The Dhamma Brothers

A Film by Jenny Phillips, Anne Marie Stein and Andrew Kukura

An overcrowded maximum-security prison - the end of the line in Alabama's correctional system - is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient mediation program. Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence dwells a host of convicts who will never see the light of day. But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when it becomes the first maximium-security prison in North America to hold an extended Vipassana retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding course of silent meditation lasting ten days.

The Dhamma Brothers portrays the practice of Vipassana meditation as it is taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin. Vipassana courses take place over a continuous ten-day period during which students are taught a systematic process of balanced self-observation leading to increased awareness, self-control and inner balance. This non-sectarian practice is provided to inmates exactly as it is taught by S. N. Goenka in regular ten-day courses around the world. Vipassana in this tradition is distinguished by its requirement for a ten-day commitment, its emphasis on moral development, the continuity of practice and its policy of no remuneration for volunteers and course services.

USA, 2007, 76 minutes. Balcony Releasing and Freedom Behind Bars Productions.

** Note ** The Vipassana Prison Trust did not make The Dhamma Brothers, nor did it have control over the content of the film. The Vipassana Prison Trust is not affiliated with any prison reform or inmate advocacy group, and its sole purpose is to serve the correctional system through the provision of courses to inmates.