Being a young adult, my future may seem to fill with excitements, free wills, and opportunities to experience life. The invincible pride confines me to view the world and people from a very subjective angle. Not to mention about putting myself in the shoes of a group of forgotten ones, the inmates.
I came across IBS’ posting seeking for online volunteers and decided to try the translation work. My impression about prison life was drawn from the show “Prison Break”. But after reading letter by letter, I was struck and amazed by brothers’ enthusiasm, gratitude, firmness, and persistence towards the practice of Dharma. Some brothers are very well-versed and express insightful thinking in their letters. Reading from a letter, an inmate brother was incarcerated in his twenties, just about my age. I couldn’t help but imagine what if I was the one thrown behind bars? When the negative karma caught up to someone, any ill-intention can arise and lead to the most destructive result.
Through this time, the Ven. XianZhong Shi had taught me about the prison and Dharma. My teacher, Ming-Ling would also stimulate discussions on many mindful and self-monitoring topics that are contemplative. Buddha’s teaching is so profound with Dharma being the remedy for all suffering minds. The introduction of Buddhism is like the refreshing rain in desert for the brothers when they’re incarcerated and being at the lowest point in life. It is no doubt that many of them have benefited from Dharma practice brought by the Sanghas and volunteers from IBS. Positive and joyful spiritual cultivation has impacted many of them, and further, their bliss radiates to influence other brothers, their families, and prison staff.
IBS’ works and commitment are extremely admirable, so are the Dharma practice experiences described by the brothers. Although not significant, but bits of my pride did shatter as I learn more about the program mission, brothers, and the IBS devotees.
My sincere appreciation to the existence of the prison program and everyone participated in it. May all Dharma activities prosper and more beings can benefit and free from sufferings!