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. Luckily, we take care of grocery shopping. The Salt Point State Park and the Pacific Ocean are less than 15 minutes away. The environment is peaceful and quiet which compliments the activities of the retreat center and the volunteer's inner exploration.
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. We prefer an initial commitment for this program of 6 months with a 4-week trial period. We do make exceptions on a case by case basis. For those who find our community and lifestyle, a good fit longer-term volunteer opportunities 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, dedicated to be a place of health and wellness and a gateway for the Dharma in the west.
Our faculty and staff consist entirely of full-time resident volunteers who work for one of three on-site work-study programs:
- Ratna Ling Retreat Center
- Dharma Publishing
- Yeshe De Text Preservation Project
We are a non-profit organization. Funds raised from our work-study programs 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 25 volunteers of all ages and lengths of service.
Our weekly schedule is rigorous - 6 days a week and rewarding! Wherever your work placement, our volunteers learn valuable job and life skills. Each work-study program teaches us how to put Buddhist principles and teachings into practice. They also all present great opportunities for obtaining on the job training in a variety of resumé building skills and experiences.
Included in your program is the opportunity to take 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 Tai Chi), and yoga. In addition, volunteers will be given opportunities to participate in Buddhist celebrations, ceremonies, and practices.
- A commitment of 6-months is preferred but we do make exceptions for shorter periods on a case by case basis.
- We cannot accept children or pets.
- Couples in ongoing, well-established relationships may apply but must submit separate applications.
We ask that applicants demonstrate:
- A volunteer spirit and a heartfelt dedication to service as a practice
- Willingness to commit to our community’s and work practice daily schedules, guidelines, and policies
- Physical, mental, and emotional health and stability with no major ongoing health concerns
- Positive attitude toward taking direction and working as a team
- Flexibility in work activities and a "get it done" attitude.
- Financial resources to sustain personal needs (medical, transportation, loans, bills) for your 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 stop using drugs
- You are coping with major unresolved personal and/or emotional issues, withdrawal, or diagnosed psychological disorders
- You have recently begun a recovery program
- You have recently begun a regimen of psychotropic medications
- 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 our work-study program.
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)
- Opportunity to engage in an environment where meaningful work and self-development are valued
- Clean, fresh air, natural beauty, close proximity to hiking trails and the Pacific Ocean
- Tranquil, healing space to connect deeply with yourself
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.
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 vary. 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.