Live. Work. Support a Cause.
Ratna Ling, a non-profit retreat and conference center in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, is a community dedicated to serving the welfare of others and cultivating work as a means to self-knowledge through a wide variety of projects both local and global. This work-study program combines meaningful work with opportunities for self-growth.
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,--but when your neighbors are deer and turkeys and you can see more stars than you can count at night, you will remember why you came.
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About Ratna Ling Work Study Program
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. 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.
Our deep appreciation of the natural environment is manifested in our care of the land, vegetarian diet, and our commitment to support the interconnections of life necessary for the welfare of all beings.
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; to include replicating rare Buddhist teachings and distributing them to monasteries around the world.
The Employee Experience
Our faculty and staff consist almost entirely of full-time resident volunteers from all walks of life from California and New York to Brazil and Hungary. Most volunteers stay 6 months to year, so new faces will come and go year-round. Our staff varies, but is typically around 20-30 volunteers of all ages, and with such a tight community the relationships you build here can last a lifetime!
The thing our volunteers love most about their experience about Ratna Ling is being able to disconnect from the everyday humdrum of life in the busy digital age, and reconnect with themselves and nature. It is remote, it is typical for volunteers to stay onsite for the majority of the program, partly due to the six day work week, and partly due to the fact that the nearest major city is an hour and a half away (and by 'major' we mean Santa Rosa, CA). But, Ratna Ling and the surrounding area is so incredibly beautiful: redwood trails, hikes to the beach, meditation gardens--even just the view outside your cabin window--that you won't want to leave property to enjoy your time off.
Our weekly schedule is rigorous--6 days a week--and rewarding! This is a unique opportunity to get away from the daily grind and text-emoji mania, and live surrounded by nature, with little to no cell service but plenty of books, quiet spaces, and more stars at night than you can count.
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/Thai Chi). We recommend that volunteers take at least two classes during their time in the program.
Despite the six day work week (you do get used to it, we use it as a form of meditation!) you will have time to yourself to work on your own growth and development. Use this time wisely! You will get more out of this experience if you take the time to work with yourself and your practice.
Minimum commitment is 6 months. No religious affiliation required, but we are seeking people who have a sincere interest in Buddhism and exploring work as a path to inner freedom. Minimum age is 23 years old. Couples are welcome to apply.
Living in community asks that we are responsible not only to ourselves but to the whole. All residents are expected to be on time for work, classes and other activities and to complete community chores outside of work time. We are looking for people who are interested in the Buddhist teachings and in the process of community life and wish to engage that dynamic by involvement in how to make things better. Ratna Ling upholds basic Buddhist principles such as appropriate behavior toward others, cleanliness, not harming animals or insects and simple practices such as observing essential speech while working, wearing modest clothing during work, even in hot weather, and removing outdoor shoes for classes and practice.
We are seeking volunteers who wish to take advantage of the unique environment by participating in classes and utilizing free time for meditation practice, reading and study, participating in sacred art projects or developing new skills.
Smoking and use of drugs is prohibited at Ratna Ling. Residents are required to pledge not to use drugs or smoke cigarettes on or off-property during the time of their stay 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 (2-3 persons per cabin).
- Free laundry facilities, Wi-Fi and domestic phone calls (remember landlines? You get your very own cabin phone!)
- 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, 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 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.
When you are not working, your time is your time, so enjoy it! The is the biggest win for Ratna Ling: Nature, nature, nature! Enjoy hikes around the property or in on the trails of neighboring Salt Point State Park. The ocean is about a 15-20 minute drive from Ratna Ling, you can hike as well (but it's LONG), so often volunteers coordinate carpooling to the trailhead and hike from there. 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. But, we recommend you disconnect as much as possible and take full advantage of the ability to get away from it all! We have extensive libraries, primarily of Tibetan Buddhist teachings by our own rinpoche, but volunteers brings 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 favs!
We have a beautiful meditation temple exclusively for our volunteers, and a yoga room that is available in between group visits.
We accept full-time volunteers year-round to fill positions related to:
Cook, Chef, or Kitchen Assistant Vegetarian Cuisine
Front Desk/Hospitality Associate
Hotel and Food and Beverage Management
Group Retreat Planning and Sales
Marketing and Public Relations
Yeshe De Text Preservation Project
Project Coordinating for Dharma Publishing
Web and Creative Design
To learn more about living and volunteering at Ratna Ling please see our website.