Samvara was born in San Francisco in 1972. At the age of 6 he started learning kung fu from a student of Bruce Lee. When he turned 14, Samvara began to study a form of kung fu and chi gong rooted in Shaolin Buddhism. At this time he also learned Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and Taoist healing.
Growing up as an inner-city youth Samvara saw the Guardian Angels, a volunteer safety patrol in a rough neighborhood. He learned that they acted to stop violent crime and help those in need. Samvara yearned to help others with his martial arts skills so he joined the Guardian Angels, where he served from the age of 16 to 20. He became the group’s martial arts instructor and trained thousands of students and community organizations in street smart self-defense.
At the age of 19, during his first year at a local university, a very refined, wealthy woman joined the Guardian Angels. This was unusual for the martial artist, male-dominated organization. The woman told Samvara that, in a dream, her enlightened teacher told her to join the group to find him and make an introduction. Soon after, Samvara met his first Buddhist teacher, Ram Rinpoche, and became a Buddhist monk in his order where he focused on meditation, mindfulness, martial arts and career as spiritual practice. Following Ram Rinpoche’s teachings, Samvara became an advanced Buddhist teacher, a martial arts sensei with 7 black belts, and ran a successful technology consulting business serving many customers, including Citibank, General Electric, and Kraft Foods.