Eight-year Buddhist program lightens life for Florida inmates
Some inmates at the Tomoka Correctional Institute, near Daytona Beach, Florida, credit an eight-year-old Buddhist program led by two American Zen priests for helping them discover meaning and purpose in the midst of their incarceration, according to a recent feature in the Daytona Beach News-Journal. The article quotes John Kingham, who has already served 30 years of a life-without- parole sentence, as saying, “I don’t think I could have maintained my sanity and sense of humor without [Buddhism].” Kingham has gone so far as to be ordained as a monk by one of the priests, Paul Cummins of the Soto Zen Center in Cocoa Beach, and has been allowed to wear the black robes of that order during meetings.
The inmates interviewed express appreciation for the benefits of their meditation and study: transforming potential aggravations into gratitude, letting go of violent impulses, and seeing that their lives have value and that compassion for others is possible.
Image via Daytona Beach News-Journal.