Employment and Volunteering

Working and Growing

We are first and foremost a spiritual community committed to helping retreaters and staff develop their minds. By joining our team you will


  • Offer your talents and skills to an organization dedicating to serving others
  • Nurture a sense of service within yourself
  • Participate in a mindful and contemplative work culture
  • Stimulate your mind by having access to our regular program


“I feel as if I have found a precious little oasis, where I have the opportunity to work, study and practice amidst an enchanting redwood forest. The atmosphere is one of tranquility and serenity, which I find are very good conditions to cultivate a peaceful mind. Serving a Buddhist community feels very rewarding.”

– Cristian

Our Community

Living in community in an isolated place creates long-lasting friendships and a real sense of teamwork. Co-workers feel more like family. Everyone contributes what they can above and beyond what is required. The “family feeling” Lama Yeshe spoke of still lives on and prospers at Vajrapani Institute.


What We Are Looking For

Ideal candidates will


  • Possess strong communication skills
  • Be content with rugged and rustic conditions
  • Be comfortable with prolonged relative isolation
  • Have a mature personal spiritual practice
  • Possess an attitude of altruism and generosity
  • Be proactive and organized

Being a Buddhist is not a requirement for working here. We welcome practitioners from all traditions.

Study the Dharma

Our staff and volunteers are welcome to attend any of our programs if it doesn’t conflict with their work schedules. Make sure to mention ahead of time what programs you are most interested in so we can try to make arrangements for you to attend. We have an extensive library with many out of print books, as well as a video library of teachings and documentaries. We have senior practitioners on the land and on staff that are available for interviews and discussions.

Volunteer Program

Our Volunteer Program  offers an opportunity to experience living and working in the richness of a Dharma Community.


Here are the details:
  • In exchange for a 28-hour workweek, volunteers are provided with a campsite, nutritious vegetarian meals, and the ability to attend some of the courses offered at the center free of charge.
  • A 3-month minimum commitment, with an initial 2-week provisional period.
  • As a volunteer you have the opportunity to be an integral part of our staff that hosts spiritual group retreats and supports individuals on private retreats. 
  • Depending on your interests and aptitudes, you may be asked to support in the following areas:  housekeeping (preparing the facilities for guests), caring for the land, assisting in the kitchen, and various other tasks that may arise. 
  • Ideal candidates have a desire to better themselves, are service-oriented, have an innate flexibility of mind and a willingness to pitch in when and as needed. 

Living in the Forest

Camping is the main option for  volunteers. We have a number of campsites that ensure relative comfort and privacy. The weather from May to September is usually quite warm and temperate.


Please note:  Due to our wet winters, our volunteer program only runs from April-October each year. We happily accept applications from February-July, we will not be  reviewing any applications outside of those months.

Employment Opportunities

Center Manager
The Center Manager is the heart of the operation here at Vajrapani Institute and works with the rest of the leadership team to create successful retreat experiences. While the Executive Director works with the outside community, the Center Manager role oversees internal day-to-day operations including staff coordination, event logistics, hiring, employee growth, and acts as human resources. The Center Manager coordinates operations with the following teams: Community Relations, Kitchen, Housekeeping, Administration, Land, and Facilities. At times, the Center Manager may also manage seasonal work-study volunteers.
February 15, 2022
Kitchen Manager
The Kitchen Manager leads the Kitchen department in meeting the needs of retreaters and staff as it relates to meal service and kitchen management. At Vajrapani Institute, we strive to cultivate a contemplative environment and the kitchen department is at the heart of that endeavor – nourishing our staff and guests’ bodies so they have the energy to nourish their minds in spiritual growth. Our Kitchen philosophy is to provide a meditative atmosphere that allows a calm, peaceful, and loving energy to flow into the food. The intention is to cultivate a sense of pervading peacefulness and serenity so that anyone who steps into the kitchen and dining areas feel that sense of support and nurturing.
February 15, 2022
Land Manager
Our Land Team has oversight of our entire land and of retreat facilities including buildings, roads, utilities and vehicles. The Land Department Manager (LM) manages full-time, part-time, and volunteer staff within the department. The LM is responsible for overall department organization as well as the prioritization of both long term projects and short term maintenance needs. The LM reports to the Center Manager and is a member of the leadership team which coordinates together to create successful retreat experiences for our guests.
February 15, 2022
The Caretaker is a part of the Land Team whose primary goal is to maintain our 70 acres of land and off the grid retreat facilities including buildings, electrical system, plumbing, roads, and utilities. The Caretaker is primarily responsible for carrying out general maintenance, repairs, and small projects. They should be great at following the Land Manager’s lead, and just as comfortable working independently or within a team based on project demands. This position is truly a hands-on position, which allows one to work on many varying projects.
February 15, 2022

Upcoming Retreats

Sorry, no programs exist here.

Our Blog

  • Spring has officially arrived and with it a sense of renewal, a spark of hope. Trees are leafing and blossoming. So many wildflowers dot the hillsides. Bees are buzzing and early morning birds chatter like townsfolk exclaiming the beauty of this valley.  Living a quiet......

Vajrapani Institute is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition www.FPMT.org