Resident Caretaker

POSITION AVAILABLE: Resident Caretaker

The Residential Caretakers are stewards of the physical aspects of Dhamma Dena, contributing their knowledge and skills to maintain, repair and plan for improvements to the center’s facilities.



Dhamma Dena is dedicated to supporting the awakening of our collective capacity to love unconditionally and wisely by offering practitioners teachings on mindfulness within the setting of silent retreats, work retreats, and self-retreats. As it has done since its founding in 1977, Dhamma Dena invites practitioners to orient towards building the strength to loosen the grip of anxiety, fear, obsession, depression and confusion in order to live more freely and with compassion towards ourselves and each other. Our retreat center is committed to making this practice accessible to all those who want to come on retreat, those who have been systemically marginalized such as black, indigenous and people of color, those who identify as transgender, intersex, gay, lesbian, queer, and gender non-conforming, those who have immigrated, those who live with disabilities, those who live along the spectrum of neurodiversity, those with chemical sensitivity, and those from low-income backgrounds. We are dedicated to building beloved community through personal and work practices where all parts of ourselves feel welcome and honored.

Dhamma Dena, as a values-based, non-profit organization, is committed to BIPOC leadership and program offerings and is in a multi-year transition towards that goal. We are looking for applicants who are excited to work towards this vision and feel called to do this work while living in community at our Vipassana Buddhist retreat center in the Mojave Desert of California, near Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park.


Dhamma Dena’s retreat center is a collection of homes and individual shelters spread out over several acres of high desert terrain that borders undeveloped land held in conservation. The Residential Caretaker and other occasional facilities staff are stewards of the physical aspects of Dhamma Dena, which includes the fixtures, structures and environmental features of the property, as well as the systems and processes that support the functioning of the center. The Residential Caretaker will contribute their knowledge and skills to maintain, repair and plan for improvements to the center’s facilities. They will also coordinate the work of volunteers and work retreatants throughout the year to accomplish routine tasks and longer term projects. This position is critical to the organization and requires creativity in problem solving, independent initiative and strong communication and organizational skills. The ability to work collaboratively and in multicultural environments is indispensable to this position and the ideal candidate will have the experience and interpersonal skills to contribute to a healthy and effective work culture.

The ideal candidate for Residential Caretaker is someone who will be able to commit to the position for at least one year and would live at Dhamma Dena full-time.


  • Plan and supervise the work of volunteers and work retreatants throughout the year to accomplish routine tasks and longer term projects.

  • Hold a daily work meeting to bring together all volunteers, work retreatants and staff in order to check-in, coordinate workflow and track progress.

  • Ensure that plants are watered, recycling and bulk waste is disposed of, and drinking water and pantry supplies are purchased and distributed.

  • Collaborate with Retreat Operations Manager to carry out the preparation of all center facilities for onsite residential retreats

  • During retreats, provide caretaking support, which may include housekeeping.

  • Provide additional event support during retreat such as shuttling retreatants to the center from the airport and back, registration support and orientation, shopping for supplies, and other duties as needed.

  • Inspect and monitor the center's facilities to help ensure that the conditions are safe and healthy for operations and to identify and carry out necessary repairs to minimize potential damage, loss or liability.

  • Carry out basic repairs and infrastructure upgrades including carpentry, plumbing, appliance installation, painting, landscaping, irrigation, land management, and light construction.

  • Coordinate and supervise electricians and other contractors for major repairs.

  • Maintain inventory of all necessary supplies and equipment.

  • Manage rat control on the land by setting and monitoring live catch traps and escorting them to another location. In keeping with the Buddhist precept to not cause harm to other beings, we do not use poison or traditional traps.

  • Clean out and organize storage areas.

  • Coordinate regular maintenance and occasional repairs of the organization’s van.

  • Maintain the gray water systems, composting toilets, heaters and cooling systems.


  • Experience operating basic power tools and possess knowledge necessary to assess and make minor repairs in construction and plumbing.

  • Can work alone without direct supervision and exercise independent judgment to meet organizational objectives.

  • Create proposals and budgets for facility projects.

  • Proactively take initiative and ownership over what needs to be done.

  • Understand directions and complete tasks/projects on time and to specifications.

  • Find answers and solutions using online research and other resources.

  • Excellent communication skills; this position collaborates on a daily basis with all Retreat Support Services staff (Facilities, Retreat Coordinators, Retreatants, Work Retreatants, Retreat Teachers, Cooks, Registrars, and other Administrative Staff and Retreat Support Services Manager).

  • Experience working well with and within multicultural groups.


  • Must be available for an irregular schedule during retreat preparation and operation, with regular time off during periods when there is no formal retreat scheduled.

  • Valid driver’s license and working vehicle.


  • Interested in being part of Dhamma Dena’s lively Buddhist residential community.

  • A commitment to a non-harming lifestyle including refraining from alcohol and recreational drugs while at the center.

  • Open and learning attitude, flexibility, dependability, honesty and integrity.

  • A strong interest in service and community living.

  • The ability to live harmoniously and mindfully in shared housing.

  • Experience living in an intentional community.

  • Ease in using compassionate and open communication systems (i.e., Nonviolent Communication).

  • Commitment to building a BIPOC led, multiracial, multicultural community.

  • Competency in facing conflict (handle, address, deescalate, and resolve conflict when possible).


  • Work outdoors including frequent exposure to seasonal weather conditions.

  • Sit, walk and stand for extended periods.

  • Lift, carry, push or pull objects up to 40 pounds.

  • Perform moderately difficult manipulative tasks.

  • Communicate well via telephone, email, text and other digital platforms.

  • Be exposed to and work with chemical substances that are typical for maintenance, janitorial and landscaping work.

  • Able to see at close and middle distance and have color acuity.

REPORTS TO: Executive Director


The Resident Caretaker position is a part-time, hourly position with benefits that include room and board (shared basic grocery and pantry items), paid time off, weekly community dinners and a teacher-led dharma program. The dharma program comprises formal mindful meditation in the mornings and evenings in the meditation hall five days a week, a weekly teacher-led dharma study group meeting, and scheduled one-on-one practice meetings with the Guiding Teacher. Staff, retreatants and other residents take turns preparing the weekly community dinner, which gives us an opportunity to co-create a greater sense of community and share good food in good company.

Pay is $18 per hour plus a monthly stipend for health-affirming care. The Resident Caretaker is expected to dedicate 30 hours a week to the position, which requires a flexible schedule including some nights, holidays, and weekends depending on retreat programming. Because the primary function of all staff is to support retreats, the work week will not always be Monday to Friday and days off will be based on the retreat schedule as well as the shared community calendar. Unless otherwise pre-arranged, working the days leading up to and including retreat openings and the days following and including closing days regardless of weekends and holidays is required.


Please submit a cover letter, resume and three references to Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Dhamma Dena is an equal opportunity employer, and we place a high value on workforce diversity; qualifying candidates who self-identify as a Black, Indigenous and People of Color and/or who are part of the LGBTQIA2S+GNC community are strongly encouraged to apply.