Our Teachers

geshe-laVenerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, Founder and First Spiritual Director of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT)

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.

General Spiritual Director

87Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong is the General Spiritual Director of the NKT-IKBU and Resident Teacher at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Center. Born in Northern Ireland, she has been studying under Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for over 30 years.

Ordained as a Buddhist nun, Gen-la Dekyong has devoted her life to helping others by teaching modern Buddhism – a heartfelt commitment she displays in both her inspirational teachings and her personal example.

She has a deep understanding of the problems we face in the modern world and how we can solve them by developing the capacity of our mind.

Gen-la is an internationally-renowned teacher who is held in high regard by thousands of people throughout the world for her practical and extremely accessible teachings.

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 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.

Mary Harvey, Lompoc, Branch teacher, Buddhist teacherLompoc Branch Teacher

Mary Harvey is a long-time Lompoc resident who teaches meditation classes in Lompoc. 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 heart-felt teachings that are practical and meaningful.