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Update on the Teaching of Yoga and Buddhism in Cambodian Provincial Prisons
As usual I would like to thank a number of people who have made donations to this project and work over the last three years.
Your donations have allowed me to make the existence of Cambodian men and women in two provincial prisons here in Cambodia a little bit better in two ways, one being able to teach them about Yoga, Buddhism and meditation and the other being getting them books, educational resources and medicines and other things that might make their daily life a more comfortable one and also allow them to educate themselves.
I would also like to thank a number of people and organizations that have offered emotional support for this work or expressed an interest in it in other ways.
This brief E-mail and posting will attempt to give everyone an update about how it is going and where we hope to go from here.
We have now organized classes and starting teaching in two provincial prisons here in Cambodia, those being the ones in Banteay Meanchey Province and in Battambang province. We are planning to make an attempt to start teaching also in the provincial prison in Pursat at some time during the next six months.
We met with the director from that prison on four occasions and they have expressed some interest in having us come there, but since I am only one man and can only be in one place at time, we can not pursue this plan at present.
These three prisons are close enough to each other (about one hour between them by bus or taxi) so that classes can be held on a weekly or monthly basis going from one prison to another.
Our objective is to make the male and female inmates who come to our class more mindful about the teachings and practices of both Yoga and Buddhism so that they will be able to apply the teachings and practices to their own life both in and out of prison.
We are also continually working to having monks from the major temples in the towns where the prisons are located to come to the prisons on a weekly basis to teach the Buddhist teachings and about how to meditate.
Working to this objective is cumbersome because monks have fears and weakness also about working and teaching in the prison. In addition, many seem to be more concerned with their own studies then in teaching the Dharma to others.
However we have met with and made meaningful contact and progress with monks from the major temples in both Battambang and Pursat and we feel that they will be interested in and able to make trips to the prisons to teach in the near future. Much of this is determined by this writer’s commitment to the work and being in these towns and prisons in order to set up the classes and teach and encourage the monks how to do this.
Our next step at this time seems to be to return to the Battambang prison on October 1rst and carry on with teaching there. We may settle in Battambang because it is centrally located between both the Banteay Meanchey and Pursat provincial prisons so that from there we can make trips to both prisons to teach as needed or as convenient.’
We continue to feel that this work is important and meaningful for a number of reasons, one being that the men are exposed to something that is healthy and wholesome for them to do and also a teacher who encourages them about their strengths and good points as human beings……..
If you have any questions of comments on this work, they will be answered upon receipt of them by this writer.
Thank you again for your continued interest and support…………..