Board of Advisors

Who We Are

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Venerable Heng Der

Founder & CEO

Venerable Heng Der grew up in Malaysia and was ordained by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua at the City of Ten thousand Buddhas in 1992.

 

Master Heng Der teaches Pure Land Dharma to Chinese and Vietnamese community in America, Europe and Taiwan. He also teaches physical fitness such as Shujingong and Yijingong to help integrate body, mind and spirit.

 

Instead of building temples, Master Heng Der co-founding the Compassionate Service Society with the wish to build people lives and bring dharma to the modern time.

Chris St. Hilaire

Chris St. Hilaire is Co-Founder and CEO of MFour Mobile Research, Inc. A market research pioneer, Chris built MFour in 2011 by launching the most successful survey and data application in the world. The company redefined the research industry by connecting brands to 10 million daily consumer journeys. MFour now hosts the only omnichannel consumer dashboard—for real-time consumer input.

 

Prior to MFour, Chris served as a message strategist to Presidential and U.S. Senate campaigns. He is the author of 27 Powers of Persuasion: Simple Strategies to Seduce Audiences and Win Allies. The book provides practical ways to win court cases and political campaigns. St. Hilaire was also recognized by the American Business Awards for leading one of the nation’s “most innovative” companies. He and his wife, Brenda, live in Orange County, California and are parents to two sons, Zachary and Gabriel.

Tech Lead

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Viraphanh Sananikone

Viraphanh Sananikone is co-founder of Elizabeth Mott Cosmetics, a Korean Beauty-inspired cosmetics brand and Hanalei Beauty Company, a Hawaii-based lip care and skincare brand.

 

He began his professional career in Equity Research with Dresdner RCM Global Investors, then did mergers and acquisition for JPMorgan, became a graduate of JPMorgan Chase’s Finance Associate Leadership program.

 

Viraphanh also founded and served on the Board of CFA Hawaii, the local Hawaii chapter of the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CA), a 90,000 member, global non-profit organization of investment professionals.

 

Viraphanh Sananikone is graduated from UC Davis, and has an MBA from Columbia University.

Zenryu Hidaka

In 2020, Abbot Zenryu Hidaka became the 257th Choja of Toji Shingon School, the 3rd Head of Toji Shingon School, and the Abbot of Sanboin, Koyasan.

 

Zenryu Hidaka was born 1943, in Ehime Prefecture, Japan. In his early age, he completed a million recitation of the mantra of Akasagarbha Bodhisattva in 100 days, the signature practice of Kobodaichi, the founder of Shingon. In 2019, he became the 520th Abbot of Kongobuji, the Head Quarter of Shingon Sect in Koyasan. The Hoin title is highest rank representing Kobodaichi in Japanese Buddhism.

 

In October of 2019, he invited Compassionate Service Society to organize our annual World Peace Gathering to bring the Peace Mandala to Koyasan, as a spiritual collaboration between Japan and Vietnamese-American Buddhism.

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Sogan Rinpoche

Venerable Sogan Rinpoche (Tulku Pema Lodoe) was born in 1964, in eastern Tibet. At the age of seventeen he went to Bayan Monastery to start his formal spiritual training. Later, he was recognized by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama as the 6th Sogan Rinpoche and as a young man was enthroned at Awo Sera Monastery in East Kham (Serta), which he founded during his first incarnation as Sogan Rinpoche. He is also the head of Bayan Monastery in Golok. He assumed responsibility there at the direction of his root guru, Khenpo Munsel, a dzogchen master and teacher in Tibet throughout most of the twentieth century and a chief disciple of Khenpo Ngag Chung.

 

Rinpoche has established Tupten Osel Choling,  his first North American Buddhist organization in San Francisco, California. His teaching since then has touched many hearts and souls worldwide.

Imam Zafarullah

Imam Mohammed Zafarullah Hanjra is the Southwest US regional missionary for the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (est.1889). He was born in 1958 and has devoted his life to serving Islam since 1982 after graduating from Jamia Ahmadiyya, an intensive, multi-lingual, seven-year missionary training seminary in Rabwah, Pakistan.

 

Before coming to USA, Imam Zafarullah Hanjra served in various parts of Pakistan and Sierra Leone. He is well known as an Imam, missionary, administrator and teacher. While in USA, he had served many communities such as Dayton (Ohio), Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin (TX); Tulsa (OK); New Orleans (LA); Chino, San Diego (CA) and Las Vegas (NV).

Since 2017, Imam Zafarullah oversees the Greater Chicago local chapters of Ahmadiyya and skillfully establishes strong ties with churches, synagogues and other faith organizations across Chicago. He is married and has four children.

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Bhante Pallebage Chandasiri Nayaka Maha Thera

Venerable Pallebage Chandasiri, is a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka. Formerly he was a principal of Kahaduwa Maha Vidyalaya (Central college), Sri Lanka. After completing traditional monastic education and training in Pirivena, he moved on to earn a MA degree in Buddhism. He has traveled to propagate Buddhism in Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore and India.

 

After the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in 2004, Bhante worked alongside CompaSS Charity from 2004 to 2005 to coordinate with Sri Lankan temples and Sri Lankan non-profit organizations to build new homes for the victims.

 

Since then, Bhante has become a great spiritual friend to CompaSS, and has joined and hosted our annual World Peace Gathering in California since 2009.

 

Currently, he is the Abbot of Oregon Buddhist Vihara where he builds a new Buddhist temple in Oregon. He also serves as the Chief Sangha Nayaka Thera of North America, with the Honorific Title "Dharma Keerthi Sri Rahula Siriniwasa".

Minh An Banh

Mr. Minh-An Banh is a Automation & Control System Engineer serving the Oil & Gas and Petrochemical Industry.

 

Mr. Banh serves as the Administrator for the CompaSS-South since 2007, an affiliation of CompaSS for Houston, Texas. He has built the organization’s structure and ITC programs and skillfully lead the CompaSS-Houston to its most competitive community-serving organization in Houston. In 2022, Minh-An is devoting his broad-spectrum managerial skills to establish our Avatamsaka School, an online venue to spread our dharma in cyberspace.

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Minh Tam Nelson

Dr. Minh Tam is a family physician serving women and children in Vietnamese community of the East side of San Jose over 33 years.

 

Introduced to CompaSS culture, she discovered the compatibility between her professional work with the path of altruism and service. Thus in 2004, she voluntarily be trained as Taichi instructor to improve people’s health, instill hope and facilitate spiritual healing.

 

As community service deepened, she balances her life with deeper consciousness, that eventually lead her into becoming a dedicated meditation teacher. Now, with combined experiences from medical profession and spiritual practice, Dr. Nguyen has evolved her life mission into building spiritual communities, especially the CompaSS Bodhisattva community in San Jose.

Ahsan Khan

Dr. Ahsan M. Khan is an Ophthalmologist with Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. In addition he serves as director of the Gift of Sight program for Humanity First USA, taking volunteers on eye surgical mission trips to underserved countries. He is also a member of the national executive board of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United States. He lives in Fullerton with his wife and three children.

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Akarin Gaw

Mr. Gaw has over 20 years of experience in private equity investing and operations strategies.  Mr. Gaw currently leads Asia Strategic Development for Soho House & Co., and had recently served as Executive Director of China Merchants Americold (HK) Holdings Company, Ltd. from 2010-2019, a joint venture between Americold and China Merchants Group.  Mr. Gaw is member of the Board of Governors of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Asian Arts Circle at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and is a Design Trustee of DesignTrust.

Dyung Le

Since 2007, Dyung Le has served as the founder and head of the East Coast chapter of the Compassionate Service Society (CSS East) based in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC metropolitan area. He has built the organization into a volunteer group teaching over 20 weekly classes of exercise, meditation, and Buddhist practice. He also started a Buddhist youth group to perform community services and charity work.

 

A graduate of MIT, Dyung Le is a designer, author and researcher in high performance computing. He has pursued a long career in high tech entrepreneurship and emerging technology. He is currently the Chief Technology Officer for Enterprise Business Systems at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.

Tech Lead

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Diem Tran

Dr. Diem Tran is a successful optometrist practicing in Orange County since 2004. In 2008, Diem was drawn into CompaSS because of its volunteerism. Without giving up her own personal interest in swimming, dancing and music, she found her spirituality gradually integrated in all her activities. In 2012, Diem helped organize the usher team for the World Peace Gathering, the biggest event CompaSS holds annually. Since then her volunteering has unfolded into many directions, in which daily meditation becomes the most inconceivable force creating healing and transformation in her life. Currently, she is the host of the show on Bodhisattva Practice that inspires thousands young and old audience everywhere. Diem is the great example of how young people can embrace the teaching of altruism, or the Bodhisattva ideal, in this modern age.

Mai Trang Nguyen

Dr. MaiTrang Nguyen is a pharmacist by training. With over 25 years of service in clinical hospital pharmacies such as Irvine Medical Center of UC Irvine, Long Beach Community Hospital, Community Medical Center of Long Beach, St. Mary Medical Center, MaiTrang deeply realizes the need for spiritual healing besides physical and emotional well-being.

 

Thus in 2010, she lead members of CompaSS to create a massive human Mandala, a project that unfolds not only her own enlightenment but also facilitates the spiritual growth of thousands of participants. Her leadership and creativity has turned a new chapter in modern Buddhist history where the most innovative, highly interactive, and scalable human Mandala can be constructed in any Buddhist community worldwide.

Following the path of altruism, Maitrang selflessly served at various vaccine clinics during the pandemic, and has been kept up her fitness with hiking, biking, and traveling.

Tech Lead

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Christy Phuong Anh Nguyen

Christy Phuong Anh Nguyen is a Registered Nurse and a Nurse Practitioner in Cardiology Specialty. She is the Director of CompaSS-South, an affiliate branch of CompaSS in Houston, Texas.

 

Christy is an active member of the Vietnamese American Nurse Association organization, she is the  Scholarship Chair for the past 7 years. Christy has been a volunteer teacher at the Việt Ngữ Hùng Vương Sunday school for the last 25 years, teaching the Vietnamese language to the American Vietnamese youth. In her spare time, Christy volunteers at Boat People SOS as a nurse practitioner supporting Breast Cancer Screening Program for the indigenous community.