Calvin Malone was born in Munich, Germany, in 1951 to a German mother and an African-American father. At the age of seven he and his family moved to Monterey, California, and Calvin entered the second grade, speaking only German. Within a year he was fluent in English. Calvin attended Walla Walla Community College and studied European History. He also traveled extensively throughout Europe. Calvin began practicing Buddhism soon after he entered prison in 1992 and started writing about his prison experiences shortly thereafter. He has published numerous articles in Buddhist magazines and newsletters. He was instrumental in developing a post-prison transitional program and makes malas (prayer beads) for Buddhist prisoners around the country.