Volunteer and Live in a Buddhist Monastery: Stay Connected with Peace and Compassion

Last Updated: June 5, 2024

Volunteer and Live in a Buddhist Monastery: Stay Connected with Peace and Compassion

Volunteering is the act of devoting one’s time and effort for a noble cause to acquire knowledge and first-hand experience and what better way to do that than staying connected to your soul by living in a Monastery. Volunteering has paved the path towards many experiences in diverse fields, and one such is living at a Buddhist monastery. Live in a Buddhist monastery to get a sense of peace, productivity, and develops compassion.

While in the monastery you can indulge in the day to day activities like prayer, helping out in domestic works, and even teach English to the monks living there. You get the opportunity to soak yourself in the peace and serenity of their abode while learning about their lifestyle and discipline and sharing whatever knowledge you have. This sharing of knowledge and culture brings out the true essence of volunteering at a Buddhist monastery.

Living and teaching in a Buddhist monastery

From the beautiful hills of Sri Lanka to the mystic Himalayas of Nepal, and the culturally rich lands of India and serene Thailand, you can volunteer in the monasteries around any of these countries. While at a Buddhist Monastery, you can indulge in any of the acts of learning and sharing.

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You may join the monks at prayer, or you may learn about their traditions, beliefs, and culture. You can also meditate alongside the monks to get connected to peace and solitude. Also, you can share some of your lingual knowledge and teach English to monks. Hence you can utilize your free time by signing up for a productive volunteering experience at a Buddhist Monastery.

Types of Buddhist Monastery volunteer and travel abroad Programs

From teaching in Buddhist foundation to practicing meditation with the monks, from few weeks stay to living in Buddhist monastery for 3 months, there can be different types and ranges of programs.

Following are the numerous types of Buddhist Monastery volunteer and travel abroad Programs that you can enroll into:

Teaching English To Buddhist Monks :

While the English language might be easy for some of us, most in the Buddhist community find it difficult to communicate in the said dialect. Teach English to monks in the Buddhist monasteries as a volunteer to get the satisfaction of helping and learning. Some programs in Nepal like Volunteers Initiative Nepal offers this unique experience while getting the opportunity to learn about Buddhist culture and practices. This is a great way for international volunteers to get something out of the experience while also offering some help that is very easy to give.

While Buddhist monks and nuns are free to express their opinions and share their practices, most of them are underprivileged and have not received education in respects to international dialect. Hence, they mostly do not communicate in the English language. However, due to growing tourism in these monasteries, monks and nuns have shown a desire to learning the English language, which could lead to better communication with the outer world. Even as of now, monks and nuns in monasteries have knowledge in aspects of scriptures and beliefs; hence not much in the scope of English is being taught. As a volunteer, you will teach basic conversational English to the monks and nuns for a couple of hours per day while living at the monastery for about 1 to 5 months. You will be offered accommodation in the host family.

Volunteering with daily works in monastery:

Even if you are yourself not very proficient in English, enough to teach it as a language, you might join for the Volunteering program by working for the daily works in the monastery to help out the monks and nuns. There are many structured and unstructured events in the monastery. Since there are many monks and nuns living in the monastery, work is divided among them.

As a Buddhist monastery volunteer, you will be helping out in the domestic work. The work can range from making food to washing clothes, cleaning, or preparing for the daily rituals. During festivals, there will be various events where helping hands are required. There might even be a change of plans at the last minute so you will have to be proactive and dynamic in managing these events. This will teach you a lot about hard work and the lifestyle of the monks and nuns. Also, you will learn to work in a team and manage events during events. Also, the monks will teach their practices and values, which is worth noting. At the end of the day, you will most certainly get a sense of achievement which will only boost your volunteering spirit.

Joining meditation with Buddhist monks :

While you might help the nuns and monks in their day to day activities and teach English, you will also get to learn a great deal from them. There are daily practices of meditation for the most part of the day. Allow yourself to stay at a Buddhist monastery and be guided by the monks towards peace and solitude through various meditational practices. While conversing with the monks, you can also learn about Buddhist culture and their way of life. This first-hand experience broadens your mind towards yoga and meditation and relieves you from stress.

Since the monasteries in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are generally situated in higher altitudes and isolated hills, there is no noise except that of chirping birds and prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Stay in a Buddhist monastery to experience this retreat. You will develop a habit of meditating once you join the monastery and practice it every day for the next couple of months. The monks are very helpful and will definitely teach you all there is about meditation to bring you a step closer to peace of mind. It is very beneficial for your mental and physical state to practice meditation. You can learn the techniques and even take it back home and spread it among those you know.

Research and study of Buddhism and Buddhist values : 

Buddhist volunteer opportunities also give you a chance to meet with the monks and understand their culture, tradition, and way of life. If you really want to research about the Buddhist culture itself, then volunteering at a Buddhist monastery is the best option. This not just gives you a real-life experience to learn about their lifestyle and culture, but also learn the in-depth values and beliefs through close communication with the lamas who will often provide the scriptures. Many volunteering programs have tied up with the Buddhist monasteries so you can get the necessary materials to research and study about the religion on demand.

Buddhism is a cosmic religion, not believing in an omnipotent god but believing in the values and life experiences Hence it is vital that you not just learn the history and folklore, but you try to grasp the values for inner peace. Observing the day to day activities of the monks, sitting for prayers and indulging in their festivities will give you a chance to understand Buddhism better. You can also indulge in discussion sessions with the Buddhist students in the monastery who could give you a proper insight into the religion.

How Can You Be A Buddhist Monastery Volunteer?

Becoming a Buddhist Monastery volunteer is quite easy once you enroll in a volunteer program. You will not have to enroll in any prior courses before taking this venture.

Even though you have to teach English to the monks, you do not have to be a certified teacher or take specific courses. You simply have to be able to speak and write in English confidently. Since you will be teaching only conversational English to the monks, there isn’t necessary to be a professional English speaker.

What you need to have for this volunteering experience is a zeal to work hard and a positive attitude to help out others. You also must be open to learning about different cultures and traditions. This helps a great deal in cooperating with the Buddhist monks in the monastery.

You need to understand that these monks do not have all the facilities and exposure to the modern world. Hence some modern references might not make sense to them. They believe in simple living high thinking, so your time onwards in the monastery must be spent in the most simplistic way.

You will need to enroll in a volunteering program and have to pay a minimal fee for the meals and excursions. The travel expenses will be yours to bear while the accommodation will be covered by the minimal fee.

Where Can You Join a Buddhist Monastery Volunteer Program?

Here we suggest you some of the best volunteer and travel abroad programs for you to teach and live in a Buddhist monastery.

Volunteer and Live in Buddhist Monastery in Nepal: 

Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is home to many Buddhists and numerous Buddhist monasteries situated on hilltops. These monasteries are home to thousands of monks and nuns of Nepal and Tibetan refugees. Many of the monks have spent their entire childhood and adulthood in these monasteries and know a great deal about Buddhism. However, they have very limited exposure to the English language. Hence, here, you can teach English to monks as a Buddhist monastery volunteer. You will be mostly working as an English instructor for the most part of the day and can also indulge in some meditation and help around the daily chores.

Stay and volunteer in Buddhist Monastery India: 

India, particularly Ladakh, is home to numerous Buddhist monasteries. Volunteer Ladakh is a volunteering initiative operating in the Himalayas of Northern India, which brings together the volunteers and the Buddhist monastery for a learning sharing experience. Stay in a Buddhist monastery and teach English to monks. You can also help out in building school libraries, indulge in fundraisers for environmental protection and also serve alongside the monks while exploring the majestic Ladakh. As a volunteer, your efforts will be most welcomed in the sector of educating the young monks.

Join Meditation and Teach English To Buddhist Monks in Thailand: 

Thailand is known to be the world most heavily populated country with Buddhists. Hence, it is often regarded to be a Buddhist country which might be the reason to join as a Buddhist monastery volunteer in any of the 41 thousand monasteries spanning across the country. You can soak in the serenity of these monasteries while sharing your knowledge among the nuns and monks. There are schools in the Buddhist monasteries so you can volunteer to teach English to the young monks. You can spend around 4 to 5 hours of the day teaching while spending the rest by meditating, learning about the Buddhist values and helping out in the daily activities. Apart from teaching English, you can join meditation, assist in fieldwork, create awareness about cleanliness, hygiene, and health. These responsibilities will be laid don upon you as per your proficiency.

Live in Buddhist monastery while volunteering in Sri Lanka: 

You can live in Buddhist monastery while volunteering in the Buddhist country of Sri Lanka. Buddhism is the official religion of the mass population of Sri Lanka. Hence it has numerous Buddhist monasteries scattered all across the country. If you are seeking for a deeper meaning of life, then you can embark on your journey towards volunteering in the Buddhist monastery of Sri Lanka because it has a lot to offer in regards to Buddhist culture and values. You can volunteer in a Pirivena which is a monastic college. Where you can teach English and assist in the academics of the monks aged between 8 to 21. As per your interest and your proficiency, your responsibilities might also expand to organizing extracurricular activities like art and sports.

How can you get the most out of living in a Buddhist monastery?

Buddhist monasteries are a great source of in-depth knowledge about the Buddhist culture, traditions, and values. All the values that you learn in these monasteries can be of great help to you in the future. You will get to understand not just the way of life of the Buddhist people, but will also experience first-hand hard work and teamwork. Apart from that, you will also get to organize various events, field trips, and indulge in teaching English which will only boost your confidence. Also, intermingling with a different culture and making new connections is a valued treasure for your lifetime.

Hence to get the most out of living in a Buddhist monastery, you will have to open up to new experiences. As a volunteer, you should not be hesitant to any responsibility endowed upon you. You can also do a brief research on the Buddhist religion, language, and people before you embark on this journey so that it is easier to understand their way of life, immerse in it and communicate with them.

Significance of teaching in a monastery for Buddhist monks

Why an individual from the US or Europe would want to teach to the monks in a Buddhist Monastery of Nepal, Sri Lanka or any Asian destination? What significance of this process attracts them to cross continent? We will explore some significance of teaching in a Buddhist monastery.


For the participants who are contributing as a volunteer teacher in Buddhist monastery, this can be an opportunity to experience the spiritual moments in a monastic environment. Joining the prayers, chant and daily rituals with the monks can be a chance to embark into that spiritual journey you always looked for.


Staying among the monks as a teacher in monastery can also be a culturally immersive experience. You will witness closely the Buddhist culture, traditions and rituals, which will enable you to understand the Buddhism in more details.


Volunteering as a teacher in the monastery has its humanitarian significance as well. While sharing your skills and knowledge, you are helping the monk kids to become more efficient with communication and knowledgeful, which will later bolster their ability to spread the message of Buddhism to the world.

Finding a Buddhist monastery near you

Finding everything near your location can be challenging sometimes, and Buddhist monasteries can be one of them. Yes, it is undeniable that we have different sources available to find anything that we are looking for, like maps, apps and the directories. But Buddhist monasteries are not any random café that you can find anywhere.

If you are looking for a Buddhist monastery near you then you must realize the fact that monasteries are found in limited locations in limited places. So, it is advisable to do a thorough research and try to reach out to the root level as much as possible while your try to find the Buddhist monastery near you. In some Buddhist countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India, it might not be that difficult to find the Buddhist monastery, however in other countries you might have to make a little more effort to find the monasteries.

Conclusion: Joining Buddhist monasteries as a volunteer & traveler and living with monks

For a couple of months you can Live in a Buddhist monastery as a volunteer to gain the experience of a lifetime. A Buddhist Monastery volunteer gets the opportunity to not just intermingle with the Buddhist people, but live like the way they do and understand their hardships and also their culture, traditions. Living atop a hill will also drive you towards serenity and peace and open you up to happiness in life through simple things. You will not just rid yourself of materialistic things in life but the hustle and bustle of the city life. You can get the Buddhist volunteer opportunities in countries like Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Adding to it, you will also get to offer them a helping hand and offer them the knowledge that you have. This learning and sharing between two different ethnicity, a different class of people, and different ideologies will bring you closer to understanding and assisting each other, which is only possible through a Volunteering program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I go live in a Buddhist monastery?

Yes, in some of the Buddhist monastery, you can help the monks as a volunteer and you can live in the monastery for certain period.

How to volunteer in Buddhist monastery?

To volunteer in a Buddhist monastery, you just have to register for the program. If you are qualified and your skills matches the needs of monastery you can join the program.

Which place is best to volunteer in Buddhist monastery?

Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are some of the most preferred volunteer destinations to stay in a Buddhist monastery.

How to join a monastery?

To join a monastery as a volunteer, you can reach out to a local monastery or any organization who can provide the volunteer programs helping the monasteries. A proper communication and timely submission of application can ensure your possibilities of joining a monastery.

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