Prison Dharma: Meet the Buddhas who practice it — on both sides of the bars

>from Shambhala SunSpace Prison dharma: Buddhist principles and teachings, put into practice to give comfort and guidance to the incarcerated. What could be a more worthy cause?

Anyone who’s practiced prison dharma will tell you: It works. So we’ve collected some of the best articles from the Shambhala Sun’s archives, from people who know the practice from both sides of the bars. Just click any article’s title to start reading, after the jump.

* Forced to Sit — Prisoner Scott Darnell shares his story of finding compassion on the inside.

* Finding Freedom: The Death Row Journey of Jarvis Jay Masters — by Susan Moon.

* 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’s happened to them happen to any of us?

* A Roshi on the Row — Kobutsu Malone takes Shodo Harada Roshi on an unprecedented visit to Arkansas’ death row, where two condemned men now practice Zen. One of them, Damien Echols — subject of the HBO documentary “Paradise Lost”— is believed by many to be innocent.

* 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.”

To view the contents of the Sun’s January 2010 issue, which features “Prison Monk,” a review of the latest book by Jarvis Jay Masters, click here.

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