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Merit Makers

Every week, there are seen and unseen heroes that help keep Kadampa Center running.
Here are just a few!

A big thanks to all the folks who helped make our movie night a success by popping popcorn, selling tickets, setting up, organizing, advertising, operating the technical sysyems, cleaning up, and attending.
   Thank you Elise Strevel, Sarah Brooks, Chris Baranski, Christine Allen, Sandy Carlson, Jackie and Jim Scott, David Strevel, Kim Lillig, Jim Barnes, Jim and Cherie Sutorus and everyone who came out to share in the fun and inspiration of the Dalai Lama Double Feature.

There is a good chance that any question you could think to ask about the Center could be answered by one person, Donna Seese. For many years, Donna has been the glue that has held the Center together and helped everyone to know where things were, how things worked, when things were happening, and why. Yes, Donna has done it all for the Center and continues to be the source of inner working  details, as well as the official Assistant Spiritual Coordinator.

Thank you so much Donna!

Discovering Buddhism students arrive on Monday nights to a center that is warm and well-lit, with the gompa ready for class, registration and hand-out materials ready for anyone who needs them, and a friendly face to greet them at the door.
   All this is thanks to our DB program assistant, Joanna Smith.

Our Discovering Buddhism series couldn't exist without the dedicated work of our DB teachers, Don Brown, Shankha Mitra, Steep Smith and Robbie Watkins. They bring the depth and breadth of their knowledge and experience to this two-year course, helping newer students of Buddhism deepen their own understanding. For many years, they have committed 10-12 Monday nights a year to leading DB classes -- what amazing kindness!

Our Spiritual Director Lama Zopa Rinpoche has advised all FPMT centers to do Sur Offering Practice daily in order to be successful. This practice involves the mixing of ingredients and the burning of a food offering to create an aroma offering. It is possible for a student to do the practice on behalf of an entire center and that is exactly what some dedicated volunteers have been engaged in over the  last several months. Committing to a month at a time, Sarah Brooks, Lee Clark, Herb Cunningham, and Venerable Choekyi have quietly done this practice daily for the benefit of our wonderful center. Thank you all so much!

For many years, Monday mornings in the office have been brightened and lightened by the help of Susan Daniel, who is both handy with tools and an excellent organizer. For an hour or two every week, Susan turned her hand to whatever needed doing --  sometimes organizing and cleaning out cabinets, sometimes painting, fixing or building a needed item, sometimes helping with paperwork. Her quiet contribution has been a great asset to Kadampa Center.
Thank you, Susan!

We are very fortunate to have a library on site with so many wonderful resources. There are books, CDs and DVDs that cover a range of topics to suit a variety of  interests available to all members of the center. For more than ten years, one dedicated volunteer has been managing all this inventory and helping seekers find the right material for them.
   A big thanks to Liz Rourke for all her time and joyful effort.

A very big thanks to two very hard working women, Jackie Scott and Susan Potter whose consistent and sustained effort provides the center with a firm foundation in membership, both now and moving forward. Their deep commitment to the center is outstanding and greatly appreciated.
  Thanks also to those offering them support and guidance along the way, including Donna, John, and Son among others.

  Have you ever found yourself marveling at Kadampa
Center’s beautiful altar? Not only rich in meaning, but also a glowing, glittering feast for the eyes with glistening water bowls, luminous lotuses, and radiant Holy Beings. Behind the scenes, a crew of cleaners comes in weekly to chase off any dust and debris so the rest of us may enjoy the altar’s vast splendor.
Thanks so much to Traci, Guy, Jaya, Christine, and Deann.

It is such a delight to see Geshe-la’s smiling face come through the door, so a special thanks goes out this week to the person in charge of getting him to the Center on time. Karen Mastroianni heads up a team of volunteers that have the privilege of driving our precious teachers to and from the teachings. Not only does Karen kindly and gracefully deal with her team, but she also steps in very often and sometimes very last minute, as needs arise. So thanks so much to Karen for her generosity, patience, and grace under pressure.

Our Holiday Potluck was a smashing success thanks to all of you! We were blown away by your participation. So many folks brought food, so many stayed to enjoy the company of their friends and many new friends were made. The food was fantastic and the pleasure of having the center filled with good cheer was truly wonderful.
  Thanks so much to Timothy Powell for arriving early, leaving late and being so quick to come up with  solutions  for the best problem a potluck could have– lots of food and guests!
  Thanks also to all those who jumped in to arrange more seating and to those who stayed around to clean up after all the fun and to everyone who helped where they saw a need.

As our beloved teacher Geshe Gelek often reminds us, this center belongs to each of us. It can be easy to overlook that our precious center periodically requires its windows cleaned , its floors swept and its toilets scoured, but a kind team chose to spend their Saturday morning scrubbing our cherished center clean with Jill Marie leading the way. Due to their hard work, we can focus on the precious teachings in a clean and comfortable environment.
                           Thank you so much to all the cleaning helpers:
           David and Elise Stevel, Louise Miller, Lee Clark and Suzy Boehm.

What does Dharma have to do with dinner? Quite a bit, as it turns out! Every first Friday, and the occasional Saturday, a group of folks meets in our lobby to explore mindfulness in relation to food, and how to make this mundane daily activity an opportunity for mindfulness and practice.
   Many thanks to Denise Flora for having the inspiration and generosity to create and offer Food for Thought.

   The Maitreya Loving Kindness Tour touched so many of us so deeply. Thanks very much to Ven. Norbu and Amanda Karg for bringing the Relics here and to Sarah Brooks and Ven. Choekyi for organizing and staying on top of things. Thanks to our venerable nuns for offering us blessings with the Relics, all the sponsors, all the volunteers, all the visitors, and all those who have worked to make this tour a reality and bring this experience of the Buddha's love and blessings to our doorstep.
   How amazingly fortunate we all are!

Thanks to all who attended the Gratitude Party and rejoiced in the selfless service offered by many to our wonderful community. A big thanks to Jill Marie and Denise Flora for providing the lovely music. We also are very grateful for Sandy, Dan and Hannah DeMaio Newton, Miranda Benson, and Kunsang Choephel for coming in early to do setup. And then a number of the party goers helped with the cleanup - so kind of all of them!

Potluck lunches provide a great way for us to get together casually and get acquainted. Thanks so much to Tim Powell, our Potluck
Coordinator,  and Sandi Mitchell, our sponsor, for making our latest potluck a great success. Thanks also to Clarissa, Kim, Joey, Becca, and everyone who brought food, jumped in to help, and shared in the day’s festivities.

                                                   Merit Makers
A team of folks helped make the lovely new prayer books in the gompa a  reality - Dan Brooks for selling earlier editions in the bookstore to raise initial funds; Jim and Jackie Scott for putting stickers of Kadampa Center prayers inside; Royden Saah for writing a Merit Box grant that helped buy more    copies; and Tim Powell for putting them all out in the gompa. Also a big thanks to Sandi Mitchell for her generosity and time making so many of the white books we have used for many years, and that are now being given for free (while supplies last) to students to use to benefit their home practice. What an amazing gift for all of us!

Our Kadampa Bookstore serves the community in so many ways! Not only does it provide valuable resources for study and practice, it also provides financial support to our Center. The store now has a new management team that combines expertise in books and retail items with business and administrative experience. Look for great things from our bookstore team,
                      Jim and Cherie Sutorus, Dan Brooks and Kolleen Mitchell!

     We are blessed with three dedicated nuns who serve our community in so many ways, so quietly. Among them, Ven. Lhamo, Ven. Khando and Ven. Choekyi support Geshe-la during teachings, lead prayers and pujas, organize volunteers, keep our prayer list, lead classes, serve on various committees, and benefit us in innumerable ways.
                               Thank you, Lhamo-la, Khando-la and Choekyi-la! 

The Robert Thurman event proved to be a hugely successful and entertaining evening  thanks in no small part to all the fantastic volunteers who helped out in so many ways, including  selling tickets, greeting a multitude of guests, setting up, cleaning up, selling books, planning and filling in all the gaps in between to create a seamlessly produced presentation. Thanks to the Inspiring Generosity Committee for their tireless efforts in bringing us this highly entertaining , beneficial, and very well attended program.
     May all this merit bring many more wonderful teachers like Robert Thurman our way.