Be a volunteer at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont

Be a Volunteer

Why volunteer at Karmê Chöling?

The Volunteer Program was created to offer interested individuals an opportunity to investigate the Shambhala community which includes:

  • The path of practice and study
  • Work
  • The retreat environment and community 

in exchange for serving Karmê Chöling as a volunteer. 

The practice and study component of your stay includes daily group meditation practice, weekly teachings, having a meditation instructor, plus personal practice and study time. Volunteers are required to attend at least 4 community meditation sessions per week.

The work component is generally 5 hours per day, five days per week. Your two days off are unstructured time. However, we may plan to have occasional group activities and outings. We encourage volunteers to stay on the land as much as possible to fully soak in the experience of life at Karmê Chöling. We ask that you do not plan overnight stays away from the center. 

The immersive experience of living in community is a powerful aspect of being a volunteer. An important part of daily life includes sharing the staff dish ROTA (rotating work schedule). All staff and volunteers are scheduled for at least three of these shifts per week. ROTA is an opportunity to take care of each other and our environment. We encourage you to lean into all aspects of the program, and particularly to join us in the exploration of a community based on the principles of unconditional basic goodness and meditation.

Volunteers Receive:

  • Meditation instruction
  • Two and a quarter hours of formal group sitting meditation practice each day
  • A personal Meditation Instructor
  • Free classes in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition
  • Free room (dorm, tent, or shrine room depending on season & availability)
  • Free meals
  • Program credit which can be applied to programs at Karmê Chöling up to one year

Staff, Volunteers and Residents must agree to abide by our Karmê Chöling 

Code of Conduct policy and our Household COVID Policy.

OPEN Volunteer Positions

We are currently looking for volunteers for the following departments:

  • Kitchen Assistance
  • Facilities/ Maintenance
  • Housekeeping/ Program Space Set Up
  • Landscaping and Garden
  • Registration/Guest Services Assistance

Department Overviews

Volunteers work in one or more departments throughout each session. The greatest needs are in Facilities, Kitchen and Housekeeping. When applying, please select at least one of these. If you have additional experience and skills, please indicate another area you may be interested in. We try to match volunteers with their interests, however that’s not always possible.

Join the kitchen crew and feed a houseful of hungry meditators. Experience in a professional kitchen, cooking for large groups, and/or a background in the culinary arts is helpful. We prepare meats, vegetarian and special diet meals, and use organic produce from our garden.

Help to uplift and maintain the buildings, shrine rooms, tents and grounds of Karmê Chöling. Experience with: painting, carpentry, construction, trail maintenance, landscaping, or plumbing is a plus.

Assist our dedicated housekeeping staff in maintaining our environment uplifted and beautiful.

Work under the direction of our Master Gardener and assist with all aspects of tending our one-acre organic garden and flowerbeds! Prior gardening experience required.


Join our front desk team in welcoming our guests and making sure their stay goes smoothly. Experience with Microsoft Office applications and Google Mail and Drive required.

Volunteer Application View Job Openings

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