Celebrating Another Year of Dharma at KCC!

December 21, 2023

As we come to the close of 2023, we are reflecting on the many
dharma activities that occurred at KCC this year.

New Buddha statue at the Portland Center.

The hallmark of the year is the arrival and consecration of the Buddha Statue at the Portland Center! Envisioned by Sanje Elliott in 2017 when KCC purchased the new urban center, Sanje found a sculptor in Kathmandu, Nepal, who designed and created our new six foot statue of the Buddha cast in bronze. In July, the head chant master from Bokar Monastery, Umze Chopel, came to KCC to help fill the statue with mantras and many sacred relics and to lead an initial consecration. Many thanks to Bill Spangle, Steve Parker, Noel Adams and many others who built the beautiful alcove where the Buddha now resides!

Click to watch a video of the Buddha’s journey!

Umze Choepel holds the life pole that resides in the center of the statue.

Strategic Plan

Another significant accomplishment is the completion of the 2024-2029 Strategic Plan. Begun in 2022 with a gathering of input from the sangha, this year Christine Rontal facilitated two sangha listening sessions along with multiple individual and small group interviews. She then facilitated a group retreat to synthesize this material and pull the various threads together. Jennifer Chang, Liza Baer, and Lama Eric Triebelhorn then worked to turn this input into a working plan with four pillars of goals and strategies that will support the longevity and continuation of the dharma at KCC. Liza Baer then facilitated a Leadership Retreat in October that both connected and inspired our leadership and pulled forward a list of action items that we can use to begin implementing the new strategic plan.

Group discussion during the October Leadership Retreat at SCOL.

Guest Teachers

This year we had the good fortune to receive teachings and empowerments from many wonderful guest teachers. Lama Tsang Tsing from KDC in Eugene gave empowerments on Vajrasattva, Chenrezi, and Green Tara in July. Ringu Tulku Rinpoche visited us in October and taught on the Bodhisattva path. Lama Sarah Harding joined us via Zoom to discuss the challenging topic of misconduct in dharma teachers. Venerable Yönten from Maitripa gave a fabulous teaching on bodhichitta and its practice. Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa from Prajna Fire led us in two inspiring Sunday morning practices and discussions.

Lama Tsang Tsing offers a khata to a participant who just took the Refuge Vow.

Ser Chö Ösel Ling

Our retreat land SCOL saw many retreats this year, including the annual Personal Practice Retreat, a weekend of tonglen, a 10-day retreat on cultivating compassion and revealing wisdom, and a mahamudra shamatha retreat with Lama Sonam from Eugene. The KCC Children’s Program gathered for a delightful weekend together at SCOL over Memorial Day weekend, and sangha members Debra & Kate led a creative poetry play weekend. This summer, several people gathered under the stars to watch the Perseid meteor shower, sharing meals and good company. Our staff painted many of the cabins and buildings, keeping everything weatherproof and looking good. In October, a group of volunteers planted native plants inside the cloisters and around the main building. After much research and consultation, we also completed the SCOL Use Agreement to open the retreat center to external dharma communities to host group retreats.

Patricia & Cheri water a new native planting inside the SCOL north cloister.

Bokar Rinpoche’s Mahamudra Seminar

Lama Eric Triebelhorn hosted the longstanding Bokar Rinpoche Mahamudra Program at SCOL, created by Bokar Rinpoche in 1992 for students to have a clear path to deepen their dharma practice and understanding. In November, Lama Eric and a group of sangha members went to Mirik Monastery in India to participate in the Mahamudra Program with Khenchen Lodrö Dönyo Rinpoche and Yangsi Bokar Rinpoche, receiving critical teachings and empowerments related to the path of mahamudra and connecting with the heart of the lineage.

Yangsi Bokar Rinpoche and Khenchen Lodro Donyo Rinpoche during
the Mahamudra Seminar at Mirik Monastery in India.

Community Events

We also had many community gatherings, from learning TaKeTiNa with Linda Grove to enjoying Hearts of the Dulcimer with sangha member Patricia Delich and her husband Wayne. We sang for peace and in fun(d)raising for KCC at this year’s Blooming Lotus and joined together to play Buddhist Bingo. We gathered to celebrate Pride Month with rainbow cupcakes and a community movie screening, and to celebrate the birthdays of Lama Michael Conklin and his wife Tara.

Celebrating Lama Michael’s and Tara’s birthdays at the Portland Center.

Thank you for making 2023 such a rich year at KCC!

As we turn the clock towards 2024, KCC will enter a second year of capacity-building. Several years ago a generous sangha member left a bequest to KCC, which we designated as a board reserve fund to use for special projects. In 2023, we began drawing from this fund to support the expanding of our office staff. In 2024, we will continue to draw from this fund with the aspiration to increase our membership, fundraising, and programming to support this additional staff. If our revenue does not increase to cover expenditures, we will need to identify how to reduce spending in 2025. Our Finance Team has created a letter to share details of our budget and financial picture for 2023-2024, which you can read by clicking here.

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Extending gratitude to you for your practice,
your volunteer efforts, and your financial support!

Your support means everything to us!

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche teaches on the bodhisattva path at the Portland Center.