Zenju Earthlyn Manuel: What is the Meaning of Life?

_DSC5796The Meaning of Life is completely tied to What is Life? And I would say:

The path is life
And the purpose of life is to live it where we are,
To be soothed by its waters still flowing,
and warmed by the sun that reaches those who stand boldly in the open.

Live this moment,
and life stretches into eternity,
revealing the stars flung in the vastness of your night.

Hold open what it means to
be alive and still breathing,
despite all that has burned away
in your living through fire.

Dare you sweep up the ashes,
whittle and sand the charred pieces
And make a smooth mound of yourself–
A mound that if breathed upon would float you back to the silence of your beginnings,

Your arrival is always now
landing on a new shore,
a lifeline cast beyond anything
imposed by the shadows of what appeared as mountains to climb,
beyond the distorted reflections in puddles that seemed to be watering holes,
past the fuel of desire mistaken for the sun.

Might your fear be the onset of freedom from your beliefs,
causing tremors,
or the fear that you are still breathing
after having spent your generous years
at wishing wells.
Might your fear be that breathing in and breathing out is too simple of a contribution to the great unsurpassed journey of life.

No need to gather your breath and store it in your belly.
Your breath is to be heard,
in the wild nature of all things,
like a bird’s song, like the call of bison, your breath is to be discharged into the world, ascended up from the earth of ancestors,
out into the atmosphere of a million realms.
This is life.


~Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Ph.D., is an author and ordained Zen Buddhist priest.

Copyright © 2015 Excellence Reporter

Categories: Awakening, Buddhism, Zen

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