It was coincidental that I saw Ven Xian Zhong’s article in FB requesting for on-line volunteers. Normally, I would just glance through articles posted in FB without going into details. Maybe it’s Buddha’s calling or shall I say infinity. Somehow it caught my attention and without hesitation, I dropped Ven Xian Zhong a line offering to type brothers letters (the only category that I am good at, hahaha) not really knowing what I was going to type or do but now, I am glad that I am part of the IBS Prison Program volunteer family!
It’s about 3 months now since I signed up as an on-line volunteer. It gives me much joy and at the same time guilty as I continue not only to listen and hear but to learn while working through the brothers’ letters. You can feel their gratefulness after each visit by IBS and they are yearning/ looking forward to the next visit.
They are so knowledgeable in their Buddhist study, their meditation and their Dharma & daily practice that really put me to shame! Recently, I came across a term “The Ten Oxherding Pictures”. Ah! What is this? It may be something very basic to some of you but I’ve not heard/ seen this before so I have to goggle for answer! I have a long long way to go compared to what the brothers are doing. I feel guilty and embarrassed because I have so much opportunity to access to the Dharma resources and yet I am not making full use of what I have.
Another interesting event that worth sharing was they celebrated the Buddha’s Day (Vesak) inside the Iron Temple. It was mentioned in one of Chuck’s letter that he was planning for a special bathing of the Buddha Ceremony where no one there has ever done it and requested Danny of IBS to burn him a CD of the music use for bathing the Buddha. Chuck also took the trouble to arrange the prison kitchen to prepare for vegetarian food. They have the Refuge taking and Five Precepts ceremony done by Ven Master Hueiguang for the more committed brothers. Wow! it really gives me a sense of awe that the Dharma activities are so ‘alive’ in there.
Like what Ven Xian Zhong used to say “there is no bad people in this world but there are people who make mistakes out of ignorance, so don’t give up on anyone who is willing to learn Dharma”.
This IBS Prison Program is really an eye opener for me and I personally felt that this is a good program for Dharma education and propagation to the incarcerated brothers. I hope more people will see the invaluable benefits and the gift of Dharma offers by this IBS Prison Program which can change lives. One very good example is Chuck who has been transferred from a high security prison (Level 4) all the way down to a less security prison (Level 2). Let us share this with our friends and practice our generosity (dana) to keep this program going, to bring light into darkness ……