"I began to get up early to try to calm my mind so I wouldn't panic. It was as if my whole life was being displayed on a screen during the death penalty case. Things I had never realized about myself and my life were introduced to me and the jury at the same time. Questions I'd never asked my mother - like how long she'd been abused, on the street, an addict - were being asked now. Through meditation I learned to slow down and take a few deep breaths, to take everything in, not to run from the pain, but to sit with it, confront it, give it the companion it never had."
It is like he is free when he meditates because he is free to be inside of his thoughts. Masters is able to deal with things and become one with himself. I think that his incarceration changed him into the person that is able to get to a place where he can deal with his problems. Incarceration turned him into a changed man, which is what they want to happen to them. He turned in a person that would be able to succeed in the world after he got out, but he was on death row. He came to terms with his problems and in that sense became free. He was free even though, he was in jail.
The Dalai Lama Hat
"Man!' he said. "This picture makes me look a lot more human, don't you think so?" He handed me the picture. "Yeah, it does. But I think you've always been human. You just have to feel it." I gave it back to him.
The key thing is this section is that fact that he says 'look a lot more human', that part stood out for me a lot. I questioned about what it meant, I interpreted as that prisoners aren't treated like humans in jail. Or they aren't viewed as humans, they are just animals. Animals that decide to do the wrong thing and go to jail to be reformed back in humans. While reading the rest of the vignette, I tried to think of the title The Dalai Lama Hat and how that connected to the man. I thought that the hat was the freedom and hope that he would get out of the jail. He would get out and see his family again. The hat gave him hope and you could see it in his smile, which made him look and feel human. Humans have hope.
Stop! A Buddhist Is Here!
"According to the laws of prison life, none of this was suppose to be any of business of mine. but it was. This time it had to be. For all the life in me, I couldn't look at this gay person, sitting alone against the back wall of the exercise year, and not see an innocent human being. Yet I could not summon up the courage to become a snitch and risk my own life to warn him off this yard."
I thought this section was powerful, Masters went into this whole background about what happens if a homosexual comes to the jail. He talked about how they are viewed and what people will do to them and to people how help them. Masters says that would die if he helped this man but, if he didn't anybody that would try and kill him, would die also. This is highlights the fact that some people view prisoners as animals. Anybody would do anything to kill this homosexual man because they wanted people to know that they hate homosexuals just as much as the next person. They would risk their lives just to get this one man. Masters showed that prisoners aren't animals. They are just trying to survive, like Crazy Dan. He was trying to show that was tough too. While Masters was trying to save him life, he wasn't being an animal. He risked his life because he could've been caught as a snitch. He would have been tortured by everybody. He showed his humanity.