Ven. Rinpoche visited the only women’s prison in Mongolia, which is situated in the capital city of Ulanbataar. He visited the prison along with Ueili Minder (a board member of Asral), Younam (the manager of Jampa Ling centre in Ireland), Jorden (a translator), Davva and Burmaa (directors of Asral centre) and Miguel (a documentary film maker). Ven. Rinpoche visits the women’s prison every year when he is in Mongolia and gives the inmates Buddhist teachings and advice on how to live a good and meaningful life. We were met by the new director of the prison. Ven. Rinpoche explained his intention of visiting the women to him. There are 216 women in the prison, which is much less than the previous year in which 375 women were in the prison. Almost two hundred of the women came to attend Ven. Rinpoche’s teaching. He advised the women not to lose hope and not to waste their time in prison. He advised them to learn the new vocational skills that are taught in the prison. Ven. Rinpoche asked them to learn to calm their own minds through meditation. Asral NGO goes to prison every month to teach meditation and Buddhist philosophy. Ven. Rinpoche also said that there are no bad human beings. All sentient beings are by their nature very pure. However, due to our ignorance, we tend to do some negative actions or engage in negative behaviour which can cause trouble for ourselves and others. He taught how one can always change these negative actions into positive ones through practicing Dharma. He also advised them to make a strong motivation every day to utilise their life so as to make it a happy and meaningful one. They clapped their hands in appreciation of his teaching.

All the inmates received individual blessings from Ven. Rinpoche along with toiletries (soap, toilet papers) and sweets as a gift from him. The staff of the prison showed us their beautiful shrine room that was filled with statues of buddhas, many paintings of Buddhist deities, and with pictures of HH the Dalai Lama and of Ven. Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche. Ven. Rinpoche did a short prayer session in the shrine room.

The staff showed us the various projects in the prison for the women. Some of the disabled women were doing some small paintings and embroideries. The staff also took us to the maternity ward for the women. There were two women with very young babies. One was newly born and the other was almost one-year-old. Ven. Rinpoche gave some advice to all the staff of the prison – for them to be kind in their heart and to work to benefit all sentient beings. He prayed for their success in their work.