Resident Steward Application

Thank you for interest in serving as a Resident Steward at Birken Forest Monastery. In non-Buddhist countries, remote monasteries like Birken depend on the voluntary help of long-term Resident Stewards. Stewards live at the monastery full-time and volunteer their services free of charge. This is an excellent opportunity for practitioners who are looking for a simple life devoted to the Buddha’s teachings, meditation and meritorious acts of service to the Sangha, to be in the company of like-minded individuals who are also committed to these ideals.

Suitable Candidates Will Possess:
-  Interest in deepening their practice of the Buddha's teachings in a supportive environment
-  Commitment to abide by the Eight Precepts while at the monastery
-  Stable personality
-  Good physical and mental health
-  Willingness to learn and adapt; ability to live and cooperate harmoniously in community
-  Class 5 Canadian Driver’s license (or its equivalent) in good standing

How to Apply: Please fill out the Resident Steward Application below. All candidates should be in a position to commit to serve for a minimum period of three months.  Long term stays are subject to a probationary period and require periodic approvals by the Abbot as well as the other members of the resident community. Please Note:  All fields marked with a red asterisk below must be filled before pressing 'Submit'.  If the form is filled in correctly,  you will then see a screen that says "Thank you, your submission has been received."  If the form is not filled in correctly, you will see a screen indicating in red which fields still need to be filled in correctly. After successful submission of the form, you should immediately receive an email copy of the information you submitted.

All stewards are subject to a two-week trial visit at the beginning of their steward service to assess mutual suitability. We also ask that all candidates read through our GUEST GUIDE to get a sense of daily community life here at the monastery, before applying.  Please don't hesitate to email us if you have any questions!

After submitting your Resident Steward Application please email us at to confirm our receipt of your application and send along your resume as well. We will contact you at our earliest convenience to discuss your application further.


Name, e-mail address, phone number of emergency contact.
Please select one or more.
DUTY GUIDELINES: Birken is a working monastery; the residents both live and work here. During your period of service there may be times when we are fully staffed and other times when someone is ill or leaves unexpectedly and other stewards need to step in to take care of duties. You may be in the kitchen one day and clearing snow the next. Picking up guests in town and stoking the wood stoves in the main building. Whatever duties need to be done, must be done, regardless of convenience or previous expectations.
FOOD GUIDELINES: Food in a monastery is treated differently than in our contemporary culture. The views and opinions about what is healthy or not, organic or not, gluten free or not, vegetarian or not, are not what we are interested in here. In fact we will not discuss these matters at all, and will be quite blunt about how little concern we have for various preferences and health theories. We want to make sure stewards understand this at the outset. A monastery is not a resort, hotel, spa, restaurant, health food community or a hospital. It is a monastery in the Theravada tradition and the steward must conform to our attitudes not the other way around. Food preparation is not a democratic process but determined exclusively by the Abbot. This perhaps sounds rather direct. It is! But we don’t want any confusion around our attitudes since it just wastes everybody’s time.
Please tell us how many retreats you have attended in the past, the length of the retreats, where they took place, who they were led by, which Buddhist tradition, etc.
The Birken Guest Guidelines can be found at:
The Eight Precepts can be found in the Birken Guest Guide at:
All residents and guests must abide by the Eight Precepts during their stay at the monastery. In exceptional cases (e.g. if you have hypoglycemia or diabetes), you may request an exception from the Eight Precepts to have a light evening snack. These exceptions must be approved by the Abbot prior to your arrival and will be acknowledged in your steward confirmation.
* Guest arrivals are on Wednesdays, Fridays or Sundays; ideally you can plan your arrival for these days. For Winter Retreat (January-March), all arrivals must be on Wednesdays.
Let us know your mode of transportation (car, bus, plane, rideshare), as well as any flight numbers, bus arrival times, etc.
Pick-ups and drop-offs in Kamloops can be arranged on Wednesdays, and on the start and end dates of scheduled retreats.
Let us know your mode of transportation (car, bus, plane, rideshare), as well as any flight numbers, bus arrival times, etc.
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