To Unite The Family (Choco-Vanilla Cupcakes Are Not A Bad Start)

**Quick note. So I had this whole plan to publish everything related to To Dare To Offer on the project page to funnel people over there with the idea that this makes it more likely that folks will donate, but I’ve realized a few things.

At its base, this project is about sharing. My goal is to tell stories and connect people. Yes, at this moment, I’m seeking support to be able to tell a particular story in a particular time and place, but I also don’t want to make people click on four different things to get to a story, just in the hopes that they’ll donate. Donation is meant to be a positive experience of involvement and camaraderie, not some kind of sneaky gimmick. So. The donation link is at the bottom; the story is here.


Today is about connection, about Shamar Rinpoche’s vision of community, and taking action to make it real.

Today a group of Dhagpo folks piled into cars and went to visit a sister center called Marfond. Unlike Dhagpo, which is a public center, Marfond is a retreat center, where the volunteers spend eight months in closed practice. Their retreat ended in May, and they came to help us prepare before Shamarpa’s big teaching. They’ve been here often since his death to take part in group practice.


Shamarpa set up and supported many different microcosms within the Kagyu lineage, different approaches for different kinds of people. At the same time, he wanted us to work together, and now we finally are. Since he died, students from different centers with different styles and in many ways different cultures, have been coming together to mourn and to celebrate our teacher, but also to exchange, to discover, and to develop a shared vision of the future. We’re realizing that the community, the mandala, as it’s called, isn’t just the people we know and work with every day, but tons of other people practicing and growing in the same tradition.

And beyond that, as support pours in from individuals, groups, cities even that don’t have anything to do with the lineage or Buddhism at all, I for one, am seeing ever more clearly that community is everyone, so long as we are willing to connect. I know the folks at Marfond will be grateful to follow what’s happening in Kathmandu, and for this alone it’s worth sharing, but who knows who else might connect with this moment and this story. Sometimes you just have to throw things out into the universe, make wishes, and let things happen.


And well, if you’re me, you also bring cupcakes everywhere you go to show that you care and you come in peace.

Wish for the day: “D’unir la famille.” To unite the family. To help bring to life Shamarpa’s wish for all of us.

If you’re feelin’ it, you can donate here.


As far as cupcakes go, they’re a handy way to build community. This is the easiest yellow cake recipe I know with melted chocolate on top. It’s not about laziness; it’s about simplicity. It’s about things that are so good and so classic that there’s no need to embellish them. It’s also perfect for the blazing heat of summer, which keeps the chocolate deliciously partway melty.

Cupcake recipe follows…

Chocolate-Slathered Vanilla Cupcakes

Adapted from Taste Australia

2 cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

2 tablespoons (25 grams) vanilla sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil

1/2 cup (120 mL) milk

200 grams good quality dark chocolate

Sprinkles (because only people who don’t understand fun don’t like sprinkles).

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F (180 ˚ C).

Prepare for 18 cupcakes, however you like. I go for unoiled silicone molds, but you can use oiled tins or cupcake liners or whatever else strikes your fancy.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. In a second bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients except chocolate. Mix in dry ingredients. Portion into molds and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick-test friendly.

Chop the chocolate and melt in a double boiler. Remove from heat. Use a spoon to slather each cupcake generously with chocolate. Top with sprinkles; share with friends.



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