Mindrolling – Raghu Markus – Ep. 430 – The Shamanic Bones of Zen w/ Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel joins Raghu to discuss Buddhism, Shamanism, Indigenous ceremony, the Vodou–Zen connection, taking Earth's 'strong medicine,' and religion's mystical roots.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel joins Raghu to discuss Buddhism, Shamanism, Indigenous ceremony, the Vodou–Zen connection, taking Earth’s ‘strong medicine,’ and religion’s mystical roots.

Osho Zenju Earthlyn Marselean Manuel is a poet, author, Zen priest, medicine woman of the drum, and dharma heir of Buddha and the late Zenkei Blanche Hartman in the Shunryu Suzuki Roshi lineage through the San Francisco Zen Center. Zenju’s practice is influenced by Native American and African Indigenous traditions. She participated in ceremony with Ifá diviners from Dahomey, Africa, and briefly studied Yoruba. She was raised in the Church of Christ, holds a Ph.D, and worked for decades as a social science researcher, development director for non-profit organizations serving women, girls, cultural arts, and mental health. For info, offerings & books, please visit, Zenju.org

Buddhism & Shamanism // Ritual & Ceremony

Welcoming poet, author, Zen priest, and medicine woman of the drum—Zenju Earthlyn Manuel—to Mindrolling, Raghu invites her share about discovering her unique spiritual path at the potent intersection of Buddhism and earth-based indigenous practices. Reflecting on her childhood move from Louisiana to Los Angelos sparking an early confrontation with death, Zenju explores her synchronistic first encounters with Eastern philosophy, as well as African and Native shamanic ritual and ceremony.

“I enter these gateways in the interest of wellbeing and transformation. Not only for myself, but for my family, my community, and for this world. I really believe that’s the path for all of us.” – Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

David Silver tells Raghu a remarkable story of attending an Indigenous Peyote Ceremony, on Ep. 384 of Mindrolling
Emptiness, Bliss, & Interconnection // Mystical Roots of Religion (19:30)

Reading moving passages and discussing themes from Zenju’s new book, The Shamanic Bones of Zen: Revealing the Ancestral Spirit and Mystical Heart of a Sacred Tradition, they share on the interconnected nature of reality often noticed in the bliss-emptiness in the eyes of an embodied being like Maharajji. From here, Raghu asks Zenju to illuminate the underlying indigenous, mystical, esoteric, and shamanic roots to all modern day spiritual disciplines and religions; including her path of Zen.

“When you see the bliss-emptiness in the eyes of an embodied being, I think why we get attracted to it, brought into it, and pulled by it, is because it is ourselves. So we begin to make the true interconnection, the true interrelationship. That’s what ’empty’ is – the true interrelationship. That’s what we see in the eyes of these many powerful teachers, prophets, and sages that have walked.” – Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

South African shaman, John Lockley, & Raghu discuss the interconnection of mystical traditions, on Ep. 163 of Mindrolling

The Vodou–Zen Connection // Earth’s Strong Medicine (39:30)

After speaking to her reflective book of spiritual poetry, The Deepest Peace: Contemplations from a Season of Stillness, Raghu requests her to share the profound, hilarious, and connective story of when she expressed to her teacher that Vodou and Zen were the same thing. Next, Zenju expands our concept of ancestors to include all that came before us, including the benevolent and giving planet, Earth. To close, they discuss how to traverse the world’s “strong medicines” with gratitude, grace, and spiritual foresight.

“There are individuals who profoundly represent the least that we humans can be. We are the reflection. In my estimation, it’s not a matter of political parties or policies, it’s a matter of—as His Holiness says, ‘My only religion is kindness’—and when we see the opposite of that, we have to reflect, because we all represent making that person happen through our collective karma.” – Raghu Markus 

Buddhist teacher, Jack Kornfield, shares on navigating change with equanimity & compassion, on Ep. 140 of Heart Wisdom