Fleet Maull, 62, is a Buddhist teacher and writer from Providence, RI, USA. He is the founder of the Prison Dharma Network and the National Prison Hospice Association. He talks here about his Buddhist path and the 14 years he spent in prison for drug smuggling.
“…I first read about Buddhism at high school and I immediately connected with it. I was fascinated by spirituality and the mind, definitely what I’d call a seeker, but this was the first time I’d ever read any religious literature that made sense to me. At that time there was no-one I knew in Missouri, where I grew up, whohad the slightest interest in Buddhism, and when I left for college I continued to explore it on my own. But this was at height of the whole counter-cultural revolution, so as well as immersing myself in all the Buddhist texts I could find, I also went headlong into all the drugs, sex, rock and roll and anti-war politics.
I came to feel that American society was completely hypocritical and felt very politically alienated, so much so that I left the country. I got involved in small time drug dealing as a way to live outside the system. I had a very strong ‘us versus them’ mentality that I used to justify what I was doing. I continued to pursue positive things and spirituality as well. So I created kind of a dual nature for myself. That twisted path led me to living in a very remote valley way up in the mountains in Peru near the Sacred Valley of the Incas. I was living some kind of outlaw/seeker/expatriate life there in Peru and had no intentions of returning home. I even met and married a woman from Peru…”
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