John Bruna (Jangchub Chophel) is an author, counselor, educator, mindfulness and Dharma teacher. With humble and challenging beginnings, he grew up in a low-income environment, surrounded by drugs and violence. In 1984, at the age of 22, John found recovery and began a journey that changed the course of his life. As a result of that journey, John has been able to turn his experiences being a dishwasher, auto mechanic, corporate manager, graduate student, and spiritual practitioner into insights on how to live productively, creatively, and collaboratively. After living in different cultural and economic environments, along with his educational and spiritual training, John has become an accessible, authentic teacher and role model for people who want positive change and progress in their lives.
Having transformed his own life, John pursued his passion to help others who were struggling. John became an addiction counselor for adolescents and families. Believing he could reach at-risk youth best as a high school teacher, he returned to college to complete his teaching credentials. John then fulfilled his dream of teaching low-income, minority students at Jordan High School in Long Beach, California. Drawing on his life experiences and counseling training, John became a popular and effective teacher, able to inspire his students to achieve. His students are still very much a part of his life and he continues to have contact with many of them.
In addition to other professional pursuits, John has been a student of Buddhism for many years. A teaching by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama inspired him to become an ordained Buddhist monk. In August 2005, John traveled to Gaden Shartse Monastery in India, where the eminent Lati Rinpoche ordained him with the name of Jangchub Chophel. Returning from India, he continued his monastic studies at Thubten Dhargye Ling, under the guidance of the venerated teacher Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen. John then returned to the classroom, teaching another 3 years while in monastic robes.
In 2008, John left the classroom to serve the Gaden Shartse monastery as Director of their Cultural Foundation. In this capacity, he spent three years organizing and participating in Tibetan Buddhist cultural and educational events as part of the Sacred Earth and Healing Arts of Tibet Tour throughout the United States. On the tour, John became well known for his warmth, humor, and ability to make complicated topics easy and accessible to a Western audience.
After more than six years of monastic life, John returned to life as a layperson. It is his hope to draw upon his training and life experience to benefit others. His personal mission statement is to facilitate teachings in an accessible and practical way that helps people live meaningful lives in accordance with their own values and belief systems. John is bringing his aspirations and vision to life as the co-founder of the Mindful Life Program™ and Mindfulness in Recovery®. He is also the founder of the Way of Compassion Foundation, author of The Wisdom of a Meaningful Life: The Essence of Mindfulness and The Essential Guidebook to Mindfulness in Recovery.