Home / In the Spotlight / Oprah, The Dhamma Brothers, and Journeys in Film


What do Journeys in Film and the Oprah Winfrey Network have in common? If you answered something like, “They both have an eye for powerful films that make the world a better place” then you are right. On May 6, 2012, the Oprah Winfrey Network aired The Dhamma Brothers as part of Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday programming. This is the same film for which Journeys in Film is producing a free curriculum guide.

The Dhamma Brothers Film

East meets West in The Dhamma Brothers–a provocative film that tells the true story of inmates in the Donaldson Correctional Facility. It’s a violent, overcrowded maximum-security prison in Alabama.

The prisoners’ lives and attitudes are forever changed after they participate in an intensive, extended Vipassana retreat. This physically and emotionally demanding program of silent meditation lasts for 10 days, and participants spend a minimum of 100 hours in meditation.

Vipassana Education and Teacher Lesson Plans

As one delves into meditation education and teacher lesson plans based on the film, it’s important to remember that this type of meditation is for people of all religions, races, and social levels. Although Vipassana was practiced and taught by Gotama the Buddha, participants are not called “Buddhists.” They are called “Dhammists.” Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and members of various other religions practice Vipassana.

According to the Vipassana Research Institute, “Vipassana enables us to experience peace and harmony: it purifies the mind, freeing it from suffering and the deep-seated causes of suffering. The practice leads step-by-step to the highest spiritual goal of full liberation from all mental defilements.”

Adding The Dhamma Brothers to Global Education Curriculum

So why is Journeys in Film developing a curriculum guide for The Dhamma Brothers? It’s just what Journeys in Film is looking for when it provides material so teachers can teach through film. Designed for older students in high school, college students, film discussion groups, and religious and community groups, the film offers windows into our world. With proper guidance, students can move beyond lectures, textbooks, borders, and boundaries to gain understanding of global concepts. The standards-based curricula teach viewers how to watch the film and challenges them to examine how their own experiences influence their perceptions of others.The Dhamma Brothers is more than a tale of human potential and transformation. Through the teacher lesson plans, you can see that the film also has the power to dismantle stereotypes about men behind prison bars.

For information on when the free curriculum for The Dhamma Brothers, will be released, click on the Journeys in Film website and select “Get Email Updates.”

The Dhamma Brothers curriculum will be free through donations made to Dhamma Brothers. If you would like to make an online donation, you can do so through their website’s Click & Pledge option.