The Heat, part three: Why Camphor and Sandalwood Matter

Scarlet betel-nut juice
spattered about,
black streaks of sandalwood oil,
smears of camphor,
and imprints
from the henna designs on her feet.
In scattered folds petals
lost from her hair.
Every position a
woman took pleasure from
is told on
these bed sheets.

Andrew Schelling, translator
Erotic Love Poems from India (2004, Shambhala Publications, p. 65)

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The Heat, part two: Amrita ~ Essence ~ The Nature of Bindu

Tender lip bitten she
shakes her fingers alarmed–
hisses a fierce
don’t you dare and her
eyebrows leap like a vine.
Who steals a kiss from a
proud woman flashing her eyes
drinks amrita.
The gods–fools–
churned the ocean for

Andrew Schelling, translator
Erotic Love Poems from India (2004, Shambhala Publications, p. 4)

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The Heat, part one: Scars of Rapture by Dorothy Walters

Scars of Rapture

Shams, I have done everything I know
so this would not happen.

You came into my life
like a wing of fire,
possessing and possessed
by something not seen.

When you first spoke
my books turned to clay,
and my throat closed
around a lost syllable.

Your eyes burned over me,
leaving scars of rapture,
my spirit became a field
swept clean by flame.

Can you think how it was
that morning I woke first,
and found you,
an unbound mystery
by my side.

 Or the day we did not eat,
but drank from one another’s light
til we were ribboned by dusk.

The air here holds only emptiness,
a little dust stirring.

I think there will be wind tonight,
and the camels will cry out
in their sleep.

Dorothy Walters

Dorothy Walters Red Hat

from Marrow of Flame: Poems of the Spiritual Journey
(2015, second edition, p. 70)

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More on Women in Contemporary Buddhism: “Feminism Awakens In Himalayan Buddhist Art and Meditation” (Huffington Post Article)

Here is a remarkable article on the feminine in contemporary Himalayan Buddhist Art from the Huffington Post. The art is remarkable as are the women practitioners that are mentioned.

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Full Ordination for Tibetan Nuns: Recognition of the Potential of Female Practitioners and Revision to the Patriarchal Systems

The 17th Karmapa has announced that he will bring forth full ordination for nuns in the Tibetan Buddhist lineages. This is quite amazing and huge news.

Please link to the following blog for a very good discussion of what is at stake and why this is so groundbreaking.

May all beings benefit! May we awaken in the female body in this lifetime.

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The Womb Breath (the same for men and women)

This small poem is a Taoist instruction for the womb breath that is used by both women and men practioners. It is from the Immortal Sister (awakened female Taoist practitioner) Sun Bu-er. Like Tantric teachings, there are many layers of meaning here.

If you want the elixir to form quickly,
First get rid of illusory states.
Attentively guard the spiritual medicine;
With every breath return to the beginning of the creative.
The energy returns, coursing through the three islands;
The spirit, forgetting, unites with the ultimate.
Coming this way and going this way,
No place is not truly so.

This poem and a commentary on it are found in Immortal Sisters: Secrets of Taoist Women translated and edited by Thomas Cleary (Shambhala Publications, 1989, p37ff).

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The Womb Song

The Womb Parvathy Baul CrpdOh, my heart! Do you not remember
That tiny abode?
There, once you lived,
Your body upside-down.

With the seed of parents and desires,
You entered the Mother’s womb;
You took the shape of your body.

Five elements
Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether,
Major flow of Life,
Entered into your material body;
On the seventh month,
You could hear Mahaamantra.

No sun, no moon.
In the dark, you waited
Under water, ten months,
The Lotus of the Navel
Connected to the Mother’s cord,
Fed you.


(excerpt by Sarat, in Song of the Great Soul: An Introduction to the Baul Path by living female Baul mystic and musician Parvathy Baul [Ekathara Baul Sangeetha Kalari, Keralam, India, 2005, p. 47], woodcut also by Parvathy Baul).

This is how we come into being, how the miracle coalesces . . .

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