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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 pretty hedge of nandina bushes has sprung up in front of the classroom building, thanks to our own gardener, Monica Schario, who first dug them up in her own yard, then carried them here to plant.

Thank you, Monica!

With cheerful respect and joyful effort, our altar-cleaning team gives the offerings and sacred objects on our altar sparkling a weekly cleaning. Traci Haas-Thompson recently succeeded Heidi Von Ludewig as coordinator of this team, which also includes Siddhi Shonibare, Marcus Horne and Angela Horne.

Thank you all!

Throughout the summer and into the fall, our intrepid lawn crew keeps our lawns trim and tidy. Pushing the mowers weekly are coordinator Scott Miller and the team: Scott, Zak, and Josh Dickerson, Casie Burton, Marianne Hartman, Al Maginnes, Chris Barr, Royden and Orion Saah, Matilda Parker, Lisa, Noah Wright, Keith Ferreira, and Stan Arnold.

Thank you all!

   When we host a visiting teacher, there are many opportunities to help out with numerous tasks big and small. More than four dozen members of our community signed up for specific jobs during Venerable Robina’s visit, and many others kept their eyes open, noticed when things needed doing, and quietly stepped up to get them done. Dedication like this creates the karma to continue receiving the precious teachings from both our dear Geshe Gelek and visiting teachers.              

 Thank you all!


On a brilliant fall Saturday, a dozen-plus Kadampateers set to work sprucing up the center with deep cleaning indoors and weeding, pruning and winterizing gardens outdoors. Many thanks to Jill Marie, Sandi Mitchell, Matt Maurer, Kathleen Newport, Scott Miller, Patrick McGinity, Lisa James, Kim Goll, Barb Baranski, Chris Baranski, Robbie Watkins, Johnny Paul, Joey Gooch, Matilda Parker, Deann Washington.     

Thank you all!

Many hands can make light work of any task. We sent more than 1,000 Annual Appeal letters to our members and friends.  The work went quickly and pleasantly with help from Ali Burke, Susan Daniel, Julia McCollum, Traci Haas-Thompson, Barb Baranski, Jill Marie, Matilda Parker, Lisa James, Stacey Moore, Deann Washington, Elise Strevel, Sandy Carlson, and Susan and Richard Potter.

Thank you all!

We can read along on all the prayers on Sunday mornings, thanks to Sandi Mitchell, who made more than a dozen additional prayer books to go with our new chairs in the gompa. And thanks to Carole Young, who painstakingly sewed new chair covers with prayer book pockets to hold the new books on the new chairs.

Thank you, Sandi and Carole!


One of Noland’s offerings to spiritual practitioners is the hermitage, a tiny one-room retreat cottage tucked into the woods on his farm. The hermitage is  a more inviting place for solo retreat, thanks to Scott Miller, who installed a new composting toilet and solar ceiling lights and also repaired the roof and front door; John Ganzi, who donated a new bed; and John and Sandy Carlson, who carried the bed to the farm from John Ganzi’s home.

 Thank you all!


Spiritual retreat offers an opportunity to go deeper and renew our practice  away from the bustle of daily life. Our Tara retreat depended on the contributions of many people—Sandy Carlson, Karen Mastroianni, David Machles, Elise Strevel, Melinda Yelvington, Barb Baranski, Richard Dell— who volunteered for big roles that included a lot of work before and after the retreat, and our wonderful host, Noland Thuss, who let us take over his house for several days. Big thanks also to all the people on retreat, especially those who come early to help set up and took on the harder or more dirty jobs throughout the retreat.                                         

Thank you all!

Sometimes illness or a hectic schedule keeps us from attending a class — or the class is so profound we want to hear Geshe Gelek again. Thanks to our media master Chris Baranski, all classes are recorded and made available for download from the computer in our lobby area. Thanks also to the many volunteers, especially Ven. Lhamo, Ven. Choekyi and Sarah Brooks—but many others! — who make sure each class is recorded.

Thank you all!


A big round of applause for Kara Weilding for lending her experience and expertise to last week’s performance of Prince Siddhartha. She transformed a few words on a page into a script with acts and scenes, and transformed a group of kids into a cast of characters. And a huge thank you to the Mitra family for providing costumes and stepping in last-minute to fill important roles.

Thank you all!

We celebrated Compassion Day — His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday — this year with art projects for the children and kata offerings in the gompa. Many thanks to David Strevel, Julia McCollum and Erda Estremera for documenting the festivities in photos.

Thank you all!


Our kitchen sink has a new faucet with a spray hose and a water purifying filter. Many thanks Kevin Shanahan for installing the new fixtures so we can offer the purest water on our altar.

Thank you, Kevin!


   Our stupa pinnacle is now gilded in gold, thanks to the kindness of Troy and Mer Stafford (and their daughters Maddy, Maude and Mia), who came down from Maine and volunteered their expertise in the process. They also very kindly opened the offerings to all of us, so that anyone who had sponsored a sheet of gold leaf could make the offering hands-on and establish a close karmic connection with the stupa. Many thanks also to Sarah Brooks for opening her home to the Stafford family, and to Jill Marie and David and Elise Strevel for entertaining their younger daughters during some work days.

Thank you all!


Ever since moving into their home a couple of years ago, Geshe Gelek and Geshe Sangpo have received the loving care of their “Mom” Cherie Sutorus. Cherie helps with appointments, travel reservations, taxes, working with  various bureaucracies and every kind of little errand and assistance they need. Her support allows them to dedicate their time and energy to the Dharma.

Thank you, Cherie!


Our bookstore offers a rich variety of materials for students of Buddhism, from basic introductory texts to detailed discourses on the lamrim. There are books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche as well as many contemporary Buddhist scholars in other lineages. The store also provide books that complement current classes or visiting teachers. Overseeing this wealth of wisdom is our long-time bookstore manager, Dan Brooks.

Thank you, Dan!


When you arrive at Kadampa Center on a Sunday morning, there’s someone there to greet you with a bulletin. If you’re new and want to learn more, or if you want to join Kadampa Center, there’s an orientation to help you. Want to meet others? There’s a social event such as a movie. Got a question, there’s someone who knows the answers. One person may not do all of this, but one person — Sandy Carlson, our membership coordinator — organizes and over-sees all that goes into making Kadampa Center a warm and welcoming place.

Thank you, Sandy!

Several times a week, Julie Cox has been tutoring Geshe Sangpo and two Taiwanese college students who are friends of his, helping them learn English.
Thank you, Julie!

After discovering that a pipe had leaked at Geshe Gelek's house, Stephanie Smith and Son Pham rolled up their sleeves and did a long, messy cleanup.
Thank you, Steep and Son!

When you arrive at Kadampa Center on Sunday mornings, you’ll likely get a cheerful smile from the youngest of our greeters, Layla, who is on hand to give you a bulletin,  get answers to your questions, and help you feel at home.