At eight o’clock in the morning on November 7, thirty five police officers of different ranks and positions were jogging and excising at a Buddhist temple as part of a mindfulness meditation workshop, exclusively designed for the Houston Police Department.
By its nature, a law enforcement officer’s job is full of potential dangers and threats. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, one hundred and fourteen Houston police officers died in the line of duty last year (2017). Police officers’ being able to cope with the stress of their job is essential and crucial to their well-being and state of mind. To provide these officers with another way of managing stress, the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Houston connected the Houston Police Department with the Chung Mei Buddhist Temple in Houston to arrange a life-education related workshop for its police officers. The activities included morning exercise, meditation, walking meditation, meditation & sutra, Dharma talk & discussion, and tea meditation.
Houston Police Academy Commander Kristine Anthony and curriculum director Lieutenant Hector Garcia also took part, and they thanked the Chung Mei Temple for the mind-calming workshop and the Education Division of TECO in Houston for its support. The participating officers answered a survey and gave their feedback, which will help determine whether more of these classes will be provided for police personnel in the future.
Dispatch Supervisor Bill Waldrop and Officer Denise Lester-Roy highly recommended the workshop and hoped that more classes will be available to benefit more police officers in Houston. They would love to come back for more classes. Each participant received a Certificate of Completion, and the workshop classes will be accredited as 8-hours towards their professional development requirements.
Photo:Master Jue An (覺安法師), director of the Chung Mei Buddhist Temple in Houston (seated, 4th left), Director Sophie Chou of the Education Division of TECO in Houston (seated 3rd left), and workshop participants holding Budda’s Vitarka mudra, a hand gesture which represents teaching and discussion and is said to help cultivate a calm open mind.