A singular work of poetic prose exploring otherness and belonging—and what it means to be truly at home.
Sanctuary: A Meditation on Home, Homelessness, and Belonging examines the interface between inner and outer sanctuary, and the ways they affect one another.
“Sanctuary” is the home we can return to when our lives are under threat, where we can face what's difficult to love, and have a place where we can truly say, “I am home”—and spiritual teachers often emphasize sanctuary’s inner dimensions, that “our true home” is within. “Homelessness,” in turn, can be viewed as a forced experience or one in which there is a spiritual void in being or feeling home.
Drawing from her life as a Zen Buddhist priest whose ancestors labored as slaves in Louisiana, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel explores the tension between oppression—based on race, religion, ability, class, orientation, gender, and other “ghosts of slavery”—and finding home within our own hearts. Through intimate personal stories and deep reflection, Manuel helps us see the moment when what has gone unacknowledged surfaces is “the time we have been practicing for,” the epiphany when we can investigate the true source what has been troubling us. This insightful book about home and homelessness, sanctuary and refuge offers inspiration, encouragement, and a clear-eyed view of cultivating a spiritual path in challenging times.
Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, PhD, a Soto Zen priest, was born to parents who migrated from rural Louisiana and settled in Los Angeles, where she was born and raised with her two sisters. She is the guiding teacher at Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center in east Oakland. She is the author of The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality and Gender and Tell Me Something About Buddhism, compiler and editor of the award-winning Seeds for a Boundless Life: Zen Teachings from the Heart, by Zenkei Blanche Hartman and contributing author to many books, including The Hidden Lamp: Stories From Twenty-Five Years of Awakened Women.