Movie "The Dhamma Brothers": Alabama Prison Inmates Go Buddhist

October 23, 2009

Author: Emily Breder

Source: Boston Examiner

Donaldson Correctional Facility is the end of the road for most men. A life sentence without parole or awaiting capital punishment amounts to about the same thing- four walls and a matter of time. This fishbowl of tension, violence, and hopelessness is one of the most frightening places that a human being can find themselves. However, cultural anthropologist and psychotherapist Jenny Phillips did not come here to make a film about the darkness of this place.

She came here because a growing number of the men were practicing Vipassana meditation, which is geared toward facing one's own suffering. The men, when interviewed, were surprisingly open and honest. It was obvious that something vulnerable had been touched in these men- no easy task in itself. Knowing from personal experience what a meditation retreat can do to promote self-healing and change, she and the Vipassana Meditation Center in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts managed to arrange a 10-day meditation retreat in 2002.