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Living, Dreaming, and Dying

This year I have decided to go deeper with the inmates at the Folsom Prison by exploring the question of life and death. As you can imagine, prison life is very challenging, and the inmates sometimes face very difficult situations -riots, fights, depression, anger, sadness, to name some a few. Once I asked my Zen teacher what is the root of all the problems humans face, he told me that we can trace the issues to the fear of life and death.

I have told the inmates sometimes that if humans were able to understand life and death deeply, probably most jails would be empty because most crimes can be traced to not understanding this fundamental dilemma of the human race.

For this reason, I consider it of the utmost importance exploring the question of life and death very deeply as a catalyst for transformation. I decided to use as our primary text the book Living, Dreaming, Dying: Wisdom for Everyday Life from the Tibetan Book of the Dead by Rob Nairn.

This book offers a new interpretation of the process of living and dying through the lenses of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

The men were very receptive and really liked the topic, which will be explored more deeply in future sessions.

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