From left, Buddhist volunteers Jamyang Dorjay, Chan Chung Chun, Tsering Motep and Shirley Tam work with inmates.

From left, Buddhist volunteers Jamyang Dorjay, Chan Chung Chun, Tsering Motep and Shirley Tam work with inmates.

By Lt. Christene Zoucha, AA/Public Information Officer
Deuel Vocational Institution

Volunteers from the International Bodhisattva Sanga (IBS) – Buddhist Education Program (Tsering Motep, Jamyang Dorjay, Shirley Tam, Chan Chung Chun) hosted a graduation banquet at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) to celebrate the completion of the year-long program.

The IBS – Buddhism Education program includes regular on-site classes, formation of inmates into a “sangha” (community of mutual supporters), and provision of a Buddhist library in each prison/yard.  Students are instructed in Buddhist teachings, including methods for calming the mind and generating compassion for all beings including themselves.  They are encouraged to help others and to take advantage of the Buddhist library. Classes are led primarily by an ordained monk, Tsering Motep.

The Buddhist Education Program offered by IBS was awarded to several CDCR adult facilities as part of the CDCR Innovative Grant Program which began in June 2015.  Thirteen inmates consistently attended the six bi-monthly classes offered by the volunteer instructors.

Meetings were held from June 2015 to June 2016.   Warden Jerome Price, Community Resources Manager Martina Virrey, and Staff Sponsor Terri Gillam attended the celebration.

“The program provides a very positive alternative to the daily challenges of prison operation.  The inmates were active participants in the program, enthusiastic and engaging,” said Warden Price. “There was a noticeable improvement in attitudes, maturity and tolerance for diversity from all in the group.  I highly recommend this program and I am very proud that DVI was selected.”

Warden Price thanked the IBS for their generous donation of time and religious prayer mats, as well as other religious literature for the library and the chapel libraries.

The IBS volunteers made a commitment to continue to volunteer and facilitate the Buddhist education program at DVI.  This program is also provided at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, Calipatria State Prison, Centinela State Prison, California Institution for Men, CSP-Los Angeles County, California Correctional Institution, Sierra Conservation Center, California Medical Facility, Valley State Prison, Central California Women’s Facility, Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, CSP-Corcoran, Salinas Valley State Prison, Correctional Training Facility, Pleasant Valley State Prison, North Kern State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, California Health Care Facility and Wasco State Prison.

From left, Jamyang Dorjay, Shirley Tam, Warden Jerome Price, Tsering Motep, sponsor Terri Gillam and Chan Chung Chun pose with the graduates.

From left, Jamyang Dorjay, Shirley Tam, Warden Jerome Price, Tsering Motep, sponsor Terri Gillam and Chan Chung Chun pose with the graduates.