Episode 154 :: Jenny Phillips :: The Dhamma Brothers


Jenny Phillips

Jenny Phillips speaks with us today about her film, The Dhamma Brothers, about teaching vipassana to inmates in a maximum security prison in Alabama.

There are all kinds of reasons we find not to meditate. It can be hard work, for one thing, and sometimes we wriggle away mentally from the effort. And yet that effort is worth the time and commitment to actually do the practice. And those gains can be tremendous, if we’ve never before considered taking on meditation and doing it exclusively for a ten day retreat.

Consider that situation, in one of the most restrictive settings known, prison. Oddly, as we’ll see, the structured nature of prison life can make it well suited to the austere and regimented process of a vipassana retreat.

Jenny Phillips is a cultural anthropologist, writer, and psychiatric nurse. For over fifteen years, Phillips has provided services in the mental health department of a large medical center in Concord, MA. Her specialties include crisis intervention, family therapy, behavioral medicine, and hypnotherapy. Over the past ten years, she has worked with men in both state and county prisons, teaching courses on emotional literacy skills. In 2008, Phillips released The Dhamma Brothers into movie theatres. While working on the film, she received more than 200 letters from the Alabama prisoners documenting their lives in prison and their quest for inner peace. These collected letters were published in 2008 by Pariyatti Press as Letters From the Dhamma Brothers.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice organic East India Blend tea.




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Music for This Episode Courtesy of Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. The track used in this episode is “Night Temple” from his CD, Traditional and Modern Pieces: Shakuhachi.