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Between Religion and Materialism – The Seven Figure Monk

Updated on February 6, 2009

His Eminence Dharmacharya Gurudas Śunyatananda

A non theistic Buddhist monk and Franciscan contemplative, Gianmichael has established an order of monks and aims to one day build the Lojong Monastery, where 'One day, the members of the order of Contemplative Monks of the Eightfold Path will be able to return to simple, hidden lives, within the walls of a monastic compound, where they can live according to their spiritual observances, while still serving the marginalised, hurting and poor of the outside world.' Sounds run of the mill monk-ish so far, right?

However things get a little more interesting when one discovers that he is also a highly successful life coach, investment advisor, business mentor amongst other things. Wait, What? Is there such thing as a monk who makes money, and lots of it? Yes. It would seem so.

His Eminence Dharmacharya Gurudas Śunyatananda finds no conflict between living a highly spiritual life and making mountains of money, as he explains: “I've been a Buddhist monk since I was sixteen, and I've been a Franciscan contemplative for over 28 years (including six years as a Catholic priest). During that time, I grew an international sales and marketing team of 358,000 men and women, across 39 countries, in just 18 months. I generated a seven-figure income (for the Order, since I personally took a vow of detachment and own nothing). And at no time did I have to violate the principals of the Dharma in order to succeed. Therefore, I do not believe that the two are at odds, nor do I buy into the myth that money is the root of supposed evil. Good and evil are dualistic concepts that I don't find terribly useful.”

Gianmichael Salvato represents a revolution in the way we view spirituality, religion and the materialistic world. According to him, the biggest mistake 'spiritual' people make when approaching business is “thinking that there is a difference between business and spirituality. Duality is a delusional approach to life.”

So, according to the man referred to by his followers as 'the Punk Monk' we can be rich in spirit as well as bank balance. There's a refreshing perspective for those of us brought up with the idea that skinny camels passing through the eyes of needles would be more likely to enter the proverbial kingdom of heaven than rich men.

Click here for a full interview with His Eminence Dharmacharya Gurudas Śunyatananda, where he answers probing questions such as 'Does God Exist?' 'Does Evil Exist?' and 'If he were starting a business today, WWJD?'

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