Meeting at KCC’s new home, on Friday, December 9th, starting at 7:00 pm! What could be a better cause for celebration?

Keeping what is most important at the fore, we will begin and end our meeting by practicing together. In between practicing together, we will be able to explore the new building and see and feel the possibilities for our new Dharma center. We will have estimates of costs for repairs and upgrades, and hope that the spirit will move all of us to pitch in with funds and volunteer efforts to help get everything ready so we can move in quickly. While we bask in the glow of our new home, we will be re-capping a momentous year, re-visiting our strategic goals, looking toward the future, and spending time together appreciating one another.

In honor of achieving this milestone in Lama Michael’s life as our Resident Lama, bring sweet or savory pie to share. And remember, we will have owned the building for only two days—there will not be anything there except a couple of tables and lots of church pews. The heat will not even be working, so dress in layers and plan to keep them on, and bring your own plates, cups and utensils.

See you at 4936 NE Skidmore on December 9th, 7:00 pm!

Milarepa

By Sanje Elliott

Milarepa was the fourth person to hold the Kagyu lineage. His teacher was Marpa Lotsawa, the translator. He is perhaps one of the most famous of Tibetan Yogis for his realization and his ability to transmit the Dharma in melodious and poetic phrases.

When Milarepa was quite young his father died, leaving Mila, his sister and mother at the hands of his father’s brother.  This brother, instead of caring for his family, took all their money and possessions and they were forced to become servants. Milarepa’s mother convinced the young boy that he should learn sorcery when he was old enough in order to get revenge on his evil uncle.

Mila’s black magic was strong enough to bring storms upon his uncle’s house, causing 35 people to die. Word spread of this power and Milarepa suffered, knowing he had caused so much destruction. He vowed to find a great teacher who could purify his negative karma. He finally found Marpa, who kept Milarepa busy for years building towers and tearing them down, until finally Mila was redeemed of his evil deeds, and was able to take empowerments and teachings and eventually to live the life of a wandering yogi in the mountain forests. The book that tells of his life as a cotton-clad hermit is called “The One Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa.”

(Thangka by Ben Barta, click to enlarge)

Bodhisattva Night — Saturday, December 17

Join us for an evening of stories and other offerings depicting and celebrating Bodhisattvas in all their incarnations. We would love to have your presence and participation. So start thinking of your own story to share as we gather community members, families and friends for this annual holiday get-together.

This will be our last chance to decorate our Monroe Street center in its holiday finery! Bring a holiday treat to share. Contact Mary Woods with questions or to volunteer.

Dharma Store Treats For the Holidays

By Linda Logan

The Dharma store may surprise you this holiday season. There will be baked goods for sale from master cooks in the sangha and small, squishy pillows for a knee or neck or even to sit on in a pinch.

We will still have all the great books from our lineage, malas, and White Tara journals, plus an array of other wonders. Perhaps this is the year to have bowls on your shrine, or a buddha you have been thinking about.

Consider a gift of the just arrived Sacred Images of Tibet 2017 wall calendar, painted by Ben Barta, a student of KCC’s own thangka painter Sanje Elliott.

Remember - each time you purchase from KCC, you bring benefit twice, once to you and once to KCC.

Events in December

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.

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, December 2, 2016 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

All-Day Sit: Chenrezig

Resident Lama Michael Conklin provides detailed instruction on the practice of Chenrezig on alternating first Sundays from 9:00am to noon. Following a potluck lunch, there is a question-and-answer session from 1:30pm to 2:45pm, and then a last session of meditation ending at 4:00pm.

Sunday, December 4, 2016 - 9:00am to 4:00pm


KCC Mind Training Group

Tim Campbell and Zopa Herron co-lead an exploration of the entire Lojong, or Mind Training tradition, including the Seven Points and beyond.

Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Thursday, December 22, 2016 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm


Tonglen Practice Day

Using the three wisdoms of study, contemplation and meditation, Zopa Herron will lead an exploration of tonglen (giving and taking), a powerful practice of wisdom and compassion. Open discussion included.

Saturday, December 10, 2016 - 9:00am to 3:00pm

REGISTER


Bodhisattva Night

 

Join us for an evening of stories and other offerings depicting and celebrating Bodhisattvas in all their incarnations. An opportunity to share stories and gather with community members, families and friends in an annual holiday get-together.

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Board of Directors Meeting

Sunday, December 18, 2016 - 1:30pm to 4:30pm


New Year's Retreat 2016-2017 With Refuge Ceremony

A short, two-day retreat providing participants with an opportunity to learn how to meditate using a few of the many Calm Abiding (Zhinay) methods available, to explore in open discussion how we can carry this meditation into our daily affairs and, vice versa, our daily affairs into our meditation.

Saturday, December 31, 2016 - 9:00am to 4:00pm
Sunday
, January 1, 2017 - 9:00am to 3:30pm
Refuge Ceremony: Sunday, January 1 - 4:00pm - 6:00pm

REGISTER

Read more about the refuge ceremony on the New Year's Retreat webpage.
 


Streaming

KCC now streams most events on YouTube at this URL: http://www.youtube.com/user/kccmedia
Remember:  If shopping on Amazon, please shop Smile.Amazon.com with KCC as your charity of choice. It’s an easy way to support KCC!


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