our founder

When he met his root guru, Tenzin Yangchen (Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati), in 1992, she quipped, “So you’re the punk monk I’ve been hearing about!” It became an affectionate moniker that would quickly be adopted by his students.

dc-gmKhenpo Gurudas Sunyatananda (Lama Jampal Lobsang Gyatso) is a non-sectarian contemplative monk and dharma teacher, ordained in the Buddhist and Eastern Catholic traditions, and best known for his pioneering efforts to bring the dharma of Buddha and Christ to a postmodern audience, in a contemporary, non-theistic and non-religious context, as he believes both Buddha Sakyamuni and the Rabbi Yeshua ben Yusef (Jesus the Nazarene).

Born, Frederick Robert Salvato, and given the Catholic monastic names Gianmichael and Francis-Maria of the Immaculata, Khenpo, as he is affectionately called by his students and friends of the Dharma (khenpo is the Tibetan word for “abbot”), has traveled a diverse and extraordinary spiritual and academic journey, which has taken him to a rich tapestry of cultures, religious traditions, philosophies and sciences.

lamagurudaswithbabaAuthor of more than six hundred articles, and several books, including such classics as The Dharma of Compassion – One Monk’s Reflections on the Teachings of the Enlightened & Anointed OnesAwakening and Tea & Dharma, he is respected as an authority on interreligious and interspiritual dialogue, social justice, peace and the Feral Wisdom Tradition of Postmodern (Western) Buddhism.

Today, Khenpo serves as the spiritual director of the Contemplative Order of Compassion, and as the director of the Zenkondo Journey™ (formerly called the Spiritus Project) — a worldwide grassroots, intentional spiritual community of lay men and women seeking ways to live the Dharma more authentically, for the sake of relieving the suffering of others. He also serves as the Dean of Western Buddhist University, and is a retired Naturopathic Medical Practitioner, and a Science of Mind New Thought Practitioner.