If you will, please take a moment to read some of these touching testimonials from prisoners.
In the relative peace and stability of our daily lives, it is easy to forget that people locked away inside of prisons are human beings with very real needs. And many prisoners, being faced with their intense and challenging situation, are in deep need of support for their personal growth and spiritual awakening.
Testimonials from Those Inside Prison:
A friend of mine wrote to you after finding your address on a prisoner resource list, but he has decided not to re-establish contact. However, I would like a copy of your Resource Directory. I should tell you, that I think what you do is very important (I loved your altar cards!) but I can’t afford to enclose any stamps. I hope that won’t keep you from sending the Resource Directory and any other dharma information. I’ve inherited all the info you sent to my friend (he says he worships ‘greed’ and, of course, dharma teachings cast ‘greed’ into a less flattering light). He said he did read through the package of teachings, so perhaps a worm – like a computer virus – has been introduced into his subconscious that will eventually change his mind.
D. M. – Waverly, VA
Thanks for your letter, and for giving our Chaplain permission to reproduce your materials for Buddhist inmates. I think it will really help to ground our whole sangha in the important foundational teachings on which Buddhist spiritual practice is based. It seems that with your collection of teachings, you have covered all the most important bases, in a clear and accessible way. I remember when I first showed these materials to the Chaplain, her eyes just lit up! She actually said, “These would be wonderful to have for inmates!”
S. B. – Salem, OR
Man, Thanks! for everything. I received the whole package of stuff you sent me. I’m so grateful for all of this. I just got done reading this Resource Directory for Prisoners, and everything I could want is in there. I’m sure to make lots of contacts with like-minded people practicing. I’ll definitely add the Great Invocation practice into my daily practice. I can’t wait till tomorrow when our Sangha from the Streets come to practice, so I can share this with them. I have an idea that we read aloud the Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. These cards are great. I like the colors, texture and size. I understand you clearly here about what the Buddha said: Not so much that life is suffering, but that life is not capable of providing us with constant satisfaction for our never ending desires. Emphasis on our ‘desires,’ right? Neil, it means a lot and I commend you for providing this material for us on the inside.
S. W. – Soledad, CA
Thank you for the beautiful cards! This night could not be allowed to pass without the expression of my gratitude! What you are doing is beautiful. Don’t stop, your effort and action help to maintain the balance, adding a bit of light to one of the darkest places that I’ve had the breath to experience. I smile now, laugh at myself, for it took a place of darkness to put me on the path of light. Thank you for helping to light the way.
C. K. – Quincy, FL
After receiving your inspiring Dharma Teaching Altar Cards I want to share with you how much they have enriched my practice and further awakened me to the joy of unselfish compassionate service for the benefit of all sentient beings. Your efforts are used daily with appreciation and heart felt thanks. I also found your Resource Directory for Prisoners to be an up-to-date and comprehensive asset. I am so glad I responded to your announcement in the Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s Turning Wheel magazine.
C. J. – Florence, AZ
About a year ago I was looking through a newsletter I found in my dorm, and it had something about some free Dharma Cards. I didn’t even know what dharma was, but it said free, so I sent for them. Little did I know how they would affect me and become the pivot for changing my life.
R. D. – Yazoo City, MS
Thank you for the Dharma Teaching Altar Cards. I have really enjoyed the blessing. I pick a different card to read each morning before meditation. It has helped in keeping the dharma in my heart throughout the day.
C. C. – Trion, GA
I wanted to write you and thank you for the beautiful and inspirational Dharma Teaching Altar Cards that you recently sent to me. They are absolutely wonderful! And I really enjoy and am learning a lot from everything that is printed on them. I can look at them every day and learn something new and receive a more in-depth meaning from them. They help me to understand all that the Buddha has so generously provided us with…
I wish I was a rich man so that I could offer all of my money to groups such as yours that so generously provide much assistance to those of us who are incarcerated. Unfortunately my financial situation is not the greatest, but I do want to send you this donation of $5.00. I realize that it’s not much, but, perhaps at a later date I can send more to help out.
R. E. – Newton, IA
Thank your for the Dharma Teaching Altar Cards. I found them to be very inspiring and soothing to the soul. I appreciate the time and effort you put into making these teachings available for inmates to uplift and enlighten our hearts, minds, and souls.
J. W. – Custer, SD
Please send me the Altar Cards. The Dharma Altar Cards, all three please. The Four Noble Truths, Eight Verses for Training the Mind, The Four Immeasurables. Thank you for this opportunity to get these cards. I’m a female inmate on death-row. I need as much spiritual, peaceful fulfillment and enrichment as I can get. Peace and thanks.
S. N. – Chowchilla, CA
J.M. shared these comments in a letter he wrote to Buddhist Inmate Sangha:
“I would like to share with you a program I started here at the prison. A Buddhist meditation sitting group. We get only one night a week to sit for two hours. But it is a start, like breaking the ice. This prison never had a meditation group before, and I never taught a meditation group before, so it is all new for me and them. I am trying to teach people to deal with stress and prison life, in which I pray brings down the violence level and hate among the races. Teaching is new to me, I am doing what you suggested, getting a group started and sharing what I know to the best of my ability, so I also try to share what I have been learning from you and Neil