Volunteering @ Kadampa World Peace Temple & Meditation Center
DONE BY: Jiyoung Jeong | Milton Academy '16, Stanford University '21 | Newton, MA
HOW OPPORTUNITY WAS FOUND: www.workaway.info
LENGTH: 2 weeks; shortest possible commitment is 1 week
LOCATION: Glen Spey, NY, USA
PERSONAL GROWTH: ★★★★☆
WOULD RECOMMEND FOR GAP YEARERS WHO: are looking to spend some peaceful time with their thoughts & to learn meditative exercises & to meet kind, open hearted people who live life with a very pleasant, calm attitude
DAY-TO-DAY LIFE: Woke up at 7:30am, had breakfast (they offer a big array of milk & cereals), worked for 7 hours from 9am, with a couple 15-minute tea breaks and an hour long lunch break (amazing vegetarian food) in between. After work, I often went for nice, relaxing hikes with other volunteers in the trails paved in the woods near the temple, attended the evening puja, and journaled before going to sleep at around 10:30pm.
TYPES OF ACTIVITIES/TASKS DONE:Cleaning, gardening, organizing
HOURS WORKED PER WEEK: 35
- 3 meals a day, 7 days a week
- Cozy dorm room-style accommodation in a 10-person, single gender room
- If you go before May, bring layers of clothing & warm jacket; it gets cold especially in the mornings and at night
- Sit with the monks and nuns/ residents during lunch. Try to sit with different people as often as possible, and ask all the questions you might have about Buddhism/ meditating/ life. Many wise & cool people here
- Attend the weekly evening talk
MOST MEANINGFUL LESSON TAKEN AWAY: Keep an open mind about the people you meet. Not everyone's first impressions may not be the best--maybe you feel that they're annoying, too loud, too shy, etc--but try to talk to them at least twice before making a judgment. Also, a saying by a co-workawayer that stuck with me: "Kindness isn't supposed to be a two-way thing. Be kind, don't expect anything in return, and be happy that you've helped someone out."