By Gary Janka from the Zen Peacemakers newsletter
Several years ago – I can’t really remember how many, maybe six or seven ¬– a fellow priest asked if I would like to go with him to meet with the Buddhist inmates at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles. I did go with him and that visit eventually developed into a regular ministry in the jails and prisons of Los Angeles County and the State of California. Also, beginning with my colleague, Daniel “Nagy” Buckley and his nonprofit organization, the Strawberry Dragon Zendo, we have grown into a working group of eight, including myself. We now call ourselves the Angulimala Prison Circle and operate under the umbrella of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. In this article, I will try to describe some of what we do and how we do it, some of the critical issues we encounter and how we respond to them.
Each Thursday, several of us make the trip downtown to visit the Men’s Central Jail, the Twin Towers facility across the street, and the women’s facility in Lynwood. One of our number lives in Arroyo Grande and works weekly with the Sangha at the California Men’s Colony (CMC) in San Luis Obispo, helping plan and coordinate the activities of the group in collaboration with members of two local Buddhist groups. And, while we go in as Buddhists, we are also aware that we are chaplains for anyone who asks for our assistance. Read the entire article here….