The Northwest Dharma Association and Plum Mountain Refuge will co-sponsor a conference dedicated to Dharma work in our criminal justice systems. Genko Kathy Blackman and Kobai Scott Whitney are acting as coordinators for the event.
Blackman currently serves as the Buddhist representative on the Washington State Department of Corrections Religious Services Advisory Committee and has long volunteered in the Monroe Correctional Complex and at the King County Jail. She is a fully ordained Zen priest and a teacher in the Urasenke tea tradition.
Whitney is the former Buddhist chaplain for the Washington Department of Corrections and currently serves as Buddhist chaplain for the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington. He is Spiritual Director of Plum Mountain Refuge in Aberdeen, Washington. His book, Sitting Inside: Buddhist Practice in American Prisons, is in many prison libraries around the country.
Whitney says, "This meeting will be similar to one done in 2005 in Ellensburg, Washington. We have set aside the weekend beginning Friday November 14 through Sunday the 16 and we're working on finding a venue that is reasonably priced and accessible to the transportation hub around Portland International Airport."
"In addition to NWDA and Plum Mountain Refuge, we hope to secure other co-sponsors for the event. We have nationally-known experts right here in the Northwest who will present their findings at the meeting. These are people who have been working with practical adaptations of mindfulness techniques for inmates and former inmates who are releasing into the community."
Blackman adds, "The real benefit of such meetings almost always resides in the connections we make and the encouragement we give to one another. Just seeing how other people have solved problems common to all of us is a great eye-opener. Most inmates we work with will be re-entering our communities and the application of mindfulness techniques to this re-entry process is one of the great, neglected areas of both our religious and our criminal justice institutions."
Those interested in attending should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Whitney at 360.590.4535.
Contributor: Kobai Scott Whitney.