Residency FAQ

Do I have to be a Shambhala practitioner to live at Karmê ChölingIt is not a requirement to be a Shambhalian to live at Karmê Chöling, but as a resident, you will participate in a rich Shambhala culture.  We anticipate incoming Karmê Chöling residents will have a diverse range of backgrounds, practices and perspectives. The common denominator, and a requirement for Residency, is a sustained meditation practice. We are unified in our commitment to the practice of sitting meditation and being an active part of a kind and sane community. 

What kind of time commitment goes into being a community member at Karmê ChölingAll residents are asked to participate in at least four group practice sessions per week and to attend one community meeting each month. There’s also ROTA! Yay!

How do meals work? Three meals a day are prepared by our kitchen crew. Residents may also prepare their own meals and purchase their own food. There is limited storage space in our Hospitality Kitchen and also a shared refrigerator and space to prepare meals. We plan on making more refrigerator and dry storage available.

Can I test out living at Karmê Chöling? What is the shortest Residency period? How long can I stay if I like it?  Karmê Chöling Residency requires a commitment of three months to two years of living at Karmê Chöling. For those of you who want to create a self-led meditation retreat for less than three months, and to be part of the Karmê Chöling container, we recommend that you sign up for an In-House Retreat.  

Do I need a car to live at Karmê Chöling? No, you do not need a car to live at Karme Choling. However, a car can be very useful for recreation and trips into town for groceries, prescriptions, etc. There is no public transportation in Barnet. We recommend that if you are used to having a car, that you keep your car when you move in. If you do not have a car and do not want a car, that is totally fine — all you need is a bit of kindness and generosity, and you can usually get a ride or support from others in the household.

What if I don’t want to live at Karmê Chöling during summer programming? Uncertainty around COVID-19 makes it impossible to predict how many programs, if any, will take place in Summer 2021. On top of that, now that residents will be occupying rooms in the Main House it’s possible we will not be able to accommodate as many participants as we have in the past. Regardless of how the season shapes up, many staff members have appreciated living at Ashoka Bhavan during the busy season, and this is something that we are considering making possible for the Residency program.

Can you help me out with some more info? Sure, contact our Residency Coordinator, Nathan Railla, at nrailla@karmecholing.org

Is there a space where I can do my yoga/dance/qigong/name-your-thing practice? Yes – there is a small workout space in the basement with a treadmill, yoga mats, and weights. The Community Room is another space that is often available for movement practice. It has ample space for several people and brand new wood floors.

How long are the winters? The first snow usually falls in November or mid-October, and is gone by mid-April. But you know, it’s weather, so don’t hold us to this. You’ll learn about mud season and the first and second fake springs as time goes on.

Will I get to learn to make momos? Of course! Making momos, or any community event, arises out of the inspiration from the KCL household. If you want to offer a class on the art of momo-making, advocate for it! You may have to send out an email to make it happen. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much the community spontaneously gathers for some fun.

What about programming and solitary retreat for residents? One of the benefits of living at Karmê Chöling is the opportunity to continue on your Shambhala path. We plan to continue offering programs to the residents and wider Shambhala sangha, whether they are online or in person. While there is no discount for programs, a large cost usually associated with programs is housing and travel — two things you won’t have to worry about. There will be programming specifically for residents, which will be developed based on interest.  For example, we currently have regular classes and group practice sessions that arise out of the inspiration of the household. Solitary cabin retreats are available for residents at the normal cost. Imagine just having to walk up the hill to go on retreat!

Will I need to quarantine? How does quarantine work? Our quarantine procedures are explained in this document. In brief, while we are still in the pandemic, all incoming residents will quarantine at a KCL property called Ashoka Bhavan, one mile away. Ashoka Bhavan is a very large, three-story former bed and breakfast with two huge patios. There is a shrine room for meditation practice and food is brought from the kitchen and the garden daily. There are plenty of rooms for you to have an office as well as your own private room and bathroom during quarantine. KCL schedules incoming residents in small groups that enter and complete the quarantine together, forming an intimate mini community. The wi-fi works well and there is even cell service in many places in the house. After completing Vermont’s quarantine requirements — 14 days quarantined with no symptoms OR seven days in quarantine with a negative COVID test result after Day 7 — you can exit quarantine and enter KCL. There is free testing daily throughout the state of Vermont, for which we will help you schedule.

What if I sign up for a year and something happens and I can’t keep my commitment? Karmê Chöling requires 60 days notice for mutually-agreed upon changes to the Residency departure agreement. There is a 30-day grace period upon moving in (post-quarantine) for changes to this agreement.  Departing early without notice from residency will result in forfeiture of the last month’s residency fee.  Under exceptional circumstances, exceptions may be allowed on a case-by-case basis with written approval from the Karmê Chöling executive director. 

What does it cost to have my own bathroom? A private bathroom is a feature of some of our “Premier” rooms, which are priced at $1,400/month (plus $300 for food). Please keep in mind that Karmê Chöling has only a small number of private bathrooms.

How many residents would be living at Karmê ChölingOur goal is to have 25 residents and 15 staff. We’ve had 40 staff members here in the recent past, and that number created a vibrant household. 

How will Care and Conduct issues be related to? All residents agree to sign a Code of Conduct document. There is also a formal complaint procedure that may rise to formal proceedings by a Code of Conduct panel consisting of two Community Council members and a person external to Karmê Chöling who has experience in mediation and conflict resolution. The panel presents its findings to KCL leadership, who adjudicate the issue. The findings of both bodies are transparent. A complainant may also report directly to the Shambhala International Code of Conduct Panel, or its equivalent, as an alternative.

Tell me more about office space options. In addition to some office space at the Main House, we have administrative offices on Church Street in Barnet, a mile from Karmê Chöling. Offices range from private to semi-private rooms to desks in a shared environment and spaces to drop-in and do work. 

Can I bring my pet? We ask that incoming residents not bring pets at this time. Please contact us if you have any questions or need clarification. 

What are the wi-fi and telephone capabilities at Karmê Chöling

PhonesWe have just installed a new VOIP phone system for the KCL staff, with features such as sending voicemail messages as emails.  For a small monthly fee and an initial startup cost, Residents can be set up with a virtual voicemail box and/or a physical phone. 

Cell Phones: CDMA providers like Verizon and Sprint do work well in many areas around Barnet (Prepare to be roaming on Sprint). Unfortunately the main house is not one of those places and your battery could run dead in no time flat if you don’t read the next paragraph.

It is recommended that residents turn on wifi calling while in the main house. This not only delivers the best call quality but extends battery life. The best result and best battery life is usually attained by doing the following: 

  1. Turn ON airplane mode while in the building
  2. Turn WiFi/Bluetooth back on if they were disabled.
  3. When you go back out again, turn airplane mode off.

WiFi /Internet

The Main House has a symmetrical fiber optic connection with 50 mbps up and 50 mbps down. This is made available wirelessly via a business grade system of wireless access points placed throughout the building with about 95 percent coverage for both residents and staff. This network is constantly monitored for performance, reliability and fair usage. A problem area is currently the third floor. Good quality laptops (and desktops with quality WiFi cards) will have no problem, but phones and low-quality computers may have issues.

Church Street offices have an asymmetrical Spectrum business connection with 100 down and 10 up. WiFi is prolific in every corner of the office.