Building Bridges: An Introduction to Buddhist Teachings – Light in Prison Interfaith Series [Video]

Light in Prison Interfaith Series

Welcome to our second video interview in our new Interfaith Series, each designed to promote greater dialogue, understanding and true appreciation between the world’s faith traditions.

Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest, and largest religions. It’s based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who lived about 2600 years ago in what is now Nepal and northeastern India. He came to be called “the Buddha,” which actually means the “awakened one,” after he experienced a profound revelation or realization of the transient nature of life, death and existence. From this experience he achieved a state of consciousness called “Nirvana” (the cessation of suffering, enlightenment, liberation).

In this short video we interviewed Walt Opie, Executive Director of the Buddhist Pathways Prison Project, Inc., headquartered in Sacramento. Walt briefly explains what his group of volunteers is doing in California prisons and jails and explains how their mission is helping to bring an end to “suffering” using Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practices.

Buddhists follow a path called the “Four Noble Truths”; and Walt gives us a succinct overview of each one. As you’ll see, Buddhism as a practice has much wisdom and encouragement to offer those in our prisons as well as others in the world. We gratefully acknowledge the unselfish work being done by Walt’s group and we feel honored to share this “introduction” to Buddhist thought and practice.

As always, we encourage you to learn more about this rich faith tradition and perhaps even visit a Buddhist temple, retreat or program. Visit:

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5 thoughts on “Building Bridges: An Introduction to Buddhist Teachings – Light in Prison Interfaith Series [Video]

  1. Cathryn G Rathsam Reply

    Wow! This is so inspiring to learn how they are serving those in prison. While visiting northern India, we saw the Bodhi tree where Buddha received “awakening”. Jesus is purported to have visited there before his ministry began. He learned much from India’s spiritual leaders and ancient civilization.
    Interfaith appreciation brings us all together. What a joy that Jesus’ prayer, “Father, may we all be one” is taking place in our midst! Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Clementine Suiffet Reply

    Thank you for this latest interview on Buddhism. I really love these interfaith series videos. It’s great learning how people of other faiths are ministering to those in need, including those in prison. I look forward to the next interview in this series. Thank you so much!!!

  3. Karen Rippberger Reply

    I too am studying Buddhism and Hinduism to get a better understanding of these faiths. We have so much in common. We all want to relieve suffering.

  4. Marilyn in Berkeley Reply

    I’m studying Indian spirituality – Buddhism and Hinduism – right now and greatly appreciating the insights into how a regular meditation practice can lift thought above the conditioned mind’s negative tendencies into a pure or pristine mind, which one Buddhist author says is our natural state of mind. Like how “Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, the Christian’s native air” (CS hymn 284). Thank you for this second in Light in Prison’s Interfaith Series.

  5. Jan in Rio Rancho, NM Reply

    Thanks! This was a most helpful introduction into Buddhism. How wonderful to be learning more of what we all have in common, a desire to relieve others of suffering in whatever form. And to help bring about blessing and healing.

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