(Illustration above – The Begging Bowl by Zenju–from Tell Me Something About Buddhism)
One of the beautiful things with sharing my writing is receiving the responses. I received a lovely email from two African American nuns in Thich Nhat Hanh’s (Thay) monastery in Germany. Thay offered them my manuscript to read it as he was writing the foreword. One of the sisters said, “I am sure it will bring much good to many people who have the chance to read it. I think already of my mom, sister, niece and aunt, and how important your stories and experience will be for them as African American women.” I said to myself, “mission accomplished.” I could help others communicate to their families the significance of Buddha’s teachings and the reasons they are walking such a path born of ancient India.
In the process of writing Tell Me Something About Buddhism, I was clear that I wasn’t writing about Buddhism as a topic or subject. I was writing about Buddhism as a path of life. I was writing about the challenges of my life and how Buddha’s teachings brought a great amount of peace to it. To bring peace to a life filled with racial discrimination, poverty, and emotional illness, is true liberation.
I am a student of many teachings. And by no means is Buddha’s teachings superior to the others. However, I find Buddha’s teachings more accessible and applicable to the intricacies of daily life. I heard a line in the movie, Dangerous Parking, where the main character said, “My mind is a dangerous neighborhood and I should not be walking around in it alone.” The practice of meditation may appear as a solo act of mind watching but in my experience I feel more connected to everyone and everything when I sit down to breathe. I am not alone. I can walk in the world with a sense of belonging. Now, that is a great feat for a person such as me who has considered suicide and have felt invisible. What does one do when they feel life is not worth living? You begin again. You start with the next moment, letting go of expectations and fantasies. You are right there awakened to pain and that it will pass, that you are in the midst of healing. This is what I’ve learned on the path.
Thank you for receiving my words. I would love to hear from you.
[Tell Me Something About Buddhism by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel..Pre-order the book on Amazon.com]