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Our Teachers

Our Founder

Venerable Geshe

Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche

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The founder of modern Kadampa Buddhism and The New Kadampa Tradition–International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU) is Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, a fully accomplished meditation master and scholar who moved to the West in 1977 at the request of students at Manjushri Center in the UK, the Mother Center of the New Kadampa Tradition. Since that time, Venerable Geshe-la has worked tirelessly to introduce modern Kadampa Buddhism into contemporary society and to create a worldwide infrastructure to support its growth and development in this and future generations. 

Learn More About the Founder of Modern Kadampa Buddhism

Our Resident Teacher

Gen Kelsang Tenzin


Gen Kelsang Tenzin is an American Buddhist monk and the resident teacher at Compassion Kadampa Buddhist Center. He has taught Kadampa Buddhism extensively throughout the United States for over 20 years. Gen Tenzin has a great depth of understanding of Buddha’s teachings and shares them with warmth and humor, making them clear, practical, and accessible for everyone.

Branch Teachers


Anup Bogineni

Anup has been a practicing Buddhist for 15 years and is a senior student at Compassion KBC. His teachings are heartfelt and practical, and he uses his personal experience to help people integrate Buddhist teachings in their daily life to manage stress, anxiety, and pain.

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Jen DeSantis

Jen DeSantis is a Kadampa Buddhist meditation teacher and student who has been practicing since 2013. She has engaged extensively in meditation retreat, teaching, and in the development of meditation centers on both the east and west coasts. She has degrees in psychology and education, and enjoys the community of spiritual friends who have, with faith, opened new doors in her mind and world. 


Robin Merod

Robin Merod first began meditating in 2010 when he dropped in for a class at Compassion KBC in Sacramento. Having recently received his Ph.D. in Engineering, he was drawn to the practical and logical nature of Buddha’s teachings. Robin has been teaching since 2013 and enjoys inspiring people with stories about how Dharma has touched his heart.

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Venerable Atisha
What is Kadampa Buddhism?


Kadampa Buddhism is a Mahayana Buddhist school founded by the 11th century Indian Buddhist master, Atisha, who skillfully arranged all of Buddha’s teachings (Dharma) into a clear and sequential presentation, known as “Lamrim” in Tibetan. Atisha’s followers became known as “Kadampas.” “Ka” refers to all of Buddha’s teachings and “dam” to Atisha’s special Lamrim instructions, known as “the stages of the path to enlightenment.” A Kadampa is a practitioner who regards Buddha’s teachings as personal advice and puts them into practice by following Atisha’s Lamrim instructions. 

Our Tradition


The Indian Buddhist master, Venerable Atisha, was responsible for reintroducing the entirety of Buddhism into Tibet in the 11th century. Three hundred years later, the great Buddhist yogi and scholar, Je Tsongkhapa (1357 – 1419), appeared in Tibet and widely promoted Atisha’s Lamrim instructions for the people of that time. It was a golden age in Tibet in which thousands of Tibetans were inspired by Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings and immaculate example. His followers became known as the “New Kadampas” and to this day Kadampa Buddhists throughout the world study his teachings and strive to put them into practice.


After arriving in the West in 1977, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche began working to establish a modern presentation of the Kadampa lineage in the West. This presentation is Modern Kadampa Buddhism. The teachings of this tradition retain all of the essential meanings and insights of Buddha’s original teachings and are presented in a way that is practical and suitable for modern people. 

Learn more about the history of our lineage

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