Ratna Ling Work Study Volunteer Program

Our lodge in the sunset
The exterior of one of our gorgeous staff cabins, sleeps 2-3.
Meditation Class
One of our volunteers working in the kitchen.
Our cozy staff cabins have gas fireplaces, decks, and private full bathrooms! Not to mention surrounded by redwoods.
No, this is not a stock photo. Yes, this was taken here. Join us!

Live. Work. Support a Cause.

Ratna Ling, a non-profit retreat and conference center in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, hosts a community dedicated to serving the mission of preserving Tibetan Buddhist culture and transmitting the Dharma to the West through a wide variety of projects both local and global.

We live and work in the redwood coastal hills of Sonoma County, CA. We are in a remote location--the nearest grocery store is an hour away. The Salt Point State Park and Pacific Ocean are less than 15 minutes away. The environment is peaceful and quiet which suits the retreat center perfectly.

About Ratna Ling Work Study Volunteer Program

This year-round residential volunteer opportunity combines meaningful work with opportunities for self-growth. No religious affiliation is required to volunteer although we are seeking those with a sincere interest in Buddhism and a strong work ethic. The initial commitment for this program is 6 months to 1 year with a 4-week trial period. For those who find our community and lifestyle a good fit longer term commitments are possible.

The Venerable Tarthang Tulku founded the Ratna Ling Retreat Center in 2004 to serve as an intentional and spiritual community of teachers, students and resident volunteers committed to practicing spirituality in everyday life.

Our faculty and staff consists entirely of full-time resident volunteers who work for one of three on site organizations:

  •   Ratna Ling Retreat Center
  •   Dharma Publishing
  •   Yeshe De Text Preservation project

Guided by Tibetan Buddhist principles, we strive to share what is best and most beautiful in this precious human existence and to embody and transmit wisdom, compassion, harmony and depth of caring.

We are a non-profit organization. Funds raised from the retreat center go to support our sister organizations whose projects and activities work to preserve the Tibetan Buddhist culture including the Yeshe De project which replicates rare Buddhist texts and distributes them to monasteries around the world.

The Employee Experience

Our faculty and staff consist almost entirely of full-time resident volunteers from all over the world. Most volunteers stay 6 months to a year, so new faces will come and go year-round. Our staff varies, but is typically around 20-30 volunteers of all ages.

Our weekly schedule is rigorous--6 days a week--and rewarding! Wherever the work placement, our volunteers learn valuable job and life skills. Each organization teaches us how to put Buddhist principles and teachings into practice. They also all present great opportunities for obtaining job training in a variety of resumé building work skills.

Included in your program is the opportunity to take our free classes in a variety of Buddhist studies, Meditation, Skillful Means (how work can be a path to inner knowledge), Buddhist history and philosophy, and Kum Nye (Tibetan Yoga.) We recommend that volunteers take at least two classes a week during their time in the program. 


Ideal Candidate

Application Guidelines

    • Minimum age to apply is 30. We may consider younger applicants on a case by case basis.
    • Minimum commitment is 6 months.
    • We cannot accept children or pets.
    • Couples in ongoing, well established relationships may apply, but must submit separate applications.

We ask that applicants demonstrate

    • Willingness to commit to the community’s daily schedule, guidelines and policies
    • Physical, mental, and emotional health and stability with no major ongoing health concerns
    • Positive attitude toward taking direction
    • Flexibility in work assignments
    • Financial resources to sustain personal needs (medical, transportation, loans, bills) for the full commitment period
    • Sincere interest in the organizational mission and capacity to live in an intentional community founded and guided by the vision of Head Lama Tarthang Tulku

Please do not apply if

  • you have recently quit smoking or using drugs
  • you are coping with major unresolved emotional issues, withdrawal, or diagnosed psychological disorders
  • you have recently begun a recovery program
  • you have recently begun a regimen of psychotropic medications

International Applicants

  • We welcome volunteers from around the world; however please be aware that if you do not hold a USA passport or green card we cannot by law assist you in obtaining a visa for entry, visiting or residing  in the United States. We cannot issue any letters of invitation or confirmation for volunteering at Ratna Ling.

Room and Board

As a volunteer in our work-study program, you will receive:

  • Free housing in a cozy cabin with private bath, outdoor deck, gas fireplace (2 people per cabin.)
  • Free laundry facilities, Wi-Fi and domestic phone calls 
  • Free vegetarian meals, tea and coffee
  • Monthly living allowance of $150 per month
  • Free morning and evening classes in a variety of Buddhist studies, Meditation, Skillful Means (how work can be a path to inner knowledge), Buddhist history and philosophy, and Kum Nye (Tibetan yoga)

Employee Perks

  • Opportunity to engage in an environment where meaningful work and self-development are valued
  • Clean, fresh air, wide-open spaces, natural beauty, close proximity to hiking trails and the Pacific Ocean
  • The support of a caring, actively engaged community that encourages and builds meaningful interpersonal relationships

Please visit our website volunteer.ratnaling.org for more information about our program. 

Getting Here and Getting Around

Some volunteers bring a car, which is welcome, but not necessary. The nearest large city is an hour and a half away, so even with transportation volunteers don't choose to leave often.

There is bus transportation available from most area major airports to nearby Fort Ross. Accepted applicants will receive further direction as to transportation recommendations.

For Fun

Enjoy hikes around the property or on the trails of neighboring Salt Point State Park. The ocean is about a 15-20 minute drive from Ratna Ling. There is also a trail that leads to the ocean which volunteers can walk to or coordinate carpooling to the trailhead. Cycling is also popular on the road past our property, but be forewarned roads are small, winding and can be steep!

Wifi is available in the lodge, ethernet and wifi in some cabins and cell service varies. We have extensive libraries, primarily of Tibetan Buddhist teachings by our own Rinpoche, but volunteers bring and exchange books as well. 

We also have a common building near our cabins with a jam studio and a media center. There is a limited DVD library, so we recommend bringing your old favorites.

We have a beautiful meditation temple exclusively for our volunteers, and a yoga room that is available in between group visits. 

Our Jobs

We accept full-time volunteers year-round to fill positions related to:

  • Cook, Chef, or Kitchen Assistant Vegetarian Cuisine; Apprenticeships are available under a French Chef's direction

  • Front Desk/Hospitality Associate

  • Hotel and Food and Beverage Management

  • Group Retreat Planning and Sales

  • Marketing and Public Relations

  • Yeshe De Text Preservation Bindery

  • Groundskeeping/Maintenance

  • Landscaping

  • Vegetable Gardening

  • Project Coordinating for Dharma Publishing

  • Web and Creative Design

To learn more about living and volunteering at Ratna Ling please see our website.


Ratna Ling Retreat Center, Cazadero, California

Availability to begin March 2018

Retreat Planning Enthusiast

Ratna Ling Retreat Center, Cazadero, California

Availability to begin March 2018

Retreat/Event Sales and Planning Specialist – Ratna Ling Retreat Center

Ratna Ling Retreat Center, Cazadero, California

Availability to begin March 2018

Text preservation project - bindery worker

Ratna Ling Retreat Center, Cazadero, California

Availability to begin March 2018

How to Apply

E-mail your resume to volunteer@ratnaling.org. Qualified applicants will be given further instructions for the application process. 

Length of commitment is a minimum of six months.

Contact Info