Buddhadharma Sangha Application
The San Quentin Buddhadharma Sangha has met Sunday evenings from 5:15-8:30 since 1999. We now typically meet for two sessions each Sunday evening:

2:15-5:30 study / discussion group
5:15-8:30 sit / service / dharma talk

Jiryu Rutchman-Byler of Green Gulch Farm Zen Center (SFZC) is the head teacher following the founding teacher, Seido Lee deBarros' stepping down in 2015. The size of the group fluctuates but is usually about 20 inmates and 4-8 outside guests. For general information on the Sangha, visit www.sqzen.org.

A typical evening involves seated meditation, walking meditation, service (chanting) and a dharma talk.

Guests are expected to have an established meditation practice, some familiarity with Buddhism, and a sensitivity and willingness to observe the protocols, attitudes, and dress code of prison chaplaincy work.

If you are interested in joining the Sangha, please fill out this form. One of the group leaders will contact you to discuss the program and your interest. If it seems like an appropriate match, we will invite you to a training and then ask for personal data (social security #, birthday, driver's license/passport #). These items will be submitted to San Quentin administration for an initial three-month security clearance, or “gate clearance,” authorizing you to enter the prison. The entire application process generally takes at least two months.

Name *
Your answer
Legal name (if different from how you prefer to be addressed)
We'll use your legal name with prison administration & call you as you want to be known.
Your answer
Pronoun
Help us out: If we wanted to refer to you in conversation without using your name, what would you want us to use? "Have you seen [name]'s application? I think [pronoun] forgot to fill in the email field. How will we ever contact [pronoun]?"
Your answer
Email *
Your answer
Race/Ethnicity *
Those incarcerated at San Quentin are predominantly men of color. In order to best meet the needs of our community, we are committed to inviting outside practitioners of color in particular. How do you identify?
Your answer
Have you ever volunteered in a prison program in the past? Please describe.
Your answer
How did you hear about this program?
Your answer
Are you acquainted with any Buddhadharma Sangha members? (Who?)
Your answer
Please describe your meditation practice. Are there other Buddhist practices you regularly engage?
Note: We strongly encourage you to have an existing meditation practice. This is not a place to begin to practice, but rather a place to share your existing practice with others.
Your answer
Where is your 'home sangha'? What Teachers do you work with?
Note: We strongly encourage you to have an existing community that you practice with in addition to the Buddhadharma Sangha. You should have a network outside of the prison that supports your practice.
Your answer
Why are you interested in joining the sangha at San Quentin?
Your answer
What is your work in the world?
Your answer
How often do you imagine you might attend the program? Assuming you were cleared in two months, when would you want to start coming?
Note: We currently cap the number of cleared volunteers, and the process is at times lengthy.
Your answer
Do you have a car?
What region would you be coming from?
Is there anything else you think we should know?
Your answer
We'd like to know who we are talking to. Would you please send a photo to: sqsangha@gmail.com ? *
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