Fleet Maull, a Dharma instructor who served over 14 years in jail, spoke to members of the Yale neighborhood about jail mindfulness and aware activism.

Employees Reporter

Zoe Berg, Picture Editor

On Feb. 16, the Yale Buddhist Sangha hosted a talk, guided meditation and dialogue led by Fleet Maull, founding father of the Jail Mindfulness Institute.

Maull has practiced mindfulness-awareness meditation for greater than 45 years and has been a senior meditation and Dharma instructor within the Tibetan and Zen Buddhist traditions for over 40 years. On the occasion, he spoke about his huge vary of life experiences and how they led him to his present management of the Jail Mindfulness Institute. Coordinator of Buddhist Life Rev. Sumi Loundon Kim launched Maull on the talk.

In 1985, Maull’s life got here to a self-described “screeching halt” when he was indicted for small-scale drug smuggling in Latin America. He finally served 14 and a half years in federal jail.

“For these 14 years, I simply fully devoted myself to apply and self-discipline and service,” Maull mentioned. “I ended up doing my time … in a federal jail hospital in the midst of the AIDS epidemic [and] began a company, the Nationwide Jail Hospice Affiliation, to get that mannequin out into the world … and finally began the Jail Dharma Community to assist prisoners.”

Throughout these 14 years, he additionally targeted on instructing meditation and serving to different prisoners get their graduate levels, study to learn and examine for school.

Maull’s Jail Dharma Community has since reworked into the Jail Mindfulness Institute. The group’s mission is to “present prisoners, jail workers and jail volunteers with the simplest, evidence-based instruments for rehabilitation, self-transformation, and private & skilled growth,” via using mindfulness-based interventions, in response to the PMI’s official web site.

“I do plenty of coaching for correctional officers and public defenders … prosecutors, judges, police, U.S. border patrol, probation parole officers,” Maull mentioned. “It’s a couple of contemplative strategy … to social change. Social justice, social motion, shouldn’t be about polarization.”

On the talk, Maull additionally shared his youth tales and referenced a number of the teams and applications which have influenced him, together with the Zen Peacemakers, which Maull described as a program that brings sources to the “poorest of the poor.” For instance, he mentioned, in a single neighborhood in Yonkers, New York, the Peacemakers provide free clinics, housing and childcare for folks experiencing homelessness.

Attendee Natalie Savoie Cauley LAW ’21 expressed her pleasure in regards to the occasion, as she plans to work within the felony authorized system after her commencement.

“Anybody who spends time incarcerated has knowledge to share, and Dr. Maull confirmed that,” Cauley mentioned. “Dr. Maull spoke forcefully about how he weaves collectively his perception system, mindfulness and activism [so] I used to be particularly intrigued by his dialogue of the Zen Peacemakers, and I’m excited to look extra into their practices, tenets and frameworks.”

Maull spoke at size about attending retreats via the Zen Peacemakers’ Bearing Witness program, basically “road retreats” in locations with a historical past of struggling like Rwanda, Auchwitz and Black Hills — the placement of the 1877 Nice Sioux Conflict and the Native American Holocaust.

Maull has personally visited Auschwitz via the retreat program about 20 occasions, yearly since his launch from jail in 1999.

“It’s what we name a plunge apply as a result of it takes you thus far out of your extraordinary reference factors that you just’re simply left on this place of not figuring out — it forces you into not figuring out,” Maull mentioned. 

He additionally defined the three tenets of peacemaker work: not figuring out, which suggests letting go of fastened concepts in regards to the world, bearing witness and loving actions. 

Attendee Daud Shad ’21 talked about his appreciation for Maull’s perspective of and strategy to fashionable activism.

“I believe that common reflection on objectives and methods is important for any activist,” Shad mentioned. “It was helpful to listen to Dr. Maull actually emphasize the significance of mindfulness in activism based mostly on his work on the Jail Mindfulness Institute.”

After discussing human tendencies to polarize and suggesting that individuals undergo the “concept of not figuring out,” Maull led a brief meditation with the aim of stress-free into the system of not figuring out and merely bearing witness.

Maull’s most up-to-date e-book, revealed in 2019, is titled “Radical Duty: The right way to Transfer Past Blame, Fearlessly Dwell Your Highest Objective and Change into an Unstoppable Power for Good.”

Amelia Decrease | amelia.decrease@yale.edu 

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