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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!

Last week’s Potluck and Celebration for Geshe Sangpo was a great success, with so many coming to share in the festivities. Thanks to Venerable Khando, Tim, Kim, Jill Marie, Patti and Hemant, Sandy and John, David and Elise, Christina, Louise, Suzanne, Dwight, Michael, Chris, Anna, Joey, Donna, Octavio and Karen, Ray, and all those who jumped in to help out where help was needed. The food was great and the company was wonderful.
   Thanks to all the old timers and the newbies for making our center such a supportive and caring environment.

   Recently, our dear Sangha blessed many statues and assorted prayer flags and malas for the benefit of some center member’s home practice. Many hands were involved to make this all come together, including Louise and Tim who organized mantra rolling, Chris for his juniper offering, Guillermo for digitalizing mantras,  Christine and Julie for preparing and serving a feast for all the participants, and all those who helped and took part in the event.       
   May all the prayers to the newly consecrated statues be of the highest benefit to all sentient beings.

Our gardens are ready for summer blooms, with new plantings of zinnias, marigolds, asters and other pretties. Check out the hostas and hellebores  lining the north side of the building, creating more beauty for all to enjoy, and notice the nicely pruned bushes by the prayer wheels!
   Big thanks to Joey Gooch and Christine Wiecek for lots of advance prep work as well as work on the day, and to Mike Flaherty, Glen Hunt, Paul Krebs, Julie Quetel, Donna Seese, Elise Strevel and Bill Sweet for their labors of love.

     One of the highlights of Sunday’s teachings is the enthusiastic presence of our youngest generation. The smiles and happy voices joining in to sing
mantras bring many of us great delight. This growing program is staffed by very generous adults who give so freely of themselves to allow parents to participate in the teachings and to provide a Buddhist framework to help the children navigate through their young lives.
     Thanks to Linda Saah for leading a special, all-ages class this past Sunday. She read one of our favorite jataka tales about a turtle who gets into trouble when he talks instead of keeping quiet, and brought live turtles for fun and education, including caring for our animal friends.
     Thanks to Vincent Batts and Shannon Blackwood for caring for our younger friends during this time and helping six of our preschoolers enjoy class with Linda. Thanks to Virginia Maier, Jennifer Sanford-Johnson, Sue Stern, and David Kiker who all assisted with our very full class, ensuring a delightful morning.      
A big thanks to everyone connected to our wonderful children’s program!                                                                                                                        

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. Currently, Louise Miller is graciously doing this offering.
   Thank you Louise!

   Recently, Geshe Gelek led a Chenrezig Mani Retreat at the center, during which, more than twenty-three participants recited over 111,413 mantras together while thinking positive thoughts.
   Geshe-la said that there's no doubt that because we did these mantras, it will definitely help our community and Kadampa Center - when people practice and attend the center, it for sure makes a positive difference.
   Geshe-la hopes we will do another Mani retreat next year, and make this a regular practice to help our center.
   Thanks so much to all who participated and to those who helped organize and run this wonderful retreat, including Tim Powell for
organizing the potluck, Brian Dyer for media and water bowls, and Sarah Brooks for coordinating.

   A big thanks this week to our accountant, Christine Allen, for balancing our books, paying our bills, reimbursing our members, and working diligently with others to bring the Center up to date with some new programs that will be very helpful in the long run.
   Thanks Christine for putting your heart into all you do!

   On a recent Saturday night, our center was filled with wonderful sounds and deep feelings of goodwill, as an interfaith group supporting Habitat for Humanity came together to raise funds and awareness for building projects in Wake County. So much goes into putting on a show like this, both behind the scenes and on the stage and we would like to thank all of those who had a part, big or small, in sharing this with us.
   Thanks to Elise and David Strevel, Sandy and John Carlson, Suzi Boehm, Pat Long, Michael Flaherty, Joey Gooch, Sarah Brooks, Robbie Watkins, Dan McFarland, Renee Revaz, Triangle Alliance Choir, One Human Family, Mary Callan Kelso & Michael Raul Perez from Liz LaBelle’s Music Studio, and everyone who came out to take part in our second annual Harmony for  Habitat event.

   A big thanks to Kim Lillig, our Membership Team Leader, for all of her efforts, including the production of a beautiful, updated Membership Handout.

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.