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The Buddhist on Death Row

Monday, June 15, 2020
7:30 pm
Venue: Sydney Goldstein Theater

This event appears in the series
Special Events

In The Buddhist on Death Row, David Sheff explores the transformation of Jarvis Jay Masters, a renowned Buddhist thinker and inmate on death row at San Quentin State Prison. With uncanny clarity, Sheff describes Masters’s gradual transformation from a man consumed by violence to one who has helped those around him find meaning and peace in their lives. 

Beloved Buddhist teacher, author, nun and mother, Pema Chödrön has inspired millions of people from around the world to practice peace in turbulent times. Chödrön is the author of several books, including The Wisdom of No Escape, Start Where You Are, When Things Fall Apart, and most recently, Smile at Fear.

Journalist David Sheff is the author of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction and the follow-up Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy. His other books include Game Over, about the videogame industry, China Down, about China’s internet revolution, and now The Buddhist on Death Row: How One Man Found Light in the Darkest Place.

sujatha baliga is director of the Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice and a co-founder of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. Previously a public defender and victim advocate, baliga speaks publicly and inside prisons about her own experiences as a survivor of child sexual abuse and her path to forgiveness. A 2019 MacArthur Fellow, she is writing her first book on the forgiveness of seemingly unforgivable acts, and leads meditation at the Gyuto Foundation in Richmond, California.

The Pema Chodron Foundation is dedicated to preserving and sharing Pema’s inspiration and teachings in order that they might help us all awaken wisdom and compassion in ourselves and the world around us. The Foundation supports the training of Buddhist nuns in both Asia and North America, and provides support to organizations which service at-risk communities, particularly those organizations which promote healing and growth through mindfulness practices.

The GRIP Program (formerly Insight-Out) transforms violence and suffering into learning and healing. Its year-long program guides life-sentenced, violent offenders, through a deeply transformative journey, wherein they effectively “leave prison before they get out.” GRIP recognizes freedom as a state of mind/heart not just a geographical fact, such as being on the other side of the prison gate. In the last 8 years 273 graduates of the GRIP program were released from prison by the Parole Board; only 1 came back to prison.