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Jun 10
Community Articles
Come Home to Karmê Chöling!

A conversation with Karmê Chöling Executive Director, Betsy Railla
Written by Natasha West, Director of Communications, Shambhala Global Services

Summer at Karmê Chöling

Community has always been an important part of Shambhala culture. When the pandemic hit in 2020, leadership at Karmê Chöling in rural Vermont found a way to stay connected in person during a time of isolation. What blossomed was the Karmê Chöling Residency program. Karmê Chöling Residency provides an opportunity to practice meditation, study Buddhism and share life with like-minded people determined to live meaningfully in these turbulent times. Residents and in-house retreatants test and mask to enter the household bubble, where we live mask-free as a household. Community members share a common conviction in the basic goodness of all beings. That conviction grows stronger when we’re able to see others ‘face to face’ at home, and our approach to COVID19 has allowed us to do just that at a time when many have led lives in increased isolation.

About Karmê Chöling

Summer Views at Karmê Chöling

The residency program typically consists of 15 to 20 people, coming together from all walks of life. It’s not necessary to be a practicing Shambhala student, but a desire for a consistent meditation practice is a must. Karmê Chöling consists of beautiful forested land, five hiking trails that range in length and difficulty, five shrine rooms, an organic garden, a community room, and two kitchens–one for kitchen staff and a hospitality kitchen for residents. The land is a great resource for rejuvenation, adventure, and good health—and the 750 acres of pine-and-maple forest are yours to hike and wander.


The residency program requires a minimum of a one month stay. Accommodations include rooms in the main house with various layouts. Rooms are conveniently located near the shrine rooms and dining area. Premium rooms offer a loft with a lower living area and offices are available to rent for those who work remotely throughout the day. The community room has plenty of space for activities, including yoga, tai chi, and qigong. You’ll find a gym and a TV room on the lower level. Not least of all, the Main House features a generous dining room where friendships, momos and tormas have been made for decades. The stellar kitchen crew prepares meals every day, often with ingredients from the one-acre organic garden.  The residency program requires a minimum of a one month stay but shorter stays are possible as an in-house retreatant.

The Garden at Karmê Chöling

A Day in the Life

A typical day at Karmê Chöling begins with breakfast at 8am and meditation practice at 9am. Early risers practice as early as 5am. Residents often work during the morning hours and come together again for lunch at 12:30pm, regardless of work schedules. Afternoons are open to enjoy the grounds, finish up work for the day, or get your hands in the garden where kale and parsnips are currently growing in abundance. Evening practice and chants take place at 5:30pm, followed by dinner at 6:30pm. Evening classes are offered three times per week. You can also enjoy games and movies in the evening hours.

Who Would Benefit from this Program?

People with a wide diversity of paths and views have successfully called Karmê Chöling ‘home’. Residency is the best fit for those with a strong, clear aspiration to practice. Those who are looking for community, accountability, and consistency will be sure to find it here. With meditation instructors, online classes, and daily practice, you have the opportunity to really dive into your practice during your stay.

We know not everyone has space in their lives to move to a dharma center in rural Vermont, but if you share our deep conviction in basic goodness, you may be interested in learning more about living in a community with other Warriors on the path. Visit the Karmê Chöling Residency Webpage for more information. Be sure to check out the video below to learn more!

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