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Sacred Poetry As A Way of Being

Online Program
Dates: Nov 12, 2021 - Nov 14, 2021

Instructor(s): Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

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Course Description:

In this program, we will explore sacred poetry as spiritual guidance in navigating the rough terrain of contemporary life. We will journey with silence, poetry, lyrical essay, music, and engagement from our seat of meditation. There will be exercises in writing from our embodied experiences of suffering into the experience of boundlessness, joy, and peace. 

Early Zen Buddhist masters, like spiritual teachers of many religious traditions, used poetry to teach and share their wisdom. Poetry can instantly touch the heart. A teaching could be found in even a very short poem of a few words. Poetry was also used by ancient teachers as a way to reveal presence and meditative states of being. In sacred poetry there is no “telling” a person how to live or what to think. Instead, sacred poetry suggests a way of walking in the world and deepens one’s spiritual awareness by transforming how we see life.

Resources to help continue the way of poetry after the program will be shared throughout the weekend. 

The focus of this program is to engage wisdom poetry as spiritual guidance. It is therefore important that you have real experience of a sustained meditation/ contemplative practice to serve as a resource for the discussion and activities that will be shared by Zenju Osho.

The activities and conversations will be drawing from your source of insight through meditation practice, not just from your experience with writing or reading and enjoying poetry, it is very important that that is the case.

There will be no breakout rooms or affinity groups. But there will be exercises on mining wisdom/spiritual poetry. Examples of such poetry and prose is The Deepest Peace: Contemplations From A Season of Stillness by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, The Dharma of Poetry: How Poems Can Deepen Your Spiritual Practice and Open You to Joy by John Brehm, plus any books by Jane Hirshfield, Naomi Shihab Nye, Audre Lorde, Joy Harjo, Rumi, Rilke, Hafiz, Wendell Berry, David Whyte, John O'Donohue.

Please bring a poem that teaches liberation from within but without instructions. 

    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.