Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #194 - 29AUG15

The Mystical Positivist is now a weekly radio show on KOWS-LP 107.3 FM, Occidental, CA. Listen live on Saturday evenings from 4:00 - 6:00pm, PST, via the web at KOWS Live Stream
This week's podcast features:
  • 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.
More information about Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel's work can be found at:
  • Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel's website:


  1. Another intriguing interview. The question of individual-collective action arose in this discussion. I fall on the side that both individual and collective action (karma) are required, but also that collective action is only realizable through the action of individuals, so that is why people say the individual must be the basis of change for the collective.
    Here's a quote posted on my recent blog:
    As Carl G. Jung wrote, "The psychology of the individual is reflected in the psychology of the nation. What the nation does is done also by each individual, and so long as the individual continues to do it, the nation will do likewise. Only a change in the attitude of the individual can initiate a change in the psychology of the nation. The great problems of humanity were never yet solved by general laws, but only through regeneration of the attitudes of individuals. If ever there was a time when self-reflection was the absolutely necessary and only right thing, it is now, in our present catastrophic epoch. Yet whoever reflects upon himself is bound to strike upon the frontiers of the unconscious, which contains what above all else he needs to know." (From the preface to the first edition of "The Psychology of the Unconscious" in Volume 7 of the Collected Works of C. G. Jung.)

    1. Hi Gregory!
      Thank you for the comment and the quote. I tend to agree that collective transformation is only realizable through the transformation of individuals. The challenge I understood that Zenju was articulating is that our embodied experience is informed in part by the actions of the collective. And unless we can be fully present to our embodied experience as being an effect of the collective, our individual transformation will be incomplete, thereby limiting the possibilities of the transformation of the collective. Unless we can be fully present to the pain we have suffered at the effect of the collective reality, our attempts at regeneration of attitudes as individuals run the risk of arising in opposition to the collective and being grounded in reactivity rather than compassion.
      -- Stuart