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Contemplative Poetry as Meditation

Online Program
Dates: Nov 19, 2022 - Dec 03, 2022

Instructor(s): Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Andō

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Course Description:

In this course we will practice with contemplative poetry to access awareness, attention, insight, clarity and most of all to capture moments of small silences. The connection between poetry and the contemplative life go back a long way, as you will discover, when we unwrap poets of Zen, Ch’an and the Dao, of ancient and modern times in this course.

In the Christian and Sufi traditions, prophecy and poetry have long walked hand in hand, and the many songs of the Tibetan masters, spoken spontaneously, just as Rumi’s own words came, underline this voice of Silence that arises out of nowhere, but has a landing place in the hearts of those who are ready to hear it.

This course is for those seeking to make space for silence and poetry in their lives. There will be an experiential component in which you will learn how to bring breath into your poetry and writing. You will learn to hear from the place of silence and use poetry as meditation. Coleman Barks in his book Rumi: The Big Red Book, said, “Short poems have meditative properties and possibilities. They have often recorded or led into states of awareness that come with meditation.”  

“Expressing one's creativity in the service of meditation, you help create a special space where hearts can open and people can receive the many blessings. For a musician, a creator, this is ultimately fulfilling.”

— Milarepa (1052-1135)

“Listening to the wind blown through the hollow bone of an eagle, is to hear its original song.” – Zenju

“Today, it is as if I am an empty bamboo flute, filled with the breeze, playing its own tune, not mine. This, for me, is poetry.” – Andō

Online Schedule:
This program is hosted on Zoom and closed captions are available. Our intention is to build sangha and provide meaningful virtual interactions with each other and with teachers in our online programs. We encourage you to participate as fully as you are able. You can check the time of the group sessions in your timezone here: https://www.worldtimebuddy.com. The schedule of Zoom meetings for this program (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:

Saturdays, 11:00 – 1:30 (with a half hour break)

Meeting Dates: November 19, 26, and December 3

Please note that sessions will not be recorded.

Cancellation Policy:
Registration fees for online programs are nonrefundable after the program start date. Cancellations prior to the program start date will incur a $25 cancellation fee. For intensive, application-based programs, the cancellation fee is $50.

As we work to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming. Please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.
    About the Instructor(s):
  • Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Ph.D. (she/her) poet, author, ordained, Zen priest, was born to parents who migrated from rural Louisiana at the start of WWII, she has walked through many different doors spiritually and academically. She has a MA from UCLA and PhD in Transformative Learning. Her transmissions come through her books The Shamanic Bones of ZenThe Deepest PeaceSanctuaryThe Way of Tenderness and the Black Angel Cards: 36 Oracles and Messages for Divining Your Life, her first visionary experience. She also teaches from her experience of African and Native American indigenous ceremony and her own awakening on the intersection of spirituality and systemic oppression.

  • Andō is a spiritual director, silence facilitator, writer, and poet. A Zen trained meditation teacher and poet, she teaches contemplative poetry, Zen poetry, meditation, contemplation, and silent prayer. She writes on simplicity and the contemplative life. She spent many years living remotely in the forest, near to her teachers, focused on contemplative practice and poetry.