Venerable Lama Lodru Rinpoche began giving Buddhist teachings in Eugene, Oregon, in the late 1970s. These teachings were sponsored by students living in Marcola, where Lama Lodru’s home center in San Francisco, Kagyu Droden Kunchab (KDK), had purchased land for a future retreat.
In 1980, Pema Clark attended a weekend of Lama’s teachings and took refuge at that time. A year later, Yeshe Parke and Norma Cordell took refuge with Lama Lodru as well, and the three women offered to sponsor his future teachings in Eugene at their place of business, the Eugene Center for the Healing Arts (ECHA).
In December, 1981, Lama Lodru gave teachings and the refuge vow, and these events were attended by many. During this visit, Lama asked if the Eugene group would be interested in hosting a visit by His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche, the head of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage. The response was resoundingly positive. In ensuing visits, Lama Lodru gave the Chenrezig initiation and instruction. Weekly meditations began, and Kalu Rinpoche sent a name to the group: Kagyu Sukha Chöling.When His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche came to Eugene in November, 1982, over 300 people attended a teaching on “Love and Compassion” and a Chenrezig initiation. Rinpoche explained Kagyu Sukha Chöling’s name at that time: Literally translated as Place of Blissful Kagyu Dharma, the name also refers to Sukhasiddhi, an enlightened woman teacher and a source of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage. Therefore, an alternative translation is Sukhasiddhi’s Place of Kagyu Dharma.
During Rinpoche’s visit, Lama Lodru requested that Pema, Norma, and Yeshe act as directors of KSC under his guidance. KSC was to be housed within, though separate from ECHA.
From 1982 to 1985, KSC held weekly meditations of Chenrezig and Green Tara, and hosted Lama Lodru Rinpoche’s teachings and empowerments three or four times a year. From 1985 to 1988, KSC hosted Lama Tsang Tsing (who was leading the KDK Three Year Retreat in Marcola) for weekly Chenrezig and Mahakala meditations; sponsored Lama Tsang Tsing’s and Lama Lodru’s teachings (each twice a year); aided in site preparation of the retreat in Marcola; and hosted lineage masters such as His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche, His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, and Very Venerable Dezhung Rinpoche.
In 1988, a residential center was begun in Eugene at the wish of Lama Tsang Tsing and given the name Kagyu Dakshang Chöling by H. E. Kalu Rinpoche. As there was no need for two lineage centers in one town, Kagyu Sukha Chöling at Lama Lodru’s advice, “went to sleep for a while.”
In 1999, toward the close of their three-year retreat, Lama Lodru Rinpoche requested that Lama Pema and Lama Yeshe awaken KSC in a new location, and Ashland, Oregon was chosen. During his first teaching visit to Ashland, Lama Lodru met with the board of directors and advised that it was time for the center to have a home. Soon afterwards, Kagyu Sukha Chöling was installed at 147 Granite Street, an older home across from Lithia Park in Ashland.
Since that time, classes and meditations have been held regularly at the center. Venerable Lama Lodru Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche have taught at KSC, and the sangha looks forward to many future visits of lineage lamas.