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Letters from the Dhamma Brothers: Meditation Behind Bars Paperback – September 1, 2008
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"[An] extraordinarily telling and inspiring book, its contents a witness to the human connection achieved. . . . Jenny Phillips manages to enable the far off, the imprisoned, to become the reader's informants and teachers." Robert Coles, from the book's foreword
Top Customer Reviews
It seems we don't know how to rehabilitate offenders other than try stiffer punishment. About 1 in 100 adults in the US is in jail or prison. New approaches are needed. Intense (Vipassana) meditation retreats may be one possibility. This book reflects that potential.
The book records the dramatic changes that prisoners experience as they attempt to purify their minds of such impurities as hatred, fear, greed, anger, etc., that have landed them in prison. This book makes it clear that the impurities they carry deep within cause suffering both to themselves and to those around them; and whatever relief they get using the meditation helps both them and others.
Recently, a documentary film of the meditation courses examined in this book, The Dhamma Brothers, has been released in select theaters across the US. The film captures in action what this book reflects on paper.
The question remains: How effective is this program for the convicts over time? That's difficult to say since each individual must try to integrate his/her insights into an environment that may be dysfunctional. But there are indications of overall success.
Vipassana courses have been held in prisons outside the US since 1975, starting in India. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has recognized Vipassana meditation as a technique to reform criminals and has introduced it in all Central Jails, particularly Tihar Prison, New Delhi.Read more ›
It is easy to condemn others and throw away the key. If you tell a good person that he is evil and remind him about it every day (by locking him up like a wild beast) he or she will become evil.
Mindfulness meditation provides every human the opportunity to still the mental noise and get in touch with the deepest state of pure inner bliss.
All of us have sinned to greater or lesser degree. Crime (like wars) begins in the heart of man and it is only in the heart of man that the path to peace can be found.
The experience of Donaldson's prisoners demonstrates that Mindfulenss meditation is the ultimate secular path to peace at the personal level; the 'sine qua non' to peace in society and the world at large.
I've started with Vipassana 2 years ago, and went twice for a 10 day course.
I will go on doing it 1x/year. I reccommend Vipassana to everyone. It truly is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. It's a "home-coming". Stepping out of the thinking mind and our ego-thoughts and dropping into peace, love and oneness.
Certainly NOT only life-changing for prisoners. Even we, outside of prison, are somehow prisoners.
And yeah, I still fall into the trap of ignorance and misperceptions and not seeing things as they are. But as Goenkaji says:
START AGAIN, START AGAIN.
It certainly is alonglife journey, to free ourselves totally, step by step by step...
Vipassana is a great way to free the mind and to make peace with ourselves.
Not only reccommending this book but also the documentaries:
"Dhamma Brothers" and 2 other documentaries about Vipassana "Doing Time, Doing Vipassana" and "Changing from the inside".
Meditation is a great way, to calm, to center, to learn authenticity.
This form of meditation is non-sectarian. Those who teach it do not require or desire any kind of conversion to a faith. All are welcome to come and learn.
This is a technique of positive, personal, change, if these people in prison can do it, we can too.
My hat flies in the air celebrating Jenny's breathtaking work.
You don't have to take my word... do yourself a favor and check out Jenny's website: dhammabrothers to watch/listen to Oprah interview Jenny and O.B. & Grady, 2 of the Dhamma Brothers at Donaldson Prison. This will serve as a wonderful entree before reading Letters from the Dhamma Brothers.
The book is a life-changing testimony with heartfelt sharing, gaining a glimpse of what these men are up against daily and you have the option to decide if the "changes" will last and if the transformation is real or not!
I was personally touched by reading the letters and stories because I have received letters from some of the Dhamma Brothers also.
It's a beautifully crafted book, true to the men's voices and spirits, Jenny has captured the essence of Vipassana and more than that, the beauty and power of love and compassion, forgiveness and hope.
Please read this book and watch the DVD.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Decent read. It speaks on the power of meditation and Vipassana. The way people changed their outward expressions by looking inwards. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
An excellent read. I have been contemplating meditation and after reading this book, I will be finding a center. This program gives dignity and purpose to the hopeless. Read morePublished 12 months ago by J. Bunch
Good book to learn that many minds can be changed positively with meditation. I have learned to practice meditation when waiting in the Dr's office and other frustrating times.Published 14 months ago by Mercedes H. Barris
This is a wonderfully written, powerful book showing the power meditation.Published 16 months ago by JeffWM
I showed this DVD movie, with permission from the director and producer, to our church and my meditation students, family and friends. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Ann M Porto-Hickey