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Several members of local sanghas (Vipassana Santa Cruz and Insight Meditation Center) volunteer as Buddhist chaplains meeting with prisoners at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) and the Correctional Training Facility (CTF) in Soledad, CA. A team has been serving the CTF since January 2003. The volunteers meet with male inmates of this large, level-2 prison each week in an interfaith chapel, where they teach and lead mindfulness meditation, give brief dharma talks, and facilitate discussions. The sessions always end with a heartfelt metta meditation. Members have facilitated meditation programs at SVSP since it was first established in the fall of 1999. SVSP is a level-4/maximum security prison. There are two programs that run simultaneously each week. They include Qi Gong, guided meditation, a short dharma talk, and discussion and end with metta.

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Tuesday, 31 July 2007 15:43

This Sangha is open to all residents of the Correctional Training Facility (CTF) and Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) in Soledad, CA. There is no requirement that participants formally join a group or convert to any religion. Many of the participants are following a Buddhist path in some tradition, others are Christian, Muslim, or from other traditions or beliefs. All are welcome to attend and share in the dhamma and the support of the sangha.

Practitioners in the community with at least a year of Theravada Buddhist daily sitting practice and who have completed at least one 10-day Theravada meditation retreat are invited to apply to join this service project as a volunteer chaplain. New volunteers are mentored and trained. This experience is quite remarkable and strongly supports Buddhist practice. For more information about serving at CTF (currently on Tuesday evenings), please contact our CTF team at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For information about serving at SVSP (currently on Tuesday afternoons), please contact our SVSP team at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . There is also a need for practitioners who are available to correspond with Prison Sangha members. See Prison Pen Pal Project for more information. Also, donations of dharma books and magazines for distribution to inmates or the SVSP and CTF libraries are always welcome. Such donations may be brought to the Vipassana Santa Cruz sittings and given to prison mentors who are part of the VSC sangha.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 August 2007 13:00