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Prison Dharma

From the Shambhala Sun archives and our blog Shambhala SunSpace come writings and more from people who know the practice of Buddhism or meditation from both sides of the prison bars.

Links open in new windows; just click any article’s title to start reading.


Catching On: Finding peace in prison

Prisoner Timothy Burke on how Buddhist meditation has been helpful in finding peace — and deepening his understanding of Christianity.

Video: Got “extra” Buddhist books? Here’s at least one great thing to do with them.

Forced to Sit

Prisoner Scott Darnell shares his story of finding compassion on the inside.

Murder, Injustice, and the West Memphis Three

Rod Meade Sperry shares the tale of Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin, and (the now-Buddhist) Damien Echols. Could what happened to them happen to any of us?

Finding Freedom: The Death Row Journey of Jarvis Jay Masters

A profile by Susan Moon.


A Roshi on the Row

Kobutsu Malone takes Shodo Harada Roshi on an unprecedented visit to Arkansas’ death row, where two condemned men, including Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three, have taken on the practice of Zen.

The Great Escape

Yoga and meditation help Pippin Ross escape the hell of America’s oldest prison for women.

Jamil’s Heart

Through the practice of compassion meditation, Rosalind Harris transforms the grief of her son’s murder into solidarity and friendship with all young African-Americans, whose life of violence and oppression is a national tragedy.

A Taste of Freedom

“After more than thirteen years behind bars,” writes Fleet Maull, “a prisoner’s short, bittersweet experience of freedom is a reminder of his guru and the free, cheerful state of mind that is available at every moment.”


And for still more, see our ongoing Prison Dharma coverage on our blog, Shambhala SunSpace.


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