Vipassana in North American prisons - update

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Post by Ben » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:26 am

Hi all

I just received the electonic copy of the international Vipassana Meditation newsletter, and thought I would share this interesting article on the development of meditation courses in US prisons.
Vipassana in North American prisons

Since 1997, the North American Vipassana Prison Project has brought over thirty 10-day residential courses to more than 250 participants at five correctional facilities in North America. These include more than six courses at the Donaldson facility, a maximum-security prison in Alabama and the location for the film The Dhamma Brothers.

An AT who conducted courses at Donaldson in the early days returned there recently and was amazed at the changes in many of the inmates. Even a corrections officer spoke of radical changes evident in some of the most challenging inmates. The course program at Donaldson continues to be a source of inspiration to the outside world and an example to other prisons. The warden of the prison is very enthusiastic about continuing and possibly expanding the program in Donaldson.

Supervising the courses is the North American Vipassana Prison Trust. The Trust holds annual retreats to plan its activities and provide training. It is developing a website linked to the international prison website. Donations may be made on-line for prison activities in either the USA or Canada; income tax receipts can be issued for either country. Both meditators and non-meditators may donate. The website will eventually feature articles, research papers and other prison-related materials.

Visit: http://www.prison.dhamma.org/en/na" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

-- VMC International Newsletter
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

User avatar
BlackBird
Posts: 1925
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Post by BlackBird » Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:48 am

This is good news. Last I heard the prison in question had gone through a few chief-wardens and that one of them had been strongly anti-meditation, shutting down the whole programme. Fortunately the position seems to have past on to a more open minded individual :anjali:

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 18379
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:17 pm

Greetings,
BlackBird wrote:Fortunately the position seems to have past on to a more open minded individual
Or even if not, they're sensible enough not to argue with the old adage "you can't argue with results".

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

User avatar
Avery
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:14 pm
Contact:

Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Post by Avery » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:35 pm

I was surprised to learn recently that the Vipassana Project is only part of the meditation programs popping up around the country. I guess prison chaplains don't often make the news, but I met a Tibetan monk who teaches vipassana at his prison in rural Michigan. In such a closed environment, I think meditation can make a big difference :)

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 5846
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Post by bodom » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:42 pm

Well i figured out how I can finally get the time off of work to do a retreat. Ill get arrested!
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Post by Ben » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:21 am

bodom wrote:Well i figured out how I can finally get the time off of work to do a retreat. Ill get arrested!
Nice one Bodom!
But I would recommend making a decision with strong determination to create the conditions whereby you can attend a retreat outside of prison. Gawd knows, we all have shackles aplenty in our own mind. No need to add more!
In my experience, it is easier to negotiate the time for a retreat when you have a young baby and before they start running around.
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 5846
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Post by bodom » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:48 am

Ben wrote:
bodom wrote:Well i figured out how I can finally get the time off of work to do a retreat. Ill get arrested!
Nice one Bodom!
But I would recommend making a decision with strong determination to create the conditions whereby you can attend a retreat outside of prison. Gawd knows, we all have shackles aplenty in our own mind. No need to add more!
In my experience, it is easier to negotiate the time for a retreat when you have a young baby and before they start running around.
metta

Ben
I better get cracking then cause she is already up on hers knees and ready to crawl so it wont be to much longer until im up chasing after her.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

User avatar
Monkey Mind
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Post by Monkey Mind » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:00 am

Watched Dhamma Brothers recently. It was very moving.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Crazy cloud and 53 guests