By Jonathan Harrison, Abilene, TX
I would like to extend the deepest gratitude to Inside Dharma for helping me along the path and helping me refine my daily practice. Every article, Sutra, poem, quote or personal experience that you publish helps me immeasurably. The reason I have not weighed in on any topic until now is that I am still new to Buddhism, but I feel that respect is something I can talk about because it is a big part of prison life.
By Scott Darnell, Lawrence Correctional Center, Sumner, IL
The first four years of my incarceration was spent in a juvenile facility called, Illinois Youth Center – Joliet. It was a veritable gladiator school where pretty much anything went. My first year in took some getting used to, especially when summer rolled around. While most kids my age were getting out of school for summer vacation I was stuck sitting in day room with security screen over the windows.
By Patrick Doyle, Mayo C.I. Work Camp
When I first came to prison in 2007 I was a 24 year old, gang banging, confused, vengeful, hateful, violent and loveless individual on a path of destruction for a term of ten years. Then in 2010 after a stint with a six month bit in CM (close management), I stumbled upon the Dhammapada by Easwaran and Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das. I immediately knew this was the path I was to be on.
By Noah Toler, Vernon County Jail, Nevada, MO
Forgiveness is not about the other person, but about ourselves. I was told this once, and it seems like good dharma to me. I imagine for many of us forgiveness is tough to practice. After all, we’ve spent a lifetime building up our database of resentments, ready at any moment to recite them to the world. But since the focus is on us, maybe some questions are in order: What is forgiveness? How can we practice it?
By Rob Backer, DCC, Danville, IL
Spending time in meditation examining my perceptions and sitting through the arising and disappearing of my misperceptions constitutes the cornerstone of my day. Like the three square meals, my day is not complete without a steady diet of mindfulness. My inner barometer tells me when it is time to drop resistance and to tune in to life “as it is”. By being aware of the accumulation of stress and of my loss of presence in the present moment, I find I don’t need a rigorous routine or disciplined schedule to maintain my commitment to practice
by Steven Wilkinson, SCI Cresson, PA
I have or used to be a very hostile, angry and aggressive individual. I have harmed and hurt everyone and everybody who ever crossed me including my family, loved ones, relatives and enemies. I have been or use to be evil and have done a lot of evil in my life.