Finding Freedom: How Death Row Broke and Opened My Heart

There are many forms of liberation – some that exist at the mercy of circumstance and others that can never be taken away. In this stirring and timely collection of stories, essays, poems, and letters, Jarvis Jay Masters explores the meaning of true freedom on his road to inner peace through Buddhist practice. He reveals his life as a young African American man surrounded by violence, his entanglement in the criminal justice system, and – following an encounter with Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche – an unfolding commitment to nonviolence and peacemaking. At turns joyful, heartbreaking, frightening, and soaring with profound insight, Masters’ story offers a vision of hope and the possibility of freedom in even the darkest of times.

“This is one of my favorite books, which I have often referred to in my teachings. I am delighted that it will have a wider publication now so that more people can read these wonderful heartfelt stories.” —from the foreword by Pema Chödrön

“It is a privilege and joy to read Jarvis Masters’s account of his spiritual struggle to find freedom at the edge of life. Everyone should read this book.” —Robert A. F. Thurman, author of Essential Tibetan Buddhism

“An inspiring, even exhilarating teaching on the life of a peacemaker in the midst of rage and despair, and in the shadow of the execution chamber.” —Bernie Glassman, founder of Zen Peacemakers International

“As he finds some measure of freedom inside a maximum security prison, Jarvis teaches me how to find freedom in my unfenced life.” —Susan Moon, coauthor of What Is Zen?

July 14, 2020

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