Living Dharma Volunteer Program



Start Date


End Date


Time Commitment

Full time (30+ hrs/wk)


Tara Mandala Retreat Center
4000 USFS Rd 649
Pagosa Springs
United States


Tara Mandala is an international Vajrayana Buddhist community with its home base at 7,500 feet above sea level in the mountains of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. It is guided by Lama Tsultrim Allione, author of Women of Wisdom, Feeding Your Demons, and the upcoming Wisdom Rising, Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine. Lama Tsultrim has studied Tibetan Buddhism under traditional teachers for more than 45 years. Bordered by the San Juan National Forest and Southern Ute Tribal Land, the retreat center is on 700 acres of rolling hills and meadows.

The integration of the Dharma into daily life is the primary goal of the Living Dharma Volunteer Program. Tara Mandala volunteers are given the opportunity to apply Vajrayāna Buddhist teachings and practices to all aspects of their life and work. Creating such a shift in perspective requires significant effort on the part of the volunteer, and a supportive practice community will support this work. The foundation for such transformation includes commitment to daily meditative practice, service, a curriculum of Dharma teachings and practices, regular Councils, and the support of a practice community. Volunteers camp in summer and are housed in dorms or shared yurts in colder months. Service is scheduled for 30 hours a week (with the understanding that there may be times when one is asked to work longer hours for a particular retreat). Areas of service include temple garden, grow dome, kitchen, housekeeping, temple, land crew, marketing, retreat setup, audio/visual, the bookstore, housekeeping, and the office. We often need extra help in the garden and the kitchen.

Those who can make a full three-month commitment to the Volunteer program that includes the month of June 2018 will participate in the Three Yana Retreat practice sessions along with afternoon teachings with Lama Tsultrim and/or an authorized teacher. Following that period, daily group practice and occasional teachings led by a Tara Mandala Authorized Teacher comprise the core of the spiritual curriculum. Often volunteers can join the evening teaching sessions of group retreats.

Volunteers are also invited to apply for a long-term commitment (one year or more). Long-term volunteers may be given a monthly stipend and are eligible to apply to either the Magyu or Gateway programs at no cost. This is an opportunity to immerse oneself in a practicing community and receive teachings from Lama Tsultrim. The beauty and sacredness of the wild landscape of Tara Mandala provide an ideal environment in which to connect with the land, making the practice even stronger.

Applications are accepted year-round. During spring and summer seasons, April through September, we ask volunteers to arrive during specific time windows, usually within the first few days of the month (sometimes there will be a second arrival window later in the month). This gives volunteers a chance to settle in and participate in a group orientation. A one-month minimum commitment is usually required and preference is given to applicants who are available for longer periods. All volunteers must make a commitment to fully participate in daily practices, community events, and Karma Yoga.

How To Apply

Please submit your online application with resume, cover letter, and three references.