Updated: May 22, 2020
What do you find most rewarding about your Prison Dharma work? At the moment, my work is divided in two: I have one meditation group in one of the prisons and I am looking for volunteers and organizing new groups in other prisons in addition to the 6 groups I already have.
Emotionally, the work in prison is the most rewarding: prisoners wait for the meetings and they keep coming, although there have the choice. And when some of them say they began practicing meditation themselves, this is a special moment. Building the project has its own rewards, especially when new groups are opened – and now some prison administrations ask me to open groups for prison staff.
What is the biggest impact/transformation you have seen through your work? When one of the prisoners described how instead of feeling anger towards another prisoner that used to provoke him, he now felt compassion and understood him.
What moved you to begin this work? I felt that I could really help, that this brings about some change. When I began, I had no any experience setting up meditation groups, and had never done a dharma talk, but I felt very strongly that I could do it well – and give prisoners what I had received from my teachers.
What would you like to see happen in the future? I would like all the meditation groups to begin meeting twice or thrice a week. I know how difficult this can be given the weight of discipline in prisons, so group meetings help to reach that goal. The big challenge I face now is opening meditation groups for prison staff (correction officers, administration). I think a real change can happen when guards and prisoners will practice meditation. When they could understand the suffering of each other and feel compassion.