Vipassana in North American prisons - update

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Ben
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Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Postby 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.

-- 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..

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BlackBird
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Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Postby 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

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Paul Davy
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Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Postby Paul Davy » 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. :)
"Having understood name-and-form, which is a product of prolificity,
And which is the root of all malady within and without,
He is released from bondage to the root of all maladies,
That Such-like-one is truly known as 'the one who has understood'."
(Snp 3.6)

"Whether I were to preach in brief, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach in detail, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach both in brief or in detail, Sāriputta, rare are those who understand." (A I 333, Sāriputtasutta)

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Avery
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Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Postby 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 :)

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bodom
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Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Postby 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!
“What should be done for his disciples out of compassion by a teacher who seeks their welfare and has compassion for them, that I have done for you, bhikkhus. There are these roots of trees, these empty huts. Meditate, bhikkhus, do not delay or else you will regret it later. This is our instruction to you.” - MN 19

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Ben
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Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Postby 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..

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bodom
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Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Postby 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:
“What should be done for his disciples out of compassion by a teacher who seeks their welfare and has compassion for them, that I have done for you, bhikkhus. There are these roots of trees, these empty huts. Meditate, bhikkhus, do not delay or else you will regret it later. This is our instruction to you.” - MN 19

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Monkey Mind
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Re: Vipassana in North American prisons - update

Postby 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


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