January 2023        VOLUNTEER      DONATE      BECOME A MEMBER

Greetings Friend!

In this issue:
  • Upcoming Events
  • Spotlight on Volunteers: Gratitude – Sally Mead and Doug Dunlap
  • Getting to Know Our New ED Liza Baer  John Jennings
  • Canceling SCOL Property Insurance  Jennifer Chang
  • Villages – Judatha Kline and Jon Dickman
  • Bodhisattva Celebration  Mary Woods
  • Three Images in One  Michael Flanagin, photo by Bill Spangle
  • Monthly Quote
  • Events in January
  • Regular Practice Activities

Other contributions by:

  • Lama Eric Triebelhorn
  • Linda Grove
  • Michael Flanagin
  • Doug Dunlap, Editor
Please send suggestions, comments, and other feedback to
• Upcoming Events •

Cultivating Bodhichitta
and Being Chenrezi Retreat

  • When: Thursday, January 26 – Saturday, January 28
  • Where: KCC Portland Center and on Zoom
  • Teacher: Lama Eric Triebelhorn

In Mahayana Buddhism – which includes the Vajrayana – wisdom and compassion are both the ultimate fruition of our practice and the means to accomplish it. In this retreat we will explore their cultivation from the perspectives of both the sutras and tantras.

Learn More


Month of Personal Long Retreat

  • When: Friday, March 3 – Friday, March 31
  • Where: SCOL

We are pleased to announce plans to host our annual one-month opportunity for personal retreat at Ser Chö Ösel Ling, our retreat land in Goldendale, WA. Some may sign up for the entire month and others will come for stays ranging from a weekend to three weeks. Each week of retreat will begin on a Friday.

Learn More
To view more upcoming events, see  • Events in January • section at the end of this newsletter, or go to full calendar on KCC website.
• Spotlight on Volunteers •




Sally Mead and Doug Dunlap

John Jennings has made a huge commitment and many contributions to KCC over the past 15 years. Let us now, in particular, thank him for serving on the Board for eight of those years and as Board President since 2020. His term limit has arrived and, with deep grace, he leaves the Board now.

John found his way to Buddhism as a high schooler, then some years later encountered Kalu Rinpoche and took refuge with him in 1983. After several years living in Chile doing architectural work and building a family, he returned to Portland and joined KCC in 2007. He was central to the team searching for a new urban center. This team demonstrated admirable endurance, and look at the outcome of it – our beautiful Portland Center! Below is a photo of John in the newly acquired urban center when Ringu Tulku provided the initial blessings in 2016. 

John is an advocate for the environment and was instrumental in KCC’s purchase and installation of a state-of-the-art heating and ventilation system. He currently works with Miriam Hammer on the Facilities Team.         

John’s leadership gifts and effectiveness are enhanced by his longstanding commitment to KCC and Buddhist practice, as well as by his wealth of knowledge about KCC history. Here are just a few of the ways that John contributed to the Board during his leadership:

  • He was patient, hardworking, and dedicated to the role of President, always putting in a lot of work behind the scenes, e.g. making phone calls to Board members, consulting with other sangha members, researching pertinent topics, and recruiting new members.
  • Except when away enjoying some outdoor adventure, he was unhesitatingly willing – if needed – to set up and/or attend extra meetings to accomplish Board-related business.
  • He prepared agendas for Board meetings carefully, in close collaboration with others, and with thoughtful attention to how much time each topic might require (a difficult task with a high failure rate but always worthwhile!).
  • He graciously supported a rotating facilitator system for Board meetings which helped ensure that everyone’s voice was heard and responsibility was shared.

We are so thankful for John’s presence and expertise, and appreciate knowing that he will be with us into the future in other creative ways now that he has retired from the Board.

Photos by Sally Mead




Getting to Know
Our New Executive Director Liza Baer

John Jennings


By now, you’ve heard that the Board has hired Liza Baer as Executive Director. Although she is familiar to some KCC members, you may not know much about her, until now. (Please note: Linda Grove will be continuing in her role through the end of February, as Liza does not come on full-time until Feb 20. We plan to honor Linda Grove’s invaluable contributions to KCC in next month's newsletter, so please stay tuned!)

As a millennial with a rich background in environmental science and multiple healing modalities, Liza brings a unique perspective to KCC’s management. As a graduate of the three-year retreat at SCOL, she also has deep experience with profound Kagyu practices. On top of that, she spent the last four years at a sister Dharma center in Ashland, Kagyu Sukha Chöling (KSC), exploring how these teachings can be relevant and accessible to current society.

While at KSC Liza held a leadership position as Associate Lama and was involved in the many aspects of running a Dharma center, from program design to publicity to organizational meetings to hiring office staff. She worked closely with the other staff and teams to create engaging programming for all experience levels, as well as fostering a cohesive sangha through transparent communication and a variety of sangha gatherings. Previously, at KCC, she served as Co-chair of the Retreat Committee organizing retreats and as the on-site manager for a ten-day Mahamudra retreat. This background reflects a breadth of experience with the functioning of a Dharma center and familiarity with KCC, experience which is likely to be an asset in her role as ED. And Liza sees KCC as her spiritual home. 


Liza was born in northern Illinois where she developed an early love of the outdoors and of travel during family holidays to the ocean and around Europe. She began college in Arizona and then transferred to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, where she earned a degree in plant science with a focus on ecology and conservation. She liked the applied aspects more than policy, enjoyed plant people with their quiet hands-on manner, and was particularly interested in the interrelationships of the web of life. Her coursework included two months in Ecuador studying tropical ecology.

After college, she moved to Salt Spring Island, BC, to work as an ecology field assistant. Over the winter, she traveled in Guatemala and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and then spent a month doing a yoga teacher training at Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja, Mexico. She then returned to Salt Spring Island to do another season as a field assistant and volunteered as a Karma Yogi at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga. 

Looking to broaden her experience and skills, Liza spent just over three years at the Pacific Center for Awareness & Bodywork in Kauai, Hawaii, as a student and then as a teacher of massage, anatomy and physiology. Seeking a deeper focus on spiritual life, Liza went on to spend a year in India and Nepal. 

Outside of Dharma practice and work, Liza has a number of interests and hobbies. These include making pottery, kickboxing, hiking and backpacking, and swimming whenever she can. She hopes to set up a small ceramics studio in her new home, which, at the time of this writing, will be in the rolling hills of Corbett just east of Portland. 


As part of the organizational leadership at KSC in Ashland, Liza worked within a “service group” structure and recently participated in the reorganization of the Board of Directors to focus on long term strategy beyond day-to-day operations. She brings to KCC a compatible view to the discussions of strategic planning and structural organization.

Liza’s work plan at KCC will include working with the Board of Directors and Service Group Coordinators to create a timeline for implementing the various stages of the strategic plan, and coordinating efforts to keep the organization on track to meet those goals. She will help foster an environment of inclusivity and empower the Service Groups in their implementation. And she will work to bring all voices forward and encourage both personal reflection and group communication to nurture a diverse, resilient and multi-skilled organizational team. Her Dharma experience gives her a unique voice in outreach to the community, in creating program announcements, and in communicating with volunteers and guest teachers. She also has the technical skills and experience with a wide array of communication technologies. 


“Portland is blessed to have a Dharma center that holds the (Dharma) teachings in such a clear, profound, and accessible way. I applied for the position of Executive Director with a desire to support these teachings both within the organizational culture of KCC and the greater community of interested spiritual seekers.” – Liza Baer

Canceling SCOL Property Insurance


Jennifer Chang,
Treasurer, KCC Board of Directors


During the December 2022 meeting, the KCC Board made the difficult decision to *not* renew the property insurance policy for SCOL, our retreat center near Goldendale, WA. The policy covered property damage for “wildfire” and “all other perils.” The “other perils” covered by the policy include fire (non-wildfire), water, windstorms, snow, and vandalism. The annual premium was exorbitant for a policy that had very high deductibles and coverage limits, mostly for the wildfire coverage which was not a removable portion of the policy. For a severe wildfire scenario, the proposed  insurance policy would not come close to making SCOL “whole” again with its limits and high deductible.  

To be clear, we still have property insurance for KCC’s Portland Center on Skidmore and all other appropriate insurance coverage for staff and volunteers and visitors. 

With respect to SCOL, the board concurred with a finance committee recommendation to set aside $25,000 in the 2023 budget to begin to self-insure. In the coming months, the Board will continue to look for different strategies and property insurance products that offer more value for KCC and SCOL. In the meantime, the Board commends the SCOL team for continuing to identify and implement wildfire mitigation strategies at our beloved retreat center. We encourage sangha members to help the SCOL team by attending work parties, and to develop your own connection to this precious place.

Photos of SCOL by Doug Dunlap


Judatha Kline and Jon Dickman

The Community Life Needs & Care Group developed a Program of Care for KCC. The group’s purpose is to organize an approach for sangha members to give and receive support in times of need as an expression of compassion and bodhichitta. One component of the Program is to promote awareness of Villages, a national care program, as an option for sangha members.

Villages Northwest, our local group of Villages that covers the Portland Metropolitan area, is a member-led community for people over 50. Whereas KCC’s Program of Care provides a way for sangha members to organize and help out when they can, Villages Northwest has the mission, experience, and capacity to provide reliable support to its members. KCC's Bob Wilson researched Villages for us early in the Needs & Care program development phase and shared what he learned about their process and capacity to provide services and follow-up. In consultation with his partner, who is a strong Villages volunteer, Bob supported the Needs & Care Group in promoting awareness of Villages as one component of KCC's Program of Care. 

The mission of Villages is “to create dynamic, intentionally inclusive, caring communities that connect, engage, and support older adults as they maintain active and purposeful lives.” 

Some services they offer are:

  • Social and educational events and activities 
  • Transportation 
  • Light housekeeping and yard work 
  • Friendly visitors  
  • Technology support  
  • Convenience services, errands, pet sitting, etc. 
  • Vendor and contractor screening and recommendations 

Eleven Villages comprise the Portland Metropolitan area. Membership costs average $25 or $45 per month for an individual (depending on the level of membership) and $65 for a couple (less if you pay annually). Costs vary depending on the particular Village. 

Membership in Villages is not accessible for all of us at KCC, but it may be a good option for many in our community or their loved ones.

To learn more go here: Local Villages – Villages NW.

Bodhisattva Celebration

Mary Woods

This year we had a cozy time together at the dharma center, sharing stories, treats, and friendship. I want to take this time to thank everyone who helped make this happen again this year including Peter Wood, our Zoom host and tech support, as well as Kate Rudigier, Judatha Kline, Makiko Oki, and Carolyn Peck who helped decorate and set up for the food and clean up afterwards.

Thanks to our MCs Mary and Anita Petrides for a superb job filling these roles. We had great storytellers and performances too. Lynn McClenahan read A Friend to All with a few folks volunteering to act out the roles. Lama Eric shared two stories with some audience support as well. There was also a little play by the Children's Program (The Wheezewhomp) with the story read by Mary Woods and acted out by kids and adults from the program: Kai and Rainier Warren, Zopa Herron and Carolyn Peck. Judatha Kline treated us to the story of Sukkasiddhi, and there was a spontaneous performance by Rainier Warren who sang "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" with all of us joining in. Thanks also to Miriam Hammer and John Jennings for making sure that the Center was warm and comfortable! And apologies to anyone that I forgot to mention!

All in all it was a fun time sharing holiday cheer. To view the video go here.

Photo by Bill Spangle

Three Images in One

Michael Flanagin

After an evening of viewing images from our mutual travels, Bill Spangle emailed me an image which I found remarkable. It was taken on the grounds of the public hospital of Sant Pau in Barcelona. The hospital was built in the early 1900s to replace a crumbling medieval hospital. The guiding vision of the hospital builders was that modern medical healing would be enhanced in an atmosphere of beauty and openness. Bill described the photograph as "three images in one.” While he originally intended to photograph only one of the elaborate doorways, on closer examination he discovered that the scene included not only the doorway, but the reflection of the hospital wing behind him, and – framed through the entry beyond – were the unfinished towers of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia a half-mile distant. 

Contemplating this photo reminded me of the perennial mystery of ”three-in-one,” whether in the traditional doctrines of the Christian Trinity, the Hindu Trimurti of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer, or the Buddhist Trikaya of Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Dharmakaya. I was delighted to find this mystery could be communicated equally by a modern photograph graced by good fortune and skillful instinct. While he credited "the happy synergy of Dora’s stellar planning and serendipity,” I believe Bill's capture of such a rare image reflects the convergence of right effort with a satori-flash revealing the layered depths that surround our everyday lives. 

"Because I had let mindfulness and other remedies lapse, disturbing emotions arose without my noticing them. Since this troublemaker has now warned me of this, he is certainly an expression of my guru or a buddha. I’m very grateful to him because he has stimulated me to train in bodhicitta.

Or, when illness or suffering comes, think with complete sincerity:
If this hadn’t happened, I would have been distracted by materialistic involvements and would not have maintained mindfulness of Dharma. Since this has brought Dharma to my attention again, it is the guru’s or the Jewels’ activity, and I am very grateful.

To sum up, whoever thinks and acts out of a concern to achieve his or her own well-being is a worldly person; whoever thinks and acts out of a concern to achieve the well-being of others is a dharma person." 

Jamgon Kongtrul, The Great Path of Awakening: The Classic Guide to Lojong (2005, Shambhala Classics), pages 20-21

Submitted by Kate Rudigier

• Events in January •

Upcoming events at KCC, including new and continuing opportunities.
All events will take place on Zoom,
and some events will also take place in person.

Please check the
KCC Website for the most up-to-date information.

Death and Dying Study Group
The Death and Dying Study Group meets the first and third Tuesday of the month, 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm, by Zoom. Here are the topics for the next two meetings:

• Tuesday, January 3, 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm – Discussion of assigned reading: from page 183, "The Four Wisdom Lights," to page 197, end of chapter “Egoless Journey: The Luminous Bardo of Dharmata” in Mind beyond Death by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche.

• Tuesday, January 17, 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm – To be determined.
Participation in this study group is open to all but the Zoom meetings are accessed by password-protected invitation email. Anyone who is interested or has questions can contact Mike Maier at

Monthly Sangha Meeting
• Sunday, January 8, 11:15 am to 12:15 pm
The KCC Sangha Meeting takes place monthly on the second Sunday. It is open to all to ask questions, listen to others, offer suggestions, etc. To see notes from previous Sangha Meetings, go here.

Mind Training Study Group
• Thursday, January 12, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
• Thursday, January 26, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
• Teacher: Tim Campbell

The Mind Training Group is engaged in an in-depth study of the Seven-Point Mind Training using Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche’s book, The Practice of Lojong, as our textbook. 

Newcomers Night
• Thursday, January 19, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
• Teacher: Lama Eric Triebelhorn
This group is intended for individuals who are either unfamiliar with Buddhist practice or are new to KCC. All are welcome and invited to attend.

Equanimity and Inclusion Group
• Saturday, January 21, 10:00 am to noon
• Teacher: Zopa Herron
The Equanimity and Inclusion Group meets monthly to explore becoming allies for full inclusion of all beings without exception, through study, discussion, exercises, meditations and laughter.

Board of Directors Meeting
• Sunday, January 15, 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm
The KCC Board of Directors meets on the third Sunday of every month. Sangha members are welcome to attend.

Karma Cleaners’ Dust Bunny Round Up
• Sunday, January 22, 11:00 am to11:45 am
Every fourth Sunday, join the Karma Cleaners’ Dust Bunny Round Up! 
After practice at KCC, join fellow sangha members to clean and tidy the Portland center from the meditation hall to the basement.

Engaged Buddhism Group
• Sunday, January 22, 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm

• Regular Practice Activities •

All events will take place on Zoom,
and some events will also take place in person.

Please check the KCC Website for the most up-to-date information.

Weekday Morning Meditation
• Monday through Saturday, 7:00 am to 7:45 am

Sunday Shamatha
• Sundays: - Morning from 9:00 am to 11:00 am (except first Sundays) 
                    - Evening from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Includes one hour of practice, a break, and a teaching or question-and-answer period of roughly 45 minutes with KCC teachers.

First Sunday Half-day Sit
• First Sunday of the month, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm:
          - Odd numbered months: Shamatha
          - Even numbered months: Chenrezi

First Sunday's longer program includes several sessions of calm abiding or Chenrezi practice and a question and answer period.

• Wednesdays, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Second, fourth, and fifth Wednesdays in Tibetan, first and third in English.

Green Tara
• Tuesdays, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
First, third, and fifth Tuesdays in Tibetan, second and fourth in English.
Teaching by Lama Eric on second Tuesday.

For more news and other information about our KCC community
please visit our website here:
Our mailing address is:
4936 NE Skidmore  |   Portland, OR   |   97218

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