Susan Shannon, M. Div. is a seeker, student, mystic, poet, dharma lover, student, and teacher, earth and animal steward, and devotee of the heart, interfaith minister and chaplain…. Susan has been a student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism for over 45 years, studying with many of Tibet’s greatest teachers here in the United States and abroad.
In ongoing efforts to be of service “to all sentient beings” and to answer the decades- long request of His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14 Dalai Lama of Tibet, Susan began formal inter-religious studies in 2008 with the goal of developing a broader interfaith/no-faith language and understanding. She was ordained as an Interfaith Minister by the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and Interfaith Ministries in 2011. Susan went on to complete a Masters of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in 2012, with the focus of serving marginalized and oppressed communities.
Susan has worked among diverse populations all her life in varying capacities including Tibetan monastics and refugees, the homeless, the differently-abled, and at-risk youth.
Since ordination, Susan’s ministry has been focused on prison chaplaincy projects and transformational programs at San Quentin State Prison, including working with the renown Guiding Rage Into Power program through Insight-Out.org and providing Buddhist Chaplaincy on Death Row.
In 2019 Susan moved from Northern California back to her soul home of Orcas Island in the Upper Left Corner of the US, where she founded the Buddhist Prison Ministry (buddhistprisonministry.com) which is currently serving male and female inmates in 20 states and multiple prisons across the US. She also teaches for various organizations, provides spiritual counseling, supervises Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for chaplain students, and tends the sacred land she lives on.
Susan’s work has recently (2020-21) been highlighted in David Sheff’s book “The Buddhist on Death Row”, Lama Palden Drolma’s book “Love on Every Breath” and several podcasts and radio shows including Caroline Casey’s Visionary Activist radio show on KPFA.org FM 92.1 and the Dear Governor podcast. She is available for talks and trainings to promote the humanity of inmates and the path of human transformation and awakening in prison work especially, as well as spiritual companioning in 1-1 sessions.