A Benefit Concert for The Dhamma Brothers Education Program
This concert is about freedom, forgiveness, acceptance, and peace. There will be a film screening of an award winning, Oprah backed film that documents prisoners in a maximum security prison finding acceptance for where they are and what they did, forgiveness and, ultimately, connection with their families and communities that was never possible before. We're raising funds for an educational program written for young adults in high schools, universities, and also programs for at risk youth. This comprehensive curriculum will, when fully developed,be offered online for free.To top it off we have an amazing musician who is bringing a special guest musician to play incredible music to really bring home the message the that there is no one we cannot feel compassion and forgiveness for. We all have the power to transcend circumstances and live powerful, meaningful lives filled with deep connection with those around us.
The evening will begin with a screening of the awarding winning and Oprah backed film, The Dhamma Brothers. The film documents the convergence of a violent, overcrowded, understaffed, maximum-security prison, and an ancient, rigorous meditation program known as Vipassana. Stories of courage and hope are told by the prisoners themselves - who call themselves the Dhamma Brothers - as they undertake a deep and emotionally turbulent journey inside in search of peace and wisdom.
There will be a brief Q&A and remarks about the The Dhamma Brothers educational initiative by the film's producer/director/writer, Jenny Phillips.
Following the screening, Joaquin Lievano will perform a solo concert of songs spanning his career.
The proceeds of the evening will go to Freedom Behind Bars Foundation, who in partnership with Journeys in Film, is developing a comprehensive curriculum guide for high school and college as well as alternative classrooms based on The Dhamma Brothers.
For more information about The Dhamma Brothers Education Program, please click here.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you there!
When & Where
Jenny Phillips & Chris Fellows
Jenny Phillips, Producer/Director/Writer
I had been teaching meditation in prisons for several years when I heard from Robin Casarjian, the director of The Lionheart Foundation, that a large and growing number of prisoners were learning to meditate inside a maximum-security prison outside Birmingham, Alabama. When the prison psychologist, Dr. Ron Cavanaugh, invited me to visit and to interview some of the meditating prisoners, I packed my tape recorder and flew down.
That visit and the stories that I heard while there set my course over the next ten years. Soon after that first trip to Alabama, I became aware of a meditation practice, Vipassana, which is taught in centers around the world and contains the elements that I had always thought were most needed in an effective prison program: the opportunity and techniques for significant introspection in a safe and supported environment. With collaboration among Ron Cavanaugh, the Alabama Department of Corrections, The Lionheart Foundation, and the Vipassana center in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, a Vipassana program was first brought into this Alabama prison in 2002.
After witnessing the powerful convergence of an overcrowded, understaffed, maximum-security prison and an ancient, intensive meditation practice, I realized that this story needed to be documented, and could only be fully told through film. Since its theatrical release in 2008, The Dhamma Brothers has galvanized audiences, won awards, and received positive reviews.
Suffering is universal. The men at Donaldson are learning to become free within even while their bodies are imprisoned. In a larger sense, The Dhamma Brothers suggests the possibility of freedom from that which imprisons us all. The Dhamma Brothers are leading the way.