In non-Buddhist countries, remote monasteries like Birken depend on the voluntary help of long-term Resident Lay 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, who are inspired to do meritorious acts of service for the monastic Sangha, and who wish to dwell in the company of like-minded individuals committed to these ideals.
We currently are welcoming applications for all positions.
Suitable Resident Lay Steward candidates will possess:
– Excellent physical and mental health.
– Willingness to work every day in service to the monastery.
– Commitment of three months or longer (six months to one year or more commitment required for Office Stewards).
– Willingness to learn and adapt; to live and cooperate harmoniously in community.
– Stable personality.
– Well-established meditation practice.
– Commitment to abide by the protocols outlined in our Birken Guest Guide. This is required reading before applying; please note our Food & Drink policies on page 16.
– Commitment to abide by the Eight Precepts while at the monastery (see Birken Guest Guide, page 8).
Preference is given to resident Canadians, those who have visited Birken in the past, and candidates with a driver’s license.
Please note that people’s expectations of life at a monastery rarely match the realities of living in community and far away from city life. For all new stewards, even for people who have visited us as guests in the past, the first two weeks of your service period will be treated as a trial period for both you and the monastery to assess our mutual suitability. Long term stays are subject to this two-week probationary period, as well as periodic approvals by the Abbot and the other members of the resident community.
Kitchen Stewards are responsible for planning, shopping for and preparing all meals (breakfast and lunch) plus offerings at teatime for the resident community and guests. They are also expected to manage kitchen facilities and supplies; clean the kitchen and storage areas; organize garbage and recycling; look after the housekeeping and restocking duties for the main Vihara building (including washrooms); and driving to Kamloops for weekly shopping and errands. These duties are shared amongst all of the kitchen stewards. Cooking experience is required. Assisting in other areas of monastery duties may also be required.
The male Resident Maintenance Steward assists with the daily maintenance of the monastery buildings, off-grid systems and grounds maintenance (including winter duties such as the daily starting and stoking of our wood stoves, clearing snow from roofs, walkways, and paths, as well as snow plowing our 7km logging road with a tractor). Candidates must have a capacity for heavy labour when required. The ideal candidate will possess handy-man skills and experience with basic carpentry / plumbing / electrical work (although this is not mandatory). Experience with tractor driving and off-grid systems would also be helpful. Assisting in other areas of monastery duties may also be required.
The Office Stewards are responsible for coordinating the monastery’s daily email, mail and phone correspondence; maintenance of the Birken website and other communications; attending to the administrative needs of the resident monastics; providing support to Birken’s Treasurer and offsite Bookkeeper; and generally attending to all administrative and communications needs of the monastery. Ideal candidates will have good organizational, communication and computer skills, as well as prior experience in an office/administrative setting. Preference is given to those candidates with long-standing relationships with the monastery.
How to Apply:
Now Accepting Applications for All Steward Positions
Maintenance Steward (starting December 2023)
Kitchen & Office Stewards (starting early spring 2024)
If you are interested in serving as a resident steward at Birken, please read the information and job descriptions above, including our entire Birken Guest Guide. It is an excellent introduction to the monastery and outlines daily community life during times when we are open to guests.
If you would like to apply for one of our steward positions after reading the required information above, we invite you to fill out our online application form by clicking the “Apply Now” button below.
Should you have any further questions, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org