The Buddhadharma Sangha of San Quentin State Prison
The Buddhadharma Sangha at San Quentin State Prison has been meetingevery week since 1999. It was founded by Zen teacher Seido Lee deBarros, and the current head teacher is Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler.An inclusive Buddhist Sangha rooted in Soto Zen forms, we practice seated zazen meditation, walking kinhin meditation, ceremonies, Dharma talks and discussions, and one-day sittings. We have also observed various special events, including Jukai lay-ordination ceremonies and inmate-led Shuso ceremonies. The group has helped many inmates to ground themselves in their inner freedom, and has brought inspiration to the hundreds of volunteers who have participated over the years.
Buddhadharma Sangha, 2001
“Once the prisoners see that they can look at the limitations and pain of their life as an object, and study it, instead of being frustrated because they can’t do something about it, a kind of a switch goes off and they are suddenly liberated within prison.” - Seido Lee deBarrosFounding Teacher