Mental Freedom in Prison

At Songdhammakalyani Monastery, the first monastery for bhikkhunis, we follow the bodhisattva’s path propagated since Ven.Ta Tao Fa Tzu (Voramai Kabilsingh) who was the founder of the monastery.
                We are happy to walk the spiritual path and also encourage others to lead a happier life. When the Buddha sent out his very first batch of 60 enlightened monks to spread out his teaching, he gave them instruction to work for the benefit of one’s happiness and others’.
                As monastics, our bhikkhuni sangha is supported by people surrounding us. In return we also care for them spiritually and materially in the way we can.
              After the first decade of giving proper information about ordination of women, in the second decade we are now extending our hands to reach society. The first project is the prison visit. We have visited female inmates at Nakhon pathom provincial prison for the past 7 years. In this prison there are 525 female inmates (out of 4564 in total, as of March 1,2018) men and women inclusive. We have offered dhamma course to the female inmates. The most recent one, there were 84 of them enrolled and reveived certificates from us. Some of them, once set free, returned to start a new life by asking for temporary ordination and stayed with us for 9 days. Thus, they feel stable to return to society again empowered by the positive energy and blessing from the Buddhas.

                “Structural suffering is caused by human beings in the end. Think collectively!”

Social contribution of the sangha: Within the limits of vinaya (monastic order), there is still a lot we can do.

                Our sangha is active in prison outreach, notably in women’s prisons and juvenile detention centers such as the Upekkha center. Activities include dhamma talks, teaching teamwork in an engaging manner, or teaching massage techniques. Generally, we try to improve their living conditions. To name an example, we share surplus from donor supplies (e.g. shampoo, soap) with the inmates.

                While striving to inspire a sense of giving in our interactions, hoping to plant seeds and transmit Buddhist teachings to a larger public, we support individual cases to the best of our abilities. This could mean, for example, providing the means for a young woman’s education or providing shelter to young mothers.