Chaplaincy Network
Offering support, training opportunities and materials for those engaging with Buddhist Chaplaincy & identify spiritual and pastoral needs within Buddhist communities to encourage greater community cohesion and social integration.

The network of Buddhist Chaplains

The seeds of Buddhist chaplaincy begin with the Buddha himself. The most common causes of people needing care in our day were the very same that inspired the Buddha to found a path to peace in the midst of all that is difficult, uncomfortable, and confounding. In essence, Buddhist chaplains who comfort others are walking in the footsteps of the Buddha.

Chaplaincy is conceived as compassionate service from the point of view of systems change, a deep-healing that takes place in concentric circles, from intra-psychic and interpersonal to environmental and global in general.

The purpose of a Buddhist chaplain is to alleviate suffering in its many forms: physical pain, difficult emotions, and confusing or disturbing thoughts, more commonly known as agony, fear, anger, guilt, depression, loneliness, grief, and so on.

Network coordinator: Dario Girolami (

If you have a contribution to the topic of a network (for example an article, a date for an event, a book, a video, …) and/or if you would like to take part in a network, please email the network coordinator.

Prison Chaplaincy

The Buddha: “I have stopped, Angulimala, once and for all, having cast off violence toward all living beings. You, though, are unrestrained toward beings. That’s how I’ve stopped and you haven’t.”

As shown by a number of prison projects, such as the San Quentin Zen Project, Meditation training is an effective way to help inmates deal with their feelings and develop self-awareness, “emotional intelligence”, self-compassion and acceptance.Through insight mental practices prison residents learned to examine and transform the unhealthy thought and behavioral habit patterns that have governed their lives.

These practices also helped to achieve an effective management of the stress due to the prison environment, the separation from family, and the anger that attends incarceration. Thanks to the regular practice of meditation, inmates grew to be less reactive to intense emotional states without resorting to the use of drugs or other chemical substances. Meditation prison programs has a very strong social implications. Studies shows that there is a notable (20%) decrease of criminal recidivism in former inmates that participated to a meditation in prison program.

Buddhist Chaplains in Prison institution can thus be contributing in:

  • Creating conditions that encourage the development of calm, self-awareness, morality and wisdom, with which the focus of the inmates shifts from the problem to the solution;
  • Providing prisoners and prison staff with religious council and the most effective, evidence-based tools for rehabilitation, self-transformation, and personal development

‘The Inner Way’ is a documentary dealing with the very first buddhist meditation course in an Italian prison, led by the zen priest Dario Doshin Girolami. For more than 8th years Dario has been teaching meditation in the largest prison of Rome to the inmates. Images, words, sounds and silences will accompany Dario’s narration, his questions to the inmates, their answers, and their accounts of past and present experiences, and future expectations. A future sometimes for ever linked to the prison walls but, thanks to the meditation, not so unbearable.

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