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Sacred Poetry As A Way of Being
Dates: Nov 12, 2021 - Nov 14, 2021
Online Course

Instructor(s): Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

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In this retreat 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 retreat will be shared throughout the weekend. 

The focus of this retreat 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. 

As we work to become a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse 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.

Online Retreat: This retreat will be hosted on the Zoom video conferencing platform 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. When registering for this weekend, please plan to attend as many sessions as possible. The schedule of Zoom meetings for this retreat (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:

Friday, November 12

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm: Opening Session

Saturday, November 13

11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Morning Session

2:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Afternoon Session

Sunday, November 14

11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Closing Session

Please check the time of the group meetings in your timezone here, and please note that sessions will not be recorded.

Registration fees for online retreats are nonrefundable after the retreat start date. Cancellations prior to the start date of the retreat will incur a $25 admin fee. Thank you for your understanding.

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