Odiyan Retreat Center

Odiyan Buddhist center, overlooking the Pacific Ocean
Melting Bronze for making statues
In the shop
At the vegetable farm garden
Relaxing during break
Odiyan: An ecological and spiritual sanctuary in northern California
Pruning orchards
Enjoying quiet and beauty near the reservior.
Havesting near Vajra Temple.
Asa showing off elephant garlic.
Detail work on Buddhist statues
Planting starts in the farm garden at Odiyan
Meditation practice during Tibetan yoga class.
Maintenance work at the temples.
Caring for our Kiger mustangs

Meaningful work for body, mind and spirit.

Odiyan is an all-volunteer non-profit Buddhist center dedicated to meaningful work, wholesome living and the development of mind and spirit.

100 miles north of San Francisco.

Jobs in the Spotlight

About Odiyan Retreat Center

Founded in 1975 by Venerable Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, Odiyan is located on a 1000-acre spiritual and ecological preserve overlooking the Pacific Ocean in rural Northern California. Unlike most Buddhist centers, Odiyan is only open to people who want to live and work with us for at least six months, or longer.

Odiyan's mission is establishing a home for the Dharma in the West and to support Buddhist centers and practitioners in Asia. The way of life that supports this purpose integrates creative and challenging work with a path of self-exploration that opens up your inner potential. Living at Odiyan is an opportunity to work for preserving enlightened knowledge for our world,  and fostering harmony for oneself, our planet and all beings.

The Employee Experience

What do volunteers talk about after being at Odiyan for a few weeks?

The Work
New volunteers often wonder at how the community can possibly accomplish the challenging goals, immense projects, and multiple maintenance and development demands. Using work as a means for self-development, the practice and study of Skillful Means encourages the ability to overcome obstacles, gives flexibility to roll with whatever happens and the skill to change limiting personal patterns.

The Place
Photographs and words cannot convey the vast and expansive sacred beauty of Odiyan: the infinite sight lines in every direction, the overarching skies of day and night, the grandeur of the Temples and the varied landscapes of hills, ponds, gardens, and forests. Thousands of flowers, flowering bushes and trees have been planted over the past forty years making every day a feast for the senses.

The Food
Everyone has their time in the kitchen to cook mostly home-grown and organic meals for the community. You can learn how to bake your own bread, make your own miso and tempeh, freeze, can and preserve a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, both cultivated and wild grown.

Being at Odiyan is like going to school and taking a class in “How to do everything.” The variety of projects done here and the breadth of technical experience available make Odiyan incomparable to most other work situations. Where else can you learn every type of construction, from foundation to roofing, electrical to structural steel, all types landscaping from ornamental to vegetables, drainage to large-scale waterworks, all types of machine and engine repair, solar energy, fine woodwork, bronze casting, electroplating, and much, much more, all in one place? The fact that all this knowledge is offered for free, including three meals a day and a room to stay, is astonishing. People have come to Odiyan with no training whatsoever, and after working hard for some years, they gained enough skills to make a living for themselves for the rest of their lives. If this all happened in a downtown warehouse, it would be a good deal, but it is happening on a gorgeous ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by Buddhist sacred art, with a community of people who are working towards an understanding of mind and human potential. It is far above and beyond a 'good deal'. –James, 28

Ideal Candidate

We are seeking people who seriously really like to work and are also interested in developing a spiritual path. Living and working at Odiyan is challenging both in the work schedule and in living and working with the same small group of people day- to- day. The successful Odiyan resident needs to be independent socially and at work, and at the same time able to cooperate within the community and be engaged in the concerns of the community. 

Unlike a job that quits at 6 pm, living and working at Odiyan is a lifestyle which includes everything it takes to live and be successful in the world: taking care of yourself, your home and your natural environment, learning and sharing practical job skills, and developing a larger vision of purpose.

Attributes for success at Odiyan include:

  • physical, mental and emotional stability
  • being able to adhere to a schedule that starts with breakfast at 6:20 am
  • ability to communicate in group settings such as work or community meetings
  • ability to also listen and give space to others
  • flexibility to change jobs or tasks at short notice
  • interest in Buddhism and  inner development which includes reading books by founder Tarthang Tulku, attending classes and discussion groups
  • being able to take responsibility independently for something you care about

Room and Board

Mostly organic vegetarian meals are served every day for all residents. Everyone takes turns in meal preparation and clean-up.

Residential rooms are designed for 2 people per room although you may also have a room to yourself for some part of your time, depending on the number of volunteers in residence.

Longer term residents (6 months to one year or more) usually have their own room.

Employee Perks

  • Free home-cooked vegetarian meals and beverages
  • Free housing in large room with balcony
  • Free WI-FI and domestic phone calls
  • A living allowance of $150 per month
  • Free skill training in a wide range of trades and traditional arts
  • Access to healthy setting of nature, hiking trails, swimming, wide-open spaces, sacred beauty, fresh air, clean water, and nutritious food
  • Free Classes on Development of Mind & Spirit: Tibetan yoga, Skillful Means, Meditation and more.
  • Opportunity to engage in a wholesome lifestyle of self-sufficiency, meaningful work, inner development, and taking responsibility

Getting Here and Getting Around

Information is provided upon acceptance for transportation options from nearby airports to Odiyan. You may bring your car but it is not necessary. We do not use bicycles at Odiyan.

For Fun

With 1000 acres of land to roam, we encourage our volunteers to stay close to home to enjoy the beauty and majesty of the Odiyan land. There is hiking the eight mile Pilgrimage Road in the Spring, swimming in the reservoir in the Summer, foraging in the forests in the Fall and enjoying the evenings at the huge fireplace in the dining room during the rains of winter. We have a herd of rescued semi-tame horses to visit on the land, two yaks, two aviaries and lots of wild life to observe and photograph.  Fun at Odiyan means having your own side-project at the shop in metal, wood or fabric, working on your own art project, going down to the garden on Sunday to harvest just because you want to, and helping with all the drying, canning, freezing and preserving of fruits and veggies during harvest season. You can join in some of the Buddhist ceremonies and practices and the longer you stay the more you can participate. Being away from the city and on a high ridge, the stars at night are incredible!

Our Jobs

General Job Requirements:

Physically fit and able to engage in manual labor for hours a day, including lifting, bending, being on your knees.

We prefer people who have experience with tools and small machines but it is not required.

Jobs: At Odiyan most residents participate in at least 3 types of work as listed below:

Landscaping, including weeding, trimming hedges, brush cutting, using a blower, planting, pruning orchards.

Gardening and Farming including weeding, planting, harvesting, cleaning,

Foundry and metal work including  gouging, polishing, mold break out, slushing

Construction including concrete and brick work, painting, fabrication

Repairs on machines, building and temples

Cooking

Administrative, fundraising, marketing, web and graphic design, programming

Horse trainer

We are looking for a mature person with significant horse training background to gentle and train horses of our semi-wild Kiger mustang herd to halter and saddle. You need to have a desire and interest to live in this amazing place, Odiyan Retreat Center that is sustained completely by volunteers. No paid staff. You receive all the same perks and get to work with Kigers for a good part of your week. We will expect that you can also participate in other community work and activities such as clean up, maybe some cooking ( we teach you how to cook vegetarian), maintenance and of course some of the classes. Email volunteer@odiyan,org if you are interested.

Publicist/Marketing Coordinator - Live and work in our Buddhist community

We are seeking someone with savvy and know-how to navigate the world of social media and marketing who also can get their hands dirty planting in the gardens, painting temple steps and help on a concrete pour. It is the best of both worlds to work part-time helping build Odiyan's online presence and still get to harvest the apples and learn how to cook vegetarian. Please contact us if you are an outdoors loving online specialist!

Vegan Cook

Seeking a mature cook for an elderly community member who has a special diet. Proven skills in vegan cooking plus a calm, discreet personality which can naturally adapt to a reserved and somewhat secluded lifestyle are needed. This volunteer position would possibly include some outdoor work in landscape gardening. Someone with familiarity with the atmosphere of traditional Buddhist temples could be a good match.

How to Apply

Submitted applications are reviewed for an initial screening.  If your application is selected for continuation of the application process you will be contacted within a few days. 

Contact Info