AMERICAN BUDDHIST WOMEN

Quarterly Electronic MagaZine from Sakyadhita USA

Issue No. 12,  Fall 2016

Sakyadhita USA

Caroline Netschert is a second year M.Div. student at University of the West and is the current Chaplaincy Club president. She's an aspiring hospital chaplain and currently works for the Buddhist-based drug treatment program, Refuge Recovery, as well as volunteering as a Buddhist Chaplain at the LA County women's jail. Her main Buddhist teacher is Anam Thubten Rinpoche. She was ordained as a Buddhist minister by the International Center of Chinese Buddhist Culture and Education (ICCBCE) and considers herself a student of all Buddhadharma.   Caroline is an alumnus of American University, where she graduated with an M.A. in Public Communications, a B.A in Public Communications, a minor in Women's and Gender Studies, as well as earning a Graduate Certificate in Women in Politics.

Three Poems

by Caroline Netschert

POEM 1

 

When I hear you say things

Like

My body is inadequate…

“It’s biology…”

 

“Better luck next time.”

“Practice real hard, and maybe next life.”

 

My ears instinctively retract

and my spine lengthens.

 

This body is not “contaminated.”

It is my perfect vehicle

of flesh, blood, pus, shit…

This heart.

And womb.

And Big Mind.

Take my womb and it will still be perfect.

Take these breasts and the nectar of awakening will still flow within me.

Take my heart and I will still beat to the rhythm of Life...

Cells vibrating as I erode into Mother Earth.

 

So, don’t tell me it’s not the body to awaken in.

It’s awake.

Fool.

The thought of it not being even the slightest of possibilities

makes my finger curl

with the awoken rage of past generations

who dance through me

like the fire of awakening dances in my consciousness.

 

Vajrayogini

Trampling two corpses:

Illusion

and

Ego.

Goddess of grace

and destruction.

We are one.

 

 

POEM 2

 

“Do I exist?

Do I not exist?"

“What am I?”

 

A woman.

American,

White,

Cis-gendered,

Middle-class,

Able-bodied,

Educated.

 

Buddhist.

 

Woman. Buddhist woman. American Buddhist woman.

Emptying the Mind.

Listening.

Paying attention.

Sacrifice?

 

If everything is illusory,

This dream seems so real.

 

Renounce.

How do I be “in the world, not of the world?”

Like the Buddha. Like Jesus?

 

Samvega—Prasada.

One grounds the other.

One prevents the darkness of hopelessness.

They depend upon the other.

Compassion—Wisdom.

 

Fabricated—Unfabricated.

Senses.

Divided.

Listed.

Molecules.

Moving…energy.

 

Are we all the same?

We start where we are.

 

 

Poem 3

 

Caught in the fire.

Somewhere between devastating heartbreak,

all-consuming rage,

and brilliant luminosity.

Will I fear these emotions, again,

and continue to run?

Or will I step into the fire?

Writhing,

this human skin suit feeling a size too small.

The choice makes itself clearer:

Burn,

and let the emotion consume me—

Ego victorious with its trail of ashes.

Or transform,

this Holy Anger baptizing me through suffering.

Renewed,

Alive,

Rising again with my heart ablaze.

Awoke.

 

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SUSA is the USA National Branch of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women

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