- Hour 1: A telephone conversation with Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, author of The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender. She is the guiding teacher of Still Breathing Meditation Community in East Oakland, California, and is a Zen Buddhist priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, ordained and invited to teach by Zenkei Blanche Hartman. Zenju combines Zen meditation, intuitive knowing, and indigenous ritual in a path of liberation. She has a keen capacity to apply spiritual teachings to our lived experiences in the context of race, sexuality, and gender and at the same time hold these experiences as gateways to absolute freedom.
Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Marselean Manuel was born in Los Angeles, California to parents that migrated from Creole Louisiana. With the deep suffering of violence experienced as a child she became a poet at the age of eight. In college she joined a community of Pan-Africanists where there was deep healing for her. This led to the next spiritual gate opening within the African tradition of Yoruba, which was the beginning of her experiencing the vastness of things unseen and the world of divination. Forever grateful for their blessings, her deep experiences of suffering led her to the path of Buddha, without any desire to be Buddhist. After 15 years in the Nichiren tradition/Soka Gakkai, she eventually followed the path of Soto Zen for many years and was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest in the Suzuki Roshi lineage.
Her spiritual writing is steeped in ancient memories of her ancestors and therefore explores the deep inner spiritual journey of our human existence. She is the author of a popular Kindle free e-book Be Love: An Exploration Of Our Deepest Desire. In addition to her most recent published book, The Way of Tenderness, she authored Tell Me Something About Buddhism, which includes a foreword written by Thich Nhat Hanh, with poetry and illustrations by her. In addition, she is contributing author to many books, including Together We are One (Parallax), Dharma, Color and Culture: Voices From Western Buddhist Teachers of Color (Parallax) and Hidden Lamp: Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women (Wisdom Publications). She holds Ph.D. in Transformative Learning from the California Institute of Integral Studies.
- Hour 2: Hosts Stuart Goodnick and Robert Schmidt continue to discuss themes raised in the conversation with Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel.
- Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel's website: zenju.org