Book Program

The Buddhist Association of the United States Prison Program provides free books and, when available, tapes about Buddhism to prisoners who request them and answers questions they may have about Buddhism or Buddhist practice. If the prison Chaplain is willing to be the recipient, a carton of books on Buddhism can be sent to them for the prison library.

BAUS serves hundreds of prisons in the U.S. with their book program.

Rev. Richard Baksa

We are an independent interfaith Sangha dedicated to providing spiritual support for Buddhists behind bars. We currently donate Buddhist books, magazines, videos and audio cassettes to prisons and inmates around the country upon request. Your donations of new or used books and literature on Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy are what make this possible! Thank you to ALL who have in the past or will in the future mail study materials to an inmate; or if you prefer, you can mail them to ChanterKyo/Betty for distribution:
Buddhist Inmate Sangha
Betty Lu Buck
P.O. Box 6517
Brookings, OR 97415 USA

Betty Lu Buck

The Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK) (Society for the Promotion of Buddhism) was founded by the Reverend Dr. Yehan Numata in December 1965, one year after the Mitutoyo Manufacturing Company celebrated its 30th anniversary. With the worldwide success of his company, Dr. Numata decided that the time had come to realize his dream of making the Buddhist teachings more widely available. Working with a community of like-minded people, including leaders of each Buddhist sect in Japan and eminent Buddhist scholars, Dr. Numata established the BDK in order to “to transmit the Buddhist religion to as many people in the world as possible, without expounding the doctrines of any particular sect or denomination.” To achieve this goal, the BDK promotes a wide range of activities and projects in the hope of contributing to world peace and mutual understanding among humanity.

Currently there are two other major publication projects handled by the BDK America Berkeley Office. The first is distribution of the popular introductory Buddhist book entitled “The Teaching of Buddha” which has more than 8 million copies in circulation throughout the world, in more than 42 languages. Secondly, BDK has published a Buddhist anthology called Buddha Dharma, which is an expanded version of “The Teaching of Buddha,” and comes with a detailed index and accounting of the Buddhist teaching presented with each story.

Brian Kensho Nagata

Mindful Buddha Outreach Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping inmates deepen their understanding and experience of Buddhism. Through our prison outreach project, we offer pen-pal correspondence, books, pamphlets, CD’s, and audio tapes to assist inmates with questions on Buddhism and meditation. Through our support we encourage Buddhist meditation as a path of individual transformation, teaching us to look within ourselves for the inner peace and happiness we seek. Through developing our wisdom and compassion, we can improve our quality of life and the lives of those around us. Whether a prisoner of the mind, or of the body, freedom is within ourselves.

Alex Motter

Many prison inmates write to San Francisco Zen Center seeking support in beginning or maintaining their Buddhist studies and practice. We offer free Buddhist literature and find pen-pals for inmates interested in regular correspondence about Buddhist practice.

Jeffrey Schneider

The Prison Phoenix Trust encourages prisoners in the development of their spiritual lives through meditation and yoga, working with silence and the breath.

We offer individual support to prisoners and prison staff through teaching, correspondence, books and newsletters. People of any faith or no faith can benefit. We honour all religions.

The Prison Phoenix Trust was registered as a charity in 1988. We work all over the UK and The Republic of Ireland in prisons, young offender institutions, immigration removal centres, secure hospitals and probation hostels.

A key aspect of our work is training and supporting qualified yoga teachers to teach in prison and other secure conditions.

The Prison Phoenix Trust regularly receives recognition for its groundbreaking work with prisoners and prison staff.

(UK exchange) 01865 512 521
Lucy Ayrton

Venerable Chodron does prison work in the US. Her website contains many articles detailing this work.
Sravasti Abbey offers books on Buddhism by Ven. Chodron and other Buddhist teachers to inmates and prison libraries free of charge. Tapes and CDs with guided Buddhist medtiations and teachings are also available.

Ven. Chodron has visited about 30 prisons in the US, and several in Singapore and Mexico. She has given refuge and precepts in person and by teleconference to nearly a dozen prisoners over the past years. Other monastics and lay volunteers from the Abbey visited four other prisons in 2009, and the monk at the Abbey gave refuge to an inmate in Oklahoma who had corresponded for many years.


Ten-day Vipassana meditation courses as taught by S.N. Goenka offered to prisoners in correctional facilities in North America. Books on Buddhism and meditation also available free to prisoners. Donations of books gladly accepted.

Washington North Rehabilitation Facility.  San Francisco Jail.  W.E. Donaldson Correctional (Maximum Security) in Alabama.

Also Tihar Jail, Baroda Jail, and Nasik Jail in India.

In Waterbury, Vermont: Dale Correctional Facility for Women.

Lucia Meijer

Working under the name of the National Buddhist Prison Sangha (NBPS), activities include weekly or monthly visits to NY prisons by senior ZMM monastic and lay students who lead group practice in meditation, liturgy, talks on Zen practice, and periodic intensive meditation retreats. Volunteers also maintain regular correspondence with incarcerated men and women from around the country offering guidance in Buddhist meditation and practice and sending supporting materials.

Zen Mountain Monastery’s prison program began in 1984 after a court battle allowing the program to become the first Zen practice group in NY State Correctional Facilities. The National Buddhist Prison Sangha’s Practice Advisors offer support and guidance to people who practice Zen Buddhism in prison. We visit several NY State prisons, and correspond with hundreds of people in prisons throughout the country. We also have training manuals, which reflect the training in the Mountains and Rivers Order, and introduce the basic practices of Zen Buddhism.

Prisons Served: Green Haven, Woodbourne, Shawangunk, Wallkill, Elmira, Wende, and Arthur Kill

Mailing address:
Zen Mountain Monastery, NBPS
P.O. Box 197, Mt. Tremper, NY 12457

Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei, Director
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