Since 1998 the Center has provided instruction in the practice of Zen meditation to inmates in federal, state and county facilities throughout North Central Florida. Currently, twelve prisons and jails participate in the prison outreach program, in which approximately 400 inmates are served annually. Through instruction and study of Zen meditation that emphasizes high personal standards, participants are given the tools to cultivate a strong, life-affirming self-image that looks beyond the stigma of “convict” to view themselves as individuals with much to offer others and the community as a whole.
Our programs can be divided into five areas:
Secular, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) groups and retreats.
Possible residency at the Gateless Gate Zen Center for individuals who have exhibited a strong commitment to the practice and to educational efforts.
The death row ministry, which consists of individual visits and counseling
Prisons Served: Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman
Jarvis Jay Masters is a widely-published African American Buddhist writer living on San Quentin’s Death Row. His book “Finding Freedom,” has been praised by Angela Davis and Pema Chodron, and is being used in classrooms as a teaching tool to show children an alternative to violence. An important aspect of Jarvis’ life on Death Row has been his Buddhist practice. At this website read about how Jarvis became a Buddhist, and how meditation has changed his life and affected the lives of his fellow prisoners.
Prisons served: San Quentin’s Death Row