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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 in New Mexico and New York, 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.

In 2006, The Pema Chödrön Foundation was founded in order to help ensure that Pema’s work can be supported sustainably into the future. The current focus of The Pema Chödrön Foundation is the creation of an endowment to hold and generate the funds needed to help share Pema’s teachings of how to ‘practice peace’ in our lives and communities, and to support those who choose to lead a contemplative life.

Insight-Out seeks to reform the prison system from the inside out, representing a movement of engaged citizens that includes law enforcement, victims, prisoners and at-risk youth. Insight-Out refers to the process the GRIP Prison Program teaches, which guides people on a healing journey deeply inside of themselves where they come back out transformed and ready to serve others. Insight-Out also refers to the former prisoners who work for the organization, men who once were in prison and are now out. They work with challenged youth and teach those who are still incarcerated. The organization holds a vision of incarceration that goes beyond punishment to rehabilitation, giving prisoners the opportunity to learn how to take responsibility and honor their victims, heal the pain they lashed out from and learn the skills that give them a second chance. This vision also seeks to up the money the state spends on education, saved from what it spends on incarceration.