Prison Dharma

About this section:
Imagine trying to generate even the slightest bodhicitta -- the intention to become fully enlightened in order to benefit all sentient beings most effectively -- in a prison environment. It's similar to generating compassion in hell! Although we are all prisoners of our negative karma, negative emotions, and disturbing attitudes, we still have this precious human life. Nothing can ever take away our Buddha potential. Ven. Chodron and the prisoners with whom she corresponds offer practitioners insights into how they can benefit themselves and others in even the most difficult situations.



Grouchy Me

By Bryan Taylor ©

You talked about some people being angry or grouchy at a certain time of day, for example in the morning. That's me quite often! Recently I had a bout of anger early in the morning. I was awaken by the guard to be the first one to go to recreation. It was about 5:30 a.m. and I'm not a morning person to say the least. Well, I was still a little asleep, and another inmate laughed at me because I had to go first. Nobody wants to go first. Everyone is trying to get a couple more hours of sleep in, so when he teased me, I snapped at him.

After a minute or two, I calmed down and apologized to him. Some of the other guys teased him about it for a few days because I usually am real friendly and he'd managed to get my goat. I felt bad about it, even more so because they were giving him a hard time about it. I'm glad that he is a good natured guy and didn't cuss me out. It could have turned into a bigger deal that it was-in prison environment that happens a lot. Anyway, it was a little issue but it showed me how easy it is to fall back when I don't guard my mind. It's like you said, my mind was looking for something to be angry at.

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