SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

The Buddhist on Death Row: How One Man Found Light in the Darkest Place

S. & S. May 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781982128456. $27. REL
COPY ISBN
Best-selling memoirist Sheff (Beautiful Boy) documents how Jarvis Jay Masters became a Buddhist in one of the most unlikely of places: death row at San Quentin State Prison. After a childhood of turmoil and violence, Masters entered prison for multiple armed robberies and was quickly radicalized in the Black Guerilla Family. Although he maintains his innocence, Masters was found guilty of conspiring in the murder of a prison guard and sentenced to death. To deal with the stress of his trial, a member of his defense team introduces him to meditation. This ultimately sets Masters on a path toward becoming a student of Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön, as well as a celebrated author. Sheff paints an ironic portrait of a troubled yet compassionate man striving to help his fellow death row inmates and others around the world, while the criminal justice systems continues to show its indifference to Masters. Despite this, Masters believes that being sentenced to death not only saved his life but gave him life.
VERDICT This readable account of an unlikely journey to Buddhism and finding freedom on death row should inspire readers on their own transformational journeys.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month