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As my teacher, the Buddha once said, ‘One may conquer a million men in a single battle; however, the greatest and best warrior conquers himself.’

Shane, 44
Incarcerated: 15 years
Housed: South Dakota State Penitentiary, Sioux Falls, SD

I went to the old chapel to facilitate the Buddhist group. I have been the leader since 2015 and continue to enjoy facilitating it. It was around 6:30pm and I began to set up for the service. I took out the TV, put in meditation music, lit incense, and draped a tapestry of the Buddha over the TV. I waited and was wondering where everyone was. A person came down and said he heard that starting today, there were not going to be any religious or other activities after five pm because the prison is so short-staffed. Five minutes later, four other people showed up. They told me they came directly from the chow hall because everything is running late. I got some Dhammapada books out and we began to read and discuss the wisdom from the Buddha. At about that time a white shirt, Officer-In-Charge opened the door and told us there are no religious activities after all. So now we only have one Buddhist group service instead of two. The other religious groups have also had their services reduced because of the staff shortages. I hope the prison can hire more prison staff so that we can get our normal religious services back. As my teacher, the Buddha once said, “One may conquer a million men in a single battle; however, the greatest and best warrior conquers himself.”

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