Odiyan looks like a traditional monastery or retreat center in many ways, but at this time in our community’s development, residents dedicate the majority of their time to work as a spiritual practice.

Our founder, Tarthang Tulku, has devoted his life to establishing the Tibetan wisdom tradition in the West and preserving all schools of Buddhism in Asia. Our small community has accomplished an incredible amount over the last 45 years in laying the groundwork to realize this expansive vision.

Volunteering at Odiyan teaches each person to activate greater awareness, concentration and energy during the activities of daily life. We use “Skillful Means” to approach work as a path of greater understanding, inner growth and meaning.

Odiyan volunteers should arrive eager to contribute and face challenges, stretch beyond current limitations and grow as human beings. In exchange for your time and energy, Odiyan offers a truly unique experience that continues throughout a lifetime.  

For a summary of our current work projects, please visit the Volunteer page.

“It is our nature as human beings to be satisfied and fulfilled. Work gives us the opportunity to realize this satisfaction by developing the true qualities of our nature. Work is the skillful expression of our total being, our means to create harmony and balance within ourselves and in the world. Through work, we contribute our energy to life, investing our body, our breath and our mind in creative activity. By exercising our creativity, we fulfill our natural role in life, and inspire all beings with the joy of vital participation.”

Page xviii, Skillful Means – Patterns for Success – Tarthang Tulku



The minimum commitment is six months. Send your resume (and photo, if you like) and we will get back to you asap.

If you have any questions or just want to chat about living and working at Odiyan, don’t hesitate to call our volunteer office. 510-981-1987.  You can also check out our FAQs for more information

Guidelines for Applying:

We are seeking applicants with the following attributes:

  • Physical, mental, emotional health and stability
  • Sincere interest in and ability to physically perform the types of work we are currently engaging – primarily construction, metal-work and landscaping
  • Positive attitude and flexibility
  • Interest in inner development and being part of an intentional community
  • Proven history of dependability

Volunteering at Odiyan is challenging physically, mentally and emotionally. Applicants must be in good physical health with no serious or ongoing health concerns. Please do not apply if you are coping with major unresolved emotional issues, withdrawal, diagnosed psychological disorders, if you have recently quit smoking or using drugs, recently begun a regimen of medications or have recently begun or have recently been released from a recovery program.