In accordance with the Austin Zen Center’s endeavor to relieve suffering through social action based on practices that develop mental resilience and altruism, we help inmates cultivate wholesome changes of mind and behavior that facilitate a more positive experience during incarceration and a successful re-entry into society.
One of the easiest ways to participate in prison outreach is to become a BuddhaPal. This involves corresponding with an inmate who has requested a Buddhist pen-pal. Letters are sent to the Austin Zen Center and picked up at the Center so as to ensure everyone’s safety. There are guidelines for this relationship.
This relationship has often proven to be beneficial both for the inmate and for the BuddhaPal Pen-pal.
Many interested inmates have been practicing for several years, and some have taken the precepts in prison. They are wonderful people who have some problems, much like the rest of us. As prisoners they are very connected to their suffering, which can be a fruitful place of practice.
For those interested in writing to prisoners who are interested in learning more about Zen Buddhist practice, contact Daniel. Donations of Dharma books for prisoners are also welcome.