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Lions Roar : Nov 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2007 109 is how, in the extreme confinement of the Adjustment Center, Jarvis, with the help of Chagdud Tulku and his other dharma sup- porters, has trained himself to be nonviolent and to make a contribution to the world around him, inside prison and beyond, through his friendships and his writing. “Writing takes you deeper into your- self,” he says. “You meet a whole new per- son when you start writing about yourself. You see what’s relevant about the past. I see how messed up I was, believe me. Some of my past experiences were like a horror movie. My next book describes it. You don’t ever want to get trapped in the experience you’re remembering. You try to forgive—others and yourself. You’re a part of this one giant experience.” His second book, That Bird has My Wings: Autobiography of an Innocent Man, is nearing completion. I’m one of the people who has helped him with the edit- ing, and I’m always moved by his ability to unfold his life before us with his writ- ing. He gives me pages in his extraordi- nary handwriting: tiny, elegant, fluent, with high, curved risers. From a distance it might not appear to be English—maybe Arabic, or Georgian. In the Adjustment Center, the only writing implement Jarvis was allowed was the insert of a ballpoint pen. One day he shook the flimsy plastic tube at me from the other side of the win- dow and said, “My whole life flows out through this damn sorry little thing!” Meditation and writing might be ways for a prisoner to retreat farther inward, but for Jarvis it appears to be completely the opposite. “I can relate to other people, especially kids, thanks to writing,” he says. “Buddhism helps me, too, because it doesn’t play the blame game. Buddhist practice helps me write because it helps me identify with other people. When I write, I see that this is what Buddhist practice is—being there in the moment, being right there with others. “My friends in prison want to be a part of my writing. They tell me stories. When something bad happens, or when some- Jarvis Masters continued from page 62 2007 Fall Practice In the Heart of New York City September 22 Atonement Zazenkai October 13 Zen & Writing Workshop October 17-20 Urban Sesshin—study, witness, engage, sit October 20 Sacred Slam Poetry Evening November 10 Thanksgiving Zazenkai December 8 Enlightenment Zazenkai In the snowy hills of Connecticut December 26-January 1st Year End Sesshin—a time for renewal and contemplation Coming Up in 2008 May 13-23 Zen Japan—a ten day pilgrim- age to the arts and practice of Zen in Japan with Enkyo Roshi The Village Zendo 588 Broadway, suite 910 New York, NY 10012 www.villagezendo.org email@example.com TheVillage Zendo photo with guanyin shot by in SanFrancisco samOvar tea Lounge am am m m Ovar Ov Ovar Ovar tea tea teaaa @ pacificzen.org (707) 538.9340 (7am-7pm + NOV 104-120.indd 109 NOV 104-120.indd 109 8/30/07 2:10:27 PM 8/30/07 2:10:27 PM