Home / Blog / COMING HOME – Chapter 2


This is the 2nd chapter in a series of posts called COMING HOME that will be shared between now and mid-October that are written to entertain, maybe inform, spark memories, connect our hearts, and definitely beseech your help to sustain Karmê Chöling through April 30, 2020. Karmê Chöling needs your unrestricted donations now more than ever before.

I hope you enjoy it. If you missed Chapter 1, you can read it here.

Mahalo Nui!
Kit Kanohoaloha Wynkoop
Director of Development

Buddhism had always confounded me despite growing up in Hawaiʻi – a deeply Buddhist-influenced place. I had tried to connect with it numerous times, having sensed it was a deeper path than the plethora of other belief systems I dabbled in. I tried to get through the Buddhist writings I picked out over the previous 20+ years but they didn’t make any sense to me: I wasn’t getting the math (the three of these, the four of those, the eight of other ones, etc.) and the language seemed so foreign. Until reading Heart of the Buddha. I remember thinking, “Who IS this guy?” referring to Trungpa Rinpoche.

Before I knew it, I was researching other books by the author and landed on Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. When the last page of that writing came, I knew I had to meet this man – his words had been in my mind for years.

Devastated that Trungpa Rinpoche was no longer alive, I decided to look further into Shambhala – there was a reference to the organization on the back cover of Cutting. Having scoured the internet, I found the Shambhala Center in Los Angeles and it was offering a Weekthün over Thanksgiving week. Not having any family obligations (or invitations) for the holiday, I registered and flew over from Honolulu to attend.

The program’s Director was Acharya Allyn Lyon. Now, this was a teacher who didn’t hide what she thought. If she felt you were coming from a place other than being authentic, you would learn about it in one fashion or another. I appreciated this quality of hers very much and trusted her because of it.

The program, practice, and Acharya Lyon’s teaching so connected with what I was looking for that I took refuge on the spot that week. My refuge interview with Acharya Lyon lasted an hour. The program staff kept knocking on the door – no doubt, to keep the schedule of other refuge interviews moving – but she would just wave her hand and say, “Eh – they know you’re in here with me.”

Two nights before – on Thanksgiving – I made an offering of dancing a hula. Hula is the ancient and indigenous dance of Hawaiʻi. I grew up in Hawaiʻi and was trained by a hula master then danced hula semi-professionally for 15 years. Needless to say, there weren’t other hulas offered that night. In commemoration, I like to believe, Acharya Lyon gave me the refuge name Changchup Garma, Enlightenment Dancer.

During that refuge interview, I mentioned that I had always been attracted to the idea of monasticism. I then asked Acharya about Gampo Abbey. She urged me to look further into Shambhala first by taking Levels I-V before jumping into the monastic life. Being prone to compulsion – then <wink> – I began researching how I could get through the Levels as efficiently as possible. On the last day of the Weekthün, someone mentioned looking at Karmê Chöling.

Stay Tuned for Chapter 3….


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