Dhamma Brothers : Vipassana Meditation In Alabama prison

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“The Dhamma Brothers” tells a sensational story of human potential and Transformation as it closely follows and records the stories of the inmates at Donaldson Correction Facility who go into 10 days silent vipassana meditation program and are dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program.

East meets West in the Deep South. Behind high security towers and a twofold line of spiked metal and electrical wall is an overcrowded maximum-security prison loaded with a large group of convicts who will never see the light of day. But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when it becomes the first ever high security prison in North America to hold an extended Vipassana meditation retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding course of silent meditation lasting ten days.

Following are exceptional narrative who participated in a 10-day silent meditation retreat.

Bruce : “Vipassana means to see things as they are. See the reality deep inside yourself as it really is. It is not a very pleasant experience initially.”… “every student will face what we call a storm, a deep sense of fear, anger, depression will come up. The purpose of Vipassana is to work at that depth that all that stuff comes up.”

OB “I knew I had to let things go, realized I was holding onto things too strongly. Then I started laughing at the way I was holding onto things. I started laughing and in the midst of the laughter it changed to tears. Whoa you a big man, what if somebody sees you cry? I let go, let the tears roll. I didn’t know what I was crying about but it felt good to cry.”


Grady Bankhead “I thought my biggest fear was growing old and dying in prison. In truth my biggest fear was not knowing myself.”


Edward Johnson “That day I was straight meditating, didn’t take breaks just straight meditating. I dreamed of my daughter the third night I was in Vipassana. I still don’t want to deal with this, my daughter dead, my baby girl. Putting my baby in a casket I’m going to lock this up, not going to deal with this. I told the teacher, he said Good Edward, you are dealing with it.”


Grady Bankhead “last day after meditation and instructions we break Noble Silence. I am proud of our group, my Dhamma Brothers.” Film of men congratulating one another, shaking hands, hugging.


Sergeant Joel Gilbert Correction Officer “Noticing how faithful the guys are coming to meditation each morning. Something is working somewhere. They are more relaxed, easier to get along with, don’t cause as many problems.”

“Well, it is over. But the vibrations are still here. The memories of those last 10 days on the mat, the experiential wisdom which was gained, and all the prospects of peace which were found here, that is always going to linger.” — Benjamin “OB” Oryang, Dhamma Brother


In 1993 the program was successfully Introduced as a 10 days meditation programs for prisoners in India’s largest prison Tihar, (watch : Doing Time, Doing Vipassana : Vipassana Meditation in Prison).

For more information about vipassana meditation visit official website of dhamma at www.dhamma.org

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