Source: New York Times
TORMVILLE, NEW YORK, MAY 30, 2001: Buddhist meditative practices have begun to take root inside the nation's prison system. Some organizations, beginning with Zen Mountain Monastery, have moved to help. Deep inside the Green Haven Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison that houses 2,000 men, the Lotus Flower Sangha meets weekly. The group gathers with a monk, who arrives from Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, to lead them in zazen, a sitting meditation. As many as 5,000 prisoners, seeking information about Zen, have contacted the monastery, established in 1980. Zen Mountain has established a computer database with the names of 1,000 male and female inmates, linking each to a volunteer committed to at least three years of corresponding about Zen practices, answering questions, offering advice and lending encouragement. They have also begun developing training manuals for inmates who want to develop meditative practice on their own.