Volunteer Program Berkeley


The Work-Study Program is designed for individuals who have an interest in Buddhist studies, meditation, and the application of Buddhist practice in the work environment. Our organizations view work as a practice in awareness, concentration and energy as a means of growth.

Participants will be engaged with practice full-time through work projects as well as the aspects of living and practicing together in community. Additionally, volunteers have the opportunity to take classes in traditional meditation, Tibetan yoga, Nyingma Buddhist Psychology, and other courses offered at the Nyingma Institute and Dharma College on a tuition-free basis. We encourage all volunteers to ground themselves in the present moment, integrate their actions with their values, and treat the challenges of work as an opportunity for growth.

People work for many reasons: to advance their careers, to earn income, to feel useful, to gain security. But we work to enter another dimension of being. Our work is a path, a spiritual exercise that aims at perfect enlightenment.

-Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche


The work day is typically 8:30a.m 5p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30a.m. – 12:30p.m. on Saturdays. There is an hour break for lunch each day as well as a fifteen-minute break in both the morning and afternoon.

Room and Board

Participants in the Work-Study Program reside at Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, CA. Vegetarian lunch and dinner are provided Monday through Friday. Fresh fruit, vegetables, and eggs are available for breakfast Monday through Sunday.

Nyingma Institute offers a shared-living environment designed to provide participants a quiet refuge to concentrate on meditation and self-exploration. While participants may come together to discuss the Dharma and share their experiences, there is no communal room available and social functions are not organized.

Expenses and Stipend

Upon acceptance into the program, a $50 deposit will be collected for housing. This amount will be fully refunded upon completion of the program provided there are no damages to your accommodation and all keys are returned.

During participation in the work-practice program, volunteers receive a monthly stipend of $150 which is paid at the end of each month.


The centers are closed on the 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day and for a two-week period in December.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is not provided; however, residents of California are eligible to apply through Covered California.

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