In The Way of Tenderness, Zen priest Zenju Earthlyn Manuel brings Buddhist philosophies of emptiness and appearance to bear on race, sexuality, and gender, using wisdom forged through personal experience and practice to rethink problems of identity and privilege. Manuel brings her own experiences into conversation with Buddhism to square our ultimately empty nature with superficial perspectives of everyday life. Her hard-won insights reveal that dry wisdom alone is not sufficient to heal the wounds of the marginalized; an effective practice must embrace the tenderness found where conventional reality and emptiness intersect. Only warmth and compassion can cure hatred and heal the damage it wreaks within us.
“Zenju Earthlyn Manuel knows both the tyranny of conventional appearances and their ultimate nature. She knows that in order to tread the path to ultimate insight we must use the whole of our ordinary, conventional selves. In this way, our race, gender, and sexuality become sites for our awakening rather than illusions to be transcended. Read her lucid and honest words with attention and with tenderness.” (Jan Willis, author of Dreaming Me; Black, Baptist and Buddhist)