Mindful Living

Six Months Work-Practice in a Buddhist Community – Berkeley, California

Mindful Living is a six-month residential program that lets you explore what it means to be fully present in every part of your life; from work to a walk around town. We focus on activating a new lens on how to live.


Elements of the Program

You will live in the Mangalam Center, part of the Nyingma community, which has four different centers in Berkeley. There are also retreat centers a few hours north of here in Cazadero. You can learn more about our centers in our about section. The exciting part of living connected to a larger community is that there are always new people to meet from different backgrounds, different parts of the world, and many different phases in their lives. There is this feeling of support and resilience.


Mangalam Center is in the heart of Berkeley one block from the BART subway that connects you to Oakland, San Francisco, and airports. Mangalam Center has a fully equipped kitchen, a shared cozy living room, a study space with plenty of books, a co-working space, classrooms, and a meditation room – you will be joined in these spaces by the other practitioners. You will have your own room, sharing a bathroom with the room adjacent to you.


Berkeley is known for being on the forefront of progressive issues. There is a vibrant and fun community that will keep you challenged. You will be three blocks away from the nature-filled campus of the University of California, Berkeley. You are near San Francisco, Oakland, countless hiking and biking trails, and many areas to explore.


You are welcome and encouraged to take classes or workshops offered at any of our centers. Most of the classes are offered after work hours. They range from traditional Buddhist teachings to secular mindfulness classes – Meditation, Buddhist Studies, Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga, Full Presence Mindfulness, Tibetan Chanting – to name a few. Please see our Explorations section to learn more.



You will be taking two classes with your cohort throughout the week, during the daytime. One class focuses on bringing presence into your daily life and the other on how Buddhist teachings are making their way in the West.


Mangalam Centers houses projects and organizations that do Buddhist research, publish books and magazines, offer meditation classes and teacher trainings, and offer programs to the public like movie screenings, speaker series, book launches, mindfulness in photography, among other things. All of our activities explore new ways of bringing wisdom to the modern world.


You will fit in well if you are interested in taking on work you may have never done before – figuring out how to do the task and seeing it through to the end, through the ups and downs of doubt, frustration, joy and wonder. You will be working 35 hours per week.


Possible work you can learn to do at Mangalam includes:


Website Design, Videography, Post Production, Photography, Typesetting, Copywriting, Grant Research, Cooking, Cleaning, IT, Graphic Design, Gardening, Social Media Marketing/Communication, Event Coordination and Curation.


You will not need experience in these fields, just a willingness to learn. If you do have skills in a particular area that you would like to exercise, that may be an option as well.


You may find yourself wearing many hats, and you should be ready to take on a range of responsibilities as needed.

Experience a Mindful Life. Explore how the mind operates and learn to live experience fully to find meaning and deep satisfaction. 


As part of Mindful Living, you’ll explore the mind through sitting and movement practices as well as in your daily activities and your interactions with others. The special focus is to bring awareness to daily life, to observe your experience – taking a walk in the city, washing the dishes, hiking a trail, meeting a deadline, debating an issue, connecting with others. Being present to what is happening allows you to attune to the flexibility of life.


Developing a mindful life can be a challenge without the right space, knowledge and timing. The Mindful Living program aims to provide a supportive environment, classes informed by an ancient Tibetan Buddhist tradition of knowledge, and ample opportunity to explore your practice.

How will students of Mindful Living investigate their experience?


  • We emphasize developing awareness in action – through ordinary daily activities and through work that benefits others.
  • We offer traditional Buddhist teachings, mindfulness and movement classes, and classes on how Buddhist teachings and practices are being introduced into mainstream society.
  • Our teachers and mentors, including our directors, are here at Mangalam Center full-time and are available for questions and conversation. You will spend time with them daily, at lunch, during work, at classes, etc. You will also have personal one-on-one check-in’s to see how the program is going for you and for class guidance.
  • We have a relaxed inquiry-based approach, allowing whatever arises to be investigated through daily practice, activities and through living in community.
  • An intimate cohort setting where you will be interacting regularly with your peers, who will be studying the material you are.
  • We have an abundance of books and other reading material to study: traditional texts, works by Tarthang Tulku, and works by other authors, which include both Buddhist and secular perspectives.



Please see the following links to find up to date course information from our Berkeley Centers:


Mangalam Center, Nyingma Institute, Dharma College

I can ponder and perpend what is immediate and beautiful in my life… right here, this instant… the bright sunlight filtering through the trees touches a candle at the window… it’s shaped like a pear, now lit up in glorious peach… it catches my eye, and thumps right into my heart. I appreciate the vision, the moment, the light breeze, the feel of my life right now… full and available and lit from within. …. I notice my ensuing thinking seems unburdened by the usual sameness, the need for substance and judgments about what is good or not good for me, my conceptual self-centered worlding… but now, without that… there is a delicious lightness…
David Filippone, a 20 year student of Time Space Knowledge, a course taught in this community
Daily Schedule





7:15-7:45         Option of Morning Meditation, Yoga or Kum Nye

8:00-8:30         Breakfast, Group meeting: Set intention

8:30-12:30       Work Assignment

12:30-1:30       Lunch+Clean up

1:30-3:00         Open Space – On Mondays: Skillful Means class

3:00-5:00         Work Assignment

5:00                   Gather for Closing






7:15-7:45         Option of Morning Meditation, Yoga or Kum Nye

8:00-8:30         Breakfast, Group meeting: Set intention

8:30-12:30       Work Assignment

12:30-1:30       Lunch + Clean up

1:30-3:30         Open Space

3:30-5:00         Buddhism and Modernity Class



2nd and 4th Saturdays


7:15-7:45         Option of Morning Meditation

8:30-12:30       Cohort Project – Garden design, community art projects, etc.

12:30-1:30       Lunch






Why take this program?


Mangalam Center was founded by Tibetan Lama Tarthang Tulku, one of the last living masters to receive a complete education in Tibet prior to its occupation.

Our community is one of the oldest Tibetan Buddhist centers in the west, founded in 1969.

You will be embarking on this journey with a small group of peers and will move through the program as a cohort.

We offer many different expressions of the teachings; from courses in classical Tibetan to secular mindfulness. Most importantly, we focus on using every part of your daily activities to develop greater insight and appreciation for what life offers. We offer a variety of approaches and styles to suit the needs of different people and different times.

Mangalam Center is located in Downtown Berkeley – a very active and progressive area. Check out CommonGround or Berkeleyside for a glimpse at the subjects the SF East Bay is talking about today.

We offer an approach to mindfulness that goes beyond the self-improvement aspects offered by many secular mindfulness programs. Informed by teachings on wisdom, Full Presence Mindfulness, takes a non-dual look at how we see the world. It gives us the opportunity to overcome limitations that we have put on ourselves and change the way we see the world, and it offers a strong foundation for bringing mindfulness into dialogue with social justice.


To find the application to the Mindful Living program please click below:


Mindful Living Application


When you have completed it, please send it to Adrian Roman at adrian@mangalamcenter.com




Final day accepting applications – September 15th

Arrive at Mangalam Center – November 1st



We will be reviewing applications and reaching out to you for interviews as your applications come in. Due to our limited space for the participants of the Mindful Living program and for travel planning purposes we suggest turning in your applications as soon as you can.


If you are interested and would like some more information or an in-person tour please contact Adrian Roman at adrian@mangalamcenter.com

Living at Mangalam
  • You will have your own bedroom with a bathroom shared by two bedrooms.


  • You will receive a $250 monthly stipend to cover costs of living expenses and $100 monthly reimbursement for meals, aside from lunch, which is covered by Mangalam Center. You are also welcome to leftovers and pantry staples such as oil, salt, eggs, etc.


  • Vegetarian lunch will be provided: students take turns cooking lunch for the group. Everyone helps with cleanup after meals and with taking care of the building.


  • Mangalam Center has a large kitchen on the lower level, as well as a small kitchen on the 3rd floor. It’s a big building!


  • There are laundry facilities (washer and dryer) on site. There is no charge to use them.


  • There is no gym, but Mangalam Center is across the street from the YMCA and can help provide documentation for a discounted rate of $40 monthly. Also, there are spaces at Mangalam and next door at Dharma College suitable for practicing yoga.


  • Mangalam Center is in the center of Downtown Berkeley – an urban environment.


  • There will be two required classes, Skillful Means and 2500 years. Skillful means is a practice in which we investigate what it means to bring presence into your daily life. 2500 years is a history and intro into Buddhism that goes into how Buddhism is making its way in the West. You will be asked to take these classes weekly – on Monday and Friday.


  • You can meet with a facilitator regularly to check in and to receive guidance on class selection or other subjects.
  • You will be assigned a role based on your skill set, experience, the needs of Mangalam Center and your interest.
  • This is an immersive program. Work, study, and practice combined will take much of your time. We will ask you not to make other commitments while you are in the program.

  • We can help you with your school loan deferment process.
  • We accept international applicants and have someone on staff to help you with the visa process.

Map showing our Berkeley organizations including Mangalam Center, where you will work and live.



If you want to chat about our program, our community or would like to set up a tour please feel free to reach out to:


Adrian Roman

Volunteer Development Lead


P: 410.570.6672



Mangalam Center

2018 Allston Way

Berkeley, CA 94704