Our Teachers

Founder and First Spiritual Director of the NKT venerable geshe kelsang gyatso, geshe kelsang, geshe kelsang gyatso, geshe-la, nkt, nkt ikbu, new kadampa tradition, founder, spiritual director, manjushri kadampa meditation centre

Geshe Kelsang

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is a fully accomplished meditation master and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism.

Geshe-la, as he is affectionately called by his students, is primarily responsible for the worldwide revival of Kadampa Buddhism in our time.

Study and retreat

From the age of eight Geshe-la studied extensively in the great monastic universities of Tibet and earned the title Geshe, which literally means spiritual friend. Under the guidance of Trijang Rinpoche, his Spiritual Guide, he then spent the next eighteen years in meditation retreats in the Himalayas.

Teaching in the West

In 1977 he accepted an invitation to teach at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre in England, where he lived for many years giving teachings and guidance to an ever-growing group of disciples.

Geshe-la has continued to teach on Kadampa Buddhism in many countries around the world, and published a series of remarkable books on Buddhist thought and meditation.

He has established three unique study programs and over 1000 meditation centers around the world, trained qualified teachers and a flourishing ordained community, and created a project to build Buddhist temples in every major city in the world.

Teaching from example

In his teachings Geshe Kelsang emphasizes the importance of meditation and how to apply it in daily life, the need to be truly happy, and how to cultivate a good heart to help others and he demonstrates these qualities perfectly in his own life.

This remarkable teacher inspires so many people from so many different countries because he teaches from example.

He is a humble Buddhist monk dedicated to helping people throughout the world find true happiness in their hearts.

Our Resident Teacher

The Resident Teacher at Mahakankala Buddhist Center in Santa Barbara is Keli Vaughan. Keli is a long-time student of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and has studied to become a teacher under the direct guidance of  our General Spiritual Director, Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong, at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre. She has served as the assistant teacher for both KMC California and KMC Hollywood, the principal Temples here in Southern California.

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Lompoc Branch

Mary Harvey, Lompoc, Branch teacher, Buddhist teacher

Mary Harvey is a long-time Lompoc resident who teaches meditation classes in Lompoc on Tuesdays. Her appreciation of Dharma comes from her years of earnest study and her love of meditation. Her experience with meditation retreats and study allows her to give teachings from the heart that are practical and meaningful.

Meditation for Moms

Juliana Nelson is a dedicated student at Mahakankala Buddhist Center. She incorporates her practice of Buddhism at home so she can raise her two young children with a peaceful mind and a loving heart. She shares her love of Buddha’s teachings in a clear manner showing that these practices are applicable in everyone’s daily life.