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.
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.
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.
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—Associate Teacher Bill came to KCC in 1980 after an extended pilgrimage in Ladakh, India and Nepal. Through the 1980s he studied with Lama Thinley Drupa, KCC’s first Resident Lama who was sent to KCC by Kalu Rinpoche. He has continued his studies at KCC with Lama Michael since the 1990s. Bill has received instruction in all the levels of Bokar Rinpoche’s Mahamudra and Yidam Programs and in 1997 took part in a one year retreat based on elements of the Mahamudra Program. He has been assisting with teaching at KCC since then, leading meditation sessions and presenting classes and occasional retreats. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dora DeCoursey, Associate Teacher, is currently on sabbatical.
Zopa Herron—Assistant Teacher Zopa came to the Dharma in 1993 through KCC. She met Venerable Thubten Chodron in 1994 and has followed her from then on, and for 5 years lived in the monastic community at Sravasti Abbey in Washington. In 1999, Zopa took refuge from Lama Michael and the 5 precepts from Geshe Kalsang Damdul. In 2001, she received bodhisattva vows. She has been fortunate to hear teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Geshe Lhundup Sopa, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Yangsi Rinpoche, Khenpo Lodro Donyo and others. In 2009, Zopa took the 8 anagarika precepts for life, as a lay person. Zopa completed the KCC one year retreat in 2014. You can reach her at email@example.com
Erik Fromme—Assistant Teacher Erik Fromme started attending KCC in 1995 during his medical internship atOHSU. The first time he came he met Lama Michael, Bill, Dora, and Kathleen Benz and felt instantly connected. In 1996 he took refuge and attended Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche’s Mahamudra Seminar in Portland. That experience encouraged him to try to integrate his meditation practice with his medical practice and so in 2001 he completed a Schwartz Fellowship in Pastoral Care at Harvard Medical School. Since 2002 he has been a palliative care physician at Oregon Health & Science University and the Knight Cancer Institute, which provides daily opportunities for practice off the cushion. Erik is available for a small number of interviews each month. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Hurlocker—Senior Practitioner Julie came to the Dharma in the late 1980s with Shambhala training. She took refuge in the Karma Kagyu tradition in 1990 with Lama Tashi Namgyal and has been a student of Lama Michael Conklin since 1992 and a member of the KCC community since 1993. She began the Mahamudra Program with Bokar Rinpoche in 1996 and took part in the one year retreat at SCOL in 2013/2014. In 2014/2015 she went to India to begin the Yidam program with Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche. She is grateful to have experienced retreats or teachings with many other wonderful teachers, among them, Thrangu Rinpoche, HH the 17th Karmapa, HH the 14th Dalai Lama, and Alan Wallace. Julie can be reached at email@example.com
Each one of the above practitioners may have slightly different arrangements for interviews—please inquire directly to them by email.
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 several 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!