Published Poems by Alum

Oct 19, 2023

Jackie's Hiking Adventure

What are you currently up to? 

I offer art classes for third to eighth graders at Instilling Goodness and Developing Virtue Boys School. I’m also offering an open art studio for DRBU students. I am fortunate to be able to spend two nights a week at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) campus, so I have the opportunity to attend ceremonies in the Buddha Hall. The rest of my time is spent at home with my husband. I feel blessed to be able to combine both life at home and still have the chance to be with monastics and other teachers at CTTB. Being able to join the Tai Chi class on campus is a boon and is a great start to the week. 

How have you applied what you learned at DRBU to what you are currently doing?

Since graduating in 2009, I have been examining how to deal with the inevitable stresses of worldly life. As a mature student, now in my 70s, I was not confident that I could even succeed in getting a master's degree. My BA back in the UK was in performing arts (I majored in dance) and I had never felt drawn to the academic writing that was necessary to get a master's degree. I did go on to obtain a postgraduate teaching credential at London University and thought that was the end of my formal education. Yet, with the help of the kindness and encouragement of the faculty at DRBU, I was able to finally wake up to the realization of the possibility of further study. I have been doing my best to apply the patience, kindness, courage, and focus that I learned from my teachers to my life ever since! I regularly return to the UK to visit my mother who is now 94 and have been able to deal with all that that entails.

What are your favorite pastimes? 

My favorite activities are creating art projects with others, hiking- especially at high elevations- cooking, dancing, tai chi, and reading poetry. I have always been drawn to the arts and exploring other cultures, both geographically and spiritually. I am particularly interested in interfaith dialogue, and focusing on what it is that is common to all religions and faiths. My deepest wish is that through interfaith dialogue people, families, countries, and the whole world will be able to find peace. 

Share a fond memory of being at DRBU! 

My fondest memory of being at DRBU is feeling part of a community that is focused not only on examining primary texts of Buddhism and other cultures and religions but also on examining ourselves and peeling away the layers of conditioning that mask our true nature- to really look closely at what delusions we hold dear- and then discovering that it is through our own efforts that clarity can be found. 

Insights, advice, or words of wisdom for new students? 

“Don’t believe everything you think.” I know this is bumper sticker wisdom, but it rings true for me. Being able to change one’s mind, and one’s strongly held ideas is a way to open up to new and deeper understandings and experiences. Trust yourself to keep moving forward, no matter how impossible it seems. After all, we’ve had to do that with the COVID pandemic, haven't we? Keep a happy heart and remember the mind creates everything. And don’t attach to any of it! Ha! Easier said than done…Amitofo!