Video: Got “extra” Buddhist books? Here’s at least one great thing to do with them.

My little home video above offers just one option. There are of course many other great ways to share your Buddhist/dharma books: with friends, via donation to your dharma or meditation center’s library, maybe even your local library (mine wants good books of all kinds!). And in addition to the Prison Dharma Network, there are other prison dharma initiatives, including the Liberation Prison Project, affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition.

In some ways, where you give may not so much what matters as that you give, and thanks. (Note also that one commenter has left a helpful message regarding how to do your mailing.)

Prison Dharma writings from the Lion’s Roar archives, from people who know the practice from both sides of the bars:

  • Forced to Sit — Prisoner Scott Darnell shares his story of finding compassion on the inside.
  • Finding Freedom: The Death Row Journey of Jarvis Jay Masters — by Susan Moon.
  • Murder, Injustice, and the West Memphis Three — Rod Meade Sperry shares the tale of Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin, and (the now-Buddhist) Damien Echols. Could what’s happened to them happen to any of us?
  • A Roshi on the Row — Kobutsu Malone takes Shodo Harada Roshi on an unprecedented visit to Arkansas’ death row, where two condemned men now practice Zen. One of them, Damien Echols — subject of the HBO documentary “Paradise Lost”— is believed by many to be innocent.
  • The Great Escape — Yoga and meditation help Pippin Ross escape the hell of America’s oldest prison for women.
  • Jamil’s Heart — Through the practice of compassion meditation, Rosalind Harris transforms the grief of her son’s murder into solidarity and friendship with all young African-Americans, whose life of violence and oppression is a national tragedy.
  • A Taste of Freedom — “After more than thirteen years behind bars,” writes Fleet Maull, “a prisoner’s short, bittersweet experience of freedom is a reminder of his guru and the free, cheerful state of mind that is available at every moment.”


  1. Tanya McGinnity says

    What a great freakin' idea! Thanks for the video Rod. I will gather up some books this week and ship them out soon.

    Again! You ROCK!

  2. says

    And if you don't have any "extra" Dharma books, you can still help. The Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive publishes free books and over the years has sent thousands of them into prisons via PDN, LPP and several other organizations that do such work as well as directly ourselves. You can make donations to LYWA to help us sending books to prisoners…

  3. Kate Casavecchia says

    Thanks so much Rod…these will be put to good use! We get hundreds of requests every week! Kate @PDN

  4. Genju says

    Having started my Chaplaincy internship in a long-term care Mental Health Hospital, I found out there were no books on Buddhism in the staff or patient libraries. They would love many of the books I don't need to keep any longer.

    Long-term care nursing homes would welcome them too.