Big Love Cafe
Big Love Cafe
Big Love Cafe

Live-in Volunteers

How you can help

Our live-in volunteers help keep the centre functioning for our guests, who visit for retreat, courses, practice or teachings. Most work is related to housekeeping, kitchen and maintenance of the centre to keep our guests comfortable. You will be offering ongoing support to our centre and keeping a very strong tradition alive.

Your time

Live-in volunteers follow a set roster, have set tasks, and commit to live with us for a period of time. As the volunteering experience and expectations are very different to being a day volunteer, we have a dedicated page if you’re interested in finding out more.

Join our vibrant community

Our live-in volunteer program offers you the rare opportunity to live in a thriving Tibetan Buddhist community with a resident Tibetan geshe (teacher) and sangha (monks and nuns). We are also home to long-term residents, a place of learning for Buddhist students, and a destination for weekend visitors. We have hosted many visiting Buddhist teachers through the years, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Eminence the 7th Ling Rinpoche, Khadrola, and our founder Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Chenrezig is very busy and we rely upon an enthusiastic, friendly and committed team to help our centre continue to flourish.

Take care of our visitors and beautiful centre

Live-in volunteer work roles are customer-oriented and focus on making our guests as comfortable and well-cared for as possible. Your goal is to make the visitor experience a smooth and happy one and help them build beautiful and lasting memories of their time at Chenrezig. Your generosity directly enables them to take part in Buddhist teachings, courses, and retreats.

Volunteering is a willingness to explore how offering service to others is a way of expanding our own hearts and minds.

What you give:
What you receive:
  • the opportunity to serve others and live within a supportive community
  • the benefit of furthering your own practice by attending teachings, practices, meditations, and yoga classes as your shift permits
  • the chance to ask questions about Buddhism and put it all into practice
  • the gift of meeting many wonderful like-minded people who are committed to discovering and exploring Buddhism
  • the experience of gaining new work and personal skills to add to your CV, and direct knowledge of working in the hospitality industry
  • The happiness of making lasting friendships with your fellow volunteers

    We would like you to commit to at least six weeks, with the flexibility to stay up to three months or more. We encourage you to consider the longer time frame as most of our volunteers find this gives time to settle into a new lifestyle, build a relationship with the community and really develop their own practice. You will have a trial period of one month, followed by a review with the volunteer coordinator.

    live-in volunteer application form

    Register your interest using the below form. Once we’ve received the online form, we’ll be in touch to let you know about volunteer information sessions.

    [gravityform id=”4″ title=”false” description=”false” ajax=”true”]

    Big Love Cafe
    Big Love Cafe
    Big Love Cafe


    What skills and characteristics do I need to volunteer at Chenrezig Institute?
    • Commitment to Chenrezig Institute and our guests
    • Enjoy living and working in a team environment
    • Able to work independently
    • Able to follow directions from your team leader
    • Excellent communication skills
    • Hard working
    • Physical fitness (able to lift 10 kg)
    • Able to move around a property with many stairs and steep inclines
    • Able to stand for long periods
      What type of work can I expect?
      Housekeeping tasks may include:

      • Cleaning and making up guest rooms including stripping and making beds
      • Regular deep cleans of rooms
      • Vacuuming, mopping and dusting
      • Regular cleaning of windows
      • Cleaning kitchens and bathrooms
      • Laundry, including washing, drying, and folding
      • Emptying bins and restocking supplies when needed
      • Sweeping and mopping rooms used for teaching
      • Communicating with guests and reception

      Kitchen tasks may include:

      • Cleaning and preparing the Big Love Cafe for service
      • Food preparation as directed by the Big Love Cafe chefs and bakers
      • Welcoming and serving our guests
      • Sales and cash handling
      • Serving cakes, chai and drinks
      • Making coffee. Barista training may be offered
      • Clean up kitchen after food service
      • Washing dishes
      • Emptying bins
      • Sweeping and mopping
      • Restocking supplies as needed

      Gardening and grounds maintenance tasks may include:

      • Gardening
      • Mowing and whipper-snipping
      • Painting (and preparation)
      • Moving equipment or furniture
      • Emptying bins
      • Road, pathways and surfaces maintenance
      • Handyman jobs
      What’s it like living in a Buddhist community?
      Chenrezig Community comprises ordained monks and nuns as well as lay people who come from a variety of experiences and cultures. What unites us is our commitment to Buddhist teachings and lifestyle. We ask that while you are here you too will make that commitment. To be sure you understand exactly what this means, please read our Code of Conduct below.


      It is expected that all volunteers, workers, staff, day visitors, students and sangha endeavour to maintain the following standards of behaviour:

      1. Protect living beings (do not kill even tiny insects, including mosquitoes)
      2. Respect others’ belongings (do not steal)
      3. Speak truthfully (do not lie)
      4. Respect Chenrezig Institute as a place for spiritual reflection and personal development (refrain from all sexual contact on the hill area)
      5. Cultivate clarity of mind and body (refrain from using drugs and alcohol)

      Complying with this code demonstrates your respect for the community. As we are a monastic community, we also ask that you dress modestly at all times.


      Where are you?
      Chenrezig is located in the sub-tropical hinterland of the beautiful Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. We are situated in a large, secluded pocket of rainforest, on a steep site which feels (and is) miles from anywhere. Our special location is part of our unique character.
      How do I get there?
      There is no public transport to Chenrezig Institute.

      Brisbane CBD is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes away. Brisbane International Airport is 1 hour 20 minutes away.

      You can catch a train from Roma Street Station to the nearby small township of Eudlo, which is 10 minutes by car (6.7ks). This is the nearest station to Chenrezig. You will need to pre-book a taxi from the station to the centre.

      What is the accommodation like?
      The volunteer accommodation is mostly in single rooms in a modestly furnished detached house in large grounds, surrounded by trees. Facilities are shared. Occasionally, you may be required to share a room (same gender only). Small huts are sometimes available, but usually preference is given to longer-term volunteers.
      What should I bring with me?
      We recommend having minimal attachments. All you need are clothes, covered-in shoes, towels, toiletries, medicines if required, insect repellent, torch and some personal items. Bed linen is supplied.
      What about meals?
      Some meals will be provided, but only when the Big Love Café is open and catering for courses and retreats. At other times, you’ll be required to self-cater. Cooking facilities are available.
      Where do I get shopping?
      Mooloolah Valley is a small township where you’ll find a supermarket, pharmacy, doctor, post office, cafés. It is 17 minutes’ drive away (12ks). Some take the shorter 7.7k gravel road. Palmwoods is 18 minutes’ drive away (13.3ks) with the same amenities, slightly larger. Both townships are on the Brisbane train line. Remember the nearest station to us is Eudlo, 6.7ks away, a winding, hilly route. Most volunteers manage to car-share or get lifts in and out from others when needed.

      Larger coastal towns are Maroochydore, Caloundra and Noosa. A car is needed to visit these places. The inland town of Nambour is on the train line.

      Is it easy to go exploring when I’m not working?
      Most volunteers seem content to work and relax here at the centre and truly immerse themselves in this unique environment and experience, not feeling the need to venture too far. However, the Sunshine Coast is a holiday destination for Australian and overseas visitors, with much to explore; the nearest national parks and beautiful beaches are about 45 minutes’ drive. Volunteers car-share for trips out.


      How do I get a visa to travel and volunteer in Australia?

      Visa information for overseas volunteers (non-Australian):

      You will need to visit the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs to check out which visa is most appropriate for your stay:

      Chenrezig Institute accepts no responsibility for your visa application, visa requirements or the results of your application.

      What about medical expenses in Australia?

      You will need to get adequate health insurance cover before you arrive in Australia. As a visitor and non-citizen of this country you may not be covered by the national health system (Medicare) and medical treatment can be very expensive.

      Chenrezig cannot accept liability for any health care expenses incurred by volunteers, including the call-out cost of emergency vehicles, hospital stays, surgery, procedures, treatment, doctor appointments or medications. The service of a reputable insurance company in your home country will help you protect yourself.