The IBS Prison Program is very important for our society as well as for those incarcerated. The inmates will one day be released and again be part of society — there are already many examples among our students. Right now, there is a wonderful opportunity to educate inmates about the correct way to live, the causes of suffering, and the law of Karma. We try our best to offer enough information and teach techniques to practice the Dharma and become ready for a second chance. They really need our help. If we don’t help them, who will?
Many people say it is dangerous to go into prisons and teach inmates. We have been doing this for 19 years and haven’t experienced any danger. If one has bad Karma, there is no place free from danger. Some people have said, “It is a little bit late to be teaching them; we should educate them before they begin to walk on the wrong path.” Fortunately, there are many organizations that are working on just that, in schools, colleges, and universities. But I also think we need organizations taking care of those people who are doing time.
It is difficult for many organizations to drive the 4-5 hours necessary to reach the prisons. I understand there are many challenges, but someone has to volunteer for this kind of service. We wish there were more organizations able to do this kind of program. I am very proud of other religious organizations; they are visiting almost every week.
Although we can’t reach all the California state prisons, there are 12 that IBS visits on a regular basis. Many brothers are waiting for us every month, so it is very important for us to continue. We try our best to give them a second chance to walk the right path in the institutions as well as upon their release. We are delivering Dharma; we are giving hope. The Buddha Dharma is also very important in the prison world too. Amituofo !!!!
Xianzhong Shi 10/6/2013