Volunteering at Chenrezig Institute
A little background
Chenrezig Institute was founded in 1974 and was one of the first Tibetan Buddhist centres to be established in the western world. It remains one of the largest.
We are affiliated with the Foundation of the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a highly respected worldwide Tibetan Buddhist organisation which has over 150 meditation centres worldwide.
Our volunteering community
Volunteering here is a wonderful opportunity to become a valued part of our friendly community and help with the running of our centre so we can continue to thrive and flourish.
Our centre has a robust and consistent history of volunteer-led support which has brought us to this point nearly 50 years after our inception. Chenrezig would not be here today without the strong and resilient workforce of dedicated folk who have contributed throughout the years. Some are still volunteering with us today! Our volunteers’ generous input has enabled countless others to enjoy the benefits of visiting, studying and practising at Chenrezig. We are so thankful for everyone’s help.
We warmly invite you to become part of this great tradition so we can continue teaching Dharma now and into the future for the benefit of all who come here.
Two branches of volunteering
We have two branches of volunteering: day volunteers and live-in volunteers.
For a long time we were only able to accept day volunteers but now, as we navigate out of the pandemic, we are happy to accept live-in volunteers.
THE SEVEN WAYS WE SUPPORT OUR VOLUNTEERS
Our guiding aspiration is that everyone who offers service to Chenrezig Institute experiences a sense of wellbeing and connection by being part of this unique place. This is brought about by having a friendly, respectful regard for each other; being able to communicate any needs and concerns; and finding many wonderful reasons for rejoicing.
The bond that connects us all is that we are working together for the benefit of all sentient beings.
2. Guidance, support and clear expectations
Friendly, experienced members of the volunteer community are at hand to train and support you in whichever area of service suits you best.
Work allocation and hours of service and are managed on a roster, so your jobs and hours are always clear.
A two-week trial period will ensure you find the work enjoyable and rewarding and feel happy volunteering for us. It is very important to us that you enjoy your time here!
At the end of the trial period there will be an opportunity to discuss your experience with a team leader and make adjustments where necessary.
3. Introduction to our organisation
Should you be interested, there is a video that explains FPMT’s wisdom culture, which is compassion-based and founded on accessible and relevant teachings to make each moment of our lives meaningful. It offers guidance on how to make your volunteering experience as beneficial as possible for yourself and those around you. It also introduces you to the two Tibetan lamas who were the founders of Chenrezig Institute.
There is also an app available if you wish to use it for your own personal development.
The coordinator will have details of both of these.
4. Support with incidents
There are appropriate and effective procedures and processes in place to support you in the event of any incident. This will be discussed in full detail during the volunteer information session.
As a valued volunteer, we offer you complimentary attendance to the regular weekly teachings by Chenrezig Institute Sangha. Full details will be given when we meet.
6. Personal Advice
If you need Dharma guidance, one of our experienced Sangha members will be available to help. A time will be arranged for someone to talk with you one on one. If you prefer, you can also connect directly with a Sangha member by going to our Community / Sangha page (ABOUT) and placing a request via the ‘Contact Sangha’ button. As you get to know people at the centre, you will no doubt find kinship with other Sangha members as well as your fellow volunteers.
7. Code of Conduct
There are certain expectations all visitors to the centre need to be aware of. By becoming familiar with the behaviours required in a Buddhist community, you will feel comfortable and at ease knowing that you are conducting yourself in the appropriate way. All volunteers are asked to sign a declaration to abide by Chenrezig Institute’s Code of Conduct. This will be discussed in full at the volunteer information session.
The practice of karma yoga
Karma yoga is the practice of discipline in action; performing duties altruistically while remaining detached from any ideas of self-reward. By kindly volunteering you are practising karma yoga, the yoga of selfless service.
My most dear one, regarding karma yoga, you have to think that this practice purifies your negative karma collected from beginningless rebirths and is the means to collect extensive merits.