Getting Involved: The Gift of Service
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
All around us are a multitude of opportunities to be of service, to our family, neighbors, the greater community. Service is not about being liked or appreciated, it is about appreciating that we have something valuable to offer without any sense of superiority or authority.
Being of service in a prison environment is no different than working anywhere else, except it’s a prison. For those of us that have been blessed with receiving the liberating dharma teachings, the theme of freedom runs deep. Nowhere is there a greater concentration of individuals who are literally starving for a kind word that will offer them any insight into the freedom that lies within all of us.
Working as an engaged Buddhist in prison outreach is a powerful practice, it is a wonderful way to go deeper into the skillful means to both recognize and articulate what is helpful. There are not a lot of opportunities for the serious practitioner to teach, but serving as a prison chaplaincy volunteer is certainly one of them. I cannot imagine a more meaningful and appropriate situation in which to share our practice.
Here are some documents to help you get started: