Full Time Work-Practice

Residential Work-Study Program at a Buddhist Center of Learning 

Work-study program participants immerse themselves in a life of service, personal development, and learning that integrates work with study. Living at the Nyingma Institute, participants enjoy vegetarian meals and receive a full scholarship for Institute classes and workshops, along with a small living reimbursement stipend. The minimum commitment is 6 months, with a possibility for renewing for a longer term. 

The six-month program is a way to live and work here as part of the community and as a staff member, and to be of service while learning about Buddhism. We focus on work as practice (6 days a week, usually 9 AM – 5 PM), with access to classes at night (7-8:30 PM) and also weekly practice sessions (Tuesdays, 6:15-6:45 PM). Areas of responsibility here can include: bookkeeping, front desk, cleaning, maintenance, promotions, cooking, gardening, IT and more. We also share house chores such as dish duty and cleaning shared spaces, and take care of all aspects of running this center together. 

Participants need not be Buddhist, but should be able to respect our customs and live harmoniously in a community setting. We are dedicated to making opportunities for growth and transformation available through our programs, as well as in supporting the survival and transmission of Tibetan Buddhism. 

For more information, send an email to berkeleyvolunteers@nyingma.org with your contact information, resume, as well as any pertinent information, and a volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you shortly. 


Living & Working Together

Skillful Means: Work as Practice 

How can we practice, live meaningful lives, and support ourselves? Our shared challenge is to uncover potential for growth within the everyday, finding the transcendent within the mundane. 

With the support of meditation, Tibetan yoga, and other classes, and a multitude of awareness practices that can be applied to work, relationships, and every aspect of life, you will engage in productive activity as a way to train your mind and gain insight into your habits and patterns.

The work you do supports classes and programs that help others develop freedom of mind, find ease and relaxation amidst the stresses of modern life, and connect to their inner potential for wisdom and compassion. On top of this, we are part of a community of organizations that has been helping to preserve the Tibetan cultural tradition for over 40 years. With our sister organization, the Yeshe De Project, we have preserved, printed, and distributed for free over 5 million Tibetan texts, and many thousands of Tibetan art prints and prayer wheels, to Tibetans in exile across the Himalayan region. 

Skillful Means is a special area of focus that our founder, Tarthang Tulku, has developed and taught to his students as a method and view in order to accomplish immense projects in order to keep Tibet’s ancient body of knowledge alive in the world. We combine this approach to work as practice with an emphasis on caring; this is a path of dedication, action, responsibility, and joy. 

A Peaceful Environment

The Community:  Who Lives Here?

Our residential community consists of volunteers who have been living and working here for anywhere from 10 years to 6 months. We host retreatants during our 4 month and 2 month retreats, as well as students who stay for shorter terms as part of personal retreats or workshops. We also have some rooms available for rent to the general public. 

We are a Buddhist center with a lay sangha. We are not ordained, nor do we take precepts or strict vows. We do abide by principles of non-harm, such as not killing insects or creatures, and do not allow meat, alcohol, or any mind-altering substances (except coffee) on the property. 

We do not require that participants be Buddhist, however one must be respectful of our tranquil environment and interested in learning and being of service while living in a spiritual community. This is a dynamic environment for integrating life with practice, as well as for nurturing inner growth and igniting meaningful transformation. 


For more information, send an email to berkeleyvolunteers@nyingma.org with your contact information, resume, as well as any pertinent information, a volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you shortly. 

Application Process 

We are unfortunately but necessarily selective about who we can accept, due to limited availability of space. We generally accept applicants at the beginning of Quarters, however we can be flexible depending on your circumstances. The application process includes an application form and resume, interview, reference checks, and a background check. We look forward to hearing from you!