John Canti studied medicine and anthropology at Cambridge University (UK) and qualified as a doctor in 1975. After hospital work in London and Cambridge, he moved in the late seventies to eastern Nepal to establish tuberculosis programs in two remote hill districts. While still a medical student, he met and began to study with some of the great Tibetan buddhist masters of the older generation, especially Kangyur Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche, and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Beginning in 1980, John completed two three-year retreats at Chanteloube, in the Dordogne, and has been primarily based in France ever since.
John is a founding member and president of the Padmakara Translation Group, was a Tsadra Foundation Fellow from 2001–2012, and he was awarded the 2016 Khyentse Foundation Fellowship. In 2009, when 84000 was launched, he was appointed Editorial Chair of 84000, and in 2020 he became its Editorial Co-Director.