The Dhamma Brothers: East meets West in a prison

Letters from the Dhamma Brothers: Meditation Behind Bars is a documentary about an overcrowded maximum-security prison in Alabama that offers an ancient meditation retreat to its prisoners as part of their rehabilitation.



The film features inmates who are serving life sentences without parole at the Donaldson Correctional Facility. They are given the option of participating in an emotionally and physically demanding course of silent meditation lasting 10 days. The participants are some of the state’s most dangerous criminals battling life-long demons. Most of them are highly skeptical of the meditation retreat. Additionally, many of guards question why the controversial retreat should be allowed for such violent offenders in the first place.

Scott Harshbarger, former Attorney General of Massachusetts, gave his thoughts about the movie when he said, “Through the film we realize that inmates can accept responsiblity for serious crimes, and attempt to engage in personal change even though it will not enable them to be released.”

You can purchase the book it is based on Amazon by Clicking Here.


  1. Dennis says:

    Sayalay Susila was trained at the same masnotery in Burma where my step son was a fully ordained Buddhist monk. It is a world famous and revered meditation center. The practice in that location is remarkable and very much in accordance with the descriptions in the earliest Buddhist canon. I have had the privilege of hearing Dhamma talks and meditating with Sayalay Susila twice. She is highly realized. This retreat is a remarkable opportunity.

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