Odiyan Retreat Center


Odiyan is a community of people working to manifest the Head Lama’s vision, and to embody the teachings of his lineage. Odiyan’s lifestyle expresses wholesome living in service, based on the teachings of Caring and Skillful Means.

Our lifestyle is active, both physically and mentally strenuous. It includes a diet of vegetarian food, working hard, and cultivating beauty within the Odiyan mandala – and within ourselves.

Odiyan has its foundations in Tibetan Buddhism, however, no religious affiliation is required. Only a genuine desire to grow personally, and the willingness to give are essential.

What’s Offered?

  • Housing
  • Vegetarian meals
  • Living allowance — $150 per month, $216 after one year
  • Skills development in a range of trades and traditional arts
  • Opportunities for study, reflection, meditation, and Buddhist practice

What do we do at Odiyan?

Work activities:

• flower and vegetable gardening
• landscaping
• construction
• welding and concrete casting
• utilization of tools and small machinery
• metal and woodworking
• vegetarian cooking and food preservation
• depending on the season, sacred art

Study and Practice:

The Odiyan study hall and library offer hundreds of books on Buddhist history, culture, and teachings, as well as dedicated AV equipment for free online classes offered by our sister centers around the world.

After a few months into their stay, volunteers may choose to join regularly held ceremonies that offer prayers of healing and peace to the world.

Who should apply?

We are seeking people who:

  • Have interest in personal growth and community service
  • Can commit to a minimum stay of 6 months
  • Can work independently and are self-motivated
  • Are strong and able to perform manual work
  • Have sufficient financial resources for all personal expenses, including travel to and from Odiyan

Odiyan is located in a beautiful, remote forested area of Sonoma County, CA. The closest small town is about a 40-minute drive along twisting mountain and coastal roads.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our volunteer office at 510-981-1987.
You can also check out our FAQs for more information.