Teaching Buddhism Inside Prison – Part III: Truthfulness

7.28.2016

Mr. B captured my attention from the first class. Rather than set ‘rules of conduct’ or ‘guidelines’ for the classroom, I utilized the Buddha’s recommended precepts for lay people, which include not harming another living being, not taking what is not rightfully given, not creating harm through sexuality, the practice of Right Speech, and not using intoxicants. The practice of Right Speech involves asking yourself before speaking, ‘is this kind? Is it true? It is necessary?’ Furthermore, it’s suggested to abstain from harsh speech, idle chatter, slander, and false speech. Read more…

Teaching Buddhism Inside Prison – Part II: Wisdom

7.14.2016

I shared three articles in the month of July about my work teaching Buddhism inside prisons in New York. You can read Part I here, and then go on to read Part II below…

The Wisdom of Buddhism

“If everyone followed the Dharma, our crime rates would decrease. Most crimes would become extinct; feelings of greed, hatred, anger, and envy would be recognized, embraced, and allowed to pass before acting on them. Our streets could become safe again, allowing our children to be safe while out playing or at school. Domestic violence would be unheard of, keeping families together and happy. Overall, compassion would grow and destroy the violence that plagues our society and threatens humankind’s tranquility.” Thus writes my Buddhist student at the prison, seeing the transformative potential of these practicing Buddhism. Read more…

Teaching Buddhism Inside Prison – Part I: Compassion

07.7.2016

Approaching the Classroom with Compassion

“I think that if I’m not right internally with my own suffering, then I can’t genuinely share compassionate and empathetic relationship with others, without furthering pain in their life,” my student at a maximum security prison wrote. The honesty, transparency, and vulnerability are an honor to behold, and not only kept me returning to class, but excited me to read their papers, to engage discussion on topics of compassion, forgiveness, virtue, and others. Read more…