The Way of Tenderness

A Four-Week Experiential Online Course
with Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel shares with us that liberation is possible. Rather than examining race, gender, and sexuality as separate entities, she explores them as integral in relation to awakening and as embodied gateways to enlightenment and interrelationships among us.

Right from the beginning of her course, Zenju will pose important questions:

If race, sexuality, and gender are illusions and social constructs, then what is the tension and ultimate hatred that arises with regard to them?

How does one grow and challenge one’s own values in the midst of contradictions, lived experiences, and how we interact with each other? More importantly, how do we heal and experience awakening through our practice life?

Zenju shares with us that liberation is possible. Rather than examining race, gender, and sexuality as separate entities, she explores them as integral in relation to awakening, encouraging us to look to the interrelationships among us.


From wherever you live, you can join Zenju Earthlyn Manuel beginning June 5, by signing up for this online course. During these four weeks, we will explore how inclusivity lies at the heart of understanding multiplicity in oneness as The Way of Tenderness.

Register here for The Way of Tenderness

  • Course Starts on: June 5, 2017 (LIVE webinars will be held every Wednesday on 6/7, 6/14, and 6/21 from 5:30-6:30 PM Pacific time)
  • All live sessions will be recorded so you will never miss a session, and can listen at your convenience any time
  • Here’s what you’ll receive for your course fee.

Course Fees:

$90 (member)
$75 (limited income)

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available. Please fill out the online programs application.

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Course Guarantee & Cancellation Policy

Thank you for choosing SFZC’s Online Programs. If for any reason you wish to withdraw from the program, you have up to and within the first 15 days of the start of the program to receive a refund, minus a $20 processing fee. There is no refund if you cancel or withdraw more than 15 days after the start of the program.

What You Will Learn

1. Multiplicity in Oneness. We will explore the concept of inclusivity that underlies oneness. If inclusiveness underlies oneness, then being aware of the multiplicity of oneness requires that we recognize the varied lived experiences within the collective nature of our lives. We see the challenges of race, sexuality, and gender as part of oneness.

2. The Body as Nature. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel shows how the experience of awakening is within the body. She suggests that our bodies are the places through which we make meaning of our lives. We may even come to experience ways in which the nature of our embodiment is both relative and boundless.

3. Rethinking Race, Sexuality, & Gender. We are all directly impacted through the systemic oppression of varied forms of race, sexuality, and gender.  And we all feel the affects of such suffering but not everyone is aware of it. Although the social constructs in some circles are considered illusions, for many people the hatred experienced is not. Coming to an understanding of liberation can be accomplished with compassion and tenderness towards the ways we are embodied. In this sense, spiritual awakening is not easy.

Week One

Entering the Gateway of Tenderness

  • My experience of conditioning
  • Guidelines to studying the way
  • Reclaiming the essential connectedness taught by the Buddha

Tracking our Footsteps

  • Turning toward our physical realities on a path of liberation expounded by the Buddha
  • Exploring the surfaces of this body in relationship to awakening at its heart.

Week Two

Multiplicity in the Oneness

  • Understanding the location of awakened experience
  • The Relational Self on the Path
  • Distortions Creating Oppression
  • Oneness is not homogenous

Week Three

Body as Nature

  • Exploring the Nature of Identity
  • Our Potential to Eliminate Hate
  • Mind, Body and Speech – Studying the Self as You Walk

Week Four

  • No gaining mind.
  • To study the Way is the Great Matter of a Lifetime

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, PhD, is the guiding teacher of Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center in East Oakland, CA. She is the heir of Zenkei Blanche Hartman with Dharma Transmission completed by Shosan Victoria Austin. She was shuso (head student) for the Fall 2012 Practice Period at City Center, which was led by former abbess Kiku Christina Lehnherr.

Zenju Earthlyn is the author of The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender  (Wisdom Publications), and Tell Me Something About Buddhism (Hampton Roads Publishing), which includes a foreword written by Thich Nhat Hanh, with poetry and illustrations by Zenju Earthlyn. In addition, she is a contributing author to many books, including Dharma, Color and Culture: Voices From Western Buddhist Teachers of Color (Parallax) and Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women(Wisdom Publications), edited by Florence Caplow and Susan Moon. Zenju compiled a collection of teachings from Zenkei Blanche Hartman (1926–2016) entitled Seeds for a Boundless Life.

During Each Week You Will Receive:

20-30 minutes of video sessions with Zenju. Each session focuses on a specific chapter from Zenju’s book, The Way of Tenderness. Additional content and teachings will be available to download weekly.


Access to a private, password protected interactive course website for all participants. This is the hub for all things related to this course, including our online community.

Inspirational emails from Zenju every week with quotes, encouragements, and suggestions to support and guide your daily practice.

Participation in discussion forums online with Zenju and fellow participants in the US and around the globe.

What People are Saying about SFZC live webinars

Feeling closer even though afar. I usually go to. . . lectures at the Green Gulch and I am always too shy to participate of the Q&A, but with this format, I felt at ease to contribute.

I thought that the video was a great improvement over the conference calls from a learning perspective and as a way to feel engaged with others. I was a little uncomfortable being brought in live at first, but I got over my self-consciousness.

It was interactive and made the group feel more like a sangha.

I took all the classes while commuting from San Francisco to Marin County on a bus and everything went well.

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Photo credits: All photos ©Vaschelle André except White Flower photo ©David Silva,