Tell Me Something about Buddhism
Questions and Answers for the Curious Beginner
5 x 7
Hampton Roads Publishing
Zenju Earthlyn Manuel is a Soto Zen Priest, Congolese drummer, a visual artist, and contributing author to several books including: Together We Are One, edited by Thich Nhat Hanh, and Dharma, Color, and Culture: New Voices in Western Buddhism. She is the subject of the new film Zenju's Path, which premiered at the Buddhist Film Festival in Amsterdam in 2010.
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For anyone curious about the teachings of Buddha and modern Buddhist practice, Tell Me Something about Buddhism offers the perfect introduction. Written by Soto Zen priest Zenju Earthlyn Manuel and organized in an easy-to-use Question and Answer format, this brief book answers the many common questions people have about Buddhism, everything from who was Buddha to why do monks, nuns, and priests shave their heads.
Manuel, who was been involved in Buddhist practice for over twenty years, after an L.A. upbringing in an African-American Christian church, intertwines throughout the book her personal experiences as one of the first African-American Zen priests. Her life in the Sangha, her teaching in local communities, and her travels around the world meeting other Buddhist practitioners enliven her answers to the most fundamental questions about Buddhist practice. She writes, “Had I not opened myself to the many teachings from the earth, such as Buddha’s wisdom, it would have been nearly impossible to survive the fires of my soul.” Included are about 20 illustrations by the author in charcoal-and-pencil style.
"Discover and enjoy the freedom that's your birthright. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel asks the important questions…and brings home the answers. This simple book makes the Buddha's timeless teachings real, for all, for here and now. Ordinary life is precious life. I'm grateful for her guidance along the Path." -- Gary Gach, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism and editor of What Book!?: Buddha Poems from Beat to Hip Hop
"Tell Me Something about Buddhism is a dharma gem of great wisdom. Just reading Zenju Earthlyn Manuel's clear, beautiful, and inspiring answers to questions about Buddhist practice quieted and calmed my mind as quickly as the wood striking wood sound of a han calling me to awakening." --Charles Johnson, author of Turning the Wheel: Essay on Buddhism and Writing and Middle Passage, winner of the National Book Award
"In homage to her ancestors, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel shares a very personal journey with many gems of wisdom to help heal the sufferings of racism and other human afflictions. What does it mean to be black and Buddhist?" --Karma Leskhe Tsomo, Sr. Tibetan Nun, founder of Sakyadhita.org
"Drawing on her many years of practice, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel has brought her lived experience to her lucid and compassionate responses to many questions often asked by newcomers to Buddhism. This book is also a heartfelt response to her younger sister's question, 'What does Buddhism have to do with black people?' She says, 'I knew, in the moment my sister asked the question, that the Buddha's teachings had everything to do with me and with every other suffering living being.'" --Sensei Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Sr. Dharma Teacher at the San Francisco Zen Center
"A book as wise and warm-hearted as talking to a good friend over a cup of tea. A Buddhist priest and talented artist-author, Zenju Manuel also shares her own life journey in stories, poems, and drawings with complete tenderness." --Mushim (Patricia) Ikeda, Buddhist teacher and writer
"Zenju Earthlyn Manuel's book Tell Me Something about Buddhism offers both the story of her spiritual rite of passage from a black girl to a Buddhist priest, and a hands-on manual with the basic questions that many are afraid to ask. How does a black woman find life in Buddhism? This book is a warm and compassionate guide of one woman's journey out of oppression to a life of freedom." --Dr. Marlene Jones, contributor to Dharma, Culture, and Color: New Voices in Western Buddhism
"A warm, perceptive, and helpful exploration of Buddhist truths by a Zen priest who brings her awareness of difference and the suffering it causes to her practice of this ancient spiritual path. Earthlyn asks us to step up to our lives and be present for them, to offer compassion to ourselves and others, to expand our vision to allow for a spacious, tender engagement with our precious days and hours." --Sandy Boucher, author of Turning the Wheel: American Women Creating the New Buddhism