Group Leaders’ Biographies

Kathleen Herron
Kathleen Herron (now known as Karma Zopa) began to focus on the Dharma in 1993 through Kagyu Changchub Chuling in Portland, Oregon. She was a mediator and adjunct professor teaching Conflict Resolution. From 1994 onward, she attended at least two Buddhist retreats per year. Reading widely in the Dharma, Kathleen met Ven Thubten Chodron in 1994 at Cloud Mountain Retreat Center and has followed her ever since.

In 1999, Kathleen took Refuge and the 5 precepts from Geshe Kalsang Damdul and from Lama Michael Conklin, receiving the precept name, Karma Zopa Hlamo. In 2000, she took Refuge precepts with Ven Chodron and received the Bodhisattva vows the next year. For several years, as Sravasti Abbey was established, Kathleen served as co-chair of Friends of Sravasti Abbey. She has been fortunate to hear teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Geshe Lhundup Sopa, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Geshe Jampa Tegchok, Khensur Wangdak, Yangsi Rinpoche, Geshe Kalsang Damdul, Dagmo Kusho and others.

From 1975-2008, Kathleen engaged in social services in Portland in a number of roles: as a lawyer for people with low incomes, an instructor in the law and conflict resolution, a family mediator, a cross-cultural consultant with Tools for Diversity and a coach for executive directors of non-profits.

In January 8, 2008, Kathleen moved to Sravasti Abbey for a six-month trial living period and shortly thereafter, she began using her refuge name, Karma Zopa. In May 24, 2009, Zopa took the 8 anagarika precepts for life, as a lay person. Zopa lived at Sravasti Abbey until March, 2013 when she began a one year retreat through Kagyu Changchub Chuling. Zopa offers teachings on the Dharma. In transition from the one year retreat, Zopa currently resides in Portland, regularly attends teachings and meditations at Kagyu Changchub Chuling and happily shares the Dharma at STBC, at the request of Geshe Kalsang Damdul.
Karma Zopa,

You see, the Buddha taught that anytime you voluntarily let up control, cease to cling to yourself, you have access to a tremendous strength and energy . . . this is because you’ve been wasting that energy all the time in a form of self-defense, and the moment you stop doing that, all that wasted energy becomes available.
Mark Winwood, Chenresig Project

Catherine Wilson
I came to Tibetan Buddhism in a month-long retreat at FPMT’s Vajrapani Institute in Boulder Creek, CA in the summer of 1981, which was led by the great Lama Zopa Rinpoche, with Geshe Gyatso, Jon Landau and Jan Willis.  I took refuge with Geshe Gyatso during that time, and then took the Bodhisattva Vows with Lama Zopa Rinpoche.  I developed a very deep and heart-felt connection with FPMT at that time.

I was inspired to attend the first Dharma Celebration in 1982, staying in Dharamsala, India for three months. We were all so fortunate to meet many incredible teachers there: His Holiness Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche (again), Lama Thubten Yeshe, His Holiness Ling Rinpoche, His Holiness Zong Rinpoche, Robert Thurman, Jeffrey Hopkins, and other renown teachers and scholars.  Over the course of the next thirty years, I have continued to receive many teachings from those venerable teachers, and support those and other great Masters: Geshe Lhundup Sopa, Geshe Donyo, Yangse Rinpoche, Glen Mullin, Geshe Thardo, Gyurmed Khensur Rinpoche, Arjia Rinpoche, Thubten Chodron, Kuntse Rinpoche, Geshe Kalsang Damdul, and others. In this list, I also want to acknowledge all of the dedicated students of the Dharma, (in my experience this would be mostly the Sangha members from FPMT although there are so many others) around the world, who continue to work so hard and be a true inspiration to everyone. If I started to name the people I know and revere, it would take a very long sheet of paper.

Since 1982, as my family moved around the country, I have done what I could, helping to facilitate Dharma teachings and public events on Tibetan Buddhism in California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Oregon and Washington State. I’ve also promoted Tibetan Sacred Art: Sacred Music & Dance performances and Sand Mandala constructions from the Drepung Loseling, Loseling Phukhang and Namgyal monasteries that were relocated in India, to help support these great institutions, continuing to do this work in thanks for my teachers’ kindness.

Upon moving to the Northwest, I became involved with NWTCA and their effort to host His Holiness Dalai Lama in Portland in 2001. I’ve been a member of STBC since the beginning, with Geshe Kalsang Damdul. I’m currently on the board of STBC. I have led their Tara Practice Group for a number of years. I gladly host fundraising parties for STBC’s events, with an additional motivation to further a sense of community within our Dharma students and friends.

I have a degree in Liberal Arts, and over the years I’ve worked as a counselor, a clinic coordinator, a teacher in early childhood education and as an interim principal at an Independent School, among others. My husband & I have two wonderful children, of whom we are very proud.

I feel humbled and grateful to have had these opportunities. I continue to rejoice in the efforts and merit created by our kind Dharma Teachers and the Sangha members in our vast Dharma community.
Cat Wilson,


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