937-244-1961 | 113 S. Johnson Street #4 Iowa City, IA 52240 sangha@milarepaiowa.org

Volunteering . Summer 2022

Garchen Mila Buddhist Center is run completely by volunteers. The Garchen Mila Buddhist Center is a non-profit organization created to provide access to Buddha Dharma in Iowa and the Midwest. It was founded by and continues to depend on the support of financial contributions and volunteerism, relying on the Buddhist tradition of dana, generosity or giving. You are warmly invited to join us in our volunteer projects, which range from taking care of the library to participating in gardening to helping with technology.  

What is the importance of volunteering within the Buddhist Tradition?
Volunteering is an act of generosity, a path of practice, and a means to nurture an enlightened community – it is an accumulation of merit.  As beginning Buddhist practitioners, we may make the mistake of undervaluing the accumulation of merit. Or sometimes we misunderstand and think we only need to accumulate wisdom. We “just want to meditate!” But the accumulation of merit is a vital part of the Buddhist path. Merit plants the seeds of positive karmic tendency that will eventually take root and blossom as fully aware bodhicitta. 

What if I am not formally connected with Garchen Mila Buddhist Center? 
It is perfectly fine and wonderful to offer your time at Garchen Mila Buddhist Center even if you are not a member or if you are in a different faith community or no faith community!  We welcome everyone to participate in our community at any level. We do require that all volunteers attend a Volunteer Orientation meeting within a month of beginning their volunteer work.   


Tara Ling Buddhist Library:
 Volunteers are appreciated to help with our small but growing library. In our new location on Johnson Street (beginning in June, 2022) it is our intention to open our library to the public every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.  Tasks include preparing and cataloging books, organizing shelves, managing checked-out materials.

Location: at the Dharma Center | Right now we have a library volunteer who has cataloged over 200 books. We need another volunteer to help with a new shipment of donated Dharma books!  For more information, contact: admin@milarepaiowa.org or phone: 937-244-1961

Gardening:  Calling all green thumbs and enthusiastic helpers – come and get your hands dirty!  Join the team of garden volunteers who will be working with Khenpo at the Catholic Worker House on Sycamore Street.   We will be growing vegetables for immigrant families as well as Khenpo Thupsang himself.   For more information, contact: admin@milarepaiowa.org or phone: 937-244-1961

Technology Help:  We need help with things like setting up Zoom, recording zoom sessions, creating short videos, taking care of audio during teachings, maintaining our YouTube channel, and other digital work.

We welcome anyone who feels comfortable with technology to volunteer. Even one hour a week of your time would be helpful!  |  Location: at the Dharma Center and/or remote | For more information, contact: admin@milarepaiowa.org or phone: 937-244-1961

Public Relations Team:  The Public Relations team is responsible for publicity for all the events sponsored by the Dharma Center as well as a periodic newsletter, our website, social media, posters and general outreach to the greater community.

The team welcomes help from anyone, with or without experience.  Location: various | For more information, contact: admin@milarepaiowa.org or phone: 937-244-1961

Do you have another skill that you think would be helpful for our community?  Be in touch at: admin@milarepaiowa.org


1. First, contact us by email, text or phone that you would like to volunteer for one or more of these areas. Please include a couple of ways to be in touch with you.  Contact: admin@milarepaiowa.org or text, or phone: 937-244-1961

2. Attend a volunteer orientation meeting.  We will hold a Volunteer Orientation meeting once or twice a month for new volunteers.  At the meeting we will go over: 1)  a short history of the Dharma center and our Buddhist lineage 2) an overview of monastic vows and how to be culturally sensitive when working with a Tibetan Buddhist monk or nun 3) the Dharma Center Volunteer guidelines 4) the Dharma Center’s  Ethical Guidelines Policy.  It is fine to begin volunteering before you attend this meeting, but new volunteers must attend a volunteer orientation meeting within a month of beginning their new work.  We will find a time to meet that is convenient for you!

3. Stay in touch!  With our busy lives it is easy to fall out of touch.  If you have signed up to volunteer and then decide you need to change your schedule, decide you’d like to do more, or stop volunteering, please just let us know. If you have any doubts or questions along the way, just reach out to us! Contact: admin@milarepaiowa.org or text, or phone: 937-244-1961