Ratna Ling Work Study Volunteer Program

Part of the current Yeshe De crew with books made for the Tibetan Buddhist communities in Asia. Location: outside the Bindery at the Stupa Garden.
Making the books to send to libraries in Asia
Longtime Bindery volunteers Max and Ruud.
Pulling the books off the cutter - fast and fun!
Team work is dream work - boxing and wrapping the Buddhist texts for shipment to Asia.
Book Bindery volunteers.
View of Bindery from Reservoir Stupa.
Boxing books outside the bindery for shipment to the World Peace Ceremony in India.
East view of Ratna Ling Retreat Center - Meditation Hall
Evening light outside the Main dining room Lodge at Ratna Ling.
Housing for volunteers - cabins in the woods!
Interior of volunteer cabins.
Main Lobby Ratna Ling with dining room in the background.
In the Meditation Hall at Ratna Ling

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. The initial commitment for this program is 6 months 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 consist 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 

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 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.) 

Ideal Candidate

Application Guidelines

  • Minimum commitment of a 6 month commitment is preferred but we do make exceptions 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

  • 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, 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.

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 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. 

How to Apply

E-mail your resume or cover letter along with a photo or headshot to: volunteer@ratnaling.org. Qualified applicants will be given further instructions for the application process. 


Contact Ratna Ling Work Study Volunteer Program