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Student and assistant warden in the California prison system Bill Wilson shares on FPMT retreat center Vajrapani Institute’s V-Voice Blog the story of how a mentor profoundly changed his life, an experience that coincidentally brought him to the Dharma:
“I believed I was a good man, and tried to help others as best I could, but as I watched Dave interact with inmates I realized I was only partly fulfilling my duties as a law enforcement official and a member of my community. He wasn’t just professional and courteous, he tried to make a positive imprint on every inmate (and staff member) he had contact with. It didn’t matter the crime they committed, the color of their skin, their gang affiliation or their intellect, he reached out with loving kindness, compassion and empathy to men who were commonly marginalized. Yes, we fed and clothed them, and at times tried to provide them with inspiration, but until I watched Dave in action, I didn’t know we usually ignored the most crucial truth: that the inmates continued to be human beings.
“… My journey with Dave and our men opened another door, perhaps the most important … I met volunteer Jon Landaw, who introduced me to Ven. Tenzin Chogkyi. As we talked about our men, I mentioned that I was amazed by the incredible changes I had witnessed and how I hoped to be able to make similar changes in my own life. The next thing I knew I was at the Vajrapani Institute experiencing my first formal meditation training ‘Mindfulness and Reality: Introduction to Meditation’ …”
Bill’s complete story, plus other interesting news articles and announcements from Vajrapani Institute, including video and photos from Big Love 2013 with Tenzin Ösel Hita, is available online.
Located in the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California, Vajrapani Institute offers meditation retreat cabins, Tibetan Buddhist group courses and retreats, and facility rentals for spiritual groups of all traditions.
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About Mandala Publications
Mandala Publications is the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international charitable organization founded by two Tibetan Buddhist masters, Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT is a vibrant international community, with a network of 160 affiliate centers, projects and services, and members in more than 30 countries.
Mandala print magazine is published in January, April, July and October. Mandala is available via the Friends of FPMT program.