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We appreciate your interest in the Ratna Ling Work Study Program! If you are excited about contributing to our two-fold  mission of preserving Tibetan Buddhist culture and establishing Dharma in the West, then please see details below for applying.


Application Guidelines

    • Minimum age to apply is 30. We may consider younger applicants on a case by case basis.
    • Minimum commitment is 6 months.
    • 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.

Please take note of these community policies before applying

Trial Period: There is a 4 week trial period, which is included in the total commitment period. The purpose of trial period is to confirm to our mutual agreement that the program is a good fit for the applicant.

Vacation Time/Days Off: Time away must be arranged during the application process. Exceptions are for the winter holiday break (2 weeks at the end of December through the New Year in January), doctor’s appointments and family emergencies. All other absences from work must be arranged in advance with the project leader. The work time missed must be made up.

Tobacco & Drugs : Smoking and the use of nicotine in any form is prohibited. The use or possession of drugs (including but not limited to recreational or medical marijuana, hallucinogens or stimulants) or related paraphernalia, or the inappropriate use of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications is prohibited at Ratna Ling. All Work-study volunteers, guests, visitors and long-term residents are required to pledge not to use tobacco or drugs on or off-property during the entire length of their stay at Ratna Ling.

Alcohol: Beer and wine are permitted in moderation with a suggested limit of 2 drinks. Indulgent use of alcohol to the point of drunkenness or behavior inappropriate to a retreat center, or partying with alcohol is not tolerated. It is not permitted to drink alcohol before coming to work, classes or ceremonies or to walk on the property with open bottles of alcohol.

Relationships: New volunteers have a unique opportunity to be involved in a program of personal inner inquiry, cooperation and spiritual values at Ratna Ling. Participating in an integrated program of work and learning takes commitment and focus. For this reason, we ask all new volunteers to refrain from becoming involved in romantic or physical relationships with other volunteers for their first 6 month stay. Past experience has shown us this is an important part of the volunteer experience at Ratna Ling.

Food:  All common or shared kitchen areas at Ratna Ling are vegetarian. Volunteer residents do not consume, store or cook meat in the main kitchen, dining room, lodge patio  or common areas. We are not always able to accommodate special dietary needs so if you have multiple or unusual food allergies, you may need to purchase some of your own food.

Dress Code: Clean, conservative, modest  clothing should be worn at all times on property. Volunteers are asked to dress appropriately in clothing that is not revealing and is free of holes. Men must wear shirts (no tank tops please), even in hot weather. Women must wear tops that cover midriff and chest. No short shorts, miniskirts or tank tops.  Short hair is preferred for men and beards should be short and well-kept. Piercings should be minimal for both men and women.


 Steps to Apply for the Ratna Ling Work-Study Program

  1. Download the Ratna Ling Volunteer Application
  2. Return completed application and current resume to Volunteer Coordinator 
  3. The Volunteer Committee will review your application. If we are interested in pursuing your application we will contact you within 1-2 weeks.
  4. A phone interview will be scheduled
  5. All references are checked
  6. The Volunteer Committee performs a final review
  7. Acceptance into the program
  8. Arrival at Ratna Ling for a one-of-a-kind volunteer experience

In total the application process can take from 4-6 weeks.


Still Have Some Questions?

If you’re interested in applying but maybe have questions about the program before you begin the application process, our staff is available to answer your questions and help you decide if the Ratna Ling Volunteer Program might be a good fit. Just call 707-847-3777 ext 115 or email volunteer@ratnaling.org with any questions you may have and we’ll go from there.