Meaningful Work for Body, Mind and Spirit.

Founded in 1975 by Venerable Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, Odiyan is located on a 1000-acre spiritual and ecological preserve overlooking the Pacific Ocean in rural Northern California. Odiyan is open to applicants who want to live and work with us for at least six months, but we prefer nine months.

Odiyan's mission is establishing a home for the Dharma in the West and to support Buddhist centers and practitioners in Asia. The way of life that supports this purpose integrates creative and challenging work with a path of self-exploration that opens up your inner potential. Living at Odiyan is an opportunity to work for preserving enlightened knowledge for our world, and fostering harmony for oneself, our planet and all beings.

What do volunteers talk about after being at Odiyan for a few weeks?

The Work
New volunteers often wonder at how the community can possibly accomplish the challenging goals, immense projects, and multiple maintenance and development demands. Using work as a means for self-development, the practice and study of Skillful Means encourages the ability to overcome obstacles, gives flexibility to roll with whatever happens and the skill to change limiting personal patterns.

The Place
Photographs and words cannot convey the vast and expansive sacred beauty of Odiyan: the infinite sight lines in every direction, the overarching skies of day and night, the grandeur of the Temples and the varied landscapes of hills, ponds, gardens, and forests. Thousands of flowers, flowering bushes and trees have been planted over the past forty years making every day a feast for the senses.

The Food
Everyone has their time in the kitchen to cook mostly home-grown and organic meals for the community. You can learn how to bake your own bread, make your own miso and tempeh, freeze, can and preserve a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, both cultivated and wild grown.

Attributes for success at Odiyan include:

-mental and emotional stability
-physically strong and able to engage manual labor on a daily basis
-being able to adhere to a schedule that starts with breakfast at 6:20 am
-ability to communicate in group settings such as work or community meetings
flexibility to change jobs or tasks at short notice
-interest in Buddhism and inner development which includes reading books by founder Tarthang Tulku, attending classes and discussion groups
-being able to take responsibility independently for work tasks or community needs
-To maintain a balance of age groups with our small community, we are seeking people within a preferred age range of 25-45 years old.

Mostly organic vegetarian meals are served every day for all residents. Everyone takes turns in meal preparation and clean-up.

Residential rooms are designed for 2 people per room although you may also have a room to yourself for some part of your time, depending on the number of volunteers in residence.

With 1000 acres of land to roam, we encourage our volunteers to stay close to home to enjoy the beauty and majesty of the Odiyan land. There is hiking the eight mile Pilgrimage Road in the Spring, swimming in the reservoir in the Summer, foraging in the forests in the Fall and enjoying the evenings at the huge fireplace in the dining room during the rains of winter. We have a herd of rescued semi-tame horses to visit on the land, two yaks, two aviaries and lots of wild life to observe and photograph.  Fun at Odiyan means having your own side-project at the shop in metal, wood or fabric, working on your own art project, going down to the garden on Sunday to harvest just because you want to, and helping with all the drying, canning, freezing and preserving of fruits and veggies during harvest season. You can join in some of the Buddhist ceremonies and practices and the longer you stay the more you can participate. Being away from the city and on a high ridge, the stars at night are incredible!

About Odiyan Retreat Center

Odiyan is an all-volunteer non-profit retreat center since 1975, dedicated to meaningful work. wholesome living and the inner development of mind and spirit.

There is no religious affiliation required to apply to become a resident volunteer. We are seeking those who like to work hard, have an open-minded interest in Buddhist principles and a desire
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  • Odiyan Retreat Center photo: In the vegetable gardens as Odiyan.
  • Odiyan Retreat Center photo: Harvesting crops at Odiyan.
  • Odiyan Retreat Center photo: Laying concrete for the new Prayer Wheel Project
  • Odiyan Retreat Center photo: Construction on the new Prayer Wheel project
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