On Sunday we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the opening of the first Buddha Grove to be established in a British prison. There were more guests, officers and inmates there than at any of the previous anniversaries. The Ven Khemadhammo told the story of Angulimala, after whom the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy was named, and also the history of the first Buddha Grove, built by the prisoners themselves, and mainly by two of them who were doing ten and fifteen years respectively. The example of Angulimala, a murderer who became a monk, and that of the two prisoners who led the construction of the Buddha Grove, showed that people could and did change.
At the ceremony, the Ven Khemadhammo, Head of the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy, launched Let Go, a new organisation whose purpose is to help Buddhist ex-prisoners when they return to outside life. Bobby Cummines, the Chief Executive of Unlock, supported this initiative, and spoke eloquently of the debt he owed to the Ven Khemadhammo for helping him personally to change during his 13-year sentence. He also referred very kindly to my correspondence with him at that time.
For more information about Angulimala, see www.angulimala.org.uk/
For Unlock, see unlock.org.uk/main.aspx