The Correspondence Course for prisoners is sponsored and administered by the Buddhist Association of the United States (Chuang Yen Monastery). The Course faculty consists of one the following:
- Members of the religious Sangha
- Buddhist practitioners who have been approved by Rev. Thich Tri Hoang, the Spiritual Advisor of the Course, based on their understanding and practice of Buddhism
The Course is designed to familiarize the student with the life of the Buddha, Buddhist concepts, theory, and practice, as well as the major schools of Buddhism and their practices. The goal of the Course is to help the student integrate Buddhism into their life by showing how Buddhist practices can help reduce unskillful states of mind such as anger and hatred and cultivate skillful states of mind such as equanimity and compassion.
The Course consists of a series of reading assignments and practice in Buddhist meditation and mindfulness training. Written questions are asked on the material covered in each assignment that will test not only the student’s understanding of the material, but also their thoughts on how the material may be applicable to their life.
Answers to these questions are to be returned in writing for review by the Course faculty mentor assigned to the student. The student receives feedback, on a regular basis, as to their understanding and application of the material covered. Grading is done on a Pass/Fail method.
The student is encouraged to ask questions about any part of the reading and practice assignments that they do not understand before answering the assignment questions.
Upon satisfactory completion of the Course, a “Certificate of Buddhist Studies” is issued to the student and, if requested by the student, appropriate prison authorities are advised, in writing, of the successful completion of the Course and the awarding of the certificate to the student.
All material sent to the student is provided at no charge to them. The Course faculty will continue to be available to the student after completion of the Course to assist them in continuing their studies and practice of Buddhism.