Episode 5: Religious Diversity in American Prisons

In Episode 5, Part I Pluralism Project Research Associates Cody Musselman and Maggie Krueger discusses religion in prisons with Dr. Kaia Stern of Harvard University’s Prison Studies Project and Harvard Divinity School student Amanda Napior. The first segment, presented by Pluralism Project friend Clara Gonzalez, features an On Common Ground essay “Sweat LodgesThe sweat lodge of Native Americans consists of a lashed structure o. bent poles covered with blankets, hides, or tarps to hold in the heat, which is provided by hot stones brought into the lodge. The prayer offered by those who enter the lodge is accompa....” In the second vignette Dr. Kaia Stern speaks about the history of her involvement with prisons and emphasizes the importance of using humanizing language when speaking about people in prisons. In the third vignette, Clara Gonzalez shares an excerpt from a Pluralism Project research report on sweat lodges in American prisons. In the final segment Amanda Napior discusses a curriculum she developed about letters written from prison by religious and social leaders as well as her plans to teach this course in a prison for the first time in summer 2015. Read full transcript [.pdf]

Featuring

musselman

Cody Musselman, Pluralism Project Research Associate

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Maggie Krueger, Pluralism Project Research Associate

AmandaNapior

Amanda Napior, Master of Divinity ’16, Harvard Divinity School

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Kaia Stern, Prison Studies Project, Harvard University

In Episode 5, Part II Pluralism Project Research Associates Cody Musselman and Maggie Krueger discusses Buddhist meditationMeditation is the disciplined practice of quieting and focusing the mind or cultivating the heart’s attention. Different meditation practices commend focusing attention on a word, a prayer, a form, or the breath as a way of practice. Meditation is commo... in American prisons with Jenny Phillips, producer and director of the 2007 documentary The DhammaDharma means religion, religious duty, religious teaching. The word dharma comes from a Sanskrit root meaning “to uphold, support, bear,” thus dharma is that order of things which informs the whole world, from the laws of nature to the inner workings ... Brothers: East Meets West in the Deep South. The first vignette, presented by Pluralism Project Research Associate Abhishek Raman, features On Common Ground essays “The DharmaDharma means religion, religious duty, religious teaching. The word dharma comes from a Sanskrit root meaning “to uphold, support, bear,” thus dharma is that order of things which informs the whole world, from the laws of nature to the inner workings ...: The Teachings of the Buddha” and “The Practice of MindfulnessMindfulness or vipassana is a form of Theravada Buddhist meditation practice, directing one’s full attention to the workings of the mind and body, developing “mindfulness” of the contents of consciousness. Such mindfulness is a quality of awareness ....” In the second vignette, Jenny Phillips shares her experience documenting the impact of an intensive 10 day, 100 hour VipassanaVipassana is a form of Theravada Buddhist meditation, also called “insight mediation.” This method directs the attention toward the moment-to-moment workings of the mind and body, thereby developing “mindfulness” of the contents of consciousness a... meditation courses offered at a correctional facility in Alabama. In the third vignette, Abhishek Raman presents background on Vipassana in the United States, a history found in the On Common Ground essay “Building ‘American BuddhismBuddhism is a multi-hued tradition of life, thought, and practice that has developed from the teaching and practice of Siddhartha Gautama (6th century BCE) who came to be called the Buddha, the awakened one. The three major streams of the tradition—Ther....” Finally, our fourth vignette returns to Jenny Phillips who has taught meditation-based emotional literacy programs in prisons for almost twenty years and recounts the transformative experience of bringing meditation courses into one of the most turbulent prisons in Alabama. Read full transcript [.pdf]

Featuring

 

 

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Maggie Krueger, Pluralism Project Research Associate

musselman

Cody Musselman, Pluralism Project Research Associate

JennyPhillips

Jenny Phillips, Director and Producer, The Dhamma Brothers (2007)

 

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