What To Know
Living in community is a practice, and with its ups and downs comes one of the most powerful ways to learn how to be mindful in everyday life. It’s safe to say that what you envision living in community to be like – will inevitably differ from your actual experience of it. There will be aspects that exceed your expectations and seem transformational. There will be experiences that feel very ordinary and mundane, while others will feel challenging.
When applying, it’s best to be clear on your motivations and aspirations for coming into residency. Keep in mind that part of the practice of developing self-awareness through meditation is allowing flexibility in how these goals come to fruition.
This page contains information to help you plan out your stay here.
What's Included In Residency
Meditation Support, Accommodations, Meals, & Amenities
Receive meditation instruction from one of Karmê Chöling’s qualified meditation instructors (MI) Meeting with your MI on a regular and ongoing basis is strongly recommended, The MI relationship can be the basis of meditation support and mentorship.
We have six meditation/shrine rooms available for use; the Main Shrine Room, Community Room, Teacher’s Room, Shambhala Shrineroom and Sadhana Shrineroom in the Main House and the meditation hall in the Pavilian. These are available according to your practice, size of group and the time of your retreat.
Dharma Teachings Archive
Karmê Chöling has video and audio archive material going back 50 years. This includes the original talks given at Karmê Chöling by Chögyam Trungpa and others, that were later transcribed into books.
We have a collection of materials that extend from contemplative disciplines of general interest to transcripts of specific practices. Our library acts as one of our community rooms that is available most times to residents.
Our Retreats Coordinator will go over your retreat plan with you before your arrive. This might include what practices you are engaged in, which spaces you need for your practice, and arranging for a meditation instructor if you don’t have one.
We are a community of meditation practitioners. When you are at Karmê Chöling you are living in a household that organizes itself around meditation and its principles.
Karmê Chöling’s program participants and in-house retreatants have a variety of accommodation options. We offer private single rooms, shared rooms, and dormitory housing.
During the warmer months, our campground is open where we offer wooden ‘tent’ cabins.
Retreat cabins are strictly for use through the Retreat Cabins Dept
Pricing is per month for residency.
MEALS & DIETS
We eat fresh and healthy at Karmê Chöling! Organic produce from our garden is incorporated into most of our meals . We use local Vermont sources as much as possible in our cooking.
- 8-9 Breakfast
- 12:30-1pm Lunch
- 3-3:30 Tea
- 6:30-7 Dinner
Diets Accommodated through our kitchen
- Gluten free
We also have a community kitchen where you can cook to your own likes and needs. It includes a microwave, toaster, instant hot water, stove/oven, a refridgerator where you can store perishables, and a personal cupboard to store your own dry goods in. Additionally, we keep certain staples available around the clock to snack on.
The Main House has a symmetrical fiber optic connection with 50 mbps up and 50 mbps down. This is available wirelessly via a business grade system of wireless access points placed throughout the building with about 95 percent coverage. This network is constantly monitored for performance, reliability and fair usage.
Our zoom studio is available to retreatants by appointment and offers a private space to make phone calls, video calls, and hold zoom classes and meetings.
Hikes & Walks
Our 750 acres of Vermont woodland is located in the scenic Green Mountains with beautiful walks and hikes that visitors and residents can take on the land.
All residents have access to our coin-operated laundry room which includes washers and dryers, an iron & ironing board, and drying racks.
Keep in shape with our exercise room. We have weights, a tread mill and other equipment to help keep you in shape even during a Vermont winter.
There are a number of spaces where people can gather to talk, or go for a quiet place to read or to meditate. These include the dining room, lower living room, Community Room, the library, the Main Meditation Hall, the Shambhala Meditation room and the Household Commons.
This is a smaller, shared kitchen for residents and staff to prepare their own personal items. This is perfect for those treats you are craving, or a specific dietary need you might have.
We have plenty of outdoor vehicle parking which is readily available and included in all costs. Residents may bring a bicycle, however bicycles are not allowed indoors and there are no designated outdoor racks. We are unable to accommodate large recreational vehicles. We do have a recharging station for electric cars.
While at Karmê Chöling
Karmê Chöling is set up for telecommuting
Although the ideal may be to get away and 'unplug', we realize an electronic free lifestyle is not an option for some people.
Karmê Chöling is fully set up for telecommuting with:
- Fiber optic wifi
(included in fee)
- Office spaces for rent
(at additional cost)
- A private zoom studio available
(free and available by appointment)
- Equipment for zoom conferences and meetings
(free and available by request)
We do maintain electronic free zones in some of the common areas of the house. This allows for times when you do want to 'unplug' and get away from all devices and electronics.
See our Electronics Policy
Costs & Fees
For the Residency Program at Karmê Chöling
COSTS & PRICES Setup/Move-In Fee (non-refundable) $150. This one time fee covers setup/organizing of the overall residency. Housing Priced per month for one adult. All housing options come with shared baths, unless otherwise noted.
|Indoor Housing||Cost per month|
|Mobility Accessible Room||$1000/month|
|MEALS||COST PER MONTH|
|OFFICE SPACES||COST PER MONTH|
|Standard Private Office||$300/month|
|Shared Office Space||$100/month|
|Shared Office Space||$100/month|
|Total Ongoing Cost||$1700/month|
|(One time set-up fee)||($150)|
|(1st month w/ set-up fee)||($1850)|
|Private Office Space||$300/month|
|Total Ongoing Cost||$2200/month|
|(One time set-up fee)||($150)|
|(1st month w/ set-up fee)||($2350)|
Living at Karmê Chöling
Ethics, ROTA, Community Engagement & Daily Schedule
Diversity & Inclusion
We are dedicated to providing an environment that is welcoming, safe, and caring for all! We recognize that all of us come to Karmê Chöling with a variety of backgrounds and identities. This profoundly impacts how we experience being in the world and being around others. Given this wide variety of experience, we work to create relationships that are based on trust, and that are fair and kind. This means being respectful of each other, working in cooperation, being open to each other’s differences and maintaining good communication.
ROTA involves household members participating in:
- Doing the dishes
- Cleaning the common household areas
- Taking on key roles during the community practice sessions.
ROTA is more than “chores” however. It is an opportunity to bring insights gleaned from your sitting meditation and study into your real world activity. ROTA allows you to examine your ideas and beliefs around work and to relate to the “kitchen-sink” aspects of your life with a more mindful attitude. Please read our policies and statements carefully as you will be required to follow them while at Karmê Chöling.
All household members are expected to participate in our household mindfulness meditation practice and household meetings. Basic Buddhist sitting meditation (shamatha) is the practice that binds us all together as a residential retreat community. We offer two practice sessions a day, seven days a week; one in the morning and one in the evening. We require that all household members attend at least four of these sessions per week. Household meetings are held every other week. We ask that all household members attend at least one of these meetings per month.
- 8-9 Breakfast
- 9-10:15 Community meditation practice
- 12:30-1pm Lunch
- 3-3:30 Tea
- 5:30-6:30 Community meditation practice
- 6:30-7 Dinner
Residency at Karmê Chöling
It 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.
All 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.
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.
Karmê Chöling Residency requires a commitment of one month to two years of living at Karmê Chöling. For those of you who want to create a self-led meditation retreat for less than a month, and to be part of the Karmê Chöling container, we recommend that you sign up for an Personal Retreat.
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.
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.
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.
The first snow usually falls mid-October to November, and is gone by approximately mid-April.
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. 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!
Our COVID policy is a moving target depending on the COVID variants and how our area is doing. Please read the latest COVID update here.
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.
A private bathroom is a feature of some of our “Luxury” rooms. Please keep in mind that Karmê Chöling has a limited number of private bathrooms. Inquire about availability and cost.
Our 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.
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.
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.
We ask that incoming residents not bring pets at this time. Please contact us if you have any questions or need clarification.
We 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:
- Turn ON airplane mode while in the building
- Turn WiFi/Bluetooth back on if they were disabled.
- When you go back out again, turn airplane mode off.
The process begins with a simple application. After we review your application, we’ll be in touch promptly to set up an interview. During the interview we’ll discuss your goals for residency, talk about living in community and answer any of your questions.
To keep everyone secure, we do background checks and we contact references.
Once you have been accepted into our residential retreat program, you will work with Guest Services to arrange for your room and any office space you might want to use. Initial fees need to be received at least three weeks before your move-in date.
Remember, Karme Choling has a seven day refund guarantee, if you arrive and decide this won’t work out for you.
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