Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

Razor-Wire Dharma - Praise

A Buddhist Life in Prison

“Through these stories of a committed Buddhist places under great pressure, Malone asks us to reflect on the nature of difficult circumstances and the obstacles to practice. This book illustrates that, however narrow or broad our freedoms, we all make choices that will either imprison or liberate us.”—Shambhala Sun

“Calvin Malone has an incredible ability to apply the teachings in the most difficult of circumstances. Razor-Wire Dharma is an essential read for incarcerated individuals who may find Calvin’s stories all too familiar (and will find his resource guide in the back invaluable). Those on the ‘outside’ would benefit from hearing this authentic Buddhist voice. A pleasurable read.”—Mandala

“Calvin Malone’s bravery, grace and selflessness is so inspiring I could not help but smile as I flipped each page. If I were to recommend one book that stands out from the endless sea of Dharma books, one that will not only make you smile but will also tug a bit at your heart strings, than I would tell you to read Razor Wire Dharma.”—Precious Metal Blog

“In a place where there is noise day and night-slamming steel doors, screams, curses, bangs, crashes, heavy footfalls-where danger is ever-present, the food is really crummy and everything you do is restricted in some manner, Calvin Malone learned the Buddha Dharma; he learned about mindfulness, self-awareness, compassion and how to meditate; it became his spiritual practice and he found that it was a good way to survive day to day. As time went by, he changed as a person and found himself able to help other prisoners. On top of all this, Calvin Malone is a really good writer and the book is a compelling read. Do you have a friend or family member in prison? Do you find yourself trying to cope with ongoing annoyances in your daily life? Are you interested in how to do your spiritual practices while immersed in the world? Would you like to be inspired? Then read this book. The chances are good that you will want to share it with companions on the path.”—Light of Consciousness

Razor-wire Dharma is not just for Buddhists, it is for anyone who values cultivating patience, forgiveness, tolerance, and a kind heart. Calvin shows us; in short, engaging anecdotes about his life in prison how to do this in even the most difficult of situations. This book is also for anyone who wants to learn more about America’s criminal justice system and why, instead of helping people become productive members of society, it encourages recidivism. The ways to improve the prison system in order to benefit society as well as individuals become clear when you read Razor-wire Dharma.”—Thubten Chodron, author of Open Heart, Clear Mind

“A compelling book about living with dignity and mindfulness in the midst of the chaos and despair of prison life. Chock full of humor, wisdom, and rich tales of self-discovery. Calvin Malone’s descriptions of living in a small space with another person, learning to navigate the personal habits and unpredictable temperaments of those who move into his cell, are unforgettable. Over the years of his incarceration, he has been able to develop a deeply spiritual and compassionate interior, and to transmit this into his surroundings and relationships. Calvin Malone exemplifies those few who truly succeed in moving forward and making sense out of their situation. Those of us who live in the ‘free world’ can learn a lot from Malone’s stories.”—Jenny Phillips, PhD Producer/Director of The Dhamma Brothers

“I count Calvin Malone as one of my teachers.”—Lin Jensen, author of Bad Dog!Pavement, and Together Under One Roof

“Calvin Malone is, if not the most remarkable practitioner, certainly one of the most remarkable. He sits his practice, he walks his practice, and he lives his practice in an environment where practice is beyond difficult. Calvin knows when to speak, how to speak skillfully, and when to remain silent. He knows when to lead, and when to make way for others to exercise and develop leadership. He is a ‘teacher without portfolio’ in an environment that desperately needs teachers.”—Ven. Rowan Conrad, Ph.D, Dharma Teacher in lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh

“Does it take a special person to live ‘a Buddhist life’ in prison? Though Malone may be ‘special’ in the depth of the personal transformation he’s achieved after two decades of practice, stories in Razor-Wire Dharma reveal that even the most jaded or damaged individuals—the rage-filled and the greedy and even the delusional—can benefit from the Dharma, through the teachings per se or through exposure to those who have been altered by them.”—Northwest Dharma News

“Calvin Malone’s compelling, beautifully written memoir goes beyond his experiences as someone whose life in prison was transformed by Buddhism. With vivid descriptions of his life and practice behind bars, he show us that anyone, in any circumstances, can make a positive change in his or her own life and in the lives of those around them.”—Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music

Razor-Wire Dharma is both a candid personal narrative and an inside take on the fast-growing Buddhist movement behind bars. In a series of captivating anecdotes, Malone introduces a diverse cast of cellmates, guards, and family members, reflecting on the challenges-and strategies for skillful means-that each interaction brings. This book is an inspiration, revealing the great potential that meditation holds.”—Tricycle

“Besides providing a glimpse into the world of prison, this is also a serious book about Buddhism with no ax to grind or product to sell. In addition to the entertaining stories, there is also an excellent overview of the Four Noble Truths, a guide to meditation, and a worthy list of recommended reading and resources.”—Feminist Review