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The Buddhist on Death Row


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The inspirational true story of how one man found light in the darkest place

About the Author

David Sheff is the author of multiple books including the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Beautiful Boy, which was recently turned into a movie starring Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Outside, Rolling Stone, Wired, Fortune, and elsewhere. His piece for The New York Times, "My Addicted Son," received an award from the American Psychological Association for Outstanding Contribution to Advancing the Understanding of Addictions.


'This is a beautiful, profoundly spiritual book, and a page-turner. Jarvis Jay Masters's transformation, from an unloved child of violence and poverty to Buddhist teacher on Death Row, is thrilling. Reading it changed me, threw the lights on, opened and gentled my heart. I'm going to give it to everyone I know.' Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author of Almost Everything

'This profound, gorgeous book displays the miraculous human capacity to find redemption, and even joy, no matter who or where we are. Jarvis Masters's story proves that we are all united by our suffering and by our potential to help others who suffer.' Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking

'An inspiring book about how meaning can be found even in-perhaps especially in-adversity. It's a study of Buddhism, of criminal justice, of the ways people connect with each other, and it's written with deep feeling and verve.' Andrew Solomon, New York Times bestselling author of Far from the Tree

'I believe [this book] will encourage many people to examine their own lives and their unrealized potential for awareness, generosity, commitment, and courage.' Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me

'I'm grateful to be Jarvis Masters's teacher in part because he has taught me so much. I have rarely encountered anyone who expresses the essence of Buddhism in a clearer, more moving way than he does, and I deeply admire how David Sheff has captured that hard-won wisdom in this book.' Pema Chodron, author of When Things Fall Apart

'This book celebrates a liberation not gained by guns and gangs, prison breaks and murder, but by sitting with one's breath and believing in the perfection of the universe and all who strive and suffer within it. The Buddhist on Death Row is a deeply useful reminder that we can all be free regardless of where we are placed.' Alice Walker

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