Hello, everyone. We've gotten away from using the blog. I'm going to summarize the last few months' of activity here.
Several of our long-time Sangha members at the prison continue to attend regularly. New faces show up from time to time as usual as well.
We have a new Chaplain Jared Anderson who has replaced Chaplain Bob Feland. He is head of the local Religious Humanist movement and very supportive of our work.
We've discussed and begun to implement a secular mindfulness and meditation group that will use the Great Courses series on meditation and mindfulness. Several Sangha members are prepared to volunteer time to facilitate this group. Thank you!
We are also talking about creating a grief and loss group. Janice has a good friend who has been a hospice chaplain for some time who is interested in helping with that!
William brought some complaints about the difficulty of newcomers getting acclimated to the varied practices we all offer, coming from such a diversity of Buddhist traditions. He became frustrated during one Sangha session which led to a mild conflict. I believe things are settled now. He was very adamant about using the Great Courses series as a curriculum. Using it in the secular group should allow wide access to that material. And we are compiling a packet that has a few pages describing each of our traditions, our core practices and suggested reading for new comers; the packet will also include a short glossary of Buddhist terminology and a summary of the 4 noble truths 8 fold path and maybe a couple other pieces shared by all Buddhist traditions. David Jones has also begun creating some disks with talks from his Rinpoche to use at the prison.
Tony of Urgyen Samten Ling may be able to join us again in the future, but not for sure yet. Keeping our fingers crossed.
I just recently ordained as a lay Buddhist minister in the Tiep Hien order of my tradition and am excited to bring the spirit of that commitment and transmission of lineage into the practice at the prison.
We are hoping to put together a nice pot luck or something for volunteers to hang out and get to know each other better. More to come with that.
Another good year has passed. Everyone has benefited greatly from the practice, both volunteers and inmates alike. This continues to be a deeply meaningful opportunity for me. Everyone I have talked to shares this sentiment.
Also in addition to the packets, we are asking volunteers to offer a 10 minute Q and A at the end of each session that gives priority to 1st and 2nd time attendees.