Letters from the Dhamma Brothers: Meditation Behind Bars

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Pariyatti Publishing, Mar 6, 2012 - Social Science - 240 pages
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Through intimate letters, interviews, and stories, this narrative reveals the impact that a life-changing retreat had on a group of inmates at the highest level maximum-security state prison in Alabama. The 38 participants in the first-ever intensive, silent 10-day program inside the walls of a corrections facility—many serving life sentences without parole—detail the range of their experiences, the depth of their understanding of the Buddha’s teachings gained by direct experience, and their setbacks and successes. During the Vipassana meditation program, they face the past and their miseries and emerge with a sense of peace and purpose. This compelling story shows the capacity for commitment, self-examination, renewal, and hope within a dismal penal system and a wider culture that demonizes prisoners.
 

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Contents

Inside Donaldson
3
The Dhamma Brothers
33
The Letters
63
Conclusion
199
Postscript
205
More about Vipassana
212
Resources
218
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About the author (2012)

Jenny Philips is a cultural anthropologist, a writer, and a practicing psychotherapist who teaches emotional literacy skills to inmates in both county and state prisons for the Lionheart Foundation. Her article, "Culture of Manhood in Prison," was published in the American Psychological Association Journal. Robert Coles is a child psychiatrist, a professor at Harvard University, and the author of more than 75 books. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for his Children of Crisis series, a MacArthur Award, the National Humanities Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. They both live in Concord, Massachusetts.

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