There are six members of this sangha who have been volunteering their time to bring mindfulness practice to two local state prisons (in Jamestown and Tracy). We are a part of the non-profit organization called Buddhist Pathways Prison Project (BP3) which serves 5 prisons in northern California: Folsom, Sacramento, Mule Creek, Sierra Conservation Center, and Deuel Vocational Institution. We support three prison sanghas: two at Jamestown and one at Tracy. We visit each sangha twice a month (when possible). We offer mindful movement (yoga, qigong, or other movement), a Buddhist service in which we recite the refuges and precepts, meditation (with instruction) and when possible, time for discussion about their practice or other questions about the Dharma. This month, we will offer the first daylong meditation retreat at Jamestown for approximately 11-15 inmates and we will have Jacques Verduin of the Insight Out project at San Quentin as a guest teacher, along with Diane Wilde and myself as co-teachers of the retreat.
There are many stories we hear from the men that touch the heart with the way they embrace the practice, their sincerity to change, as well as their gratitude for our presence and teaching; these men are doing quite profound work!
BP3 is entirely volunteer run and funds that BP3 raises go to purchase materials for the various prison sanghas (for example, BP3 purchased and donated 35 yoga mats for Jamestown’s two sanghas), to sponsor daylong retreats (including purchasing vegetarian meals for the inmates), and hopefully, this year to offer a 5-day retreat at one of the prisons. This 5-day retreat will be quite expensive to put on. If this work speaks to your heart and you would like to support this work, please consider making a donation on the BP3 website. BP3 uses PayPal and your donation is tax-deductible.
Diane will be out in September to teach a daylong here in Modesto and all proceeds from that daylong will go to benefit BP3.