View Full Version : Monks battle inmates at MN prison!

7/31/2004 4:08pm,
Well maybe I lied, wait, there IS conflict, therefore it is a battle. Yeah.....right. :D

Interesting article though.

Monks share their values with inmates

2004-07-14 - RED WING, MINN. -- Normally, it's just boys in blue pants and gray shirts playing pickup basketball on the concrete courts of the state juvenile detention center here.

But on Tuesday, burgundy-robed Tibetan monks joined in. On one court, Sonam Wangchuk drove the lane and drew cheers for a wobbly but successful layup.

Nearby, a barefoot Ngawang Tenzin tossed the ball granny-style, the underhanded shot missing the hoop by a mile. Edit: Heheheh.

The boys cheered anyway.

"It was cool that they'd come out here and play with us," said David Flugge, 18, of Minneapolis.

"It was just fun to interact with them. I wish we'd had more time," said Justin Day York, 18, of Cass Lake, who passed the ball extra gently to make sure the fragile Tenzin didn't get hurt. Edit: MONKS KNOW FREAKING IRON SHIRT TRAINING YOUSE IGNORANT!!!!!

The monks may not have been gifted athletes. But on Tuesday, their quiet ways, beatific smiles and haunting music made an impression on the 120 residents of the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Red Wing.

Together with St. Paul-based nonprofit Compass Institute, the correctional facility sponsored a "Day of Peace" at its campus in this southeastern Minnesota river town.

Hoping to teach a message about nonviolence and different cultures, the organizations invited in Tibetan Buddhist monks, along with their interpreters and musicians, from the Gyuto Wheel of Dharma Monastery in Columbia Heights.

Boys who would have spent the day in classrooms or at various jobs on and off campus instead gathered to make prayer flags, listen to lilting flute melodies, try yoga or watch monks construct an intricate, sand artwork known as a mandala.

Despite the street-tough crowd, there was nary a snicker heard all day.

Dignitaries who gave speeches on the day's importance often got bored looks. But the boys seemed genuinely interested in the monks, who smiled serenely and glided through the buildings on sandaled feet.

"I haven't ever learned nothin' about peace. Seems like it's a good thing to do," said Rapheal Murphy, 18, who said he smoked and sold embalming fluid as a recreational drug before coming to Red Wing. Edit: Ewwww!

Tyler Gammon, 19, of Elk River, proudly wore a khatak, a white silk ceremonial scarf, that the head monk blessed and placed around his neck.

Gammon liked learning about the Tibetan culture and said when he leaves, he'll remember to respect other cultures. He'll also remember how good it felt to be singled out for the khatak honor.

"A lot of guys here haven't had many good things happen to us," he said, rubbing his fingers on the soft material. "This made me feel good, and that's why I still got it on."

Along with the activities, boys joined workshops on nonviolence led by English-speaking volunteers from the monastery. It was Eastern philosophy meets the streets of the West.

One young man was intrigued that the monks sometimes learned martial arts, but puzzled about why they didn't draw upon them to fight. Edit: Because fighting is bad.

"Martial arts ... is more like a release of energy," explained Thupten Dadak, a former monk who lives in New Brighton.

"Oh, like tai chi," said the young man, referring to a popular exercise that promotes balance and strength.

The young man, whose name officials would not release, understood that concept but struggled with one of the monks' major lessons: replacing negative energy with positive.

"So, even if this guy next to me is my enemy, I have to think happy thoughts toward him?" he asked.

"You have to learn a method of how to get rid of anger, of jealousies," Dadak said.

Others quickly grasped what Dadak said..

"Though prayer and meditation ... you take all that energy spent on being angry and you focus on something else," said Christopher Fretham, 18, of Faribault.

Otis Zanders, the Red Wing facility's superintendant, said this was the monks' second visit. The first time was in 2001, and he said the boys talked of what they'd learned for months afterward.

In particular, Zanders said, the boys realized their actions were connected with the well-being of their families and communities.

"This type of day breeds that type of self-reflection," Zanders said.

But learning was a two-way street Tuesday.

Javier Rodriguez, 18, pulled Tenzin aside after the basketball game and gave him a few pointers on shooting hoops.

"You gotta do an arc like this ... like throwing a rock into a cookie jar," Rodriguez said, arching his arms.

Tenzin smiled and mimicked the motions, making Rodriguez grin, too.

"It was like playing with someone from another world," Rodriguez said. "But he's still gotta learn how to shoot."


Now, this prison has prayer flags, flute melodies and yoga.

7/31/2004 4:51pm,
That was very long and boring, and I didn't quite understand WHY were monks playing with prisoners... Anyway, Story of Ricky has alrady shown that someone who's both Shaolin & a prisoner destroys all.

7/31/2004 5:39pm,
Punk ass monks aint got no up's.

Good story, lets see how long it is before they go back to smoking that embalming fluid.

8/01/2004 12:05am,
Hheheheh, trust me, I don't post every boring ass article.
I thought THIS was a good story though.

"Martial arts school moved!" etc

8/01/2004 1:38am,
tibetian monks are sissies.