I’m so happy to report that I have received $3329.00 from the Khyentse Foundation’s Ashoka Grant for my Buddhist work in San Quentin!
As some of you know, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation formally recognizes only 5 Faith Traditions, which means they only employ 5 Chaplains: Catholic, Protestant, Native American, Islam, and Jewish.
This is so draconian, especially since the number of people who identify as Interfaith or Buddhist usually are greater than a few of the other ‘recognized’ traditions.
I’ve been operating as an interfaith and Buddhist chaplain at San Quentin for nearly 8 years now. Despite a few of the paid chaplains there rallying all the way up to CDCR headquarters in Sacramento for me to get hired, the answer is always “we are not there yet.” The Federal prison system has begun hiring Interfaith chaplains. I’ve been waiting and doing what I can do to become one of the first Interfaith or Buddhist Chaplains in a State Prison.
So-I’ve been going into Death Row weekly for 6 years to see my 65 guys there, starting and sustaining multiple programs with the mainline prison, and doing a variety of other chaplaincy work without compensation, other than the great deal of inspiration all these men give back to me in their own transformation.
A few years ago a generous man donated $1000.00 to me for the copying of Dharma material for my Death Row sangha. FPMT has graciously donated books from their Prison Dharma Project to my guys on Death Row as well.
Finally, I am happy to say, I received a small but stretchy grant from the Khyentse Foundation’s Ashoka Grant to fund my Buddhist Work on Death Row.
This grant will cover my travel time, copying of materials, and hours serving the men at San Quentin in their Dharma Study-Death Row and the Mainline.
I am happy to say that the Buddhist Sanghas, mainline AND Death Row, are off to a great start in 2018-19 with a few months already in studying one of the most transformative texts in Buddhism, Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara, specifically chapters 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, and 10.
For those of you not familiar with this text, please take time to do so!
Thank you Khyenste Foundation!
Please look them up at: https://khyentsefoundation.org
If anyone is interested in donating more to my work, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessings, and may all beings benefit by this grant!