Tragedy at Diamond Mountain: an Update.

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the author with Roach in 1999

elephant journal is an open forum. We believe in offering an uplifted forum to elevate important, sometimes difficult issues from gossip into discourse, and learning. We have also published a “rebuttal,” linked below. Matthew, the author below, has his own experience and views. Those views, and the views in the rebuttal, do not constitute an “official” view of elephant. Our official view is that we hope, again, to offer a forum for understanding, and, hopefully, real peace. ~ ed.

reporting and opinion by Matthew Remski

Two weeks after breaking this story, I thought it would be helpful to summarize the discourse around the Diamond Mountain tragedy as it has played out in these pages. In addition to collating the rich commentary and the further inquiry it suggests, I’d also like to disclose a little of my process, and earnestly address the many good and pointed criticisms that have been raised about my approach. Also, I’ll include fascinating input from the numerous personal e-mails I’ve received from around the world.

 

First Things First: The Law Enforcement Angle

On 5/10, I phoned the Cochise County Sherriff’s Office and spoke to a deputee who was involved with the retrieval of Ian Thorson’s body. Although the coroner’s report may not be released for another two months, the deputee was confident in saying that Thorson’s probable causes of death included dehydration, along with malnourishment, and possibly the drinking of contaminated water melted from the flash snowfall of 4/14. The deputee was also aware of the circumstances of Thorson’s isolation with McNally, but indicated that neither his relationship with Diamond Mountain nor his eviction from the property were the subject of any current investigation. With local authorities having nothing more to say about the death at this point, I believe it falls even more heavily to the Diamond Mountain Board to answer for the series of influences and decisions that form the heart of this tragedy.

 

Silence Still Reigns on the Mountaintop

In over 600 comments to my post, only one of my critics (Arly, who has not indicated he holds any official position with Roach’s group) has given any consideration to the 15 requests I make to the Diamond Mountain Board of Directors. As of this writing, there has been no public statement made by the organization to resolve the questions raised by their Open Letter of 4/26/12. As far as anyone publicly knows, 35 retreatants are still under the care of this non-profit Board, which is still under the leadership of Roach, and there is no public evidence that any of the power dynamics that have generated this failure in oversight and common sense have been corrected in any way.

As of this writing, the Diamond Mountain website has been periodically off-line for several days. (Roach’s letter will always be accessible through Google’s Cache.) Quickly and perhaps cruelly, McNally’s bio and other signs of her association with Diamond Mountain have been scrubbed from the site. And at least one off-shoot McNally project (http://ladylamas.wordpress.com/) has been deleted, only hours after it became the subject of criticism in this forum. That site is archived here.

 

The Elephant Journal Discourse on Diamond Mountain

In the two weeks since posting, my original piece has been “viewed” over 23K times. “Read”, I’m not so sure, given the accusations embedded in some of the comments. Of the more than 600 comments, approximately 170 are my own, as I’ve tried my best to remain present to the discourse and dialogue with the many valid points raised by the respondents. Unless people are posting under several pseudonyms, there would seem to be about 99 unique respondents.  (These numbers are from an accounting I made on 5/11.) Of the 99, 24 are outright hostile to my implications and my tone: many of these engage in ad hominem attack. (It might be 25, if we count “Darth Vader”, who calls me a “self-righteous dick”, and challenges me to a fistfight. But I think Darth is joking.) The remaining 75 respondents are either strong supporters of the spirit of critical and independent inquiry that I propose, or they express various similar concerns to my own, along with appeals for greater objectivity and neutrality amongst all who dialogue, including me.

The level of upset from Roach’s students and devotees has been painfully sharp. I was fully expecting this, and this expectation plagued my ethical consideration in publishing as I did. I knew my opinions on the matter would hurt past friends and acquaintances quite deeply, and I didn’t take this lightly: these are relationships I’ll likely never enjoy again.

However. Diamond Mountain is a public institution with 501(c)(3) status, which makes regular public appeals for funding and continuous public claims about the necessity and beneficence of its mission, along with the qualifications of its leadership. Diamond Mountain is led by a man who claims that he is approaching full enlightenment, which in his metaphysics implies omniscience and the capacity to live simultaneously in an infinite number of bodies. (I’m not making this up.) As a public institution with public tax benefits, Diamond Mountain must be subject to public scrutiny, especially for possible religious excesses. Their charitable status comes with public responsibility. The same is true for Roach, who has no doubt become a public person (or perhaps an infinite number of public persons, which might complicate liability). My stance is not some petty matter of disapproving “of how [my] former teacher lived his life”, as John Stillwell accuses me in his rebuttal. Roach’s life is not a private bubble: he has influenced too many other lives to be shielded from scrutiny.

There was also considerable debate over the genre of the piece I published. Although I tried to be clear that I was reporting from the widely available documents and adding my personal opinions based upon my tenure with the group, many critics, including Stillwell, complained about my lack of objectivity or journalistic neutrality. I claimed neither. I was well aware of my emotional investment in the story throughout its writing. Thankfully, because we can use all of the perspectives available, more inquiry is on its way that will express varying degress of objectivity: I’ve been informed that there will soon be major newspaper coverage of the story.

 

My Relationship to John Stillwell, and His Rebuttal

I knew John middling-well from 1998 to 2000. He was the closest personal student to Roach with whom I was conversational. He has been an administrative leader for Roach’s teaching work from the mid-90s, although I don’t know how much work he does for Roach now. Back in the day, Roach constantly referred to John as his “right arm.” As I watched Roach unravel before my eyes, I remember asking John frankly over curries in the Lower East Side in 1999 whether he was concerned that his teacher was actually taking a harem of female student/lovers (including McNally) into his upcoming 3-year retreat. John refused to answer directly, but rather turned the question into a quasi-Buddhist teaching on subjectivity. It’s too long ago for me to attribute an exact quote, but I remember him saying something like: We have no idea what’s true. He may well be having sex with all of them. You have to make up your mind as to how best to see it. How you see it says more about you than about him. And so on. It was a deft display of metaphysical damage-control. But I don’ t think he realized that he was confirming my suspicions, patronizing my intelligence, and modeling a shrewdly rationalized secrecy, all at the same time. We split the bill, and never spoke of it again.

True to form, John’s rebuttal focuses more on my ungenerous perceptions of the group dynamics than on any of the action items I suggest, namely: the 15 requests to the Board. Most disappointingly, he actually misquotes me in his catalogue of my errors, which I’ve pointed out in the first comment you’ll see in the thread. I reached out to Waylon Lewis, EJ publisher, to ask him to correct the misquotes. Waylon didn’t get around to it soon enough for my liking, so I contacted John directly by email to ask him to revise. He gave leave for Waylon to revise, and then demanded by email that I change some of the language of my opening paragraph, which he felt made the Board look uncaring in general. I took his complaints to heart, and wrote back with a revised paragraph that addressed some of his concerns. My hope was that a behind-the-scenes dialogue would begin to enrich the discourse towards a more mutually acceptable narrative of events, so that the stark questions that shimmer beyond opinions (How could McNally have ascended to Retreat Leader status? etc.) might be addressed. But John refused to communicate about it. It feels like once again we’re splitting the bill, rising from the table, and surely on the verge of never speaking again.

John’s central complaint seems to be with my harshness with the Board. Many Board members are perhaps his friends, and I’m sure he has first-hand knowledge of their industry and care. My allegations of Board incompetence and negligence do not accord with what he feels, because they imply lack of concern. This is really sticky, because I have no doubt that the Board loved Thorson and McNally and deeply cared for their well-being. But as anyone who has been a member of a family knows, love and care do not always add up to clarity in action, especially when the love and care is obfuscated by power, shame, and emotional indebtedness.

The question of intentionality is the murkiest of all. Did John intend to railroad my probing curry-questions back in 1999, or did he intend to help me develop my own critical faculties? Probably a little of both. Does Roach intend to help people improve their lives, or does he intend to build a self-isolating kingdom of solipsistic bliss? Probably a little of both. Did he intend to help me overcome my clinical depression those many years ago, or to enlist me in his own grandiose dream? Probably a little of both. Does the Board want to justify its authority and competence, or reach for outside help? Probably a little of both.

As a student of literary theory, I’ve understood for a long time that we cannot definitively assess the intentionality of any author of a work. Likewise, I would never definitively attribute intentionality to Roach’s megalomania: the intentions of someone who really believes their own grandiosity are impossible to parse. If any group is going to hold and and help and heal the Diamond Mountain story, or any other story like it, it won’t be through amputating a bad-intentioned limb or extracting a tumour. It will come through an analysis (Greek for “unknotting”) of the vast web of relationships that weave it together: relationships in which intentions change and influence each other, and suffer from gaping blind spots. As much as Roach and his followers would probably like to think it’s all about him, it’s not. It’s about how our traumas, despairs, and wishes all coalesce into a psycho-social Ponzi scheme of tragic distraction.

But if really pressed, I would venture Roach’s intentionality to be more clean than dirty, if “clean” also implies “naïve”. Because while he does show many performative and Machiavellian talents (I’ll list a few select details below), he definitely lacks the shrewdness of a real crook. His Open Letter is certainly well-intentioned. But as the public relations disaster it has become clearly shows, it contains zero realpolitik. He could well have maintained complete silence on the matter, a move that would have likely strengthened his core support from those who crave a show of power more than transparency. If he had, I and tens of thousands of others wouldn’t have heard of Thorson’s death for months, if ever. His letter intended to clarify events for his students, but it plainly exposed his insular worldview to those who do not adulate him. I imagine that if he has retained lawyers since publishing the letter they are certainly wishing he had kept mum. You don’t admit to knowing of Ian’s psychiatric vulnerabilities for years before describing how you evicted him from a desert retreat without professional medical help, unless you truly believe you were doing the right thing. Naive self-disclosure is not a tendency of the malicious.

 

Addressing the Criticisms of My Post:

 

Finding the Facts amongst the Trees and Forest

My piece was a mixture of reporting on openly available sources (to which I linked for all to compare), and my interpretation of those sources, based upon my knowledge of the group. It’s important to remember that all sources so far are uncorroborated (including my own memories!), and that Roach’s Open Letter is a group effort made by a corporation under public and possibly legal pressure. I was aware from the outset that given these sources my reporting could not capture the absolute factual truth of the situation, and so I invited refinement via crowdsourcing. I appended corrections within 24 hours.

Most corrections were minor. I got a few dates wrong, and I misrepresented the housing situation for retreatants at Diamond Mountain. The retreatants are actually all living in houses built to county code. I confess here to being in thrall to my memory of Roach describing with great pride the camping austerities of the early days.

The main correction of substance involved including Roach’s statement that he and the Board alerted the police to the contents of McNally’s talk on 2/4/12.  Roach doesn’t describe this in detail in his open letter, which led me to presume that the disclosure was not clear enough to provoke further law enforcement interest. In any case, this omission created the impression that the Board did less than they did, and this was a mistake. My contention had been that the strongest disclosure would have evolved from professional, on-site investigation at that point.

However, this recent story in the Phoenix New Times suggests that that may have actually happened. It reports that Board member Robert Ruisinger disclosed the talk to the Sheriff’s department on 2/13/12 — nine days after McNally’s talk. The article goes on to describe that deputies actually did come to Diamond Mountain property, and even questioned the retreatant-doctor who had sutured Ian’s stab wounds. This is not explicit in Roach’s simplified version:

The Board of course felt a moral and legal obligation to report the contents of the talk to the local county police department, who made a record of the report but decided not to follow up further.

Nor does it seem to accord with Roach’s later assertion that “At no time did police enter the campus property or the retreat valley”, although this assertion might only refer to the sequence of events surrounding the couple’s eviction, and might have been made for the benefit of sponsors wanting reassurance that the retreat boundaries had not been violated.

In any case, between the Open Letter, various news reports, and McNally’s letter (which wildly contradicts everything else), the nature of the trees remains unclear, and will remain so until there is a full investigative report with complete corroboration, which might take many months. The forest, however, is filled with many shadows.

 

Culture, or Cult?

By far the most heated complaint of my critics was my usage of the word “cult” to describe the group devoted to Roach and McNally. Many felt that it tainted the discourse unfairly from the outset. Commenter Jacob Kyle very astutely relates:

From a young age, I can recall many instances when some community was referred to as a “cult”. I remember there being a community somewhere in the woods near where I grew up in the Northwest, a group of houses surrounded by a tall green wall. I drove by it one day with my family and my mother or some adult pointed out that this was a cult. I had been sufficiently indoctrinated to know that “cult” meant “bad”, meant “insane” and probably had something to do with demons and suicide. My point is that Matthew falls into the habit of so many political ideologues by appealing to a term of generalization so loaded with emotion that its use cannot be analytical, but rhetorical. It is a rhetorical device that does more to foster fear and divisiveness than it does the kind of novel understanding required to be true to the specific contextual conditions of a unique community. It tosses Roach’s community into the irrational bin of “mad cultists”, thereby subverting a more sophisticated understanding of the reasoning behind certain practices.

In a personal e-mail I received from an acquaintance and fellow EJ writer, I was advised:

I do not find it useful to use loaded terms like “cult” in reference to such incidents. It stifles open communication and puts the other side on the defensive. Groups and individuals are complex and it is best to allow the “real story” to reflect that complexity.

I’m really grateful for this feedback. I’m aware of the consequences of the word-usage and the potential for over-simplification. But the reasoning of Kyle and others does not resolve the question for me, which is not a matter of definition so much as one of aesthetics, or, as Kyle would say: rhetoric. “Cult” is jarring and confrontational, and I think it has a balancing potential for the “it’s-all-good” tone of Diamond Mountain defenders. In a way, I use words in the same way I use herbs or food or daily routine changes with my Ayurveda clients: to directly and sensually address a given imbalance. Roach has been presenting his airbrushed and saccharine view of his organization with impunity from his soapbox for years, and has now issued a corporate apologia for Thorson’s death from within the logic of his circular metaphysics. I believe a completely different labeling of the situation can push all of us closer to clarity. My stridency might have therapeutic, if not definitional, value.

What I know for sure is that my own story of self-extraction from cultic environments and fascinations was speedily advanced on the day an outside friend who’d known me for years looked me in the eye and said: “You are in a cult. You know that, don’t you?” I protested, of course. But my friend didn’t back down. He repeated the word several times, spitting out the c and the t, and gripping his tongue around the l. The word broke through a particularly stubborn and neurotic defense, and made me look carefully at my dependency and fear of leaving.

For some scholars of religion and sociology, “cult” has a specific definitional threshold, but the jury is far from settled. Sociologists who argue for value-neutrality and advocate the analysis of groups according to their own terms wish we’d all replace the term with “New Religious Movement”. But others feel they can’t, because “New Religious Movement” is vanishingly vague when we started using it to designate both Heaven’s Gate and Anusara Yoga.

One of the more commonly quoted definitions of “cult” was articulated at an ICSA/UCLA Wingspread Conference on Cultism in 1985:

Cult (totalist type): A group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g. isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.), designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders, to the actual or possible detriment of members,  their families, or the community. (West & Langone, 1986, pp. 119-120)

How does this all apply to Diamond Mountain? Let’s take a look:

  • Great/excessive devotion to a person or idea? Obviously.
  • Manipulative techniques? Cf: Roach’s constant exaggerations and PR. And, for a future article: his gaze and bullying speech patterns.
  • Isolation from former friends and family? Not overt, although obsessive meditation retreats in the Arizona desert might certainly isolate members from non-members. Then there are the countless awkward conversations over Christmas dinner between believers and non-believers.
  • Debilitation? Not that I’m aware of, but I would be interested to know how many of Roach’s core students are B12 deficient after 15+ years of dietary restriction, and how many, regardless of constitution, might have been encouraged to regularly fast.
  • Special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience? How about the virtual absence of open-ended inquiry meditation from Roach’s curriculum? As JOsh reports in the comments:

…from talking to students, the practice of the higher teachings involved literally hours of ‘canned’ reflections that came from his [Roach’s] textbooks. meditation as i have learned and practiced in other settings was entirely absent… the teachings were extended ‘reflections’ that involved tracing a line of argument or doctrine in detail. this isn’t without precedent in buddhism or necessarily a problem, but does give him a tremendous amount of power over his students’ inner lives.

  • Powerful group pressures? I certainly felt from 1998 to 2000 a powerful and anxiety-ridden pressure to attend all of Roach’s teaching events, wherever they were in the world and regardless of how much they cost to attend, lest I should “miss” something. Roach had a very business-savvy way of leaving almost every topic “unfinished”, to up the ante for future attendance. A manufactured scarcity of knowledge is central to the charismatic economy. The leader’s power rises in conjunction with his inaccessibility, which I believe is one of the hidden purposes and effects of globe-trotting guru-ism.
  • Information management? Insofar as DMU philosophy is self-isolating from other branches of Buddhism, I would say: yes. JOsh comments: “DM’s tibetan language and buddhist philosophy are so idiosyncratic as to be unintelligible to outsiders.”
  • Suspension of individuality or critical judgment? Someday I’ll present a video-diorama of Roach-trained teachers, who down to the last one eerily mimic his jolly-bullying presentation style and even his speech patterns, while presenting what they have learned from him verbatim with zero critical overview.
  • Promotion of total dependency? Obviously, radical forms of guru yoga are both taught and felt.

There are other measures of cultishness. According to the “Group Psychological Abuse Scale”, the current metric sociologists are using to assess cultic dynamics, we are instructed to look for, among other things:

  • Members postponing personal, vocational, and educational goals in order to work for the group.
  • Members being discouraged from displaying negative emotions.
  • Members who feel like they are part of a special elite.
  • Members who learn special exercises (e.g., meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues) to push doubts or negative thoughts out of consciousness.
  • Raising money being the major goal of the group.
  • Members who are incapable of independent critical thinking.
  • Members who believe their leader is divine.
  • Members who proselytize.

Every single one of these descriptions is arguably applicable to the devotees of Roach.

Still, the word is sticky, and I’m sure the argument will continue. I’ll leave the last word here to Herbert L. Rosedale, Esq., and Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. and their essay On Using the Term “Cult”:

Even though the term “cult” has limited utility, it is so embedded in popular culture that those of us concerned about helping people harmed by group involvements or preventing people from being so harmed cannot avoid using it. Whatever the term’s limitations, it points us in a meaningful direction. And no other term relevant to group psychological manipulation (e.g., sociopsychological influence, coercive persuasion, undue influence, exploitive manipulation) has ever been able to capture and sustain public interest, which is the sine qua non of public education. If, however, we cannot realistically avoid the term, let us at least strive to use it judiciously.

 

Was My Post Malicious?

I have a clear personal grievance against Roach, for which I feel no need to apologize, and for which I take responsibility. I met him when I was profoundly depressed and wayward, and I surrendered to his charisma and messianic exuberance.  In my desperation and loneliness I bought his Pollyanna philosophy with my last intellectual penny, along with his continual assertions that every other therapeutic tool available to us through the hard work of our general culture was bankrupt. “Psychotherapy can’t help you, but Buddhism can”, he would say. And I nodded and wept, not understanding that my pain was interpersonal, not metaphysical. I needed to find authenticity, relationship and intersubjectivity. Roach, through a toxic combination of zeal and narcissism, threw me and many others off the hard trail towards integration. I spun my wheels in his dharma-mud, digging myself deeper, disrupting my home and family life, wasting years I’ll never get back. And not one person in his sangha ever looked me in the eye during all those years and asked: How are you feeling about all of this? Because being part of the group wasn’t about relationship. Being there was about Roach and his fantastical ideas, and, I suppose, eventually gaining enough moxy to mimic his grandiosity.

As many of my critics point out, I am definitely angry. Then they go on to patronizingly suggest that I haven’t done my healing work, or that anger is a sign of immaturity, something to be ashamed of, something unethical. I think they’re angry that I’m angry. But perhaps beneath the indignation they are unconsciously threatened by my freedom to be angry, my freedom to think and express exactly what they may be so painfully repressing.

I am angry about my lost years and Roach’s megalomania. But most of all I am angry at how what duped a younger and more vulnerable me so long ago has now spun itself into a corporate web of solipsism and power and self-justification, resulting in the appointment of an unqualified student/ex-lover as Retreat Director, and the untreated madness of her husband. I hope that being transparent about my anger models for Roach’s students who now teeter on the fence the fact that anger is usually necessary to bring about the rupture of any dysfunctional relationship.

I write with wrath, but not malice. It is my fervent hope that through this discourse Roach’s devotees may be exposed to the various tools of integration: skepticism, shadow work, the recognition of magical thinking. And most of all, I hope they heal their failure to develop ambivalence. As Melanie Klein showed: if we cannot see or accept the simultaneous light and dark within ourselves and others, we will divide our world into perfect Roaches who hold the keys to our salvation, and satanic Remskis out to destroy the good and the true. Neither really exist.

 

Dirty Jewels on the Comment Thread

In the more than 600 comments on the original post so far, several issues of note have arisen – some old, some new – that I think warrant further attention.  Of course, online sources can’t easily be verified, but I’d like to give these commenters the benefit of the doubt, and collate their input here, along with the further questions that emerge.

 

Ian Thorson, d. 4/22/2012

Ian’s malnutrition:

Neighbouring rancher Jerry Kelly writes that one of the Emergency Rescue Team workers who found Thorson’s body said that he weighed less than 100 pounds. The Cochise County deputy I spoke to also said that malnourishment was probably a factor in his death. We hear from commenter Warren Clarke (and can presume from the letter of Venerables Chandra and Akasha) that Ven. Chandra was likely a key food supplier for Thorson and McNally as they were hiding in the cave. If he was their source, why was Ven. Chandra unable to procure enough food for the couple? Was there no-one to help him? Was he so bound by secrecy to the couple that he could not ask for help, even as he might have become aware that they were ailing? Was this the assistant assigned to the couple by the Board? Was the assignment of a devotee really the best choice in a situation fraught with dangerous devotion and secrecy? Was he so blinded by devotional perspective and emptiness theory that he may have interpreted the couple’s sickness and malnutrition as the continuation of a retreat with “great success and joy”, as he described it in his joint letter?

 

A Bomb from Sid Johnson, former Diamond Mountain Board of Directors Member:

I’ll just quote directly from commenter Sid Johnson:

I was involved with this group from 1999 to 2005, and sat on the original board of directors at the beginning of the first 3-year retreat. I could write a book (and maybe someday I will) about the dysfunction and general madness that permeated every aspect of this bizarre organization. It is embarrassing now to admit that I willfully participated, and I sense it is this same embarrassment that keeps other former members from coming forward. At some point I will disclose more, like the details of the “initiation” I witnessed, including the infamous incident in which Mr. Roach stabbed himself in the hand in front of a room full of students, setting the precedent for magical interpretations of violence. I share Matthew’s concern that others may be in danger…

Roach, stabbing himself in public?

 

Roach Apparently Broke DMU’s Weapon’s Prohibition Himself

Several respondents confirmed Johnson’s report of the self-stabbing, including one to me directly by personal e-mail.

In the comment thread, Greg reports:

I was there, but my memory is vague now. Christie and Roach were lecturing together at DM, and Christie said something about devotion to partners (Lamas?). Then, in a half joking sort of way, she said something about how she wouldn’t be surprised if Roach might hurt himself if she asked him to. Roach immediately picked up the knife with one hand and, despite faint protests from Christie, seemed to stab his other hand, which was placed flat on the ground (they were both seated on the floor). It was hard to see. Christie appeared distressed, and his hand was quickly wrapped in a kata, which then showed drops of blood. The lecture continued. I remember wondering at the time if it was a planned stunt.

Phurba comments:

I also thought of this and believe it is a solid reference point for this situation, especially considering Roach’s condemnation of possessing or using a weapon at DM in his public letter.

 

Scrutiny of Roach’s Metaphysics: Gelukpa or New-Age?

Many respondents to my piece focused on the philosophical teachings of Roach, fuelling the long-running controversy around whether or not what he presents can be held as coherent with Gelukpa orthodoxy. But at many points the discourse also explored whether his radical (I use the word “solipsistic”) interpretation of emptiness theory might play a role in the ungrounded self-referentiality that allows dangerous situations to be interpreted as spiritual opportunities, like Thorson’s violent outbursts as signs of “sensitivity” or McNally’s near-mortal swashbuckling as “divine play”.

Of particular dispute is Roach’s oft-claimed mantra of “everything comes from karma”, his simplified (or simplistic) interpretation of Madhyamika Prasangika theory, which he has claimed for 25 years is the “highest” view of Buddhist philosophy – meaning that the flaws of other views disqualify them as paths to authenticity and full evolution. Frank Jude Boccio, an ordained Zen priest, points out in the comment thread that not only is this rhetoric divisive “sectarian bullshit”, but that the Buddha also seems to have taught against such a narrow view. Referencing the Pali Canon, Boccio describes the five causal orders that comprise experiential reality: the inorganic, the organic, the karmic, the natural, and the psychic. Boccio is a good resource for the discussion of worldview at Diamond Mountain because he has experience of the sangha there as a visiting teacher, and can describe how its knowledge base has significant blinders. He writes:

When I first moved to Tucson, I was amazed at how when I started teaching, it seemed everyone I’d meet with any interest or curiosity in buddhism thought Michael Roach and his group WERE buddhism. As my wife once said, “It seems he has a monopoly on the dharma here in Tucson.” I sat in on a course given on The Diamond Sutra and was quite surprised to find that we’d not be reading the Sutra at all: the text was nothing but “commentary” from Roach! The others were equally surprised when I shared that in my zen training, reading/reciting the Diamond Sutra for myself everyday for almost a year PRECEDED any lectures from my teacher! As I told them, I was encouraged to think for myself and question what I studied.

Sometime last year, I was invited to give monthly talks at Three Jewels, because some of the students, aware that all they knew of buddhism was what they have learned from Roach, and curious to hear of other perspectives thought my non-sectarian style would provide some balance. These talks draw very few people, however. But those who do attend often express surprise at the divergence from what they have been taught. One profound point, I think relevant here, is the notion that EVERYTHING that happens is a result of “karma.” When I shared that the Buddha seems to have taught AGAINST this view, and offered five different forms of causality, only one of which is “karma” (based upon volition) I could see some major cognitive dissonance arising!

Another Diamond Mountain epithet (“Roachism”, as they are coming to be called) that deeply rankles more nuanced interpreters of Buddhist philosophy is first stated in the comment thread by Eric Brinkman, who says that he has been Roach’s student for twelve years and flies around the world to film Roach’s events. He writes: “What we teach is that if you are kind to others you can reach your wildest dreams.” I remember this claim from fourteen years ago, when Roach gave entire courses on the power of virtuous actions in “Creating Your Own Buddha Paradise”, which you could furnish with dancing girls and Crazy Horse jamming in your living room, if that was your thing. In further comments, Brinkman’s critics were clearly disgusted at the jingoism. (Integralhack suggested it sounds like “Buddhism meets The Secret”.) I personally think it’s a profoundly despairing position in the Kierkegaardian sense: a magical-thinking trauma-response lacking existential depth, which punishes good and decent people for “perceiving” the inevitable sorrow life brings.

 

Scrutiny of Roach’s Vows: Should He Have Disrobed When He and McNally Became Lovers? And What About Us Regular People Who Like Buddhism but Still Enjoy Sex and Want to Have Authentic Relationships?

After Roach and McNally came out of the yurt in 2003 and declared their partnership, their supporters (cued by their public statements) began to claim that spiritual partnership is common within Gelukpa tantric practice, and acceptable for qualified monks, although it normally remains hidden. Some supporters still claim that the Dalai Lama has spoken publicly about his own spiritual consorts, but none provide references to this point. Roach’s liberal interpretation of celibacy has been roundly criticized by the more orthodox, who reference Roach’s censure by the Public Office of the Dalai Lama in 2006 over this precise issue.

What Roach’s followers do with this dispute is a classic study in the resolution of cognitive dissonance: if a pillar of your leader’s credibility (his claimed celibacy) is found to be shaky, it is easier to re-invent the entire culture to accord with his behaviour than to admit that he is an opportunist or a liar. Because if he is a liar, your emotional and financial investments in him are a sunk-cost, and this is intolerable. Thus: Roach must have taken a consort because the Dalai Lama does, although the Dalai Lama of course would keep his own behaviour under wraps. I’ve even heard Roach’s students imply that the Dalai Lama may publicly disapprove of Roach’s consort practice because he is bound by tradition, but that secretly (always secretly!) he has given Roach his assent, and secretly (always secretly!) hopes that Roach’s liberality begins to change the stuffy and misogynistic Gelukpa culture from within. The investment of devotion can compel people to rationalize anything.

But honestly: the sexual intrigue aspect is ridiculous to me, and terribly sad. I for one would have hoped that Roach and McNally had had wildly fulfilling shrieking-out-loud yurt-bouncing sex, but I’m afraid that their own views, along with the spiritual culture they were appropriating, were too sex-conflicted for them to have any real orgiastic release. Whether he should have disrobed is a doctrinal issue of little importance to me as a non-believer, until I see that his refusal to disrobe begins to fit the general pattern of Roach always seeming to want it both ways. Monk but not a monk. Businessman and renunciate. Toe-the-line conservative and crazy wisdom provocateur. Good boy and bad boy. Even this is forgivable to me as one who appreciates a good public chameleon, except that with Roach, one persona is always lying to the other, probably so that the cash can continue to pour in. The most famous example of this outright lying is in Roach’s account, during the Retreat Teachings of 2000 (To the Inner Kingdom, October 2000), of his yurt-bound “aloneness”:

…We were alone, each person. The nights are very dark, and there are many, many strange sounds…

…Every kind of creepy, crawly, desert thing has crawled in people’s yards and yurts, and sometimes very frightening things, but I think, the hardest think is the loneliness, to be alone for month after month.

We see each other for the holidays, like Sojong, confession ceremony, twice a month. When we’re in deep retreat we don’t see each other at all, so for a month or maybe two months. Each person has been very strong, become strong, and they showed a lot of courage, and respected the retreat boundaries. They’ve worked very, very hard. They worked for, some of them years, to learn the meditations and visualizations that they have to do. We don’t allow ourselves any other kind of stimulation, there’s only meditation and some study of what to meditate about, and each person has done it very, very well.

Outsiders should understand that if in 2000 Roach were to have revealed that his solitude actually included a shared bed with McNally, his ambitious fundraising for various projects would have ground to a halt amidst general confusion and dismay. I don’t mind a guy who likes to play both sides of his identity when the purpose is aesthetic. But when the play is political-economic and seeks to colonize people’s enthusiasm and cash with a narcissistic philosophy that provides cold consolation for their despair, I get angry.

And what happens to a community comprised mostly of householders whose primary teachers are engaged in what they describe as non-sexual intimacy, the nature of which is shrouded in a radiant hush? Roach and McNally are intimate, but they don’t have sex. They are too elevated to be “sexual”. They have renounced desire so much that they can stoop to engage in the “dirtiness” of esoteric intercourse, but only to inflate their meditative grandiosity, so that they can end war in the Middle East and stop global warming. What I witnessed back in my day was a lot of couples devoting themselves to Roach, idealizing the celebrity relationship to the diminishment of their own, being confronted by this model of sexless sex, and becoming very confused in the bedroom. Should we or shouldn’t we? Is kissing and cuddling a faster way to enlightenment than woman-on-top? If I’m aroused, can I still be focused on the Tibetan alphabet?

After my tenure with the group, Roach and McNally began traveling the world teaching the spiritual practices they claimed would transform every relationship into a “spiritual partnership”. Forget the Gestalt prayer or intersubjectivity, or even simple presence: spouses now had to be angels to each other, heroes, gods – and the bedroom became a mandala-spaceship of super-sexy no-touchy transcendence.

To give an idea of how knotted up this all was and went on to be, I’ll quote from an old interview given by Roach and McNally back in 2003. Roach confesses:

…it’s completely wrong for an ordained person to have any form of sexual activity. It’s completely forbidden. It’s the first of all monks’ vows. And a monk can never engage in sexual activity at all. And I never have. I mean, I’ve masturbated, and things that are wrong, and I’ve gone to my lama and confessed them, and I think any ordained person who is honest will say it’s a struggle, and then over years of practice you become self- celibate. And if you’re honest, I heard that many great lamas have said that the only disciples they believe are the ones who come and confess things to them. Like, “I looked at a woman.” I never broke any of those vows in a major way. I never had any kind of sexual contact with a woman since I was 21 or 22. And then in very extraordinary rare cases, it’s important, it’s useful, to do special kind of physical yoga with a divine being. And in the vinaya texts, I think even in the Tsotik, which is the basic huge vinaya text for the monasteries, you don’t break your vows if you engage in high yoga with a divine being. It isn’t anything normal at all.

That’s the first part of the answer. The second part of the answer is in the actual practice of higher physical forms of tantric yoga, these are extremely difficult, physically, extremely – they are unpleasant, quite unpleasant for the physical body, and quite … [Christie: exhausting] difficult for the physical body. They are like doing yoga for four hours a day or five hours a day, and it’s not fun. And it’s not a joke, and it’s a life-or-death attempt to become a being who can serve all living creatures before you die, and I don’t perceive it in any other way. And it’s no fun. And people who truly want to learn those practices, unless they are extremely disciplined and dedicated, they would quit within a week.

So kiddies: be together, but don’t have sex. Or: have something like sex, but certainly don’t enjoy it. Because if you do enjoy it, you know it’s not working towards its ultimate purpose of saving the whole wide world. This sex-not-sex business is not fun. Okay? It’s really hard. It’s not fun! Most of you are wimps who would totally give up on this great holy sex-not-sex path on like the first night. Okay? So don’t get any sexy ideas. It’s not fun! Got it?

I can’t think of a more destructive message to share with people who genuinely struggle in their relationships to come towards deeper authenticity and embodied intimacy. It presents an impossible ideal based upon a metaphysics that takes the most common and tender of human interactions as a sign of debauchery. As if we all didn’t already have enough self-doubt and bodily self-hatred to deal with already.

Interestingly, statement  #1 on the “Group Psychological Abuse Scale” (the current working metric sociologists are using to assess cultic dynamics) is “The group does not tell members how to conduct their sex lives.” Respondents are requested to gauge whether this statement matches their group experience on a scale of 1 (not at all characteristic of the group) to 5 (very characteristic of the group).

The sexuality-contortionism is one thing. But as a therapist, I see a deeper relational issue here at work: that of endless romantic projection and magical thinking displacing the will towards presence and communication within the love relationship. In Roach’s economy, the dyad does not relate to each other to mutually embody empathy and growth. Rather: each partner uses the other to improve their karmic bank balance.

Ben reports from the comment thread:

Another aspect of the teachings at DM is that if you see something undesirable in your partner, instead of dealing with it with them through discussion or counseling, you plant the karmic seeds to see a perfect partner and they will change. I’ve pointed out that this totally negates the thoughts, motivations and will of the other person and have been told that, no, the other person still has thoughts, motivations and will but they are all coming from you.

What is tragic about this self-focused approach is that counseling and conscious communication can be such a profound path to walk in our discovery of the other.

There are aspects of Roach’s relationship teaching that seem borderline autistic, insofar as autism-spectrum challenges often involve a failure to develop a “theory of other minds”. Roach and McNally missed the entire gift of relationship, it would seem. Instead of experiencing relationship as a way of truly encountering the insoluble mystery of the other and negotiating difference, they seem to have used it to mirror for each other the iteration of fantastical and desperate wishes.

I’m not surprised they didn’t last together. They were legally divorced December 1st, 2010 in Yavapai County, Arizona. Their legal marriage, of course, had also been a secret. Which is why, perhaps, no eyebrows were raised at McNally’s very public wedding to Thorson in Montauk, New York, on October 4th of that same year. (Two months before the divorce.)

 

Scrutiny of Roach’s Spiritual Claims

It is an insult to ones fellow humans to claim revelatory knowledge. No matter how it is dressed up, it is the ultimate nyah-nyah. It is particularly insulting within Roach’s appropriated Tibetan tradition. And yet he has done exactly this, continually by implication since at least the mid-90s, and then directly via public announcement in 2003. In recent years he is said to have upped the ante amongst his close personal students by claiming that his revelations have brought him to a state of “No-More-Learning”, an achievement in tantric metaphysics akin to saying: “I am on the verge of full enlightenment.” For those of you out of the loop, Tibetan Buddhist tantric enlightenment is not some chilled-out state of mind. It is divinity itself: omniscience, omnilocality, and immortality. Plus: not needing to eat or defecate, being able to fly anywhere in the universe instantly, and having bones made of diamonds.

Roach has built his brand on the fumes of a mystical experience he had in his early twenties. When I started with him, he would tell his story in the subjunctive mood at almost every gathering. Everyone knew the story wasn’t hypothetical: it was a thinly-veiled autobiographical tale, which the tradition couldn’t allow him to declare openly. He spoke of his meditative epiphany in the second person: “you’ve studied with your lama for many years, and you’re meditating for hours every day, and suddenly you become aware of how you are constructing and naming your world…”. The second person address preserved a veneer of anonymity, but also functioned to possess many of us with the captivating suggestion: this could happen to me.

His spiritual claims were a very sharp hook for his early-adopters. I myself longed for something similar, and was shaken to the core by Roach’s tears when he spoke of his memory so wistfully. It took me years to realize that I and almost everyone around me has had consistently similar epoches while entranced by art or nature or a lover. The difference is that it never occurred to me to mythologize and commodify my most private ecstasies.

But his coming-out with McNally in 2003 was a challenge to the Tibetan cultural orthodoxy that necessitated the dropping of his 90’s subterfuge and required a full-monty declaration of his spiritual powers. In his January 16th 2003 “Letter to My Lamas” he versifies:

I was born in America,
And from the age of sixteen
Up to the present day
Have always been under the care
Of the Diamond Angel, Vajra Yogini.

At the age of twenty,
I travelled to India,
Land of the Aryas, realized beings,
And first met the sages of Tibet.

And then at the age of 22,
Despite the fact that I myself
Had no good qualities at all,
A seed inside of me
Suddenly awakened, a seed
Which was planted by the many efforts
Of the me of my past lives,
And by the infinite blessings
Of my Lama.

And so I saw ultimate reality directly,
And I achieved bodhichitta,
The Wish for Enlightenment:
I entered the gate
To the first level
Of the bodhisattvas.

Well, the Buddhist world had conniptions over this one. And they’re still upset, if the comment-thread to my post provides a good sample. Not only because it is illegal to announce such realizations (because they are unprovable and therefore pedagogically useless, not to mention culturally embarassing), but because he goes on to directly utilize this claim to justify his heterodox behaviour:

I completed, as well as I could,
Many retreats in the tradition
Of the Diamond Queen;
And now for three years
In isolation, in the desert
Here in America,
In a small Mongolian yurt,
With a Lady, who is an emanation
Of the Angel of Diamond, a Messenger;
And I’ve undertaken the hardships needed
To try to complete the two stages
Of the secret teachings.

The takeaway here is that Roach claims continuous mystical insight that puts him on the verge of omniscience and allows him to publicly crown McNally not as his lover but as an actual deity.  What is the cost of believing all of this? For many, it costs years of devotional service and millions of dollars in tax-deductible donations. For McNally, it initiates a spiral of seeming self-delusion. (Imagine your powerful lover, 20 years your senior, declaring you to be a goddess!) For some, it entails eventually following McNally into retreat. For Thorson, it entailed following even further, to the very end of his life-blood.

 

Scrutiny of Roach’s Geshe Degree and Relationship to Sera Mey Monastery

Roach has continually stated orally and in published bio notes since I met him in 1998 that his Geshe degree was granted at the culmination of 20 years of study at Sera Mey Monastery, which is currently located, in exile, in Bylakuppe, Karnataka province, South India. The details of these 20 years are interrogated by the writers of a now-defunct site (but handily web-archived) that was critical of Roach. When pressed for more detail, Roach refines the narrative to say that much of this education occurred in the New Jersey home of his root-teacher, Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin. Roach himself provides an extensive narrative of his education in this interview, in which he describes successfully fulfilling the six rigorous examination requirements, including publicly debating philosophy before the full assembly of doctoral candidates. But some dispute the authenticity of his account, and the degree itself. In the comment thread to my article, Tenpel writes:

BTW, a real Geshe from Sera, who studied with Roach in Sera, and who is teaching in Monastery Nalanda / France said, that Roach studied all together not more than 4 years at Sera monastery. His title was given as an honorific title for his financial sponsorship.

I am a fully ordained Buddhist monk and was in Nalanda monastery, France, in Dec. 2006. During the Vinaya teachings the question about Roach came up and Geshe Jamphal replied that he knows him from Sera, that they shared classes but that Roach were [sic] often absent and that he all in all might have studied only for four years there.

I asked (either him or another Geshe) why he has a Geshe title, and the reply was, that also cooks who didn’t study can receive a Geshe title as an honour to their work. Roach is known of having financed Sera very much…

If one understands the rigorous studies and the study content in the Gelug monasteries to attain a Geshe title for such a person it is clear that this cannot be accomplished under a single teacher in New Jersey.

I remember studying Gelukpa epistemology at Sera Mey for a month in the fall of 1999 with the scholar Geshe Thubten Rinchen, while Roach simultaneously translated. The monastery was like any bustling Indian city. I remember rising at 4am and walking amongst the barrack-like houses of chanting young men, and coming across the cookhouse where a score of burly monks would be stirring a great vat of bubbling dal with 10-foot-long wooden paddles. There were a thousand feral dogs, and courier-monks speeding by on farting auto-rickshaws, their robes flying. I remember the ragged and unwashed boys, the butter statues, the prayer wheels, the temples, and the clouds of dust rolling on the hot wind. I got deliriously sick there after dropping my room key into an open sewage toilet and having to fish it out with my bare hands – a Jungian moment if there ever was one. I remember vividly feeling that there were countless things I would never understand about this culture, its politics, its language, and its sentiments. It was one of those times in which the impenetrability of otherness provided a perfect mirror for the mystery of my own personhood. In the dust of Karnataka, I felt the exhaustion of my own journey.

Indeed, the inner workings of Sera Mey monastery are exceedingly complex. Financial sponsorship is necessary and pursued from multiple sources, especially as the monastery attempts to provide for its exile community a basic level of literacy and nutrition. The organizational structure is decentralized and nodal, with numerous administrators responsible for securing funding sources from familial and governmental patrons, as well as sympathetic benefactors from abroad. The economy seems to be a patchwork of bursting-at-the-seams and just-getting-by. Roach’s philanthropy did not likely involve handing poster-board-sized checks over to the monastery CEO in public ceremonies, or endowing a publicly-accountable trust or foundation. What is much more likely is that pockets of funding made their way to individual administrators, who through time became Roach supporters and validators.

In January of 2003, when Roach made his public declaration of mystical achievement, he sent his claims directly to his Sera Mey contacts, asking them for spiritual endorsements, which would, of course, attract more funding:

  • Gyalrong Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Ngawang Thekchok
  • Kongpo Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Jampa Donyo
  • Gyume Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Trinley Tobgye
  • Sermey Geshe Thupten Rinchen
  • Sermey Geshe Lobsang Thardo
  • Sermey Geshe Thupten Tenzin

All of these teachers and administrators, except for Sermey Geshe Lobsang Thardo, allegedly wrote back to Roach within a month with their endorsements. (I say “allegedly” because it should be noted that the originals of these letters have never been posted, and that Roach himself has translated them from Tibetan.) Roach also wrote to his root-teacher Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin in New Jersey, and to the Dalai Lama. He received no publicized response from either. He also sent his claims to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the head of FPMT, from which Roach has been banned. Lama Zopa coyly rebuked Roach’s mystical claims with the ironic suggestion that Roach should prove his magic powers with some old-timey miracles, like showing his ability to urinate in reverse, for example. I’ve heard no reports of Roach reverse-urinating, although he does claim other miracles, like the mystical bilocation of a rosary in this interview.

A woman named Karen Visser wrote to me by e-mail last week. Though not an official spokesperson for Sera Mey, she says she is familiar with the monastery through her long-term relationships with two former abbots. In dialogue with her I’ve come to suspect that these florid endorsements (if they are authentic) did not likely emerge from Sera Mey officially, but from individual administrators acting from within the context of their own complex relationships with Roach, and may be obfuscated by layers of etiquette, cross-cultural misunderstanding, and acute financial need.

Visser tells a rich story of recent Tibetan history, hope, and hardship:

Much of what is happening now is simply a result of this unique moment in history. Having English speaking teachers of Tibetan Buddhism and having texts translated into English is a very new thing. Remember, we’re only 53 years into post 1959 Tibetan history. Compared to any other religion in the West that’s no time at all.

I have close ties to Sera Mey monastery and I’d like you to know that there was a lot of hope and good intentions at the beginning. Michael Roach is a renegade now and the despair of his teachers at Sera Mey. They parted ways a long time ago but it didn’t start out that way.

It’s important to remember that after walking out of Tibet in 1959 all the monks (the Rinpoches and Geshes too) were physically building monasteries throughout the 60’s and 70’s. They were hauling rocks and bags of cement, they weren’t teaching Westerners. My old lamas tell stories of working so long and hard to rebuild their monastery that they didn’t “untie their belts for 2 months” which means they fell asleep in their robes, under the stars, never having the luxury of relaxing.

Work, pray, sleep. They had almost no food and learned Hindi and Karnataka dialect depending on where their monastery was being rebuilt, not English. They only resumed their studies in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Even then virtually no Tibetans in the monasteries spoke English, only the monks who dealt with the money, donors and suppliers.

That’s why there simply aren’t enough qualified teachers who speak languages other than Tibetan at the moment, because this is all still new. It’s very frustrating for students looking for a teacher but it can’t be rushed – learning English takes some time, and learning Tibetan isn’t easy either.

And so – into this gap rush eager, well intentioned, but unqualified, teachers.

I don’t believe Michael Roach, Christie Mcnally or Ian Thorson ever thought of themselves as unqualified. But they are, they were. A monk friend at Sera Mey told me that the qualifications that Christie and Ian referred to as being “from Tibetan monasteries” consisted of a month-long teaching in 1999 on mind and mental factors or mental cognition.

A month as a guest in a monastery isn’t training, it’s a mini workshop. Without speaking Tibetan, or the more difficult ‘dharma language’ in which teachings are given (which is to Tibetan what Latin is to English) without years of training, without being able to ask questions of the lamas – they are well-intentioned amateur dharma tourists.

I’m sure they love their students. But a surgeon who has only watched surgery for a month is a danger to everyone he or she practices on, whether she loves them or not. There may have been a few more workshops but not enough to make them qualified teachers.

As to their own teacher, Michael Roach, the Tibetans were very naive when he was at Sera. At the time Michael was getting his Geshe degree the monks remembered Robert Thurman, who did so well after studying Tibetan and dharma. It was harder for the Tibetans to read Westerners then: they had no idea initially that anything was wrong.

Michael Roach did try to be a good student in the short time he was there. He couldn’t participate fully in the debates that are an essential and crucial part of Geshe training in the way a Tibetan Geshe student is expected to, but he worked on his translation skills. Everyone in the monastery understood that his language skills wouldn’t allow for him to come up to the tough standards of a Tibetan Geshe but they appreciated that he was doing so much. It was understood that his degree would be an honorary one, given with great joy to a Western student. The monks felt the world was changing. Westerners would come to study at the monasteries, and learn Tibetan. The monks would learn English: dharma would spread throughout the world.

The bitter, heart-wrenching disappointment the Tibetan monastic community felt when Michael Roach was found to be living in a yurt, in his monk’s robes, with a girl who thought she was Vajrayogini, while teaching Tibetan dharma is impossible to describe. His Holiness was said to have dropped his tea cup when he heard the news, it smashed on the floor. Unusual for someone who rarely loses his composure. The abbot of Sera Mey was devastated, absolutely gutted.

To put this into perspective – my very close friend, who walked out of Tibet in the 80’s, is a Lharampa Geshe. He was first in his year at the debates, hand picked by his abbot to come to the West to teach. He had to wait 10 years after graduating to be considered qualified to teach. The Sera Mey Geshes were horrified that Michael Roach went out and taught right away, he didn’t truly understand the stuff he was teaching. He hadn’t asked enough questions, hadn’t done the right retreats. In my own opinion he wasn’t a true Geshe, in the traditional sense, any more that a celebrity is a true Ph.D when they’re given the degree for helping a university.

At present there is absolutely no bond between Michael Roach and Sera Mey. If Michael Roach says there is a connection of any kind he’s drawing on stuff that happened more than a decade ago. He’s caused nothing but pain at Sera, they so regret having ordained him that it is virtually impossible for a Westerner to be given ordination at the Gelug monasteries in South India now.

Sera knows what’s going on, the office of HH knows, but he has defied them all. Short of finding him, holding him down and tickling him until he agrees to take off his monastic robes, it looks like there’s nothing anyone can do. There’s no legal basis nor cultural precedent to track down a Westerner and take the robes back forcibly. Or to ask him to stop teaching. And, frankly, HH and the abbots of Sera Mey have had so many knives in the air that they’ve had to let go of the idea of changing Michael Roach. The Chinese Communists for awhile were sending young men to Sera to take robes, then run wild in town in order to shame the monastery. There are always money problems: just feeding that many monks becomes the first priority.

Michael Roach has been instructed very firmly: “Take off your monk’s robes.” by his abbot and by HHDL, the lineage holder. He sees himself as beyond all that, I suppose. I don’t know what’s in his head. He really did set up a cult, to the despair of everyone who taught him. His former students must feel so disappointed and betrayed, sad probably.

None of this contaminates any of Michael Roach’s or Christie’s students. Those students went with a good heart and good intentions. No one saw this coming. The students are as innocent as the abbot who ordained Michael Roach. It needed everyone’s approval. Everyone made errors in judgment, right up the line.

If there is indeed a complex quid-pro-quo going on underneath Roach’s educational and cultural-validation narrative, it might signify deeper financial entanglements between a few opportunistic members of his order and his quest for legitimacy. The prolific commenter Phurba and others bring up an incident from Roach’s ill-fated Indian pilgrimage of 2006, during which he was barred from teaching in Dharamsala by the Public Office of the Dalai Lama, not only for appearing to flaunt his celibacy vows, but also for committing the dire cultural faux-pas of scheduling a presentation during the Dalai Lama’s own public teachings without permission. He relocated his teaching an hour away, but then allegedly arranged that a  monk appear bearing certain ritual presents to him, which he pretended came from the Dalai Lama. The alleged show was an effort to paper over the rebuke and re-legitimize his status within the Gelukpa hierarchy. This revelation drove many students away.

 

Input from Other Buddhist Community Experiences

NathanGThompson writes of the necessity for a Board of Directors that is independent from the spiritual director of any sangha, to prevent the coalescence and abuse of power:

I am the current president of our zen center’s board of directors, and have spent the last 5 years on our board, following the debacle I alluded to above [an abuse of power by the spiritual director of his sangha] . One thing to note about the board under our former teacher is that the entire group was handpicked by him, and they basically rubber stamped his ideas. Those who challenged him were ostracized, and more than a few prominent members and assistant teachers were forced out or left in the years prior to his downfall. I was part of a team that revised our governing structure a few years after our former teacher’s ousting, and it was quite clear that he had stacked the by laws and other governing documents completely in his favor as well. We also had a grievance committee that was handpicked by the teacher. At every turn, the leadership was under his thumb. So, it’s really not enough to say things like the board is dealing with these issues. Because they probably are, and yet, if the board’s structure is anything like ours was, then the work they are doing is compromised.

In a similar vein, Michael Stone told me over the phone: “None of this can happen – the secrecy, the power inequities, and the spiritual obfuscation – if the Board is strong and independent of the teacher.”

 

The View of the Locals

Reading commenters Jerry Kelly (neighbouring rancher) and Warren Clarke (a recent Great Retreat assistant) banter back and forth about the local geography, characters, illegal migrations, drug gangs and Border Patrol guys is like reading a Zane Grey novel or eavesdropping on an outback CB. For men who know the area, they make it clear that most of the Diamond Mountain administration is “greenhorn”: unfamiliar with the topography, ignorant of the old-timer neighbours and their resources, and overly romantic about the land itself. These are the folks who know the Rescue Unit guys as neighbours, who hike the back-country regularly, and who, had they been enlisted into a search party for Thorson and McNallly, would have had a wealth of information and experience to draw on. One theme that Jerry and Warren consistently bring up is the disparity in power between the staff of assistants (overworked, underpaid) and the Board (aloof and unrealistic).

 

Lies, Self-Aggrandizement, and Solipsism. Thankfully, Not Oprah’s Cup of Tea

I’ve been grateful for the comment thread, but at the same time a little torn up by it. It has uncovered whole new layers of strangeness.

Like this bit: in 2010, Roach recorded a video audition for the Oprah Network to propose a new show that he would host called “The Karma Show”. Oprah didn’t go for it, despite 11,861 votes. I think this 3-minute clip pretty much sums up Roach’s entire pitch and method. He confabulates his educational story, brags about the commercial bravado of his students, oversells his matchmaking and medical powers, all while bastardizing the crown jewel of Gelukpa metaphysics.  You can watch the video yourself, or skip it and just read the copy he wrote for it, which I reprint below.

Hi my name is Geshe Michael. When I was young, my mom got breast cancer and just before she died she put me into a Tibetan monastery. I stayed there for 20 years and became the first American geshe, or Buddhist Master. Nowadays a lot of people come to me with their problems and dreams and i help them figure out what karma they need to get things they want; I helped 2 women in New York start a billion dollar ad company, I help friends find partners, and how to fix their health problems and stay young and strong. I have an idea to have a Karma Show where people come and say what they’re looking for in life, and we figure out the karma or good thing they need to do for others, to make their dreams come true!

I myself have a dream that I’d really like to come true. I dream that one day Ian Thorson’s corpse rises up from the grave and says to his former guru: It’s time to wake up. What good karma do I need to do to make this happen, Michael? Am I doing it already?

 

Where the Story is Leading Us Now

I now feel that the Board’s failure to protect Thorson’s life are actually aftershocks at the end of a long row of tumbling dominoes that reach back into the community’s reification of the love relationship between Roach and McNally. Shortcomings in managing the last few months of Thorson’s and McNally’s safety pale in comparison to the slowly-unfolding scandal of nepotistic power dynamics that allowed her to ascend to a position of spiritual and administrative authority. At the deepest level, the Board must now face how it was possible for intelligent and kind people such as themselves to give their power away so completely to someone so tragically unqualified. The Board must face, in essence, the consequences of Roach’s charismatic leadership, and their support of it.

On a theological note, I would like to know why McNally references Kali and not Vajrayogini in her letter. It sounds like she is practicing Kali sadhana. Was she leading a retreat in one lineage while practicing another? Does the Kali mythos of apocalypticism influence the general anxiety the group holds about the attainment of mystical experience?

On the broadest socio-political note, I’ll end by quoting the commenter oz__, who quite succinctly sums up our shared global stakes in the Diamond Mountain incident:

Deeply disturbing, and tragic, but unfortunately, hardly surprising. We participate in and support a set of sociopolitical and economic systems that depend upon atomization and disconnection – from the natural world, other people, even ourselves – and in such a destabilizing environment, the false connection to community that charismatic leaders offer can be sufficiently appealing to override common sense, not to mention mostly non-existent critical thinking skills. This is modern thaumaturgy. Far from failing to teach our fellows how not to fall prey to it, we insist that they in fact do so – because this is what modern systems, from advertising to politics, depend upon to accomplish their objectives of achieving profit and control. I mean, in a world that is dominated by the incessant drumbeat of propaganda issued from hierarchical and authoritarian structures, why should we expect independent thinking to be widespread?

Why indeed. As Ian’s body dissolves, I’m convinced now more than ever that our spirituality must resist the toxic consolations of bypassing, over-certainty, and authoritarianism. It must wake up from the dream of perfection to work diligently, with eyes wide open, in the garden of relationship, drawing upon simple hopes and common tools.

 

Matthew Remski is an author, yoga teacher, ayurvedic therapist and educator, and co-founder of Yoga Community Toronto. Please check out his site for more writings on Ayurveda and Yoga.

 

 

 

 

~

The opinions expressed by the authors at elephant journal and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of elephant journal or any employee thereof. elephant journal is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied in the article above.

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anonymous Mar 19, 2015 7:04pm

Considering that “geshe” Roach is not considered a legitimate lineage holder, the credential of these 3 year Retreats are worthless. It would be sad to have your title of Lama be invalid after all the effort.

The Sangha exists out of the agreement and understanding of the body of the Sangha. So if one’s teacher is not vouchsafed by the body then it will be cast off or ignored. No street cred. Tibetan Buddhism had maintained the clarity of it’s teachings through it’s system of education, checks and testing. It’s very rigorous.
“Geshe” Roach is clearly gone rogue. He has not respected his lineage.

The

anonymous Apr 30, 2013 3:50pm

It all adds up to:
I think the dead of Ian is as tragic as any other human dead. You get your own karma. As buddhist we shouldn't react as strongly, thinking that we could have prevented it. 'What if' doesn't exist!

We have to be careful and be independent and not loose our critical thinking while having devotion for our teachers…like Buddha said.
Don't worry to much about the possible tripping of others, in the end everybody experiences what they have to.
Make a balanced judgment of things and decide for yourself what is the truth; Is it possible that many of the things people say about GMR are untrue, because our immediate human reaction is to be surprised and make assumptions and react angrily without being sure what the truth is. Or are they true because of the amount of comments, and details and proof, not just one, or two, but so many…that one would have to be really naive or in denial not to see it.
To continue with GM or not is up to you, there are unlimited resources and teachers, so we can change our mind.
Tantra is secret and is dangerous, it should not be taught to anyone, openly. The key for tantra to work is to see you teacher as perfect, but for that you need a lot of preparation. I think we can learn that. Remember the lives of the Mahhasiddhas…Tilopa and Naropa , Naropa and Marpa, Asanga and his teacher…

My personal question is (I haven't been a direct student of GMR): I certainly wont go in retreat at DM or go to GM for tantric initiations, but can i still read and listen to his teachings, and be able to see them as true, and admire and learn from them???
That is only a personal and private question we have to answer, and not worry that others have to see it that way!
Om mani peme hung

    anonymous Nov 24, 2013 9:37pm

    So in regards to your "personal question", do you ask yourself whether or not you can "see them as true" as regards all of the people who you meet? Is everyone on that level? The issue is that people (and I have heard people refer to him as an enlightened being) place his words above others. If someone places him above others and applies your question of seeing them as true, then this leads to an acceptance of his words without analysis of the person, their deeds (i.e. his lying about being married) or the impact his words have on others. Your words are way too disassociated and vague.

anonymous Apr 30, 2013 3:10pm

From the GM Magazine interview:
GMR: I’ll be very open and frank. I didn’t tell anyone but extremely close lamas for 28 years
about what had happened to me as far as emptiness and bodhichitta, and I think one of the
realizations when you see emptiness directly is that you cannot tell anyone, that you shouldn’t tell
anyone. I worked in the diamond business for fifteen years only because I had seen emptiness
and I wanted to remember what I had seen. So sixteen-hour days for fifteen years. I made a lot
of money for the monasteries, and I did a lot of good with the money, but it was only to
remember that twenty minutes. Fifteen years in a corporation just to remember what had
happened to me, and that’s the only reason that I did it. But I think it’s pretty obvious the two
reasons to speak about it. One is I really want people to know it’s possible to do it and to really
know that you can meet Vajra Yogini in the flesh and that she can teach you and you will
succeed in your practice. So if 90% of the people think I’m crazy or immoral, it’s worth it to me
for the 10% who get a sense that it’s true, and then they push for it themselves. To me that’s
very exciting. And then secondarily is that there were a lot of rumors starting about my
relationship with ladies. It hurt me a lot, and it hurt other people a lot. And so I thought it better
to just be clear. We live in a different world from Naropa, and Marpa hla. There wasn’t internet.
And very heavy energies begin around a lama, I mean things happen around a teacher, where
strange obstacles start to happen. I had people trace my phone. I had people break into my room.
(C: And my room, actually.) I had people steal my confession books. I had people threaten me
with many terrible things, and so I thought it’s better just to cut off all rumors and those who can
believe believe and those who think I’m crazy, then without any pain for them, they can go to a
lama who they believe in at a different level. And so if you can believe in it, and if it’s your
heart’s desire, and if it feels like the right path for you, then you know where I am. And if you
don’t believe it then you don’t have to investigate me, you can just leave and go to a lama who
you feel comfortable with who is not claiming to be working at that level.

anonymous Mar 14, 2013 9:59pm

I just whan`t to say that I have been reading, meditatig and studying tibetan buddhistm for 10 years whit the most reknowed masters of the so called paradise tibet, and I don`t reccomend ANY of it`s practices and/or theory, it just does not suit our western culture and way of life, if you really take a look to the history of tibet, lay people did not practice budhism, only the monks. Lay people, whent all around for blessings, and pilgrameds to the "holy sites", and do postrations. And it is verry intresting to study the history of budhism, as you will never find the so called "mahayana" in the mouth of the historical buda shakyamuny. Then the "mahayanist" of tibet, invented all this doctine and stuff, and called the real teachings of the buda "hinayana" a peyorative way to say "small vehicle" …………. ?? It just does not really make sense, I feel very depress , because I feel I have lost a lot of time whit this "doctrine", that I could have invested in a business or something productive. I am convinced that this doctrine was made up in order to have control over the people of tibet, literally control, power over them, to have them working like slaves, whit out any basic human rights.

    anonymous Nov 24, 2013 9:41pm

    Yes, interesting stuff Friend. The mahayana/hinayana divide is truly horrible–a way to demean and not take the words of others seriously. Yes, is this a system of control for the upper classes?
    The tantric relationship in regards to sex and women is especially horrible if we read any of the texts coming from sources other than the priests.

anonymous Jan 23, 2013 1:50pm

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anonymous Nov 6, 2012 3:17pm

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anonymous Jul 21, 2012 12:41am

Maybe it is time people tried to read the early teachings of the Buddha – Theravarden as this type of Buddhism seems to have lost the plot.

hile I appreciate my teachers, all the lamas and gurus and the excitiment and fun of this type of Buddhism also – I personally nearly went mad in this mahayana, vajrayana type of Buddhism. Then I found the early teachings of Buddhism – written down before mayahana or vajayana were even thought of. while the selfishness and mysogeny exist to a point that is just culture – the orginal teaching do not support this. Sure it is not all sex and charismatic leaders – it can be dry and a bit dull – but I swear I have come futher in 1 year of following the real original teachings of the Buddha from 2,500 than in ten years of chasing after gurus, initiaitions, rituals and all the other hoop -la! Bhikkhu Bodhi is probably the "best in the US" – try it!

anonymous Jul 21, 2012 12:33am

The original teachings of the Buddha without doubt discourage any form of desire; desire is why we are trapped and to overcome desire is the goal – how then to practises that encourage desire follow the teachings or lead to enlightenment.

The teachings of the Buddha also state that " after I am gone their will be the dhamma and the vinaya" that there wll be no more Buddhas and for people to follow a qualified teacher but mainly to follow the teachings.

anonymous Jul 7, 2012 7:28pm

I take that back.

I mean to say that your first article is hateful, that you come off that way to me, as a reader.

anonymous Jul 7, 2012 7:13pm

I was expecting to read the first article ( ” Psychosis…” ) and get solid evidence that Diamond Mountain, and/or Mr. Roach, were responsible for this person’s death.

I had to stop reading _this_ article, and comment, at the point where Mr. Remski states:

“John’s central complaint seems to be with my harshness with the Board. ”

No.

His “complaint” is that you are inaccurately reporting “facts”. that you are misrepresenting the story.

His complaint is that you are not telling the truth, basically.

Can you not understand that ?

He is stating that you are DISTORTING the truth to your own ends.

I was expecting to read your article and get an idea that Diamond Mountain, and/or Mr. Roach, were responsible for this person’s death.

I did not, in fact, think these things after reading your first article.

I came away with a ‘diagnosis’ of you Mr. Remski, and nothing more.

I came away with the idea that you are in fact

a deeply bitter person with feelings of inferiority and a deep well of dislike – bordering on hatred – for anyone that you eat rice with.

Let me illustrate:

According to your words, Mr. Thorson was

victimized thrice over.

1.) You imply ( and others state openly) that he is a victim of the charismatic manipulations of Michael Roach.

2. ) He is a victim – and his death a result – of the “whitewashing” attempts by this board of directors.

3.) He is a victim of some sort of

psychological or neurological problem.

Yet, instead of saying or expressing the least bit of sympathy, compassion, concern etc. –

you trash the man, his reputation, his morals,

his diet, his looks, his intelligence, his upbringing, his manners, his mannerisms, his

hygiene , his family, his health, his mental health, his physique, …

But is does not stop there.

With zero evidence – ZERO evidence, you accuse him of being a deadbeat dad.

You accuse him of abandoning his child and his child’s mother. Of fathering a child that will never know her dad.

You accuse him of all these things, yet none of them are AT ALL RELEVANT to your supposed point.

In a word, sir, you are simply hateful.

And, no, I will not discuss your recommendations.

    anonymous Jul 14, 2012 2:47pm

    Actually Rational Human,

    First of all Not Devotee of any One involved sounds like a dead giveaway that you are. You are tho only one whoo seems hateful.

anonymous Jul 2, 2012 4:21am

Tenor can't stay on topic. She/he wants to attack any group not up to her/his extremist orthodox standards. Buddhism started a hell of a long time ago. Time has marched on, and so should Buddhism.

    anonymous Jul 2, 2012 7:38am

    jacky you should consider asking Roach to walk away.Without his baggage the sky is the limit

    anonymous Jul 2, 2012 10:01am

    Would you feel differently if a Catholic priest gets married, keeps it a secret from his flock and his Church, and even goes on to ordain others into Catholic priesthood? Would you expect the Church to get with the times and rewrite its rules? Is it extremist to expect this married priest to get laicized or to have the decency to switch to Episcopalian?

      anonymous Jul 2, 2012 11:19am

      That's very well put, Zirconia.

      anonymous Jul 2, 2012 6:38pm

      Do I think the Catholic Church should get with the times? YES! Thanks for the good laugh! 🙂

      The Catholic Church is none of my business. Just like Shangpa Kagyu is not Gelugpa business, IMHO.

        anonymous Jul 7, 2012 9:40am

        You twisted my question to entertain yourself. Nice!

    anonymous Jul 3, 2012 6:34pm

    Not a Roman Catholic. But that — and other U.S. Churches — have legal protections in the U.S.A. Anyone can set up a church and call it "Catholic" — but they cannot call it whatever the legal name of the Roman Catholic Church is in the USA or they'll get shut down and maybe their property taken away by a court.

    The Geluk-pa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism does not have the protection of such a legal corporate status.

    Why don't you attend a teaching by H.H. Dalai Lama? He often talk about the need for 21st Century Buddhism. Maybe you can find a way to get answers to your sincere questions.

    Isn't there a Geluk-pa Rinpoche – Za Choeje Rinpoche – in Scottsdale, Arizona? Maybe you could talk to him? He came to the USA when he was 30 years old and is quite familiar with our advanced culture. Maybe you could have a dialogue?

anonymous Jul 1, 2012 12:01am

The "Lama Christie McNally" Facebook page has been scrubbed – no longer has any info (like Vajrapani FPMT 2010 videos). Only "recent activity": "Lama Christie and Jeff Brown are now friends"

Mr. Brown is the author of SOULSHAPING and "Heartmaster in Process." His Educational & Work profile includes: "Enrealment Collegiate – Class of 1998. Clan of the Heart Bare: We were a clan of goofballs seeking enheartenment. Although we graduated with honors, we go back now and then when we forget what we learnt." Etc.

He's currently in Ontario.

According to his web page (http://www.soulshaping.com/) he has "an unforgettable spiritual documentary film – Karmageddon"

CM's Info page:

Education: the world is our classroom
Tibetan Heart Yoga, Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipikawith Jan Henrikson

Activities: Yoga and Buddhism with Christopher Real – [Santa Cruz]

    anonymous Jul 1, 2012 6:09pm

    web page link is dead

    anonymous Jul 1, 2012 7:56pm

    Tenor,

    what is the point of discussing Jeff Brown: does he have anything to do with Diamond Mountain, aside from his Facebook connection to Lama Christy? Is there something about about the documentary that is good or bad?

    For a brief moment, I thought you might be suggesting there's something important about the fact that 1) he is acquainted with Lama Christy and 2) he uses newagey-sounding words. Surely that's not the case….what is the reason?

anonymous Jun 29, 2012 2:26pm

I've published an update, with analysis of how Roach and others have handled the Diamond Mountain tragedy so far: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/06/the-michae

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:59pm

    Thank you, Matthew. I am grateful for all your efforts and to everyone who has posted here.

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 6:30pm

    Many thanks to you and to all contributors!

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 8:34pm

    Thank you.

      anonymous Jun 30, 2012 3:12pm

      Matthew – – – Christie McNally also has to be put under the Microscope not just Roach at least for Ian’s sake – As far as I know there is no authentic Lineage in Tibetan Buddhism who recognizes Christie McNally as a Lama only from the Roach Fantasy Lineage.

        anonymous Jun 30, 2012 7:28pm

        Leave her alone and let her heal. She is a cult victim. I hope she can break free from GMR.

          anonymous Jun 30, 2012 8:48pm

          That depends on what she knew and when she knew it. If there is a con (a big IF), and she was aware of it, she's culpable. I am not sold that there was/is a con but a lot of things have been brought up on here that have lessened my surety in that position. I'm the kind of person who gives the other person the benefit of doubt though.

            anonymous Jul 1, 2012 3:17am

            I believe the retreaters are in physical danger and from the way the board (Roach puppets all) prepared for the last fire and the cave killing just not ready for any emergency.The Fort had already moved all the historical docs before Scott and crew had lifted a finger and 8 hours to reach Ian in the Cave suicide or whatever it was?………….. a side note…when the wind changed the Sunday the fire turned back on itself an excited worker bee told me it was a miracle brought on by prayers from around the world.I pointed out that this wind change caused 30 houses to burn up in a similar ill suited for building canyon outside of Sierra Vista. i was informed the Dm beings were just more important to the world than the common folk"…..cringe number 100!

              anonymous Jul 1, 2012 4:58am

              Corvid. You've made a mistake. On the Callous Narcissism Meter, that falls into the #1 Cringe category.

    anonymous Jul 1, 2012 7:41pm

    Thanks Matthew I look forward to reading it

anonymous Jun 29, 2012 12:29pm

The "context" was this: During the taping of the 'Cinco de Mayo' promo, GMR kept referring to the holiday as 'Mexican Independence Day.' (September 16th.) I explained that C de M is a celebration commemorating a battle won by an army of Mexican Nationals out-numbered (2-1) by French Army regulars.
Regardless of context, it was my horrible karma (I guess?) to hear the realized being and the internationally-acknowledged teacher of many sincere practitioners quoting a senior member of the Nazi Government….Three weeks to the day before Ian died.

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 1:52pm

    The Cinco de Mayo video is problematic for many reasons. First, there is the laziness in not bothering to look up what Cinco de Mayo is. Most people in the US get this wrong, but if you are making a promotional video around it, at least google it so you don't look like an idiot. It's a question of professionalism, not enlightenment. Then there is the bad Spanish. Sorry, no points in my book for trying to pander in grammatically incorrect Spanish with a gringo accent. Gringo accent by itself is ok, but in AZ you can't find someone who speaks Spanish to write the script for you?!?!. And then there is the salsa lessons part – salsa is from the Caribbean, not Mexico, so it is a bit out of place if you want to celebrate Mexican culture. Oh, and how could I forget about those wonderful stereotypical yells at the end of the video and the "Ole" with reference to the mariachis? It seems to me like a bunch of privileged white people trying to be multicultural. Yes, "Todo [es] gratuito", which can be translated as "Everything is free of charge" or as "Everything is gratuitous".

    I, however, missed the reference to a senior member of the Nazi Government.

    (Sorry, this post was more like a rant.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBz-JboKZlI

      anonymous Jun 29, 2012 8:58pm

      As MR's recent videos brag, he's got an advertising campaign underway in Latin America. Sounds like he needs to hire a new Ad Agency that knows the market.

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 1:59pm

    Did other people hear MR say this to you? I wonder what they are thinking now or if they even absorbed it.
    I don't think it is your karma, that is horrible here. You were able to grasp what was being said and implied. Perhaps others were unable to grasp it. Which one do you think is worse?

    Just to tie the thoughts together, here is what was said earlier:
    "would you consider it an 'honest' thing to say when he said to my face in April, 2012: "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth." ? (I'm giving Joseph Goebbels the benefit of the doubt that he meant it as well when he first said it in 1937.)"

      anonymous Jun 29, 2012 2:21pm

      Thanks, Ekan, I knew I missed something.

      This is even more offensive. He had someone who actually knew what she was talking about correct him, and he just carried on. So they want Mexican people to feel particularly welcomed, but then they lie to them about their own history?!?! Wow!

      anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:02pm

      Presumably you're being sarcastic when you say, you're giving "Goebbels the benefit of the doubt"?

        anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:11pm

        That was Kelly Rigpa statement.

        anonymous Jul 1, 2012 8:37am

        I believe Goebbels meant every word. I apologize for minimizing this.

anonymous Jun 29, 2012 8:29am

Osel-la, Tandah, kabah yo-rey? Kerang US la chin-peh?

anonymous Jun 29, 2012 6:21am

Osel and Jhampa, thanks for the reminder to think carefully about what we say here. There are definitely times when I could have said things with more compassion, and yes sometimes there is some anger behind this, which I feel is warranted and necessary to some degree. I personally abandoned a promising career and lost several years of my life following a man who I now see as a very dangerous sociopath. In a addition to Ian's death and Christie's descent into mental illness, I have watched recent videos' of people I used to know at DM, and it is shocking to see how deranged they appear to have become. I have also been contacted by dozens of people since this story broke who have thanked me for speaking up and encouraged me to continue.
I personally don't feel that it is very compassionate to let someone fall into danger without at least trying to warn them.
And as I have stated before, I believe that this is actually a very positive forum, secrecy and silence just breed more rot, we are putting what we have experienced on the table, to see how it stands up in the light.
The Michael Roach trainwreck is one that needs to be studied very carefully, we need to know what went so horribly wrong, which will inevitably lead to some very uncomfortable questions regarding the Tibetan culture that helped create it.
Evolution, as they say,is beautiful, but it is not pretty.

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 8:28pm

Aguse (Kelly Morris). I am so sorry that you are so hurt. You seem really upset by all of this. We are all upset, shocked and disturbed. That all being said you are being really vicious. Please try to be compassionate. We are all suffering from this tragedy.

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:44am

    Kelly's tone (I call it Dm stern) is very similar to the tone of the true believers from Diamond Mountain I have dealt with over the last Ten years.They would look at me like a bug when I questioned Roachism.The know-it-alls next door to my place have made many mistakes but admit to none.They are masters of all tasks …just ask them! The same guys that were so sure of their path 6 years ago are now long gone.You Roach backers might consider that the chances are good you won't believe any of this stuff in a few years.

      anonymous Jul 2, 2012 2:55pm

      i'm not Kelly Morris, sorry.

      you're calling a logician by trade a "true believer". thats how fucking retarded you are Corvid. also, the majority of ppl at DM have been associated with the aci courses much longer than 6 years.

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 5:09pm

I find the tone of some posters here is similar to a lynch mob. Some of you would like to have a Buddhist Inquisition, overseen by orthodox Gelugpas, where any teacher deemed offensive can be forced to appear to be interrogated, stripped of their robes, and burned at the stake (symbolically, I hope).
Before you pick up the poison pen again, you might want to check up and ask yourself how pure your own motivation is. Is there anger, jealousy, envy or frustration lurking there, just waiting for a suitable, familiar and easy target? When you consider Michael Roach, do you feel sanctimonious? Be honest! I would echo what Osel has said… please thoughtfully consider the impact of what you say on forums like this. Will your words bring people together, or split them apart? Will they sow dissension, doubt and strife, or will they result in harmony, understanding and compassion?

    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 5:25pm

    Thanks for reading posting!
    How do you honestly feel about MR?
    I am fully and unapologetically disgusted with him, in the same way I would be about any organization with blatantly false advertising. The issue is with him wearing robes. Very simple. He needs to disrobes, no orthodoxy required. I don't want the guy lynched, but someone DIED on his watch already.

      anonymous Jun 28, 2012 9:14pm

      ‘DIED on his watch already.’
      Based upon reading this blog, including the various accounts of what occurred, IMO (respectfully), MR is not responsible for Ian’s tragic death. Obviously, the whole situation around the expulsion was tense, convoluted and confusing, with many factors and conflicting personalities in the mix. There was no clear path out of that mess…
      Part of Buddhism is taking responsibility for your own actions. My understanding is MR and the DM administration had no idea they were up in that cave, which is off of DM property. How could they be held responsible for providing medical care when Ian & Christie were going out of their way to hide their location and situation? Hindsight is always 20:20.

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 9:16pm

        How do you honestly feel about MR?
        Hmmm… maybe I should first say that I was a classmate of MR in ‘74 & ‘75 at the Library in Dharamsala. We weren’t close, and I remember him as being slightly spaced-out (though maybe we all were) but a very dedicated and hard working Dharma student. I did see him in robes once, not sure who he received them from. I only became aware of this whole controversy when surfing the NY Times website a few weeks ago.

        To be honest, and at risk of pissing off some of the more conservative folks on this site, I’m not particularly offended that MR continues to wear robes. The robes are simply a prop, a team uniform, a costume. They facilitate assuming the role as ‘teacher’. Whether he should be wearing robes or not is really between MR and whoever gave him those robes.

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 9:58pm

          For people who wear the robes and try to hold the vows it creates a lot of difficulties. Several Theravada monks have told me they thought that Tibetans don't follow Vinaya rules like celibacy. MR's wearing of the robes contributes to such wrong perceptions, and lessens the esteem of Tibetan Buddhism within the larger Buddhist community. HH Dalai Lama has been holding regular Vinaya conferences with elders from the Theravada and East Asian Buddhist Traditions for the last couple of years, and has stated plainly the importance of preserving the Vinaya.

          HHDL has asked those not holding the vows but practicing as tantric yogins to wear the white robes of the ngakpa sangha on many occasions, citing possible confusion.

          In short, the robes are much more than a team uniform. The patches on our lower robe, the shamthab, and the yellow robe, the chogu, are from designs that date back to the Buddhas time, and you can see that the way they are sewn into patches in similar for all Buddhist monastics.

          The robes indicate that one is an ordained monk or nun, and following the standards of behaviour of ordained monks and nuns. Laypeople who make offerings to one wearing such robes do so on the basis of understanding that the monk/nun is a committed practitioner of the monastic life whose root vows are in tact.

          I found this passage on the internet interesting: http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploa

          , Ajahn Brahmali, a respected forest bhikkhu in the line of Ajahn Chah, recalled: “…a few years ago, while visiting one of my old university friends, I found myself being a bit
          apologetic about my strange appearance. What he responded really opened my eyes. He said the
          robe of a Buddhist monastic is a fairytale in „branding,‟ a marketing manager‟s dream. He said
          that the positive image most people have of Buddhism coupled with the very distinct appearance
          of Buddhist monastics is a combination that any business would be willing to pay huge amounts
          for. In a sense, it is a very distinct and valuable brand"

            anonymous Jun 28, 2012 10:01pm

            So in short, if one wants the benefits of the robes, then one should follow the standards laid out for those who wear them. The vows, the cut hair, monk-like appearance and conduct.

            If one wears the robes understanding that they are a valuable "brand" or a team "uniform" as stated above, to have esteem while teaching, that is a bit disingenuous.

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 10:07pm

          Jhampa Chodzin,

          Your posts here are most welcome, in my opinion. I really appreciate your wisdom.

          Thank you.

            anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:17pm

            Thanks, I've also read your posts with appreciation.

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 11:17pm

        Primary focus of Mahayana Buddhism is taking responsibility for the welfare of others.

          anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:01pm

          I thought it was to become enlightened for the sake of all sentient beings. Do you think it is the same thing? What if the 'others' don't want us to take responsibility for their welfare, and hide from us? Are we then still responsible for their welfare?

            anonymous Jun 29, 2012 11:04pm

            The first aspiration of Bodhicitta is to bring ultimate benefit to all; which can best be accomplished by the second aspiration (attaining enlightenment). Bodhisattvas and Buddhas motivated by wisdom and great compassion take responsibility for the benefit of all sentient beings — most of whom are perfectly enthralled by samsara, feeling the lash of the "Suffering of Suffering" episodically while trying to maximize their enjoyments of the "Sufferings of Change".

              anonymous Jun 30, 2012 7:22pm

              So would you say that taking responsibility for the welfare of others includes judging the spiritual attainments and motivations of others?

                anonymous Jun 30, 2012 8:44pm

                Of course it does.

                Knowing what we know now, if you could have spoken to the people packing their bags in preparation for their trip to Jonestown, would you have warned them not to go? I would assume most peoples' answer would be yes because they know what the outcome would be. What if we didn't know? What if you only knew what people knew back then, before the tragedy? You would have to judge the spiritual attainments and motivations of Jim Jones and base your actions on what you believe and the surety with which you believe it.

                Some are easier to judge than others. If I was aware that Jones was having sex with teenage females and sodomizing male members of his church, all the while preaching abstinence, it would most likely increase my surety to a level which would then prompt me to act.

                I think part of the outcome of having this area to discuss and compare stories is we can try and figure out what GMR is all about. For some it is clear, GMR is a fraud and a conman, others aren't as sure. I for one wouldn't endorse anyone studying with him or the offshoot groups from DM without a warning, but I don't know if I would tell them flat out not to. It might depend on the individual I was advising.

                anonymous Jun 30, 2012 9:36pm

                Naturally, we live in a functioning world and need to use logical reasoning, integrated Dharma and all of our positive skill sets to ease the sufferings of the world.

        anonymous Jun 29, 2012 3:22am

        Hindsight is 20/20 is true. But when you set your followers up for bizarre states of physical and mental existence, in an isolated desert camp, then you must accept bizarre, dangerous and unforeseen outcomes, IMO, respectfully

        Also regarding the robes, he was asked to take them off by the person who gave them to him, and he refuses, much to the great shame of his teacher.

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:12am

    I do see your point about the Buddhist Inquisition that seems to be taking place. Emotions are running high on all sides, but I think people really are just trying to get at the truth here.

    "When you consider Michael Roach, do you feel sanctimonious? Be honest!"

    Excellent point. I've definitely felt this way, and I am truly sorry for comments I've made that have been unnecessarily inflammatory and even offensive. Michael is just a person, like the rest of us. In my only interaction with him, he was quite pleasant and friendly, and I do appreciate him taking the time to write me an email.

    This debate is getting hot, and I appreciate aguse's being willing to enter the fray, despite her earlier comment that "this place is irrelevant." We need to hear all the different voices here.

    But you're right that we could all do better to use language wisely.

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:37pm

http://www.anandainfo.com/tantric_robes.html

The Emperor's Tantric Robes: An Interview with June Campbell on Codes of Secrecy and Silence

"An idealistic young Scottish woman goes East to study Buddhism. Twenty-five years later she delivers a radical and unsparing critique of religious structures in Tibet. How much of this system is taking root in West? And how much of it do we really want?"

    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 5:27pm

    must read for everyone posting/reading here

      anonymous Jun 29, 2012 1:05am

      Yes, I found this article really fascinating…it helps me to go beyond the recent events of this post and try to look at the more systemic roots of what behaviors might have led to these events.

      anonymous Jun 29, 2012 11:10am

      Hi Sid, I totally agree with you, knowledge of this scandal is very important. It helped to push forward changes deep within the system, believe it or not. It's still shocking and disappointing, even now, 16 years later.

      When I first heard about Kalu Rinpoche I was shocked to my core and very, very disappointed. Kalu Rinpoche was born in 1905, he was 54 years old when he walked out of Tibet. At that age he was walking straight out of the feudal past into the 1960's.

      But even in old Tibet, a Kagyu lama in robes should have made a choice between robes or consort – or changed lineages, no one has a problem with that. Sadly, people being people, it was probably inevitable that one of the old school celibate high lamas, born around the turn of the century, would try secret consort practice. Now, in exile in India, the abbots have developed a very tough stance against this, monks who don't wish to be celibate are released from their vows quite readily.

      The Kagyu rightly point out that this is one of the few scandals to occur in their lineage. I don't know enough about Kalu Rinpoche's training to know who gave him this tantra, it does sounds like Nyingma. By the way, a lot of what's coming out of DM seems to have started out as being Nyingma-ish. I say this as a former Nyingma practitioner, so no judgement is implied.

      It is interesting that June Campbell came forward in 1996, which was around the time Michael Roach may have been forming some of his ideas about his personal relationship to dharma. I wonder if the news of such a highly regarded lama having a secret karma mudra influenced Michael.

      You know, I've always thought that tantra shouldn't be practiced widely, it makes people do crazy things. The most difficult thing is to practice Buddhism's most basic tenet – Boddhichitta, altruism, to try to love everyone equally. That's a difficult enough challenge for one life. Do we really need to race to individual Enlightenment as if we were training for the Olympics?

        anonymous Jun 29, 2012 11:24am

        Buddhism's basic misspelling, it seems – that should be Bodhichitta

        anonymous Jun 29, 2012 11:39am

        There are many former students of the previous Kalu who refute June Campbell's claim. One who was with him virtually all the time states it would have been impossible for this to happen. It is also strange that she came forward after his death with these claims making it virtually impossible for him to defend himself. Myself I remain on the fence regarding this. It could have happened although I am not sure. I am only bringing this up so that people are aware that her account has been refuted and it has never been fully accepted that what she said is true.

          anonymous Jun 29, 2012 11:53am

          Oh – thank you PAX! This is making me feel a lot better. I never knew if the people who refuted her claim were students or not. Do you think there's a good chance this may not be true? That would be such good news.

            anonymous Jun 29, 2012 12:31pm

            Hi Karen,

            I am friends with several people that were students of the previous Kala and did the 3 year retreat under him. In the Kalu sangha there seem to be enough people who disagree with June's allegations, which makes me wonder about her account. I remain on the fence since I have no real way of knowing. The problem for me is anyone who comes forward after someone's death is not really playing fair since the person that died can never answer these allegations. I'm sure if it is true maybe she had her reasons, fear etc… but why is their no eyewitness to substantiate her story. Later in his life Kalu was constantly surrounded by people when could this have occurred? From everyone that knew him he was a real Saint and a Bodhisattva and they were appalled by June's allegations. I don't know it makes me sad to think about it so I placed it on the back burner unless I hear further evidence I am not sold on her story.

              anonymous Jun 29, 2012 1:27pm

              PAX, I've had this on the back burner myself until now.

              I know people who met Kalu Rinpoche in India and loved him. The only bad thing I ever heard about him was this sad story. It's difficult, isn't it? You don't want to discount someone's experience – but it doesn't fit with anything else anyone else says. And you're right, there is always an attendant or two around these old lamas, they don't have a lot of privacy. Until now I never really weighed how unfair the timing of June's allegation was, once someone is gone accusations tend to stick. I don't know what to think.

                anonymous Jun 29, 2012 3:26pm

                "In that world he was a saintly figure. It was like claiming that Mother Teresa was involved in making porn movies."

                But it was not fear of the response which made her wait a full 18 years before publishing her revelations in a volume entitled Traveller in Space – a translation of dakini, the rather poetic Tibetan word for a woman used by a lama for sex. It took her that long to get over the trauma of the experience. "I spent 11 years without talking about it and then, when I had decided to write about it, another seven years researching. I wanted to weave together my personal experience with a more theoretical understanding of the role of women in Tibetan society to help me make sense of what had happened to me."
                http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/i

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:00am

    "Tricycle: You ended up feeling sexually exploited? Used for personal indulgence?

    Campbell: Obviously at the time and for some years afterwards I didn't think this. How could I? It would have caused me too much distress to see it in this light. It took me many years of thinking about the whole thing to see it differently, and to begin speaking about my experience. This wasn't easy. I tried through writing to understand why people rationalize these acts as beneficial, and it made me question a lot of things. I've got no doubts now that when a male teacher demands a relationship that involves secret sex, an imbalance of power, threats, and deception, the woman is exploited. You have to ask, "Where does the impulse to hide sexual behavior come from?" Especially if it happens in a system that supposedly values the sexual relationship. Of course, there are those who say they are consensually doing secret "tantric" practices in the belief that it's helping them become "enlightened," whatever that means. That's up to them, and if they're both saying it, that's fine.

    But there's a difference between that and the imperative for women not to speak of the fact that they're having a sexual relationship at all. What's that all about if it's not about fear of being found out! And what lies behind that fear? These are the question I had to ask."

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 8:51pm

    Read the article and her book when published and found it very insightful. Her analysis about the psychological scars children bring to adulthood when they are separated from maternal loving care is pertinent. In the 1990's, Mandala article published letters by the young Lama Osel that were filled with his painful longing for his mother and family. It was admirable that Mandala didn't censure the letters, but at the time I wondered why something wasn't done to heed his cries. Over the years, a lot of the good monks and geshes I've known who returned their robes or were disrobed by their actions appeared to have done so as much by their craving for maternal love as any other kind.

    However, Tibetans don't just send their 6-9 year old children off to monastery; they send them away from their country to the Tibetan Childrens Village, etc., at very tender ages. Some of my friends have suffered quite horrendous wounds from those experiences.

    Back in the 1990s Tricycle functioned as sort of a Buddhist Cult Awareness magazine, but I haven't had access to it in over a decade and wonder does it still do such exposes. And if so, has it published articles about MR/CM in the new millennium?

    anonymous Jun 30, 2012 7:25pm

    Let's leave the Shangpa Kagyu lineage out of this mess. There is absolutely no way to verify whether Campbell's claims are true or not.

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:21pm

Hi aguse, I was wondering what your take on Lama Christie is?

    anonymous Jul 1, 2012 8:34am

    Aguse? (Crickets chirping…)

      anonymous Jul 1, 2012 11:53am

      Yes, where is aguse? Her uniquely deranged style of roachistry is very stimulating.

        anonymous Jul 2, 2012 2:58pm

        i'm here, now fuck off

          anonymous Jul 2, 2012 4:34pm

          Hi aguse! How about answering my question?

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 1:50pm

Osel-la, I've been talking to someone who knows you, there's a little confusion about the writing style in your posts here. Are you still in Ibiza? You can post on your facebook page, as you usually do. Many thanks.

    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:45am

    Nice to see you again, Karen! I'm glad you're back.

    Do you think the person posting as Osel Torres is an imposter?

      anonymous Jun 29, 2012 8:21am

      Hi Annette! Thank you. It's very nice to see you too.

      I have to tell you, some of us have reservations about these Osel posts. I'll know more in a day or two. It may be that someone who has a lot to lose was simply desperate to bring down the high emotional tone of the forum and thought a Lama's voice would be the way to do that.

      There are people who've invested everything they have emotionally, financially and spiritually in DM, ACI or Tibetan Heart Yoga. I think it would be devastating to watch your life be eroded by the flood of information washing into this forum. If this isn't Osel I won't persue it further, but I will let you know.

        anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:07am

        Karen,when David Stump (who is now in retreat)was confronted by Ben Brewer about tall scandals all David could say was look..I quit my job at U of A,sold my house,built a faily expensive new house at Dm so I'm stuck.They all thought they could manage Roach but unless he's strapped to a handcart with a leather mask on it will never end.

          anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:40am

          Corvid! You're back. It seems a lot of damage has been done, it's very sad.

            anonymous Jun 29, 2012 1:10pm

            Karen speaking as a person that really liked Ian,I find the pro Roach crowds attacks on him to be low blows.They need to understand that until the group gives Roach the boot they better be ready to be laughed at for the rest of their lives.If they dump him all will work out just fine.

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 12:02pm

good=*could

anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:32pm

My comments have been deleted from this site twice.

I ask again. Please consider anythng hat any of you post here before posting. These internet conversations effect so many more people than you could possibly imagine. Please ask yourselves bfore posting… "is this going help people." " is this fact or am I venting in public" Do not damage the dharma.

I truly hope that none of my friends are posting or reading this page.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:47pm

    Osel, you are most welcome here. You're right, many people are silently reading this. I want you to know that the people who are speaking out have good hearts and are being truthful. I've thought about this a lot, I don't believe a discussion like this will hurt the dharma. This has been a very intense, at times painful discussion, but the truth has to be hammered out. Lots of love to you, I hope you're well and happy.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:00pm

      I agree with everything Karen just said. I am sorry to hear your posts were deleted. Very uncharacteristic of this forum, even if they knew who you really were. Yes, you are welcome here.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:00pm

    You're repeating your previous comment, but it's still there. I don't think anyone would delete your posts.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:21pm

    Osel Torres,

    I believe many– most– people here are thinking very carefully about their posts.

    Part of why I am posting here is to figure out what is 'fact' and what is not so plain. Some of us here have no other place to do this. I would ask that you take that into consideration as well, please.

    No one here wants to damage the Dharma, not that I am aware of anyway.

    I appreciate your plead for mindfulness and civility as well as awareness for the consequences….it's always a good reminder.

    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:56am

    Osel: no one is deleting posts — there is no administrator functioning that way. However, I have seen the Intense Debate system "lose" posts into the ether.

    anonymous Jun 30, 2012 1:25pm

    You are NOT Osel Torres

      anonymous Jun 30, 2012 1:35pm

      I have to agree with you. It would appear those two posts were not from Osel Torres. Also known as Osel Hita or Lama Osel. But they have had an Osel-like effect on the forum, rather happily. People are being more thoughtful and loving.

      I won't go into this too much, but in addition to everything else, the writing style and content are not his. Osel would never want to censure the truth. For those of you who don't know, Osel is the reincarnation of the beloved Lama Yeshe. He studied at Sera Mey, will head FPMT whenever he wishes, and is an amazing guy, very interesting, very warm, with a great heart.

      I really love this young generation of lamas – including Kalu Rinpoche, Gomo Rinpoche, Osel (he prefers to drop the tulku title), all of them. Tibetan dharma is modernizing as fast as it can. It's a bit of a mad scramble, though, there's so much to do. All of these guys will take dharma into the future, their struggles are giving them deep compassion and insight. Love, openness, honesty, empathy, ethics and morality are being carried forward. Many of the old forms and rituals will have to be dropped, it's an on-going process.

      My own lama came back from India one year and mentioned that the entire tulku system (the system of recognizing reincarnated lamas) may be done away with in the future. But it has to be done responsibly and thoughtfully. Considering how quickly everything else is changing (I'd like a new iphone…) it's amazing that these old monks, who essentially walked out of a feudal state in 1959, have been able to do as much as they have in one generation. The next generation will do more.

      So, Sorry Charlie, was the lack of one of his sign offs – Big love or Onelove – a clue for you too?

        anonymous Jun 30, 2012 3:03pm

        I've never heard of Osel Torres and am not sold on the notion of Tulkus. Therefore his opinions aren't deemed by me as somehow having more weight than any others except possibly in the area of TB (I am assuming that he (along with many others here) knows much more about TB than I).

        But if it is shown that the person posting as Osel Torres is not actually Osel Torres, it seems to indicate that someone believed (as I believe) that his posts would carry more weight with many here.

        I can't say whether he is or is not Orel Torres but if someone is using his name as a means to control discussion and opinion on this board, it is a pretty despicable act and it indicates that you feel your ideas don't have enough merit in and of themselves.

        That being said, the allegation of fraud should be proven not just asserted.

        anonymous Jun 30, 2012 3:05pm

        It smells like a DM Sock Puppet!

          anonymous Jun 30, 2012 9:48pm

          All posts by this "Osel" written here have smelled that way to me.

          That said, generating hatred towards extremely naughty beings who earn their 'fame' and living off harming others harms the 'hater' more than the 'hated'. For those who want to follow the Mahayana path, most any psychological exercise that prevents hatred towards our fellow 'naughty' creatures from growing is useful. For non-Buddhists as well, hatred cannot lead to personal or social peace / happiness.

            anonymous Jun 30, 2012 11:08pm

            It is very pathetic and sad that someone feels compelled to impersonate a tulku in order to try and protect their own self interest. They must have mortgaged the farm and everything else to follow MR's dream. I think it must be someone with a financial interest in one of his 'products' like yoga or such. It really makes me sad and angry. For example, I can't imagine too many people are signing up for Tibetan Heart Yoga courses right now. Having compassion for them does not mean they should not be exposed.

              anonymous Jul 1, 2012 12:21am

              Re your last sentence, absolutely!

              Justice for wrong doers in the life in which they harm others is considered very beneficial for the harmers – because in Buddhist theory of Karma, the energetic impact of our actions "accrues interest" over time. If someone commits serious negative acts and does not experience negative fruit in one lifetime, the suffering fruit experienced in future lifetimes will be more painful. That's why we dedicate any meritorious karmic energy associated with our positive actions to attaining enlightenment for the benefit of all beings – a project that goes beyond a single life time and requires enormous positive karmic potential.

              Also, in Buddhist theory, acting to stop or prevent a harmer from actually inflicting injuries is done for the benefit of both the harmer and the victim. The teachings clearly instruct those who believe in the karmic law of cause and effect — that negative/positive actions bring forth their respective fruits of misery/happiness — to have compassionate empathy for 'evil-doers' because by harming others they are ensuring inevitable bitter pain. [Caveat: heartfelt remorse, confession. reliance, remedies and resolve change the karmic potential of the past negativities].

              anonymous Jul 1, 2012 12:23am

              "I think it must be someone with a financial interest in one of his 'products' like yoga or such"

              Does the MR spiritual conglomerate 'franchise' some of its operations? That is, how does one 'invest' in his 'product lines"? If you know. My apologies if I direct too many questions to you.

                anonymous Jul 1, 2012 1:24am

                For instance: http://www.yogastudiesinstitute.org/view-programs

                  anonymous Jul 1, 2012 8:25am

                  Hi Tenor and Ekan, I'm going to see if I can get permission over the next few days from the various parties close to Osel to reveal the hard evidence. It's not great timing, Osel's sister is getting married today. I hadn't wanted to reveal too much, because I feel badly for whoever did post this. I'll probably hold back the location on the poster – I feel badly for them.

                    anonymous Jul 1, 2012 9:14am

                    Good evening, Karen and Ekan,

                    Thank you for all your efforts on this forum and elsewhere. I'll be leaving on a trip to Leh in two days where reputedly it is still difficult to make a phone call, let alone have an internet connection. Must be internet parlors for emergencies, but I don't expect to frequent them. Until then I'll be checking in.

                    Re: "I'll probably hold back the location on the poster"

                    If it is just a big location, e.g., a city or state, Arizona or New York, I'm not sure how that could be identify or embarrass the poster.

                    Keep up the good work, and thank you.

                    anonymous Jul 1, 2012 11:25am

                    Hi Tenor, have a wonderful trip! The internet is no match for India, we'll hope to hear from you whenever you can get a connection. It's been incredible reading and absorbing your posts. You'll be missed, safe trip!

                  anonymous Jul 1, 2012 9:16am

                  No fees are posted, but naturally they could be considerable. I've sent you FB message as I'm l'll be in Leh by the 5th. Love, Tenor

                    anonymous Jul 1, 2012 4:19pm

                    Unfortunately, as much as I wish they were, it appears the posts weren't from Osel. Gomo Tulku, Osel's best friend, called Sera Je Monastery in South India and spoke to his teacher, a Geshe there.

                    My contact at Sera Je is also a student of Gomo Tulku's teacher and was at dinner with the Geshe when the call came in. Gomo Tulku and Osel have been in Italy attending the teachings of His Holiness and the FPMT European regional meetings. I'm not a liberty to say more than that. Gomo Tulku said they were now having a wonderful time in Milan.

                    You can see the events here: http://www.dalailama.com/

                    I can't break confidence about another fact, I'm sorry. It was curious, though, that Osel singled out only Michael Roach's students without mentioning aguse or Tenor or other non-DM students.

                    Osel prefers to be known as Osel Hita, not Osel Torres. You can see him and his writing style on his facebook page.

                    Osel has overcome a lot of obstacles and is still full of love and generosity. Even his name brought some harmony to the forum, so some good came of it.

anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:27pm

In the 1999 transcript "Tantra in America" MR lists his six tantric masters.
He mentions six perfect Tantric Masters, but unfortunately, does not list their names.

1. Initiation – His Holiness the Dalai Lama (1936 – )
2. Initiation – Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, 1903 – 1983
3. Initiation & Teachings – Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin 1921 – 2004
4. Initiation – Zong Rinpoche, 1905 – 1984
5. Teachings – Geshe Trinley Topgye (1937 – )
6. Retreat Instructions – Pabongka Rinpoche (?)

“Venerable Emeritus Abbot Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa (known as Geshe Trinley Topgye) was born in 1937.” This is tantric master #5 in MR's list.

In 2005, when Khensur Rinpoche came to Arizona and talked to MR about his robes and vows, it was in the capacity of being his tantric master.

See complete conversation in yesterdays post:
In 2005, Khensur Rinpoche came to Arizona and said to Michael Roach, “If you take a wife, you don’t have vows and you should not wear robes.” “If you still have vows, you should cut your hair.” We know now that Michael Roach had a wife and we also know that he has not cut his hair.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:02pm

    Thank you for that research. So the only one of those six with whom MR could have disclosed his intention to practice tantra with a mudra in retreat and sought any advice about his practice and ministry is the current Pabongka, a person who stands with the political/spiritual opposition to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

    'Nuff said.

anonymous Jun 27, 2012 7:18pm

At the risk of sticking my head above water

I plead with everyone who is contributing here. Please ask yourself before posting…

"Is this truly going to help anyone. Am I right. Am I speaking from emotion or wisdom."

Sid, matthew, Ecan, ABC, Snakes and shouters. "Am I sure that I am not Making a mistake in posting again"?

everything posted on the net will effect someone.

I certainly hope that none of my friends are posting or reading this page

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 7:39pm

    Conversation is ok Osel Torres, and everything effects someone… We can never be sure whether or not our actions help someone…. and why do you hope your friends aren't posting or reading here?

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:29pm

      And as an aside, emotion is part of wisdom — or so I understand it.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 7:43pm

    thanks. it's good advice. lo que esta mejor, consultarlo con la almohada.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:39pm

    Is this Osel Torres as in Osel HIta?

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:41pm

      and if so, thanks for chiming in 🙂

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:01pm

    Good advice.Osel-la though reading & thoughtfully posting should be ok… this blog reflects the stark reality of transitioning Tibetan Buddhism into western culture. As those who teach gain a higher profile, they will inevitably attract their share of ardent supporters, rabid detractors, and the occasional looney. Goes with the territory, unfortunately.

    IMO, if we look at the totality of MR's life and ministry, he's done more good than bad.

    Long life!

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:33pm

      Except for the blatant lies.

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:54pm

        'Blatant lies' is profoundly judgemental, confrontational and simply serves to polarize the dialogue.
        What you call 'blatent lies', others might describe as 'spin', 'embelishment', or is simply a different way of looking at something. Yes, there seem to be many inconsistencies in MR's story, and it's easy to label him as a hypocrite. Perhaps he is, but who isn't? If someone is trying to illustrate and clarify a point of philosophy, they might embelish part of their life experience simply to illustrate that point. It's all in perception. Q: is the glass half full or half empty? A: Both, neither, it depends…
        I

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:56pm

          I find the tone of some posters here is similar to a lynch mob. Some of you would like to have a Buddhist Inquisition, overseen by orthodox Gelugpas, where any teacher deemed offensive can be forced to appear to be interrogated, stripped of their robes, and burned at the stake (symbolically, I hope).
          Before you pick up the poison pen again, you might want to check up and ask yourself how pure your own motivation is. Is there anger, jealousy, envy or frustration lurking there, just waiting for a suitable, familiar and easy target? When you consider Michael Roach, do you feel sanctimonious? Be honest! I would echo what Osel has said… please thoughtfully consider the impact of what you say on forums like this. Will your words bring people together, or split them apart? Will they sow dissension, doubt and strife, or will they result in harmony, understanding and compassion?

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 5:57pm

          A bllatant lie contradicts what is obvious and verifiable. It is not complicated.In very plain language, this is (was) a married sexually active man impersonating a Buddhist monk running a large non-profit organization/cult where someone died.
          Crystal clear to me.

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 6:18pm

          Saying you are not married when you are married is a blatant lie. Saying that you are in retreat by yourself when in actuality you are sharing the space with someone else — also a lie. These points are not about perception, they are about deception.

      anonymous Jun 28, 2012 5:49pm

      Too bad Mr. Thorson won't have one.

    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:53am

    Osel: it's a great question that I spend a lot of quiet time with.

    you might be interested to know that I've received close to a hundred personal emails from former and even present students thanking me for bringing the controversy to light. the sentiment is consistent: "MR's behaviour and/or the way I was treated at DM has bothered me/damaged me for years, and your exposure of the issues has given me courage to think and speak more clearly about my experience."

    in media relations it is traditionally said that each actual respondent to a given piece of media represents hundreds of "silent" respondents. i imagine that my personal correspondence contains only a sliver of public sentiment. of course the same principle would hold true for my detractors.

    i think our interchange shows that we are all susceptible to the blindness of our bubbles of interest/allegiance. you're quite right: everything posted will effect someone. the effects I'm pursuing are transparency, self-reliance, intersubjectivity, and existential integrity. enough people say they have benefited so far that i am encouraged to continue, uncertainly, but with hope.

      anonymous Jun 28, 2012 7:40am

      Thank you very much, Matthew!

    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 6:21pm

    Osel: Thanks for reading and posting. I would be also mortified if any of my friends knew I had ever been involved in MR's cult of horros. My only regret is that all Michael Roach's lies were neither exppsed nor talked about ten years ago. This forum is desperately needed and about 10 years overdue.

      anonymous Jun 30, 2012 10:09pm

      Me, too. Some of us tried.

      However, before the 2000 Retreat he was in the loving embrace of the FPMT. Why don't LZR or FPMT as an organization issue a public statement – at least on their web sites to rectify FPMT's unfortunate role in promoting MR's ministry in the 1990s?

      After the retreat, the internet was still a fledgling, but if memory serves, E-Sangha hosted MR threads. Personally, after H.H. Dalai Lama's Beacon Theatre teachings (where MR/CM sat in the center of the front balcony row), I attended a crowded 'Coming Out' event by MR/CM in a Manhattan church, stood up in robes and tried to ask questions. So maybe 2 minutes for contrarian pov and 2 hours of mandala offerings to the 'guru' and long self-promotional talks by the DM'ers.

      Ten years ago, one was pretty powerless to counter MR's cultish apostasies. Fortunately, in 2006, MR's grandiosity and advertising strategy caused him to overplay his hand by trying to teach in McLeod Ganj. By then the internet hosted diamondcutter.org so at least one tiny venue existed for alternative voices to MR/ACI/WV/DM, etc.

      As for 'this forum' – it is inadequate. What is needed is a web site like diamondcutter.org that had the capacity to host articles, reports, and a coherent forum structure on one site. The thread "structure" on this site has not Table of Contents. The articles are posted at separate www addresses and not linked together, etc.

      Dear web designers, Please HELP!

    anonymous Jun 30, 2012 1:24pm

    You are NOT Osel Torres!

anonymous Jun 27, 2012 5:12pm

I think we should all give aguse a break, since s/he is obviously suffering from a severe case of DMentia.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 6:12pm

    OK, let's attack anonymous snake and his/her teachers instead.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:24pm

      No lets keep attacking any of the GM defenders so that they dont post difficult debate issues like the ones that aguse posted.

        anonymous Jun 29, 2012 6:02am

        I think most of us are genuinely interested in the difficult debate issues that "GM defenders" are bringing to the table, but people are reacting defensively in response to the offensive language being used.

        We're communicating, it's all good. It would be better if we could all tone it down a bit, though. Makes communication easier.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 7:42pm

    so uncharacteristically gracious.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:14pm

    Someone whose posts are as coherently well-mannered as Aguse must expect that someone will respond with a bit of sarcasm. Surely founders and students of Manhattan's ACI can handle a little sarcasm

    If you want to read hard-hitting sarcastic debate, read an English translation of a work by Khedrup Je, A Dose of Emptiness.

    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 10:25am

    a break from what?

      anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:46am

      Tell me Aguse-How 'intellectually honest' is GMR being when he makes the claim that he "is the 1st arya bodhisattva since Arya Nagarjuna."? (Tantra, 2004.)
      How 'honest' was he in 2007 during tantra class to answer my question with: "People don't like the word 'marriage' "… when he was struggling to find adequate terms to describe 'spiritual partnerships'.?
      Aguse, would you consider it an 'honest' thing to say when he said to my face in April, 2012: "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth." ? (I'm giving Joseph Goebbels the benefit of the doubt that he meant it as well when he first said it in 1937.)
      Geshe Michael is resembling Raskolnikov in 'Crime And Punishment'; he wants to be outed, and he wants to atone, but he's afraid to admit it to himself…(Because being the 1st arya bodhisattva in nearly 2000 years means never having to say that you are sorry.) If it is true that GMR is removing his televised teachings from justin.tv shortly after their broadcast, then he himself acknowledges that his presentations cannot withstand the process of 'cutting, rubbing, and burning' that the authentic Buddhadharma has no difficulty to withstand. What more is there to say when a teacher will not even stand by his own words for a day?.

        anonymous Jun 29, 2012 10:12am

        Would you provide more context for the rather amazing – I guess honest – April 2012 quote?

        It reminds me of a series of posts here that reiterated advice that we should stop talking about MR/CR's ministries because it had all been talked about before and anyone who was interested could find material from 2003 and 2006 on the web.

        "Goebbel's law of propaganda', having been scientifically proven true, is sadly being used by our amazing communication media to ruin societies and individuals.

        Even to convince people that something that is true is true requires repeated repetition by several voices because that is an important tool human beings use to form judgments about reality.

        It would be wonderful if MR would actually respond in accordance with the Buddhist Dharma he studied, regret, confess and apply remedies and attempt to heal the harm. That would be amazing if he was sincere. Your analysis is cogent and well-put.

        anonymous Jul 2, 2012 5:36pm

        are the videos down? also does it make sense to you that out of the 1000s of hours of available audio of his on the internet, he is going to take down these 15 hours of audio? you don't make any sense nor do any of the examples you list. if you think he was being literal when he said that thing about lying, you're a fool.

        GMR could be an arya. if we define arya to include all of the coarser realizations of selflessness and emptiness, then yes undoubtedly he is and so are a few of his students.

        you take your conceptualizations very very seriously. calm the fuck down.

anonymous Jun 27, 2012 1:01pm

Now for some sweet news about a genuine American Geshe and Rato Monastery [where Roach is so proud to have debated]:

Dalai Lama Appoints Ven. Nicholas Vreeland as Abbot of Rato Monastery in India —
First Time Westerner Becomes Head of a Tibetan Monastery

New York City — The Tibet Center is proud to announce that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has appointed its Director, the Venerable Nicholas (“Nicky”) Vreeland, as the new Abbot of Rato Monastery, which is based in India. This is a historic moment; this is the first time that a Westerner has been appointed as abbot of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.
During the investiture in Long Beach California on April 20, 2012, the Dalai La-ma stated, “Your special duty (is) to bridge Tibetan tradition and Western world.” The Dalai Lama was in California giving teachings and public lectures.
On May 10, The Tibet Center will host a reception in New York City to celebrate this appointment. On July 6, Vreeland will be officially enthroned at Rato Monastery in India as the new abbot.

As he has done for many years, Vreeland will continue to split his time between The Tibet Center in New York and the monastery in India. The original Rato Monastery, located on the outskirts of Lhasa, Tibet, was established by Je Tong Khapa in the 14th Century to preserve the teachings on Buddhist logic. By 1959, Rato had over 500 monks in residence, with scholars from all the great monastic universities of Tibet converging there every year for a month of intense philosophical and logical study and debate.

In 1983, Rato was reestablished in a Tibetan refugee settlement in the south Indian state of Karnataka, where two years later Vreeland became a monk and began his monastic studies. He sat for his Geshe degree (Doctorate of Philosophy) in 1998, after which he returned to New York to assume duties as the Director of The Tibet Center —Kunkhyab Thardo Ling — where he had first begun his studies of Buddhism with the Center’s founder, the Reverend Khyongla Rato Rinpoche in 1977.
The Tibet Center has been a co-host with the Gere Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visits to New York a number of times, including two public talks in Central Park and teachings at Radio City Music Hall. Vreeland has edited the New York Times bestseller, An Open Heart, and the recent, A Profound Mind, both authored by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Though there are well over a thousand Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, Rato Mon-astery is one of only a dozen important Tibetan Government monasteries under the Dalai Lama’s patronage. Today there are approximately 100 monks at Rato ranging from the age of 6 to 90.

Vreeland has been a photographer since he was 13 years old, and assisted Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. A recent exhibition of Vreeland’s work, Photos for Rato, toured major cities around the world, raising most of the funds needed for the construction of Rato Monastery’s new campus and temple, which was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama on January 31, 2011.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 4:17pm

    Sadhu! http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episode

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:03pm

    Saw a picture of Geshe Vreeland the other day, standing (bowing) next to HHDL. If your going to wear the robes, this is how it is done, according to the rules of the tradition you have been allowed to enter. So wonderful to see. I also saw a picture of the first Lama I took refuge with, Jhado Rinpoche, alongside Lama Zopa, Khandro-La and another notable Geshe, all touring together to teach in the US. I would like to think that all this publicity around this tragic situation with GM will send would be seekers to their talks to see what a real Lama looks and sounds like.
    GM tried so hard to engineer situations with other Lama's to get some credibility. Sometime after the end of the first 3 yr retreat, we all went for a big dinner in Tuscon. A very special guest was to be there, and there was much excitement. We all waited for GM and Christie to arrive. Finally they did, and GM announced that a very high Lama from the Kagyu (not sure which lineage) tradition was coming to address us. GM said that this Lama was a direct re-incarnation/emanation of Milarepa himself, which sent a buzz around the room. Then an older Tibetan layperson entered, katas presented etc, and he spoke to the room. About Guru devotion of course. About how any faults you might see in the Lama come from your own mind, and so on. We were all really impressed.
    Later on I spoke with one of GM's main assistants (enablers?) and she told me how stressed she had been trying to arrange this endorsement. It had cost much more than they had anticipated,more money had been demanded by the Tibetan man at the last minute, and the whole deal had almost fallen through, while they tried to come up with the money. This was one of the many things that made me go hmmm, that I put on that shelf that Ekan talked about, until mine too eventually fell.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:18pm

      Two such Nyingma beards were introduced to the audience on the evening in Palampur 2006 when MR tried to make the audience believe that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had sent him a thangka and blessed water from his own Yamantaka retreat!

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:38pm

        ? I understood it was a monk from Sera who did that.

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 10:37am

          The monk whom MR said worked in H.H. Dalai Lama's Private Office and who brought the thanga and water to the MR lecture venue near Palampur was a Gyuto Tantric College monk [which is located in a 'suburb' of Dharamsala in the Kangra Valley below McLeod Ganj]. He is also a relative of a Sera Mey Geshe who served as a mentor for RM (who has visited DM]) and the Gyuto monk worked with Westerners in McLeod Ganj to try to organize MR's planned teaching in 2006.

            anonymous Jun 28, 2012 2:42pm

            Tenor, up to her old lies again. GMR did not attempt to make the audience believe that. in fact he said the OPPOSITE, he spoke to the audience and said he was hesitant to believe that the monk possessed what he said he possessed. that is what he actually told to the audience.

      anonymous Jun 28, 2012 10:29am

      lol

      anonymous Jun 28, 2012 8:00pm

      Sid-I remember that dinner and the Lama was introduced as "a reincarnated student of Milarepa's. I was unaware that this was a 'paid endorsement' though.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:52pm

    Wonderful news! I pray that his activities for the benefit of Rato Monastery are successful.

anonymous Jun 27, 2012 11:17am

Aguse said, "you can be married and still keep your ordination vows, you dope. a marriage is just a legal agreement and an additional set of vows."

If "you can be married and still keep your ordination vows", why did MR/C lie and deceive so many people for so many years about their marital status?
Why did Christie plead with us at the end of their relationship to understand that she did not want to be perceived as a consort any more? It was so unfair to her.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 11:41am

    Did she give any reasons as to why she did not want to be perceived as a consort? Did she say it was unfair to her to be viewed this way, and if so why?

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 11:49am

    "Why did Christie plead with us at the end of their relationship to understand that she did not want to be perceived as a consort any more? It was so unfair to her."

    Is this in writing or video or did it occur at one of her teachings?

    After breaking up with GMR, she really couldn't be perceived of as a consort anymore. It was either being perceived as a lama in her own right or just some other asshole. Did she say which she preferred?

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 1:47pm

      It was the only time I remember any mention of their relationship from either of them as it was falling apart. It was in tantra and she was sitting next to MR. It was very heart wrenching for me to hear her say these words. My memory of her words, "I don't want to be perceived as a concort. You can understand that can't you?" long pause and looking around the room.
      The perception of concort status when one is in fact married is a deception. MR said, to give a false impression to someone is the same as a lie.

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 2:41pm

        again, what is the deception? a wife can be a consort, so can a husband. so can someone you are not married to. what in the f*** are you talking about?

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 3:11pm

          The deception is in lying about the fact that they were married.

            anonymous Jun 28, 2012 10:34am

            where did they lie about being married?

              anonymous Jun 28, 2012 10:56am

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie
              Lying by omission
              Also known as a continuing misrepresentation, a lie by omission occurs when an important fact is left out in order to foster a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. When the seller of a car declares it has been serviced regularly but does not tell that a fault was reported at the last service, the seller lies by omission.

              Did you know they were married? Did you tell anyone? Did you feel you were keeping a confidence by not telling? Did their families know they were married?

              A friend told me that Jigme, his close attendant, was surprised to know they were married.

                anonymous Jun 28, 2012 11:05am

                There is a thread – or sub-thread where someone, maybe Zirconium, posted excerpts from a 2003 Interview with Mr. and Mrs. Roach wherein they were discussing their jewelry and the rings they'd given each other that they happened to be wearing on the left finger that generally signifies engagement and marriage. Try to find it and re-post it here because the interviewer explicitly asked if they'd had a ceremony which they both deny.

                  anonymous Jun 28, 2012 11:42am

                  Easter 2003 Quiet Retreat Interview
                  Lying by Omission:

                  Q: And then the rings. I mean did you guys actually have like a ceremony?

                  GMR: We’re not married in that way. It’s not … I’m Vajrayogini’s disciple, and I wear her ring.

                  C: No, no, I’m Vajrayogini’s disciple and I wear her ring. (laughs)

                  GMR: And I guess it’s only coincidence, right, that the wedding finger is the finger that is sacred to Vajrayogini. So is it possible that every person in the world who wears a wedding ring on their third finger is somehow, that that custom has spread in our world due to Vajrayogini’s direct influence? I don’t know.

                  Q: That’s a nice thought. So you guys didn’t do any special trading of rings?

                  GMR: Oh we made a beautiful ceremony of it. And the rings were made by a friend of mine who’s a very master jeweler from, he’s Yemenese, a Yemenite Jew, who’s a master handcraftsman. And we put a diamond in them to remember emptiness, and they’re Irish design. So it was to remember.

                  Aguse – Please comment on my questions. I am interested in your answers.

                  Did you know they were married? Did you tell anyone? Did you feel you were keeping a confidence by not telling? Did their families know they were married?

                    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 2:31pm

                    Lying by denial: "We’re not married in that way"

                    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 2:35pm

                    i don't care about their marriage.

                    contrary to Tenor stating that "the interviewer explicitly asked if they'd had a ceremony which they both deny", the actual interview states "oh we made a beautiful ceremony of it".

                    you will have to figure out when the interview was taken an when they were married. were they married during the retreat? prior to retreat? i mean, unless you are in the business of just making shit up, then just carry on. they have no obligation to speak to you let alone inform you whether they are married or not

                    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 2:38pm

                    married 1998, interviewed 2003, divorced 2010, outed 2012

                    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 3:04pm

                    I don't want to be a dick, but it seems you are switching from, "there was no deception about the marriage" to "who cares about the marriage" and "they have no responsibility to tell you they are legally married".

                    I agree that they neither have nor had any responsibility to go public with the fact that they were married. But by not doing so and by denying being married when asked, they were being deceptive.

                    It can be said that they had very good reasons for being deceptive – the feelings of the families, the faith of the students, whatever you want to bring up, but all that goes against what I was taught at DM. What I was taught was that virtuous actions lead to pleasant experiences in the future and if it seems that a non-virtuous action (like lying) caused something good to happen, that was an incorrect perception because it couldn't happen. The example was that if the nazis came and asked you if there were Jews hidden in the house, the outcome didn't hinge on whether you lied or told the truth but rather hinged on something that happened far in the past. Therefore, to ensure good events in the future, you should tell the truth and always tell the truth.

                anonymous Jun 28, 2012 2:27pm

                they have no responsibility to tell you they are legally married.

anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:55am

To Repeat Aguse without having it lost in a thread.
"
Lama Thubten Yeshe (Introduction to Tantra, 147) wrote:
"There is a certain point in the mastery of the completion stage where physically embracing a consort is necessary…"

Je Tsong Khapa who founded the Gelugpas, agreed that to attain Buddha-hood in one lifetime, it is necessary to use an actual consort (karma mudra) saying,
"A female companion is the basis of accomplishment of liberation."

That is, in order to generate an illusory body as that of a particular deity with all the qualities of existence, another person must interact with it.

The Dalai Lama said he would not reach enlightenment in this lifetime because he did not have a consort.

The Dalai Lama also said that many within Buddhist schools believe that the Shakyamuni became enlightenment with a consort under the Bodhi Tree and that his was edited out in many iconographies and written accounts.

It is generally understood in the tantric tradition, that it is not possible to bring all five winds into the central channel at the same time unless one performs karmamudra. The yogi will do the practice at an advanced stage. Milarepa did karmamudra with dakinis. The source for the oral instructions on the completion stage of the Kalachakra Tantra by Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey of the Gelugpa. I've also heard this from the Drikung Kagyu lamas. In some lineages an advanced yogi who is a monk will take a consort and it is not seen as violating vows, because this is what the Buddha said to do as part of the tantric method.

In Dzogchen and essence mahamudra, karmamudra is not important, and works with different channels.

From The Essential Dalai Lama: His Important Teachings by Dalai Lama:
"Yogis who have achieved a high level of the path and are fully qualified can engage in sexual activity, and a monastic with this ability can maintain all the precepts."
Report
"

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 1:19pm

    Aguse – How do you know roach is at that level of realization? According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche if roach has signs of realization he should manifest them publicly! Also Roach being banned from teaching at all Lama Zopa Rinpoche Dharma centers doesn’t bode well with Roach’s credibility! – We need not mention roach’s orgies with 4 female disciples (Oh I get it Aguse Roach is a Mahasiddha) being banned from teaching at Dharamshala by his Holiness the Dalai Lama (Never the less Roach still went to Dharamshala to "teach" and even bribed a Monk to steal blessing water from his Holiness private quarters claiming it was Yamantaka water! (Oh I get it Aguse this was all Roach’s “Wisdom Display”) – Aguse go back to defending Roach at Diamondcutter.org that ‘s what you do well!!!

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 3:01pm

      GMR did not bribe the monk as you said he did, the monk brought water and GMR was even hesitant to believe that they were what the monk claimed they were, and said so openly to the audience. this was easily discernible in the audio.

      regarding popularity pageantry and public displays, we'll see what happens. but really your dharma studies should consist of more than just following around whoevers in fashion, and disregarding their explanations of renunciation, bodhichitta and emptiness just due to hearsay. if you want to learn logic, study ACI 13. if you want to learn pramana, study ACI 2 and 4. if you want to study chittamattra, study ACI 15. if you want to hear an excellent presentation of guide to a bodhisattva's way of life, study ACI 10, 11 ,12.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 3:03pm

      Special siddhi displays aside, wouldn't an 8th level Bodhisattva who has perceived emptiness directly have found a way to overcome simple jealousy? http://blip.tv/yoga-studies/geshe-michael-roach-i

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 5:53pm

        Svan,

        "Special siddhi displays aside, wouldn't an 8th level Bodhisattva who has perceived emptiness directly have found a way to overcome simple jealousy?"

        He's teaching a way to overcome jealousy or any other affliction, in the link you post.

        Admitting one once had a human fault is not indicative to me that the same person has not overcome said fault. To me it sounded as if he was in touch with parts of himself that he didn't like or wanted to change and had found a way to overcome it and was trying to teach others whatever effective way he found. He overcame it to some extent at least……Ian was not banished from the group until his actions– Ian and Christie's action's– forced the issue. He couldn't have been too jealous.

        In fact, in my experience, it's the fault(s) a person doesn't admit to or isn't aware of that are the most troublesome. Wouldn't you agree?

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:50pm

          So "one once" in this case would refer to the time frame within his claiming to be an 8th level Bodhisattva (this lifetime) — the time period when his wife left him for another man. Until DM releases the transcript of the GR teachings, the greater population can't analyze LC's words. What are they so afraid of?

            anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:33pm

            Krigor,

            No time frame was given in the snippet. I said "one once" deliberately– meaning any person, not just GMR. My remark was meant to broaden the palate, not speak about him directly.

            I can't speak to the realizations of any other being, and I won't.

            "Until DM releases the transcript of the GR teachings, the greater population can't analyze LC's words. What are they so afraid of? "

            So….are you saying that whether or not you believe MR to be an 8th level Bodhisattva is going to depend entirely (at this moment, including any findings on the matter you might already have) on the GR teachings given by his ex-wife? As in, what LC said there (or didn't) is going be the deciding factor, no matter what, on whether or not you believe GMR to be an 8th Level Bodhisattva?

            Couldn't they be protecting her? Or maybe even legally bound to not release them? Or, maybe, protecting the Dharma? I have no idea, really…..I just think fear is only one of a myriad of reasons for not releasing them.

              anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:51pm

              Just saying that the "fault" of jealousy and his claims of realization exist in the same time frame.

              Banishment — release the transcripts so that the larger population can analyze LC's words that led up to the banishment.

              And yes, fear could be only one of the reasons.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:53pm

          Cloverleaf,

          I got the impression he was speaking about his own current affliction with jealousy. At the beginning he says, "we are going to work with you one on one to identify your worst negative emotion, mine is jealousy, okay." That sounds like the present tense to me. Then, at the end he says, "by the time you finish with us, you will be free of your worst negative emotion… I probably won't have jealousy any more and we'll basically be in nirvana." This implies that he currently has jealousy that he wants to get rid of – and this struck me as an odd thing for any advanced practitioner, let alone an 8th level Bodhisattva, to admit *in the present tense*. I didn't hear him say that he used to struggle with it or that he "found a way to overcome it". It appears to me that he is still working very hard to overcome it. (By the way, this video was sent out at the end of Feb, just a few weeks after the controversial GRT). Yes, you'd think he'd be over any jealousy by now, having to work through the whole "giving your spiritual partner up to a younger, more handsome man" thing. You don't think that jealousy could have been a factor in the banishment, but I do. You don't have to agree with me, it's just an opinion based on my experience with jealous types…

          I do agree with you that not admitting the truth can be most troublesome.

            anonymous Jun 28, 2012 7:23am

            svan,

            I do agree that jealousy could have been a factor in the banishment…..but I don't think it was. If LC publicly admitted to stabbing Ian in that teaching, which by all accounts she did, MR and the Board would have no legal choice other than expulsion to protect themselves from any liability…..so, I guess my opinion is even if MR was jealous, this particular action doesn't speak to that for me. In fact, I can't find one thing that does speak to MR being jealous of the couple.

            I wasn't trying to argue, and I'm sorry if that's how it came across.

            I just 'read' the tape a bit differently than you did. He did say, in the present tense, that maybe he would be rid of his own jealousy…..but once an affliction always an affliction, in my opinion– kind of like an addiction. I heard it as more of him trying to relate to his target audience; it was after all an advertisement. It's just my opinion and I'm not looking for agreement, just understanding that either point of view is not the only way to see it.

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:44pm

        This is definitely a Top Ten MR video.

        Notice that he makes a mockery of the Buddhist path to Self-Liberation/Nirvana, i.e., he is selling the attendance at his course and a vacation at a Yoga Resort in the Bahamas as part of the path to Cessation and Nirvana!

        Is that the same Bahama Yoga Resort that CM reputedly took refuge in after her husband died?

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:56pm

          yes, Tenor. They taught there together a number of times.

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 10:38am

          Tenor is so glad and beaming at the death of Ian.
          she's been so lonely since diamond-cutter was shut down.

            anonymous Jun 28, 2012 1:06pm

            aguse, delight in another's death is an ugly thing to accuse anyone of – just imagine if one of us had suggested that MR might be dancing on the grave of the man who made him a cuckold? Let's agree to not go down that road, okay?

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 3:16pm

      The Gyuto monastery monk was a close relative of MR's Sera Mey Geshe mentor (forget his name, but he's been to DM) and that monk was very instrumental in trying to organize MR's 'teachings' in McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala.

      As described by H.H. Dalai Lama's Private Office (and posted on diamondcutter.org), when the monk was asked about his appearance at MR's teaching evening, the monk proved a loyal MR minion and lied, saying he had not been there! Fortunately, someone who been there took photos of him and had given them to His Holiness Office. The monk confessed when confronted with his own photo.

      He clarified that the water was not from H.H. Dalai Lama's private Yamantaka retreat as MR said but from the public White Tara Jenang at the close of His Holiness' teachings.

      If you listen to MR on the evening talking about this monk and the gifts he brought – with open eyes, after reading His Holiness' Private Office statement – it truly displays MR's skilled use of language to instill in his followers completely false lies.

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 10:41am

        well Tenor now you are just openly lying against existing audio.

        yes, there used to be a clip on diamond-cutter.
        of course, the audio was very brief and clipped to not include the part where GMR is very suspicious of the monk and openly says so about his gifts.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 3:24pm

      AIAG,

      Actually, MR did not go to Dharamsala. We went to a "suburb" of the next large town, Palampur, to the east of Dharamsala. He is bold, but not that bold.

      Some of what you mention is clearly hearsay. However, I am a witness to the incident, etc., regarding MR and the Gyuto Monk's 'gifts.'

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 3:25pm

        "We went" of course should be "He went"

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 4:52pm

        Thank you for the clarification. Unfortunately Tenor Roach’s so called Dharma Juggernaut will only be hobbled for a few years at best. I predicate after the so called newly hatched baby Roachettes jettison from their 3 year retreat Yurt Nests Roach will soar even higher in the Dharma Dollars Market selling some new and improved Dharma Moonshine! Christie McNally will also be back on the Dharma Money Train! – It’s all they know! – I have the feeling McNally will not release a tell all book because she will have admit she is not a realized being and/or face lawsuits from Roach. As far as I know there is no authentic Lineage in Tibetan Buddhism who recognizes Christie McNally as a Lama only from the Roach Fantasy Lineage. Christie McNally should also be put under the spot light and not just Roach for this disaster.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:26pm

          AIAG,

          If history is a guide, your forecast may well be accurate. To repeat, con artists are a dime a dozen – and the people who run Wall Street are on our generation's top 10 list. Yet, to use as con-bait, the precious Dharma passed down in a lineage from the great Nalanda back to Shakyanumi Buddha, and see your 'suckers' as people who want to learn to practice virtue, learn to develop minds of Equanimity and Great Compassion, etc., is extremely cruel. This con is an attack on the people who fall for it, on spiritual seekers of the future who might have benefited from Dharma and on the preservation of Dharma in our world.

          Since our motive is to rescue people and post warning signs, we should try not to be discourage by the storm forecasts, but continue to send out as many lifeboats as we can muster.

          Near the end of the MR's India tour debacle — after attending H.H. Dalai Lama's teachings and being confronted with factual evidence that should have set off clanging alarms — the DM students I met — who were young, bright eyed, bushy tailed, lovely and enthusiastically enlisted in a project to build a Dharma pure land in the desert — had their eyes tightly wide shut.

          Yet on this forum, people have said that many (an indeterminate number) of people did break off from MR/CM as a result of that 2006 trip and the limited publicity concerning it on the web.

            anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:26pm

            Yes. Thank you, this forum will be of much help to many people, there is a lot of info to sift through, but the info is there, in a way it was not there before — from people speaking from their experience and investigation.

            anonymous Jun 28, 2012 11:02am

            once again Tenor believes they stand above the entire group of people she is putting down. GMR is the great conman, the 100 sitting in the crowd listening to him are the people with "eyes tightly shut", and she sits above in her croft busily discerning.

            and her discernment is never wrong, GMR is certainly conning people with free classes and giving up his body with tireless work, in addition to the millions of dollars and estates he has happily donated. sorry Tenor, i don't know of a single person who left after India 2006. perhaps you would like to cite some examples? although it seems like an earth-shattering thing for you, it was a minor teaching event for most people. GMR now speaks to 10,000s of people each year all over the world teaching them karma and emptiness, and 2006 is almost a memory that no longer exists for anyone. probably you should try to find the full audio where GMR says that he doubts that the gifts are what the monk presenting them says they were.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:48pm

          Maybe now that the Love Triangle is gone – and CM has seen how precarious her career is without RM, maybe they can manufacture and sell a new product line based on their getting back together?

            anonymous Jun 28, 2012 11:04am

            product? you seem completely clueless.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:23pm

          Unfortunately you may be right about Christie returning. The same thing happened to Ora when she tried to flee, only to return to the fold as part of the dakini squad. Her reasoning? "life on the outside is boring"

            anonymous Jun 28, 2012 6:51am

            Ora is a very interesting person to me. I read her biography, and she has impeccable academic credentials and must be very bright and perceptive. Although she was not named, I extrapolated that she must have been the person from the 2000-2003 retreat who was either "sent out" on a special spiritual mission, or who fled from something she had not signed up for. And yet I noticed she now is the executive director of the Knowledge Base, the umbrella organization for ACIP. That for me cast doubt on the allegations about the earlier retreat (except for the piece where Christie and MR lived together, which was publicly acknowledged at the end of the retreat), which I had found highly credible.

    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 6:56am

    Aguse lifted the whole post from http://downthecrookedpath-meditation-gurus.blogsp… The author of that site copies passages from various sources to suggest that Tibetan Buddhism is degenerate/preoccupied with sex.

      anonymous Jun 28, 2012 11:07am

      no, i didn't. if you use your pathetic mind for a moment, you would understand that i am a tibetan buddhist and suggesting "that Tibetan Buddhism is degenerate/preoccupied with sex" is not my favor.

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 1:39pm

        That's what happens when you plagiarized (how Buddhist) and didn't even bother to check what the original author had intended to say.

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:51pm

        I, for one, do not believe you, aguse. It appears that you lifted the exact selections from the blog, as Zirconia suggests, in the same order they appear on the violated page.

anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:27am

Same video at 1:59 … and those teachers sometimes contradict each other which drives you crazy your head splits open and stuff starts to leak out, you know? you go to one teacher in the monastery and he says you should never do this and then you go to the other teacher and he says you must do this, you know. And then you go like crazy you feel like your head is going to explode.

2 of your dearest teachers are telling you to do opposite things, then in our tradition, the student is required to decide which is correct by examining which is more helpful for other beings. This lama told me I should do yoga, this other lama told me I should never do yoga. This lama ordered me to have a spiritual partner, this other lama told me I can't have a spirtual partner, what am I sup… [end of recording] http://www.justin.tv/aci_phoenix/b/321808869

Under every video at http://www.justin.tv/aci_phoenix/videos now has "Note: this broadcast will be deleted tonight."

anonymous Jun 27, 2012 5:49am

you and Fleurine are the disgrace.

anonymous Jun 27, 2012 12:17am

The Secret Biography of Lama Tsongkhapa
Is available at this link :www.gyutocenter.org/…/59-song-of-the-mystic-experiences-of-lama-..
If you have trouble finding it just google Tsongkhapa Secret Biography. It was written by Jamyang Tashi Palden.
I read through it. It talks about LTK's practice of the 35 Confession Buddhas, his direct visions of various tantric deities, and dakinis singing vajra songs to him. Also his visions of various Nalanda scholars, and great Siddhas such as Tilopa etc.
Nowhere does it mention entering into union with a consort.
I also asked my teacher, a Lharampa geshe and graduate of the tantric college, and he has never heard of Lama Tsongkhapa entering into union with an actual consort. Like many great teachers, he generated as a deity with a visualized consort when he did his sadhanas. Not living female being. A visualized being.
Perhaps in one of his previous lives, when he was not a monk? Honestly I have looked in many places, Tibetan and English texts, and asked me teachers. No one has heard of this.

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 12:35am

    Khedrup – Thank you for the research. One more misconception corrected.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 5:25am

      good luck with your google searches and trying to understand texts, particular poems, without commentaries. ekan…wake up. although i suppose, you were trying to learn madhyamaka dependent origination without first studying the lower schools, you were bound to fail. imagine that…learning about the lower schools of karma (and being surprised by them no less!!) and dependent origination AFTER taking initiation. what were you doing while studying the ACI Courses? taking a nap?

      Lama Thubten Yeshe (Introduction to Tantra, 147) wrote:
      "There is a certain point in the mastery of the completion stage where physically embracing a consort is necessary…"

      Je Tsong Khapa who founded the Gelugpas, agreed that to attain Buddha-hood in one lifetime, it is necessary to use an actual consort (karma mudra) saying,
      "A female companion is the basis of accomplishment of liberation."

      That is, in order to generate an illusory body as that of a particular deity with all the qualities of existence, another person must interact with it.

      The Dalai Lama said he would not reach enlightenment in this lifetime because he did not have a consort.

      The Dalai Lama also said that many within Buddhist schools believe that the Shakyamuni became enlightenment with a consort under the Bodhi Tree and that his was edited out in many iconographies and written accounts.

      It is generally understood in the tantric tradition, that it is not possible to bring all five winds into the central channel at the same time unless one performs karmamudra. The yogi will do the practice at an advanced stage. Milarepa did karmamudra with dakinis. The source for the oral instructions on the completion stage of the Kalachakra Tantra by Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey of the Gelugpa. I've also heard this from the Drikung Kagyu lamas. In some lineages an advanced yogi who is a monk will take a consort and it is not seen as violating vows, because this is what the Buddha said to do as part of the tantric method.

      In Dzogchen and essence mahamudra, karmamudra is not important, and works with different channels.

      From The Essential Dalai Lama: His Important Teachings by Dalai Lama:
      "Yogis who have achieved a high level of the path and are fully qualified can engage in sexual activity, and a monastic with this ability can maintain all the precepts."

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:47am

        Repeat posts:
        Regarding Serkong Rinpoche, “And in the history of the Gelug lineage, he is the only Lama that the Dalai Lama has ever advised to give his robes back.” The message is very clear to me for the first time. Monks of the Gelugpa tradition are not to engage with a physical consort. Michael Roach's robes and consort practice are completely incompatible with one another.

        Jetsongkapa never engaged in consort practice. His biography is clear that he was ABSOLUTELY CELIBATE. There are two ideas about when Jetsongkapa became enlightened. One is, he was enlightened before he took his human birth in 1357. The other says that he waited until he was in the bardo before attaining enlightenment. There is no one that says he became enlightened during his lifetime. Therefore, there was no need for this practice.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:58am

          Aguse is able to express his mentality and point of view very effectively, and serves as an eloquent spokesperson for MR/DM/ACI.

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 6:38am

        Aguse lifted the whole post without attribution http://downthecrookedpath-meditation-gurus.blogsp

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 11:09am

          i didn't lift it from there at all. google better.

            anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:59am

            Where did you lift it from, then? My googling has reached its limits.

              anonymous Jun 29, 2012 7:12am

              aguse – Site your source. Please don't play games. We call that plagiarism here.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 6:21am

      ps. you seem incapable of working out even whether Serkong Rinpoche was a monk when he had a consort. it is common knowledge that he was, that was the whole "controversy". http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/app

anonymous Jun 26, 2012 11:00pm

I think what aguse is trying to say is that what you read on these kinds of forums should be taken with a grain (shaker?) of salt–especially on sites like e-sangha, phalyul (which would make Penor Rinpoche vomit), and elephantjournal, which don't seem to have moderators. Dharmawheel.net does have a moderator who sometimes warns people to tone it down or else…

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 5:43am

    not just for forums but also the articles when and if articles are made up mostly of lies, uncontrolled opinion, and promoting division by maligning sects against each other.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:20am

      And then the follow up gossip sections of said articles. People keep calling for GM defenders to "come out and open up" and when they do, they get attacked. The 5or 6 people who are the main contributers of this gossip section Dont want to hear both sides, they want other GM people to join in their witch hunt, and get frustrated when they dont.

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 7:52pm

        This forum has over 2500 posts largely because people are upset and scared by the bizarre death of a 39 year old Stanford- educated man expelled from a cult-like organization in thr desert in Arizona, IMHO. People want more information which is not forthcoming. It is not deeper than that, and has almost nothing to do with Tibetan Buddhism.

anonymous Jun 26, 2012 10:47pm

As a complete outsider … I do feel sorry for those who were or still are duped by MR…
I don't like to talk bad about any one, but I do feel that if people with authority and credibility in the West and East Buddhist ¨scene¨ don't take care of this ¨scandal¨properly, if they just remain silent, it will damaged the Dharma as a whole.
The Truth must be spoken loudly.

anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:40pm

Rumors of sexual misconduct and other crazy drama from a Diamon Mountain student in 2006:
http://web.archive.org/web/20080405050606/http://

    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 1:44pm

    oh i love rumours, particularly at e-sangha. there is nothing quite as insanely immoral as e-sangha

      anonymous Jun 26, 2012 2:30pm

      Hey, aguse – are you OK?

        anonymous Jun 26, 2012 10:33pm

        "Disgruntled groupie". Haha

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 4:51am

        the anti-NKT threads that used to be on e-sangha were legendary for their idiocy

anonymous Jun 26, 2012 10:54am

I once witnessed a senior western Dharma practitioner with much knowledge of Tibetan ream out a young man who had shown up at the Temple with a yellow shawl with red Sanskrit non-Buddhist mantras printed on it (that many yoga people wear). It was completely shocking. If this is the way a recognized senior western teacher believes the pure Dharma is to be upheld, all I can do is shake my head. No wonder there continues to be interreligious strife at all levels.

People who ask questions about how things are done or understood within these traditions are often viewed with distrust, and relegated to the outside in one way or another, whether by shunning (yes some Tibetans and Tibetan imitators still like this one a lot; preferring it to the "negative karma" of discussions that could arouse more mental afflictions) or in other ways.

If Buddhist followers cannot function reasonably in relation to the epistemic standards of the society within which they function, I don't see how that is going to help these lineages survive in the west, unless they become entirely closed systems, and whoever has taken a science 101 class knows that all closed systems die.

The extremely precious and profound teachings of bodhicitta and emptiness need to be extricated from polarized attitudes if they are to yield the benefit that they promise practitioners and all sentient beings. I am therefore suspicious of teachers who, regardless of the accepted histories/stories, pathologize other lineages or their leaders or an individual's need to deeply question, regardless of the exalted and /or recognized spiritual status of the teacher.

My most inspiring teachers have been decidedly practical, down to earth, broad-minded, curious, deeply sensitive to individuals' personal situations/problems/resources (profoundly considerate), unpretentious, devoid of self-aggrandizement, extremely respectful, entirely uninterested in commodifying themselves or the Dharma, or in superstitious interpretations of anything. They do exist, dear people. But they are indeed rare. If the Tony Robbins style you find to be a more skillful means, then first check the results. But in Tony Robbins defense, he has never used religion or spiritual technologies, or claims to enlightenment to market himself or his ideas.

Once you are polarized strongly in any direction, you have lost the very foundation of Buddhist practice everywhere mentioned in the early canonical (Pali) literature: mindfulness. Mindfulness is intended to develop a very stable experiential, embodied equanimity (not a belief) which forms a proper foundation for the development of authentic conventional and ultimate bodhicitta.

If the mindfulness lineages belonging to the southern schools etc. had been practiced to perfection in Tibet I don't see how we could be witnessing many of these issues today. Equanimity is not an intellectual game. It has to be viscerally realized, that is, one has to understand the relationship among the 5 heaps and understand deeply the 12 links. Without first establishing equanimity experientially within the body-mind complex of a practitioner, advocating for renunciation, bodhicitta, and correct view amounts to mere doctrinal allegiance, to say nothing of attempting a Vajrayana practice without it.

    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 10:52pm

    If you push reply, you can post further comments on your post and save space on the page.

anonymous Jun 26, 2012 10:53am

More liberal Dharma groups that made a bigger effort to assimilate to the west and to the make-up of the western psyche have seemed to do better, in general, in spite of bumps along their own roads to expansion.

People who adhere to many dysfunctional Dharma organizations are often guided by legitimate devotion to legitimate teachers and transformative practices, and also by the power of the teacher and the power they begin to feel when doing intense practices, and are told to "shelf it" until such time as their wisdom is sufficiently developed to better understand all the messier, disturbing, or less rational elements. Kim Knott's work on insider/outsider perspectives in religion, is worth noting, as well as many of the interviews on Buddhist Geeks that explore some of these themes and questions.

Also, http://gomde-dk-sangha.blogspot.ca/2009/06/east-w

Meanwhile, making references to heady literature and elaborate enlightenment maps presented in mythic terms seem ridiculous and disconnected from our current existential situation. Is this what the Buddha wanted for us?

It seems a necessary consequence that the mission of really seeking the truth for oneself, based on one's carefully observed experience, which is what the Buddha invited us to do, often precludes the interests of maintaining any lineage, view, or doctrine, high and pure as all those may truly and legitimately be. But it takes immense courage, patience, and honesty to do that. We are often not willing to live by that degree of honesty. And we also do not need to throw the baby out with the bathwater do we? Nowhere have I seen more compelling literature on training the mind in compassion, for example. And yet it seems that access to these pure traditions is being restricted by a barbed-wire fence of increasing controversy, shamanic or ritual power struggles, and abuse, as well as by our own lack of interest in educating ourselves carefully, preferring instead the quick fix and the shallow and the unquestioning feel good of practicing to feel good.

Without realizers forget about maintaining a tradition purely.

The Triple Gem is supposed to be a safe refuge. Yet so many people in so many groups are feeling subtly ill at ease all the way to fundamentally unsafe because of so much madness held out as authentic Dharma.

Once you belong to a group there is an implicit expectation to translate your involvement into unquestioning allegiance. Questioning outside of accepted parameters is implicitly regarded as a lack of faith. So there are in my view, cult-like elements in many "authentic" and "pure" Dharma groups. This raises very important questions about what it means to maintain the integrity and purity of a lineage.

If we as individual practitioners confuse a pure practice with dogmatic, constricted, defensive, messianic, and/or fundamentalist attitudes (on top of whatever psychological wounding we bring to it from the start such as narcissistic tendencies, abandonment issues, etc), we are harming the very lineages we hope to maintain. If on the other hand people see us wherever we go and think of us: what a good, kind, respectful, ethical, responsible, easy going, unpretentious, person–then we are doing our job in upholding the purity of any authentic lineage. There is nothing sectarian in that. But my I have seen some incredible behavior among those who claim to be living according to lofty Mahayana values. What I have noticed also is that Vajrayana practices can exponentially magnify unconscious complexes in unseasoned practitioners, manifesting as grossly distorted behavior, such as emotional, verbal, and physical volatility, etc. Thankfully that is a developmental phase that qualified masters alone know how to help navigate, but it can wreak untold damage on oneself and others. A whole area that should be studied, carefully.

anonymous Jun 26, 2012 10:53am

There are some posters here who speak in an informed way about the authentic Tibetan traditions with an appropriate sense of gravity and decorum. What they don't seem to understand though is why even that authenticity that they are speaking on behalf of sometimes is based on or includes elements within the Tibetan traditions themselves that remain, unconsciously or consciously, questionable at best to many thoughtful westerners, such as, for example, the protector controversy, which is always brought up along with accusations of sectarianism. But counter-sectarianism can become sectarian too, and does. There are plenty of stories about a center of one lineage forbidding a member of another lineage from setting foot there to teach. This in the USA, mind you. And this sort of behavior has been rationalized and muffled in many Dharma centers for many years now. That's Dharma?

What a menacing cloud to have to be subtly or overtly referent to; who's propitiating who for what; who's doing rituals against who or what; who's on which side, who's funding who, etc. It's no wonder that so many people are running to the Pali Canon to learn what the earliest extant texts say that the Buddha taught.

All of that sort of talk and interlineal controversy (some call it Dharma combat; you can read more technical treatments about violence and Vajrayana in Stephen Jenkins' work) that no one here seems to want to dip into very deeply creates incredible suspicion, distrust; a palpable film of distasteful residue within and among so-called authentic Dharma practitioners/groups (and produces an allergy or fear toward Tibetan Buddhism in seekers not yet involved but very much inclined toward the universalist bodhicitta ethic) and raises serious questions about a number of issues.

For example, seeing the vitriol among Tibetans themselves toward some Dalai Lama protesters, the spitting, cursing, and throwing things that was witnessed by many in NYC a few years ago, and likewise the untethered aggression and bullying on both sides that continues in India over that issue makes one wonder how any of that behavior fits with any of what the Buddha taught.

What we see is a grotesque display of tribalism. Meanwhile, many monastics both Tibetan and western maintain startling attitudes of entitlement that make humility and real discipleship a long lost artifact in their trajectories. Instead of serving others, they expect to be served, like aristocrats in robes. The authentic masters of which I have met a few, are becoming more and more rare.

And frankly, for most thinking, sensitive people, many of whom were first drawn to Tibetan Buddhism because they were inspired by the embodied and truly exemplary masters of bodhicitta and wisdom, all of this nonsense can be crazy-making.

But people put allegiance ahead of what's true in many cases, often out of fear, or a need for belonging, or power. And once you are very far in you may see no way out for fear of Avici hell or out of fear of losing rank and status questionably acquired.

This is truly sad, as evidenced by the hundreds of people who have left, or at least distanced themselves from a colorful variety of Dharma movements and been faced with picking up the pieces of their broken hearts and terrified minds, having groped for safe refuge in a burning world and found an insidious and often covert type of spiritual bullying that claims to be upholding nothing but the highest spiritual ideals.

anonymous Jun 26, 2012 10:53am

What I want to know is why this has taken so long to come out. I guess it must have been the "charisma" that snagged people. The massive hype that this group kicked up everywhere it went that promised the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and world messiah-hood for its leader. That, and the fact that few it seems checked out the goods with a Vajrayana 101 survey. This is understandable considering the appropriation of his Teacher's name and lineage, as well as significant advertising of his "Geshe" as tools for authentication. Let me add here that a Geshe degree legitimately earned or not is not necessarily a guarantee of Guru-or Buddhahood.

Plenty of well-informed and serious people saw this coming from the early 90s and perhaps before, Tibetans and non-Tibetans alike. Some of them even tried to gently or fiercely question him and his students, but were instantly dismissed, silenced, spiritually bullied, or flattened by the newly converted (or re-connected) and by MR himself. Those people, often deeply concerned, committed practitioners themselves, were often seen as being jealous of MR's seeming overnight success. And that success was the main criterion for dismissing their concerns. But any good Buddhist knows: everything changes.

There is no question that there was great promise there, and perhaps great expectations, and there is no question that MR has done many wonderful things (many of them, however, eroded by a manifest lack of quality control due to moving ahead at breakneck speed, as with ACIP data), but there were subtle and not-so-subtle early warning signs that those with enough discernment were able to detect easily. Those people of course would be relegated to the realm of not having the pure enough karma to be at MRs feet and/or to being jealous, or mere babies on the Dharma path. From another perspective some people say that something (in the realm of proliferating Dharma idea) is better than nothing. I have no way of verifying that.

There also might be an element of racism in this whole story. Some westerners being modern or post-modern think they know more than the products of an ostensibly premodern society. The thing is westerners know more about some things and less about others. Too bad that the cultural divide was not taken seriously by either westerners or Tibetans in the transmission of Dharma to the west and was swept under the rug, as though ignoring it could make it vanish.

This is partly attributable to the fact that since some Tibetans in positions of immense influence don't regard other modes of knowledge than those that are exclusively related to their understanding of the Dharma as relevant (His Holiness the Dalai Lama has tried to address that with his interest in and dialogue with science and scientists), their students, western or otherwise, adopt similar attitudes. Such has been the wholesale importation of Tibetan cultural biases alongside the truly liberative Dharma teachings of which the Tibetans naturally consider themselves the supreme and sanctioned purveyors.

anonymous Jun 26, 2012 4:59am

Yesterday, I called the office of Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa. He was appointed by the Dalai Lama on November 12, 1996, as the honorable Abbot of the Gyumed Tantric College, where he served for three years. Khensur means retired abbot. It is one of the highest titles one can earn in the Tibetan system. I had heard rumors that Khensur Rinpoche had spoken to Geshe Michael regarding his vows and robes. I called his office to see if it was true. They asked who I was and what my motivation was. I told them I had studied tantra at Diamond Mountain University. My motivation was to know the truth and share it with anyone who might benefit from it, so they could make informed decisions. I spoke with two geshes and then they said they would call me right back. These are my recollections of our conversation.

1. Did Jetsongkapa engage in consort practice?

Jetsongkapa never engaged in consort practice. His biography is clear that he was ABSOLUTELY CELIBATE. There are two ideas about when Jetsongkapa became enlightened. One is, he was enlightened before he took his human birth in 1357. The other says that he waited until he was in the bardo before attaining enlightenment. There is no one that says he became enlightened during his lifetime. Therefore, there was no need for this practice.

2. Was Geshe Michael asked to give up his robes?

In 2005, Kenshur Rinpoche came to Arizona and said to Michael Roach, “If you take a wife, you don’t have vows and you should not wear robes.” “If you still have vows, you should cut your hair.” We know now that Michael Roach had a wife and we also know that he has not cut his hair.

3. So, if we can turn substances into nectar in ritual, can sex be transformed into a divine act…(I was cut off before finishing the sentence). NO! (very strong). Sex is a root downfall and cannot be repaired. Substances are a lesser vow and can be mended.

So if a monk partakes of alcohol that has been transformed into nectar as part of a sacred ritual, then the monk must confess this. A minor vow has been broken but the vows can be restored. If a monk engages in sexual/consort activities, then a root downfall vow has been broken. It cannot be repaired. I remember hearing MR say in tantra class, “Practicing with a partner not sex, it is something else because it is transformed.” A monk or nun in the Gelukpa tradition engaging in such acts no longer has the right to wear robes no matter how "good their concentration is."

Everywhere I turn, except one place, I hear the same things from the ordained of the Gelugpa tradition, regardless of their ranking. It is very amazing to me that they are so united. The checks and balances in this tradition really seem to work.

    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 7:55am

    Ekan,

    In reading your posts I can tell how upset you are. I saw that you had planned to do the retreat, which is a huge commitment and also there must be some sort of selection process, and you would have had to be immensely committed to the community and also believe that this path is valid and truthful. You are assiduously seeking primary sources to pinpoint the differences between what GM taught and anecdotally implied and what the tradition sanctions.

    I was reading yesterday about the Siddha Yoga group, which, in the mid-90's, had a very similar soul-searching moment when a number of things were revealed in a New Yorker article. One of the things was that their founder (then dead), Swami Muktananda, was revealed to have been practicing tantra sex, possibly "left-handed tantra," on young women or even teen girls in the entourage. In various archived discussion forums, the same dismay/denial and reframing occurred as has here. People insisted it was entirely spiritual and sanctioned. The discussions go deep into the Hindu traditions and scriptures, and those turn out to be so entirely parallel (tantra reserved as a "fast-track" path to enlightenment, does it include actual partner practice?, three paths of tantra practice, did Krishnamurti himself, in his highest teachings, have a consort?) that I wondered if Krishna and Buddha, the core teachings, and the subsequent texts, weren't two cultural interpretations of the same source. (Sorry if that is utter blasphemy.)

    I also was dismayed to find that Zen master Seung Sahn also was discovered to have been having sex with women at his centers, which he framed as for the good of the tradition. That was disappointing, as I own several of his books and a friend I admire greatly recommends his interpretation of Buddhism.

    This brings up the distinction between the teacher and the teachings; does it matter if a monk violates his vows? Does it invalidate or taint the teaching? It also brings up — is it inevitable, in any religious community with a powerful male leader, that power eventually corrupts, and in a sadly tawdry way? And it also made me see how deeply indoctrinated the followers are, as they assiduously avoid the sin of thinking/speaking badly about the spiritual leader, and look for teachings or scriptures that sanction the behavior. These teachings are always the secret, highest ones, and it always turns out that the leader is so far on the path that the sexual misbehavior is somehow sacred and beyond the rational comprehension of the lowly followers. (This is the resolving-cognitive-dissonance activity Matthew writes about.)

    I have this strange feeling that GM might have seen himself as righting a wrong. In the Siddha Yoga case, as well as the stories of tantric abuse in Buddhist monasteries of yore, the consort is essentially violated, plundered for her energy without real consent or comprehension. I don't know how commonplace it was, but I think these are the situations GM refers to when he intimates this is widespread, but unacknowledged. It sounds to me like he did have some idea of equal empowerment in which the consort practice would be equally energy-enhancing and then also claimed publicly, instead of the woman being used as a vessel, in secret, and then denied. Instead, she was elevated to co-lama. In this way he might have seen himself as a reformer of an abusive, exploitative practice. He was saying, women can become enlightened this way, too.

    The problem, of course, was that he had I think both an imperfect understanding of the part his own desires and attachments played in driving this reinterpretation of doctrine and a real naivete that he was playing with fire and there would be unintended consequences. There appears to be a real, historically upheld reason that consort practice is forbidden. It leads to corruption, self-delusion, exploitation of power imbalances, and self-serving skewings of spiritual practice. However, it is the very fact that it is alluded to at all in the texts, that there does appear to be some sanctioning of it for very evolved practitioners, and that it is so secretive that no one will claim it, that leads to bizarre situations.

    I am wondering whether the all-too-human compilers and commentators of various Buddhist (and Hindu) schools did not (unconsciously, perhaps) introduce partner practice into tantra as a way to have their cake and eat it too. Sexual desire is very powerful. Why not co-opt it, make it all symbolic and about winds and channels and drops, and reserve it for the inner circle? Like, if you are really really advanced you get to finally have sex — although not of course commoners' sex. Cynical, perhaps, but, like all of the major religions/thought systems, this was a boys' club for many centuries. And what do boys want?

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 3:26am

      Another great post, Cyn. Thank you for being willing to be politically incorrect. I, for one, appreciate it.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 7:32pm

      wonderfully put Cyn, these are definite possibilities. This is the oldest trick in the book, has I just read in a book about Shaman in hunter gatherer societies. Often when a woman would go to a shaman with a particular problem, he would consult with the spirits, and then report to the woman; "The spirits say that your problem can be solved by having sex with a shaman" and of course he just happened to know one. Looks like the con still works.

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:05pm

        One of Sogyal Rinpoche's female victims said this exact thing, Sid! (The link of his predations mentioned is somewhere in this commenting.)

      anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:03pm

      Cyn-I did hear GMR say, at numerous times in tantra presentations at DM in '04, that one can certainly "have one's cake and eat it, too."

    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 10:13am

    Ekan,

    Thank you for this posting! You are very brave to look into the lies you were told by people you trusted and that you had accepted. Ethics are the foundation / the first practices [and the last] of Buddhism. Any Buddhist teachings grown on lies will bear bitter fruit.

    Many of your brothers and sisters at DM still cannot accept, or can only tentatively contemplate that they could possibly have been mistaken in placing devotional faith in RM/CM.

    If people are unable to grasp that they have been fooled by huge factual lies about the Fundamental Vehicle — and RM/CM's violations of those foundational practices of Buddhism, they are unlikely to be able to comprehend any presentation of the other gross distortions of their teachings.

    So exposing MR/CM deception re their marriage and the Vinaya vows and ordination is very important.

    Hopefully, your research report will help people open their eyes.

    Again, thank you for your struggle to find out the facts when – like other folks from DM or many people who have been conned – you could have let your ego win its natural struggle to defend the lies it was cfooled into believing. The ego really doesn't like admitting that it is wrong.

      anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:22pm

      I posted part of the intro paragraph on my Facebook page. I just wanted to let you know that a monk posted a remark saying that he witnessed this event. " I was there when he did."

      Peace.

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 11:46am

        Could you clarify a bit. Do you mean the monk who commented on your post was there when Khensur Rinpoche spoke with MR about his vows and robes? Thank you.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 7:07pm

          Yes, that is what I mean. He was an eye witness to Khensur Rinpoche talking to MR about his vows and robes..

      anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:27pm

      get a life, stop speaking as though you are in some position of knowledge, and talk sensibly.

        anonymous Jun 26, 2012 9:19pm

        Please try to be kind here for heaven's sakes 🙂
        The above post is 100% clear, righteous and sensible, in my opinion. If you disagree I invite you make an effort to elaborate your own opinion clear terms with illustrative examples.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 6:30am

          It's sensible to you because you cannot distinguish between hearsay and actual reality. To me, what Tenor wrote is ridiculous and almost entirely fabricated nonsense. For example Tenor speaks about DM/ACI people being unable to tell distorted teachings from real teachings, and that is what enabled them to be lied to by a "master conman".

          But, Tenor is a charlatan, a person that lies to your face. Tenor utters not a word about how that the vast majority of students at DM have studied with other prominent Lamas for many years, often a decade or longer, often side-by-side with attending DM classes. Does not tell you how many of the ordained people hanging around Michael Roach were ordained by other Lamas in other places and only later came to DM sangha. Tenor does not tell you that the ACI Courses were studied by 100,000s of people world-wide and were seen as an excellent source of dharma material by everyone for a decade, before the appearance of internet trolls attacking the Courses (attacking without reasoning, too).

          No, she doesn't tell you that. What she does do is lie about who can and cannot practice with consorts. What she tells you is lies about blind faith losers placing devotional faith and subsequently being taken advantage of. The only ones lying, here, now, are people like Tenor and their disgusting friends from diamond-cutter.org like Khedrup, Phurba and Norbu.

            anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:39pm

            Aguse, I am sorry to say you are exhibiting a level of unhingement that seems very characteristic of the current crop of GM disciples. I personally have been getting a lot out of the postings by the people you call liars, they have actually been rekindling some of the spark I felt for the dharma pre GM.
            It is a sad fact that they are not alone in their condemnation of GM. Is there a credible Lama out there anywhere who will stand next to GM these days? None. No one will stand beside him except those acolytes whose emotional immaturity he has so expertly exploited. Including you. I know its' heartbreaking, but deal with it and move on for pittys sake.

              anonymous Jun 28, 2012 12:27pm

              well, what can i say, i wish i was as unexploitable as you. hahaha, that's funny to think about 🙂

              that white sheep don't like to stand near black sheep is not a recent invention in human history Sid. i don't take it seriously, nor is GM looking for Lamas to "stand together with". however i am a bit more concerned with the one or two older students who have decided to speak negatively about GMR, since you really don't get to see that very often.

                anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:22am

                "*get to* see that" — That's an interesting way of putting it. Care to elaborate?

                If you are who people think you are, aguse, then I am truly interested in your perspective because I've seen other comments of yours that make me think you have a more critical perspective than you're showing right now. I'm interested in the contradiction.

            anonymous Jun 28, 2012 6:06pm

            Thanks for the response Aguse! Great hearing from you! i am sorry I think I missed your point entirely. If you could simplify it in politer language I might be more willing to try. I can see you are very upset about, though. Feel better. This is a wonderful place to vent BTW.

            anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:06am

            "What she tells you is lies about blind faith losers placing devotional faith and subsequently being taken advantage of."

            No one is a loser here. This is not a game or a competition where some people win and others lose. Those of us who have placed devotional faith in a teacher and been subsequently taken advantage of have been sincere spiritual seekers, not "losers."

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:10pm

        Aguse-where were you in the room in 2004 when GMR told the tantra class that he was the "1st Arya Bodhisattva since Arya Nagarjuna."? I was over near the kitchen door…you won't find it on any recordings. Because GMR made sure all the electronic devices were turned-off for this astounding and historical revelation.

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:26pm

          I remember getting that during my teaching in SLT shortly after that. I just set on the sofa and was so stunned I could not even think. Gradually, "How lucky we are. How special we are to be students of a teacher like that."

            anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:38am

            Tried to write something else yesterday but it got glitched. It's really great that you reported the exact mental response you had to MR's statement which shows how he baited the hook and most everyone took it – but to understand which precise 'human foible button' he was pushing is a wonderful insight. Perhaps, at some point other people who realize they were 'persuaded' can spend some time contemplating similar examples of the bait that drew them in, the human foible feelings and thoughts that responded; and write them down; and consider sharing them somewhere at some point if not here and now.

            Modern media and organizations of wealth and power unimaginable in my great grandparents' day are scientifically propagandizing, first, America and now the world, persuading people to believe things that are inimical to their interests and even long-term survival. So this is a project that benefits the individuals here, people who are seeking a spiritual path, the Buddhist community and the greater social welfare.

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 9:21pm

          OMG. Somewhere years ago I'd heard/read that but it's so over the top couldn't absorb it.

          anonymous Jun 29, 2012 7:34pm

          Now he has people turn them off electronic devices when he talks about the Russian mafia and such, like he did during the recent Phoenix teachings, when the reporter asked him about 'blood diamonds'. What is that all about?

            anonymous Jun 29, 2012 8:03pm

            What? Is that still on line, did anyone catch it?

            Back when he started bragging about his diamond business, people didn't have much information about how terribly corrupt the trade is. Since then, DiCaprio starred in Blood Diamonds (haven't seen it) and a lot has been written. Aside from funding vicious neo-colonial wars in Africa, the diamond market is a classic monopoly con. In nature, diamonds are a dime-a-dozen, but their price is kept high by a ruthless monopoly that pumps up demand and limits supply. In conventional terms, trading this commodity does not appear to be "right livelihood".

              anonymous Jun 29, 2012 8:25pm

              You would have to talk to someone who was there. They stopped the recording. It was the first weekend of his teachings. MR opened a question and answer period, where anyone could ask anything except about the latest "scandal." Very rare form for him.
              I also vaguely remember electronics turned off at DM when he brought up the topic of Russian mafia too.
              But Why? That's my question. Why does he talk about it and why is it a big deal?

                anonymous Jun 30, 2012 6:59am

                The Russian Mafia? Reminds me of a recent LaCarre novel.

      anonymous Jun 26, 2012 5:30pm

      I think "brothers and sisters at DM" have not lost faith in the fearless (reckless?) leader MR, but they seem to have lost faith in CM, after she had a rude awakening and ran off in search of advice from a real lama, Lama Zopa. I do hope Lama Zopa can find time to help bring her back down to earth.

      By the way, you might not want to laugh about the knife accident. These things happen. I laughed about it and then one week later, my wife accidentally cut open my foot (drawing blood) while cutting some old skin and hard spots off my foot. I've been walking funny with a bandaged heel this week. I guees that's my bad karma.

        anonymous Jun 26, 2012 9:13pm

        Just last week, some people from DM spoke to me about their views of the tragedy, etc., [for less then 30 minutes] and one of them expressed very strong faith in CM while the other seemed to [silently] concur. Of course, there's no statistical survey data available. So far the related DM web pages and videos appear to indicate that everything is hunky-dory, except that some dark forces opposed to MR's ministries have manufactured some bad publicity.

          anonymous Jun 26, 2012 10:50pm

          On one of the recent live ACI broadcasts, one of the longterm teachers (Mercedes) spoke of her decision not to have CM as one of her teachers. I guess that doesn't necessarily mean she disrespects her.

            anonymous Jun 27, 2012 5:30am

            Hi Jack: is this talk recorded somewhere, or do you have a URL for the reference?

            anonymous Jun 29, 2012 8:31pm

            With a slow connection, only the first bit downloaded, in which Mercedes talks about how only one Arya appears in our world every 1,000 years or so [though lots were around at the time of Shakyamuni Buddha].

            She is repeating the sales pitch that Arya MR being born is the most important event in U.S. history since the Revolution (heard him make that analogy years ago on an MP3).

            This MR "tenet" contradicts basic Mahayana teachings that Buddhas and Arya Bodhisattvas are continually manifesting in all Six Realms of Samsara for the benefit of beings – even in the animal and hell realms. This was a personal comfort to me, after becoming Buddhist, since I was stuck in "a barbarian land" bereft of Dharma teachers.

            In the 1990's courses, MR would proclaim his Arya realization, denigrate the audience for being so-so kye ba) "ordinary beings" and then promise to take them with him to the Arya state.

            (1) How does ACI/DM rationalize that only one Arya exists in the world every 1,000 years while thousands / milloins of potential MR disciples can attain that state in this very life?

            (2) H.H. Dalai Lama doesn't brag about his realizations – yet even atheistic scientists are unexpectedly stunned by the power of his presence (Kundun).

            If MR is the first Arya in our world since Nagarjuna (circa 1st century BD), does that mean H.H. Dalai Lama (and Je Tsongkhapa, et al.) is not an Arya?

            Maybe MR got the idea of deceitfully limiting the 'supply' of Aryas available to benefit his followers from the monopolistic Blood Diamond trade?

              anonymous Jun 29, 2012 8:48pm

              Yes. He told our tantra class that all of us were going to incarnate on the planet Sirius next go around to help out that planet. He said, "Really, I'm serious." That was another one that went on my shelf.

              May 3, 2008
              Something historical is happening here and you’re at the center of it. There will be a windstorm; there will be some controversy also. In two weeks the New York Times will come out with a heavy article. You are affecting every part of the world. The world is your play ground. In your generation, you have to teach this whole planet. It’s almost too small for you. After that we go to Sirius. There’s no reason you’re not teaching in every country.

                anonymous Jun 30, 2012 5:48am

                Sirius is a star, not a planet. Hard to incarnate on a star…

                anonymous Jun 30, 2012 7:24am

                Sounds pretty scary given Jim Jones and the poor Comet people in San Diego in the 1990's.

                And very, very – really 'high weirdness'. While Buddhism teachings fantastic cosmology, a lot of which is in accord with modern astronomy including innumerable planets where sentient beings reside so …

                Did the "prophesy" about the NYT' article refer to the big MR/CM article? [Don't remember the date of that]. Was the big windstorm only a metaphor?

                Did you watch the recent Pabongka teaching where he was reassuring the audience about the publicity storm and great things were going to happen later this year respecting his ministry on this planet? Well, it is 2012.

                Remember hearing him flattering the audience with their world ministry destiny on MP3s from the 2006 India teachings – never have heard about the "planet Sirius" prophecy before. Guess that means DM'ers don't have such a big stake in the environmental destruction of our little planet.

                Is there anything else still 'on your shelf?

                  anonymous Jun 30, 2012 12:48pm

                  I only heard him mention Sirius one other time but I can't find the transcript of it. I am sure there are other things on my shelf but something has to jog my memory to even bring them up.

                  I had read and reread what he said about Sirius. It is a cult alert. Someone could write a very interesting paper about just that one paragraph. By analyzing each sentence, I could see how he puts the ideas together to make people feel important, soften the blow that the article would have and then distract them with a bigger idea. He used similar tactics recently in Phoenix.

                  He was referring to May 15, 2008 New York Times. There used to be a beautiful companion photo essay attached to the article, but it is gone now. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/garden/15buddhi

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:50am

      Especially yours, (ego) Tenor.

    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:20pm

    "Yogis who have achieved a high level of the path and are fully qualified can engage in sexual activity, and a monastic with this ability can maintain all the precepts." -The Essential Dalai Lama: His Important Teachings By Dalai Lama. the same is stated in Lama Yeshe's book, as is a description on how consort practice is necessary for the final mental and physical transformations.

    Je Tsongkhapa had a secret biography.

    new rule on the internet: you are not allowed to speak unless you have a clue what you are talking about. sorry Tenor, you have to leave the internet.

      anonymous Jun 26, 2012 2:28pm

      As per "new rule" – you're out of here, aguse.

        anonymous Jun 28, 2012 12:16pm

        if i leave then so does the Dalai Lama, since that is who i quoted. you prefer so much to go back to your character assassination of large groups of people, do you? good entertainment to you, is it?

      anonymous Jun 26, 2012 6:58pm

      The problem with your quote is that the good geshe is no longer considered a monk the moment he exchanged marital vows with Christie McNally on April 16 1998, as reported in the NYTimes:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/us/mysterious-y

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 3:39am

        you can be married and still keep your ordination vows, you dope. a marriage is just a legal agreement and an additional set of vows.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 6:34am

          Sh!t Roachheads say.

            anonymous Jun 27, 2012 6:44am

            reality fail, i have many more teachers than just GMR. hows your batting average? whats it like to be always wrong?

      anonymous Jun 26, 2012 9:23pm

      Please try to be kind here, if you disagree, then explain yourself.

    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 9:34pm

    thank you for your hard work!

      anonymous Jun 26, 2012 10:36pm

      Thanks Kelly Morris

      and so it begins

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 3:29am

        What did Kelly Morris say or do?

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 4:18pm

          I think Conquering Lion Grad is equating Kelly Morris with Aguse, actually.

    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 11:50pm

    Dear Ekan,
    Thanks for going to the trouble to research this. It can provide a lot of clarity for many people,and will be of benefit long into the future, when people need to make a decision about whether to take MR as a teacher.
    Even the quote by the detractor , from HHDL's book, states that it is yogis with high attainments. I don't think that people really understand what this means, and how high those attainments are. Do people really expect us to believe, after everything that has come to light, that MR has those high levels of attainment? Despite the letters and information from the office of HHDL and now from Gyudmed Khensur Rinpoche, who would continue to believe this charade that marrying Christie (while lying even to his students and press about it),telling people she was Vajrayogini, then expelling her from the retreat, is some sort of divine action?
    Only those who have completely invested their lives in this and are terrified to lose everything they have worked for. And these are really people worthy of compassion. Because with the best of intentions, they were deceived utterly and led down a mistaken path.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 6:49am

      The office's letter nor Khensur Rinpoche's statements imply that he does not have then necessary realizations.

      The reason they are not willing to say he does not have realizations is because they do not know, and moral people do not make crap up just because they do not know something. It's called intellectual honesty. It's called not engaging in gossip and harsh speech. If you so readily put down 100s of students just because you cannot stand being in a state of confusion, this does not speak well for the type of human you are. In reality, what are the chances that his students are "terrified of losing everything"? Nobody is losing anything, and nobody is on a wrong path. The "path" are you talking about is an internet caricature with no semblance to reality.

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:56am

        Other than his assertions, is there any proof of his realizations? I've seen a lot of youtube videos of assholes claiming to be the reincarnation of Jesus or having access to spiritual knowledge that is hidden to everyone else or being able to talk to the dead, or many other claims which put them above everyone else. Is the only thing necessary for believing them that they haven't been proven wrong?

        I can't say he is or isn't but the burden of proof is on him. What I can say is that the decisions which led to Ian's death are an indication that he is not a nearly realized being and that the practices he teaches do not lead to the results he claims they do.

anonymous Jun 24, 2012 7:42pm

Not sure if this has been posted here yet but it’s from 2006:
http://geshewatch.blogspot.com/2006/07/geshe-michael-roachs-sexual-conduct.html?m=1

anonymous Jun 24, 2012 2:58pm

I must confess that all along, even through this latest controversy, I have reserved a small space in my mind for the possibility that Michael Roach and Christie McNally were engaging in a Gelupa sanctioned consort practice. The area of doubt has been getting smaller and smaller as this controversy has progressed. But I continued to think, perhaps under special circumstances it is permitted and if it is secret then they really cannot talk about it. Today that space evaporated into thin air.

Deep in another thread, Sea mentioned Serkong Dorjechang, a well-known and very respected monk who engaged in partner practice. Not being familiar with him, I did some research. Serkong Dorjechang lived during the lifetime of the 13th Dalai Lama, who recognized him as a very advanced practitioner. His Holiness advised him to give back his robes so he could take up consort practice in order to accelerate his advancement on the path.

Yes. Serkong Dorjechang was a monk.
Yes. Serkong Dorjechang engaged in consort practice.
However, he was not a monk during the time he had a consort. He gave his robes back at the request of HHDL.

“And in the history of the Gelug lineage, he is the only Lama that the Dalai Lama has ever advised to give his robes back.” The message is very clear to me for the first time. Monks of the Gelugpa tradition are not to engage with a physical consort. Michael Roach's robes and consort practice are completely incompatible with one another.
http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/gre

    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 4:39pm

    MR: "the practice of a spiritual partner is described beautifully in many books, especially in a text called The Book of Three Beliefs, written by a lama called Je Tsongkapa. He was the teacher of His Holiness the First Dalai Lama, and himself had a spiritual partner who was given the name Tangsha Marmo: the Lady in the Red Hat." http://michaelroachfiles.wordpress.com/2007/10/14

    Can't find info on Tangsha Marmo, there may be other ways of spelling.

      anonymous Jun 24, 2012 5:08pm

      Zirconia – MR said that the lady in the red hat was an oral tradition at Sera Monastery. One more unverifiable idea he has thrown in the mix.

      MR translated parts of that commentary for our tantra class. I did not find the cautions and conditions in the translation that he did. Most students I talked to did not know that the Je Tsongkapa's commentary was available on Amazon. They thought they were getting first translated copy. Lightly comparing translations as we went through it, put one more doubt on my already heavy shelf. I did speak with one student at the time and he too was very concerned.

      The quote below contradicts MR.
      "Mind you, not everybody can do this consort practice. Lama Tsongkhapa himself discouraged the actual physical consort practice because he said that many of us are not qualified. And although Lama Tsongkhapa himself was very qualified for consort practice, he didn’t do it because he wanted to encourage his students to do visualized consort practice instead. Because if one does visualized consort practice, one does not have to give up one’s robes whereas if one does physical consort practice, although it could be faster for those who are attained, it could also be very detrimental to most of us who are not, and who would instead get attached to the lust and desire instead of gaining the actual attainments."
      http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/gre

      Tangsha is a hat folded up on one side.

      anonymous Jun 24, 2012 10:53pm

      Lots of info in that link, Zirconia, thanks. I think this answers some earlier questions about the "angel clothing":

      "we are trying to follow a Buddhist tradition over a thousand years old which is called “Angel Clothes.” This is where we wear for example a special bracelet that resembles, according to Buddhists, the bracelet that an actual angel would always wear. Buddhism, like many other traditions, believes that there are actually angels walking around in the world, near us all the time, oftentimes posing as ordinary people. When we wear an “angel bracelet,” we are sending them a message that we believe in them, and that we are open and available for their assistance in our life.

      When we do wear a piece of “angel clothing” for a long time during our life in this world, it naturally plants seeds inside us: the jewelry or clothing becomes very familiar and normal to us. When we die, say the Buddhists, our spirit goes on a journey through many realms, seeking a new life.

      If we’ve been wearing a business suit our whole life, then our spirit might see some business people and stop in that realm, to be born into a family there and grow up to be an Enron executive, or something like that!

      But if we’ve been wearing an “angel bracelet” our whole life, then when the spirit after death passes by some kind of heavenly realm and sees a lot of people wearing the same thing, then we could well be attracted and stop there, to live with angels forever. We really believe that this is true, and we consider the practice of wearing “angel clothes” to be of life-or-death importance. Luckily we live in a country where all religious customs such as this are tolerated and respected."

        anonymous Jun 25, 2012 12:01am

        Earlier there was a discussion about MR's lies about monastics practicing in "Angel Clothes", etc. So absurdly false. But I'll bite: what in the world is an 'angel bracelet"?

          anonymous Jun 25, 2012 12:39am

          GMR 2003: … And that’s when I started wearing ornaments of Vajrayogini and wearing my hair that way. I think it’s powerful. You know in our lineage it’s only done during initiation, that the lama would dress as Vajrayogini. I think if you’re serious about getting there before you die, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to dress like that all day long.

          Q: So how did you choose the bracelet, for example? I mean the hair, that makes some sense; the ring, I have a question about that later, but why the bracelet?

          GMR: Oh, just Vajrayogini gave it to me.

          Q: And then the rings. I mean did you guys actually have like a ceremony?

          GMR: We’re not married in that way. It’s not … I’m Vajrayogini’s disciple, and I wear her ring.

          Christie: No, no, I’m Vajrayogini’s disciple and I wear her ring. (laughs) http://michaelroachfiles.wordpress.com/2003/06/09

          Aww, such a cute couple! And their marriage didn't last, what hope is there for the rest of us? Luckily, I have 2 wives, "the One" and "the Two".

            anonymous Jun 25, 2012 9:03am

            Such a bald-faced liar should try to avoid getting actual 'reporters' on his case:

            "Q: And then the rings. I mean did you guys actually have like a ceremony?

            GMR: We’re not married in that way. "

            If one requires physical reminders of one's yidam, doesn't the "angel" Vajrayogini wear skulls and bones as jewelry?

              anonymous Jun 25, 2012 3:01pm

              The rings were indeed on the ring fingers, but that's coincidental. Honest!

              MR: And I guess it’s only coincidence, right, that the wedding finger is the finger that is sacred to Vajrayogini….

              Q: … So you guys didn’t do any special trading of rings?

              MR: Oh we made a beautiful ceremony of it. And the rings were made by a friend of mine who’s a very master jeweler from, he’s Yemenese, a Yemenite Jew, who’s a master handcraftsman. And we put a diamond in them to remember emptiness, and they’re Irish design. So it was to remember.

                anonymous Jun 25, 2012 10:10pm

                MR – as a careerist who favorite employee is deception – is a 'master' craftsman of the verbal 'smoke screen'. That is the function of his verbal digression into Yemen, Arabia, Palestine/Israel and Ireland.

              anonymous Jun 25, 2012 8:25pm

              so which is it? You're not married in that way, did not have a ceremony, you're just VY's disciple and wear her ring OR "he and Ms. McNally “come from strong Christian backgrounds” and “wanted to do a Christian partnership ritual at the same time we did the Buddhist one, at the beginning of our partnership.” (They were married on April 16, 1998, in Little Compton, R.I.)"

              anonymous Jun 25, 2012 8:27pm

              And yes, the Vajrayogini I am aware of wears bone ornaments, not diamonds.

                anonymous Jun 25, 2012 9:26pm

                Well, wearing skulls and bones as jewelry in the USA would definitely attract a different demographic than the young, hip, biz/yoga folks, and would be a real turn off to slightly disaffected mainline Christians MR tried to attract with the (for Buddhists) heretical notion that Mahayana Buddhism is the Eastern Branch of Christianity.

            anonymous Jun 25, 2012 11:31pm

            Zirconia,

            So many lies, so little time to address them all, but here are some more contained in the short passage you cite above:

            "You know in our lineage it’s only done during initiation, that the lama would dress as Vajrayogini."

            Ridiculous made up phooey-erie!

            1) the "Lama" giving the empowerment does NOT dress up. [Occasionally, for brief periods, H.H. Dalai Lama, et al., dons a Pandita hat [e.g., when conducting the elaborate Bodhisattva Vow ceremonies].

            2) The very few persons who are the actual intended disciples of the initiation are give some generic ritual articles including an unusual hat with top knots [no one will ever see MR walking around Manhattan wearing one of those]; and a brocade cloth [not an actual item of clothing] is placed over the shoulders, etc. The same items are used for all the HYT empowerments.

            I read several years ago that the head of the Drikung Kagyu lineage, while attending a rare (maybe every 12 years or so) ceremony at Hemis monastery, Ladakh, donned a bone ornament skirt such as Vajrayogini wears that reputedly belonged to Naropa.

            (2) "I think if you’re serious about getting there before you die, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to dress like that all day long."

            As MR says in some video I've seen recently, "Tantra is Secret". In any HYT, one is extensively warned not to tell anyone we received such and such an empowerment, nor are we to wear decorations — like skull rosaries — in public. We should not even show our dorjes and bells to non-yogis – actually, the more secretly we keep our ritual items and practice, the better our practice.

            As DM'ers recount, Mr. and Mrs. Roach also said that HYT is to be held more secretly from the public than the normal practice advice: do not brag about taking Bodhisattva vows or boast about any of one's Dharma activities.

            Surely, the contradiction between secret practice and public display is obvious even to MR.

            anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:04am

            Zirconia,

            Mrs. Roach was also lying in the interview cited. She lies even more blatantly about her relationship with MR on the “Three Year Retreat for Peace” web site (http://retreat4peace.org/node/17):

            “Three Years of Silent Retreat: A conversation with one of the West’s only female lamas, Christie McNally – Written by Patrick James and originally published in GOOD, October 22, 2009 [http://www.good.is/post/three-years-of-silent-retreat]

            G: Is there any sort of communication among people at retreat?

            CM: It depends. When I did mine, I didn’t have any communication to anyone at all, except for the caretakers. That was very limited. It was like “Get me more toilet paper.” [laughs] We asked them not to send us any letters from anyone. We asked them not to send us any news. We didn’t know about 9/11. It happened during our retreat and we found out a couple years later. They didn’t tell us. I think we were the only ones on the planet who didn’t know about it.

            G: That’s astounding.

            Astonishing, indeed. "I didn’t have any communication to anyone at all,"

            If she tried to claim that she and MR were silent for 3-years together in a yurt that would be totally unbelievable. But to go far beyond that and categorically claim she didn't have "any communication to anyone at all" — after the fact of her living with MR in a yurt during the retreat were matters of public record is bizarre.

            Why would anyone tell a whopper that is known to be a big fat lie to their students and members of the public, the very people whose support the web page is soliciting?

            And how can DM/MR/CM students, followers, sympathizers condone such lies?

            anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:06am

            Zirconia,

            One more question: I don't get the "Luckily, I have 2 wives, "the One" and "the Two" reference?

              anonymous Jun 26, 2012 7:32pm

              the One: nickname for one wife, as in "you're the one I have been looking for all my life"
              the Two: nickname for other wife

              I was just making a joke.

                anonymous Jun 26, 2012 7:51pm

                Thank you for the clarification.

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 12:36pm

          you obviously have zero experience with tantra

            anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:48am

            What's your experience been, aguse? I'm not questioning your authority to speak on the subject, I'm genuinely interested.

        anonymous Jun 25, 2012 4:23am

        Reincarnation is based on something as superficial as a person's outward appearance? This seems absurd to me, and overtly materialistic.

          anonymous Jun 25, 2012 9:15am

          Annette, Your assessment is spot-on.

          To reiterate, Vinaya monastics take vows not to wear jewelry and ornaments. So MR needed a good excuse for wearing diamond earrings after his 'retreat'. He started his ministry with the claim that he had 'realized Emptiness directly" – a stupendous meditative attainment that transforms 'ordinary persons into superiors, Aryas. While his descriptions of that meditation differ profoundly from the 'usual' accounts, it is impossible to believe that an actual Arya would find it necessary to wear diamonds in order to remember the incredible experience of mental direct perception of the ultimate truth regarding the mode of existence of all phenomena'. Don't tourists and voyeurs collect or wear souvenirs to remember places and experiences they cannot replicate?

        anonymous Jun 25, 2012 3:35pm

        From a prophecy by Guru Padmasambhava:

        "When religious duties are forgotten, spirits of darkness, which had been controlled by ritual power, become unloosed and frenzied and govern the mind of whatever being they possess. Spirits of vindictive power possess monks; … enchanting spirits causing disease possess men; grasping, quarreling spirits possess women; spirits of wantonness possess maidens; spirits of depravity possess nuns; spirits of rebellion and malice possess children; every man, woman and child in the country becomes possessed by uncontrollable forces of darkness. __The_signs_of_these_times_are_new_and_fantastical_modes_of_dressing-traditional_styles_forgotten;_the_monks_wear_fancy_robes_and_the_nuns_dress_up_before_a_mirror__.

        From this text: http://www.amazon.com/Legend-Great-Stupa-Guru-Pad

          anonymous Jun 25, 2012 3:36pm

          "householders fill the monasteries and there is fighting before the altar; the temples are used as slaughterhouses. The ascetics of the caves return to the cultivated valleys and the Yogins become traders; thieves own the wealth and cattle; monks become householders while priests and spiritual leaders turn to robbery, brigandage and thievery. Disorder becomes chaos, turning to panic which rages like wildfire. Corrupt and selfish men become leaders … the images of the Buddhas, the sacred icons, the scroll paintings and the stupas will be desecrated, stolen and bartered at the market price."

            anonymous Jun 25, 2012 3:37pm

            "The Abbot and Master poison their pupil's minds and hearts; … men become lewd and licentious; women become unchaste; monks ignore their discipline and moral code"

              anonymous Jun 25, 2012 3:40pm

              And from another prophecy given to Yeshe Tsogyal: "Master Padma said: In the future, when the dark age of degeneration arrives, some people who claim to be practitioners will desire to teach others without having received permission. Without having practised themselves they will instruct others in meditation. Without being liberated themselves they will pretend to give instructions for liberation. Without being devoid of self-interest they will instruct others to cast away their fetters of attachment and be generous. Without the slightest understanding of the good or evil of their own actions they will spout clairvoyant statements about good or evil fare of others. Having no stability themselves they will claim to be benefiting other beings. I think there will be many who will pretend, be hypocritical, cheat, and deceive in the name off the Dharma."

              From: http://shambhalamountain.mybigcommerce.com/produc

      anonymous Jun 25, 2012 6:59am

      Zirconia – I just got off of the phone with a monk at Sera Monastery who said it is blasphemy to say Je Tsongkapa had a consort. I thought you would want to know.

        anonymous Jun 25, 2012 9:28am

        Blasphemy is an accurate label. Did you ask him about the getsul and gelong ordinations conducted by Mr. and Mrs. Roach? I call that a blasphemous black mass of an ordination. But your and Sid's descriptions of the the MR and CM "empowerments" are truly mondo-bizzaro. They were just making stuff up and what occurred does not remotely approximate Geluk-pa empowerments.

        As His Holiness office letter in 2006 implies, Je Rinpoche was a 'reformer' — in the footsteps of Atisha — because, sadly but truly, from 600-1400 AD, Tibetans repeatedly got confused by tantra and genuine practice of Dharma degenerated in Tibet.

        So to you and your brothers and sisters who studied and practice at DM, please do not "be too hard on yourselves" or feel 'shame'. You innocently fell into traps that were carefully laid by clever predators.

          anonymous Jun 25, 2012 9:31am

          Sweet. Thank you.

          anonymous Jun 25, 2012 1:12pm

          Just an aside, Venerable: "sadly but truly, from 600-1400 AD, Tibetans repeatedly got confused by tantra and genuine practice of Dharma degenerated in Tibet. " This could easily be read as a sectarian statement. I have no doubt that is what the Gelukpa historians recount though. I am sure you won't be surprised that this is not the consensus. In regards to the strict adherence to vinaya codes in the monasteries though, there may be some truth.. but the balancing of the three sets of vows and how they should be carried differs a bit between the great lineages. So I am sure, from a Gelukpa POV the monastic discipline in some instances degenerated.. but this would not necessarily be true from other points of view. The important point here is that M.R. is supposedly a monastic Geshe of the Gelukpa order, and seemingly very proud about it. So it is only fair to judge him from those standards.

            anonymous Jun 25, 2012 1:23pm

            Also, another aside: from a Nyingma POV, because there are the accompanying Ngakpa and Yogi lineages of ordination, the monastic system is not strictly necessary for upholding the Buddhadharma in a pure way.
            That said, the monastic vinaya is obviously profound and important and upheld in all lineages.. but let's not forget it is not the only expression.

              anonymous Jun 25, 2012 1:56pm

              Phurba, thank you for this. It's an important clarification.

              anonymous Jun 25, 2012 10:08pm

              Just because Buddha taught that the Vinaya Sangha lineage is a necessary causal component for the preservation of Buddha Dharma in our world, does not at all imply that Buddha taught it is the "sufficient cause". The preservation of the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni requires the presence of Vinaya Sangha along with the study and practice of some substantial fraction of the adherents of Buddha's teachings.

            anonymous Jun 25, 2012 11:00pm

            Phurba,

            Are you suggesting that the King of western Tibetan kingdom, who sacrificed his own life to bring Jo Wo Atisha from Bengal because he was so heartbroken by the degeneracy in Buddhist practice, did so for no good reason?

            After Buddhism was first brought to Tibet, even with royal support, it was not established on a solid footing until Shantarakshita, a great Indian saint – with the aid of Guru Rinpoche – established the first Vinaya monastery in Tibet. If one reads Tibetan history, there are repeated accounts of the abuse of tantra and degeneration of behavior at monasteries – the very behavior Yeshe Tsogyal prophesied in your citation above has occurred episodically in Tibet for 1,400 years. A number of Asian Buddhists [Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore-SE Asia group, etc.] organize teachings by H.H. Dalai Lama here because His Holiness cannot get a visa to visit their countries, and His Holiness always warns them about fake Tibetan ‘Dharma King’ teachers trolling Asia for devotees to exploit.

            This is no big surprise. People are human. The practice and realizations of Buddhism are not easily accomplished and are meant to counter the delusions most people cherish.

            Personally, when I finally took refuge, one of the first studies I undertook was research on the historical and contemporary corruption of 'Buddhism’ — because the institutions of Buddhism are run by human beings and some percentage of human beings are corrupt –- in order to avoid a future emotional state of bitter disappointment that might arise with uninformed idealization of some self-proclaimed Buddhist teacher/practitioners.

            We live in samsara and are surrounded by foolish people who harm others and themselves. Corruption is not a human behavior limited to any particular school, sect, or tradition in Tibet, Buddhism, or any other human institution on this planet.

            Of course, not all Buddhist practitioners in ancient Tibet were corrupt, or they wouldn't have had the ability to support reforming saints.

            Within the Geluk-pa tradition, a nasty fundamentalist ethos — combined with political machinations against the Gaden Photang of the Dalai Lamas — manifested 300+ years ago in the guise of Dogyal worship. Sadly, this corruption became stronger during the regency for the 14th Dalai Lama and now the Chinese Communist Party promotes and sponsors it. Known practitioners of this magical cult, peculiarly, do ‘manifest’ rather amazing acquisition of wealth often in the form of fabulous real estate. As I've inferentially speculated on this forum, MR has a Dogyal lineage and like others before him, propitiating the angry ghost may have fueled his degeneration.

            If you feel I'm being narrowly sectarian, here's a horribly sad account of degeneration within Geluk monasteries: When evidence was found that Rheting Rinpoche, himself, was conspiring murders in order to regain the Regency, the Tibetan government was required to obtain permission to arrest him from the Abbot of Sera Jey. When this became known, Sera Jey monks took up arms, chased the Abbott to a rooftop and murdered him, after which they battled the government’s armed forces which suppressed their rebellion.

            Perhaps you shouldn’t dismiss all historical accounts as sectarian slanders. Do your own investigation with open eyes. Putting blinders on oneself is not a healthy practice except when they are physical objects you use to sleep on a bus.

          anonymous Jun 25, 2012 10:31pm

          Some of the posts here have been so helpful. I took a six-week intro course with MR’s ACI group several years ago, and I attended maybe five or six meditation sessions after that with a guy who wore monk’s robes and was said to be a master. I drifted away from the group after that. Now that I have learned so much about MR’s group in the past few weeks, it has been hair-raising for me to picture myself bumbling around the big city on my own, looking for some kind of spiritual guidance and running smack into MR’s crazy stuff. My memory is imperfect at this point, but I’ve been trying to remember what kept me away.
          1.I may have become somewhat aware of MR’s 2006 incident concerning the DL. That would have been after I already stopped going to ACI classes/meditation sessions. But knowledge of that incident would have helped me steer clear, although I did go to one more MR event in 2007.
          2.Other Buddhist teachers whose talks I dropped in on over the course of a few years were saying things such as “Take baby steps” and “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” I concluded that made more sense than ACI’s express elevator to enlightenment. At ACI, we were taught in that six-week intro class that if we were enlightened enough, then we could stand in front of a speeding bus and let it pass right through—just like in the Matrix movie.
          3.The 2007 St. Bart’s Church talk given by MR and CM. That’s the only time I saw them in person. There were oddities and theatrics: strange humming sounds, and the implications on MR’s part before he answered audience questions that he was getting some sort of divine guidance from unseen deities. My critical thinking skills were not as good as they should have been, but I do remember concluding to a relative on the phone, “You know . . . I think it’s crazy.”
          4.Maybe it was mostly luck that kept me away. Most of all, I wasn’t a “yogariffic” 20-something. To borrow a word from one of the other posters on this forum.
          5.I was aware of the advice that people should wait 10 years before choosing any lama.
          6.One time I went to a Zen place run by an American woman. She asked me what other places I’d been to and what I knew about Buddhism. I gave my experiences briefly. Then she said that some people who visit her place are so well-informed in a bookish way about Buddhism that she tells them to get on with practicing it already. But she said firmly to me, “But my advice to you: you need to read more, you need to learn more.” It’s true that I am no scholar, but I do wonder now if she was partly reacting to my mentioning an ACI class? Anyway, I think because of what she said I purchased Thubten Chodron’s Buddhism for Beginners. At the time I remember even feeling sheepish: geez, other people are on the express elevator and I’m still here at the beginning.

          Obviously the situation with MR is bad news for a lot of people. But partly what I’m feeling is that the world simply makes slightly more sense now than it did previously, now that all these stories are coming to light. So in that way it feels like a relief. What’s really surprised me and made me feel bad is how much the ACI way of thinking sunk in, even with little involvement on my part with the group.

            anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:31am

            Elma,

            Thank you for your post. You were fortunate to be protected by your "Spidey-sense", karmic imprints, the Triple Gems, and other Buddhist teachers and practitioners who — as is occurring on this forum — erected warning signs for you to heed.

            One thing you wrote has prompted my immediate reply:

            "At ACI, we were taught in that six-week intro class that if we were enlightened enough, then we could stand in front of a speeding bus and let it pass right through—just like in the Matrix movie."

            I saw MR teach in Spring 1998 in Knoxville, TN. With a bit of spidey-sense, refuge and the examples of wonderful teachers' practice, I was appalled by MR's outrageous performance. I've been hesitant to relate the story he told similar to the one you recounted because at the time and in retrospect it was such a shocking distortion of the teachings.

            As I recall, he talked about one of the big Manhattan one-way N/S avenues where you can see a battalion of yellow cabs stopped at a light. He said when you reached his Arya state you could see them as big cartoon animals – like bright orange Rhinos or Hippos – and you could safely walk right into the traffic as their light turned green and molecularly disassociate them. It is not a direct quote. But the gist.

            Stupefying Stuff!

            anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:55am

            Elma,

            MR is a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing who exploits people's spiritual longings along with their human emotional weaknesses with great, even scientific, calculation.

            You wrote:

            "What’s really surprised me and made me feel bad is how much the ACI way of thinking sunk in, even with little involvement on my part with the group."

            You are fortunate to be have the recognition of surprise at being 'conned' Part of the con-artist bag of tricks is to engage the mark in some emotional/mental activity (better yet, a physical act) that is at least slightly naughty, less than virtuous, or best for the con-artist, actually immoral. The reason is that part of the con is to make the mark too embarrassed to escape or complain. Actually, the ego often reacts to shame/embarrassment with denial or a type of paralysis that keeps the mark entrapped by the con.

            On a trip to China, I was 'conned' by two middle aged English speaking people who began talking to me in the crowded exit from the Forbidden Palace after a very hot, long day. They seemed pleasant and we agreed to go get a cup of tea. We had an enjoyable chat in a small place nearby. Then I was presented with a bill for the equivalent of $160. Note: I hadn't done anything even slightly immoral or naughty. Still I felt as though I'd been in an auto-accident. In shock! Although I calmly protested and denied their claims, I paid the bill. It took a walk and a bus ride for the physical feeling of shock, which induced some sort of paralysis on my brain and function, to clear. Then I remembered that Lonely Planet says there's a special Police Bureau in Beijing for filing complaints re this type of con, so I went back to the scene of the crime and got my money back.

            Long story to point out, that was nothing that implicated my ego – yet I went reeling in shock from a con.

            Hopefully, you and others on this forum will use critical thinking and contemplation to analyze which of our human foible buttons MR/ACI/DM press to entice/hook people.

            MR is hardly alone. In America, it's hard to understand how people can survive if they are not constantly alert, at least in the market place, and in their homes while listening to commercial music, watching any TV or movie, to the fact that the persons who provide that entertainment do so with the overt intention of manipulating the 'consumer.' This lying manipulation, propaganda of persuasion is a highly developed science intended to trap the innocent sheep with the intent of stealing something from them.

            So trying to understand how the manipulation works in this instance, can be a protection in every sphere of social existence.

              anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:10pm

              lol DM/ACI/MR press. you're a one of a kind Tenor. go bash the New Kadampa Tradition some more, useless idiot.

                anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:29pm

                Aguse,

                It appears one of your human foible buttons feels pressed. Maybe this is an opportunity to analyze how your mind is working in this context and see if the Buddhist teachings provide practice advice that can lead to greater happiness.

                  anonymous Jun 26, 2012 1:41pm

                  observe a particular specimen of human wretch. one moment engaging in thought out personal attacks against someone they do not know, lying about things they cannot know, and in the next offering advice about happiness and the mind.

                    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 9:28pm

                    Would you mind explaining youself? thanks in advance!

              anonymous Jun 26, 2012 6:13pm

              Tenor:
              Thanks for your responses to my posting. Much appreciated.

              anonymous Jun 26, 2012 11:21pm

              Excellent posting, Tenor. People have to learn how to research "gurus" before entering into relationships of discipleship with them. This process is absolutely essential. But these days people seem more worried about investigating the new car they are buying than the guru who will direct their spiritual life. There have been enough problems in the West that those searching for a teacher need to be vigilant.

    anonymous Jun 25, 2012 7:08am

    I had posted this link deep in another thread, but here is part of a statement by Shamar Rinpoche, regarding the tantric path of the controversial Lama Ole, whom he doesn't-quite-censure. From this account, it does sound as though high lamas in the Gelugpa tradition were overtly teaching consort practice.

    "Lama Ole came to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim with his wife Hannah in the late 1960's in order to meet and study with His Holiness the 16th Karmapa. I was a young man then, only 17 or 18 years old, and could not speak any English at all. At that time I was a student myself. In fact most of the Tibetan Lamas in those days could not speak English and there was only one translator at Rumtek at that time, a Bhutanese doctor named Dr. Jigme. At Rumtek, Lama Ole received many teachings from His Holiness the late Karmapa and from Tenga Rinpoche. From time to time he had to go to Darjeeling to get his Sikkim permit renewed and while he was there he studied a lot with Kalu Rinpoche in Sonada.

    Whenever Lama Ole visited me, he always talked to me about how wonderful it is that he learned all about tantric union practice from Kalu Rinpoche and Tenga Rinpoche. He thought it was just marvelous. Even though I couldn't understand English and he could not yet speak much Tibetan, I understood words like "dewa chenpo" (= great bliss) and "yabyum" ("male/female", the term for deities in union and union practice), which he would say while crossing his arms in front of his chest in the mudra of union. Then he would hug Hannah at the same time. In that way he combined the hippie lifestyle with tantric conduct.

    Lama Ole came to India as a hippie who did everything with wild energy. Although His Holiness the 16th Karmapa advised him to calm down, he never criticized him directly as he was a westerner. Actually Lama Ole's fascination with tantric sex is not exceptional, most of the western hippies who were interested in Buddhism liked it very much. In that respect he is not different from them, he has simply been louder than most about it. Kagyupa Lamas taught hippies the most about yabyum practice. Of course they taught it according to the ancient tantric traditions but western hippies understood it as a practice to turn their sexual desires and habits into meaningful sex.

    In 1980 I came to the United States on my first trip to a western country. It was then that I finally learned how Vajrayana is promoted in western countries. I concluded that Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Kalu Rinpoche were primarily responsible for introducing tantric union practices to westerners. As far as I understand, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's philosophy about westerners is that they are highly motivated by sexual desire, inhabiting a realm of sexual desire. Because of that, he saw Tantra as fit for them. When Kalu Rinpoche taught union practice to westerners, he taught them that it was a Tibetan tradition that he had taught in Tibet in the same way. Indeed, Kalu Rinpoche was really highly trained in tantric teachings. The two of them strongly promoted Tantra in the West and as a result of their efforts tantric practice became a big hit in America, Canada and Europe. As the practice of sexual Tantra had already become popular, once they came to America and Europe the Nyingmapas then developed and expanded it more. After Kagyupa and Nyingmapa Lamas taught westerners about yabyum practice, then Gelukpas began to translate tantric texts and write books about it. " source: http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,59830,page=

      anonymous Jun 25, 2012 7:31am

      Cyn – What are the name of the high lamas in the Gelukpa tradition that were overtly teaching consort practice?
      Perhaps I am missing it, but I don't see any Gelukpa names here.

        anonymous Jun 25, 2012 7:50am

        Hi, Ekan,

        The excerpt I posted above names Kalu Rinpoche, Tenga Rinpoche, and Chogyam Trunga Rinpoche. Now I am googling an it looks like they are from the Karma Kagyu lineage(??) I had thought they were also Gelugpa. It is kind of confusing; I feel like I need a timeline chart!

        So I find this a little confusing because they also claim true Vajrayana practice. So is the issue which lineage is teaching true Vajrayana, as in what the Buddha taught? And whether Vajrayana allows monks to practice with human consorts or just to visualize?

          anonymous Jun 25, 2012 8:36am

          Hi Cyn,
          These are very good questions. There are four primary Tibetan lineages: Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu and Gelugpa. There are also two Japanese lineages: Tendai and Shingon. There is no claim to which Vajrayana lineage is the best or true one. That would be like saying, “which flower is the true flower.” Different people have different propensities that draw them to one school or the other. It is not that one is right and the others are wrong.

          A Kagyu nun friend explained the differences of the four Tibetan lineages with the analogy of a mountain. The Nyingmas drop you on the mountain by helicopter and you learn about the mountain by direct experience. The Gelugpas study the mountain terrain, flora, fauna, geology, maps, charts and elevation gain along with the possible effects it has on the individual before starting up the mountain. I don’t remember what she said about the other two schools but they are somewhere in between. All these paths are valid.

          Some of these lineages allow marriage, spiritual partners, consorts and such to different degrees. The Gelugpa tradition was founded by Je Tsongkapa (1357 – 1419). Since the beginning this lineage has not supported physical consort practice for monks. Michael Roach received his full-ordination in a Sera Mey, which a Gelugpa monastery and he does encourage consort practice for the ordained. That is where the controversy is. That is why the monk I spoke to this morning at Sera was so shocked and called it blasphemous. By the way, he is not the only person to have said that to me. I hope this helps explain it for you.

          anonymous Jun 25, 2012 10:18am

          Cyn,

          The emphasis on practicing the complete teachings of Buddha – as practiced at the great monastic university of Nalanda – including the practice of strict morality for Vinaya Sangha – – is the tradition of the Geluk lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. As posted above, the Geluk lineage was established as a reforming lineage in, that harkened back to Atisha and the Kadampa practitioners, in reaction to perceived degeneration in Vinaya practice, etc., in Tibet.

          As Atisha's Lamp on the Path to Enlightenment plainly states – and as Gelukpa practices till now – monastics are not allowed to practice with human consorts.

          Tantra is really for 'professional' practitioners although by attending empowerments, teachings and practicing, we may acquire imprints for future practice and the blessings of the lineage.

          According to Geluk teachers, on a very tiny minority of devotees who attend an empowerment by H.H. Dalai Lama actually 'receive the empowerment, because tmost simply are not 'qualified," i.e., capable of receiving the empowerment,. Nonetheless, many would happily acknowledge they experienced its blessings.

          For instance, one is not a Mahayana practitioner unless one has generated genuine Bodhicitta – but in order to generate Bodhicitta one must have generated 'renunciation'. You need a lot of Hearing (study of sutras and valid commentaries), Contemplation, Practice of what you are studying, and Meditation, etc . to generate Renunciation and even more for Bodhicitta.

          The requirement to practice the HYT Completion stage is successful accomplishment of the Generation Stage, the mark of which, briefly, is that one can hold a vivid mental image of the complete deity mandala in unwavering single pointed meditative focus for four hours straight.. This is what I meant about tantra being for professionals. Geluk lamas tell stories of misguided Tantric College monks who – lacking Bodhicitta — get themselves and others into terrible messes by visualizing themselves as, e.g., wrathful deities.

          Fortunately, we can make huge changes in our mentality and happiness and benefit others, if we begin practicing Buddhism from the beginning, i.e., the Lam Rim. However, for Americans, the structure of the Lam Rim is a bit out of order according to H.H. Dalai Lama: westerners should not be taught the guru devotion of tantra as a beginning subject! In the context of a monastery or completely Buddhist culture, reliance on the guru is not so easily misunderstood.

          Kagyu, Sakya and Geluk tantra cycles are quite similar, but they have different Tibetan lineages and, for some tantras, their Indian lineages vary also (i.e., different Indian saints conferred empowerments of the same tantra on different Tibetans who established different tantric lineages). Naturally, over time some more, relatively minor differences, developed.

          The HYT those three schools follow are known as New Translation School tantras. The oldest Tibetan Buddhist School, tNyingma, practice Old Translation School tantras from India and some Tibetan lineage practices. (this is a rough overview)

          anonymous Jun 25, 2012 6:49pm

          No, Kalu Rinpoche is a leader of Shangpa Kagyu, not Karma Kagyu: http://hiseminencekalurinpoche.org/ykrlineage.htm

anonymous Jun 24, 2012 1:59pm

Here is a transcript of MR's teaching titled "Tantra in America", given in 1999. He had been secretly married to Christie for a year at this time, and was just about to enter 3 year retreat with her and 3 other women in Arizona: http://www.acidharma.org/aci/online/Tantra_In_Ame

Under "Authenticity of Lineage" (p. 5), he says:

"Although I am hesitant personally to state my qualifications for granting tantric initiations and teachings, I would like to list them here, only for the benefit of those who have asked me to; that is, for those who are seriously interested in the possibility of receiving them from myself. I encourage each student of the Institute to be very careful in the selection of their tantric teacher, and tell you quite frankly that I may not be the proper teacher for your own personal needs. It is crucial though that you do seek this teacher out, to find them and to lean with them, as quickly as you are properly able.
My training in the theory of tantra in this life has been accomplished as follows. Over the last 20 years I have received group tantric initiations from: His Holiness the Dalai Lama; from the late Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, senior tutor of the Dalai Lama and holder of the throne of Je Tsongkapa; from Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin, former abbot of Sera Mey Tibetan Monastery; and from the late Zong Rinpoche, tantric master of Ganden Tibetan Monastery.
I have received extensive group teachings on tantra over the last 20 years from Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin, and more specialized teachings from Geshe Trinley Topgye, abbot of Gyume Tibetan Tantric Monastery. I have received brief tantric retreat instructions from the esteemed third incarnation of Pabongka Rinpoche.
Whatever I have been able to do correctly in my tantric practice is due to the blessings of these eminent Lamas; and whatever mistakes I have made, or setbacks I have encountered, have been due to my own failure to follow their instructions. We really are like ants in their hands, and the most common error we can make I think is to react to their words or actions on face value—to misinterpret things when they seem to criticize us unfairly or act in ways that might even seem wrong.
We must rather, to the best of our ant-like capacity, try to discern their higher purposes in guiding us up the tree. It is essential in the practice of tantra, as Je Tsongkapa has so eloquently taught us in the art of interpreting the Buddha's teachings on emptiness, that we rely not on the actual statements of a Lama, but rather on what we determine their true meaning to be, by taking as our ultimate authority our own careful reasoning and direct experience in deciding what is right or wrong for our practice.
I have further received private initiations and practice instructions from some six perfect Tantric Masters over more than 20 years, and it is with their sole sanction and guidance that I undertake my current tantric practice.
How do you meet an authentic Tantric Master? You reel them in with your good deeds, you attract them with your attempts to live a good life, like a bee to honey. This fact, that you must have collected immense amounts of good karma to meet them, can be an important barometer in determining whether you are ready for these teachings, and whether a potential tantric teacher is "for real."
In judging my own heart, I have tried to examine whether I have the necessary amount of good karma to practice and teach these subjects. Again, I list my thoughts on this here only to help those who may be interested in learning with me.
I have memorized an extensive amount of tantric ritual and have translated several hundred pages of tantric commentaries. I've also undertaken over ten full tantric retreats, and practiced tantra daily for more than 20 years. I have spent over 5,000 hours in this lifetime—here in America and at each of the major monasteries of the Gelukpa Tibetan tradition—in classes and debate of the open teachings, under some 12 major Tibetan teachers. I have spent over 30,000 hours in the personal service of my Lamas, in such tasks as cooking, building, or working a corporate job to raise funds for Tibetan monks and monasteries. I have helped save over 100,000 pages of sacred scripture; translated and taught 3,000 pages of open teachings to others in more than a thousand hours of classes, and so on.
I think that whatever qualifications I have to teach and practice tantra, and whatever goals I have ever been able to reach spiritually, are due to these sincere efforts to study, practice, and serve my Lamas and others. If I see the world in a way which is different from the way that others may, it is precisely because of these efforts—it is the expected result of the Buddhist path itself.
I don't believe that persons who have not expended similar efforts will or could appreciate all the views I am expressing here on the subject of tantra. I offer them only in the hopes that some exceptional disciples with seeds of true faith may be attracted to this path, and with a prayer that—by the power of the truth of these words—others as well may at some future time come under the loving guidance of their own Tantric Master."

    anonymous Jun 25, 2012 1:49am

    Mr wrote, "I have further received private initiations and practice instructions from some six perfect Tantric Masters over more than 20 years, and it is with their sole sanction and guidance that I undertake my current tantric practice."

    Since I doubt that MR would claim to have "received private initiations and practice instructions" from H.H. Dalai Lama, who along with Lama Tharchin refused to reply to his letter seeking post-retreat 'sanction' — and since MR's own letter makes it clear that he had not sought the 'guidance'of the letter's recipients in undertaking his tantric practice, I wonder who those 'six perfect Tantric Maters are? I cannot remember if Geshe Trinley Topgye, a Gyume Khensur Rinpoche replied to his letter? MR says he attended tantric teachings by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche, but they had passed on long before the 2000 retreat. Of his named teachers, that leaves Pabongka Rinpoche, He sure does flog his CV, just the opposite of the real teachers and humble practitioners who don't advertise their own qualities or accomplishments.

      anonymous Jun 25, 2012 5:37am

      That stood out for me as well – 6 perfect Tantric Masters, whose sanction and guidance led him into the first 3 year retreat and who shall (conveniently) remain nameless… shouldn't one Tantric Master be enough? but then, having only one consort in retreat wasn't enough either… Ah, American Buddhism, DM-style: One part Tony Robbins, one part L Ron Hubbard and one part Hugh Hefner.

      anonymous Jun 25, 2012 9:02am

      CV?

        anonymous Jun 25, 2012 9:15am

        CV = curriculum vitae, a detailed resume in the professional/academic worlds

        anonymous Jun 25, 2012 9:21am

        Tenor –
        Yes. This is a note at the end of his letter:
        "Gyumey Khensur Rinpoche instructed Geshe Michael during the winter inter-monastery debates (sort of a debate Olympics), and has also granted him higher teachings."

      anonymous Jun 25, 2012 9:53am

      How many "Great Masters" came to teach him in "The Garden:A Parable"? It seems this was written right before that was released

        anonymous Jun 25, 2012 10:36am

        The Garden A Parable was published in 2000. Flipping through it, I came up with this list: Master Vasubandu, Dharma kirti, Kamala Shila, Maitreya, First Dalai Lama, Dharma Bhadra, Guna Prabha, Master Asanga, Shanti Deva, Gautama Buddha, The Angel.

      anonymous Jun 25, 2012 11:34am

      Sometimes it is hard to identify what is missing. Does it seem odd to anyone else that these 'six perfect tantric masters' are not listed on the DM lineage webpage?
      For Instance: http://dnkldharma.org/about/rootgurus.html

    anonymous Jun 25, 2012 7:29am

    I thought that the 6 referred to his female companions, not all of whom entered the retreat with him.

      anonymous Jun 25, 2012 8:02am

      Seriously? wow – that would be a whole new level of ridiculous…

    anonymous Jun 27, 2012 6:23pm

    Wow, Svan, Ian Thorson gave me a copy of this the night he let me crash in his living room, on the weekend of my very first visit to meet GM in NY in 1999. I remember being so in awe of his world at the time. Tantra. From a Geshe who actually spoke english and whose teachings on emptiness I could actually understand. Seemed to good to be true.

      anonymous Jun 27, 2012 6:43pm

      I'm amazed that Ian had a living room in which you could crash.

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 6:57pm

        I think I should make it clear that I was making a joke. I think if Ian were somewhere where he could read what I wrote, it would give him a chuckle.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 7:07pm

          It was not his, it belonged to a friend or relative (Grandmother?)that was away and letting him use it.

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 7:10pm

        you still here Ben? I thought the story was finished! 😉

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:39pm

          When I said the story was finished, I meant there would be no more substantial revelations in a medium that might impact GMR, DM, or present or future students significantly. But I do find a lot of what is being written about here interesting.

anonymous Jun 24, 2012 4:44am

There has been some very interesting conversation here over the last few days, thanks to everyone taking part. In addition to fielding more media inquiries over the last week, I have also been re-connecting with a few former members and sharing experiences. The level of dysfunction and abuse within this organization is astounding. Michael Roach is, in my opinion, a sociopath, plain and simple. This will become clear as more people tell their stories. Am I feeling malice? After what I heard today the answer is probably yes. Unfortunately I can only speak about my own experiences, others will have to tell their own stories, but it will happen. This is far from over.

    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 10:49am

    "The level of dysfunction and abuse within this organization is astounding." Care to elucidate?
    I'm starting to think this story is over.

anonymous Jun 23, 2012 6:12am

cloverleaf,

Regarding ACI's work being unique; other Tibetan Buddhist monks have also recorded and preserved texts that would have been lost had they not done so:

"Among the last generation of lamas educated in Drepung Monastery before the Communist Chinese invasion of Tibet, Gelek Rimpoche was forced to flee to India in 1959. He later edited and printed over 170 volumes of rare Tibetan manuscripts that would have otherwise been lost to humanity."

Also, in terms of lineage, when it is broken, etc., I found this parallel situation quite fascinating:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Kadampa_Traditio

Its founder was a Tibetan monk, also trained at Sera Je monastery. He streamlined and westernized the teachings. Eventually there was a rift with Gelugka over some practice called Dorje Shogden and his monastery disowned him. It's a pretty large sect still, however.

As to GM himself, both insiders and observers can certainly be rightly confused as to claims of lineage and consistency. There's Eric's statement, and also similar statements I've read and heard from GM himself about mix-and-matching teachings from various traditions. On the other hand, the mantle of his legitimacy, referred to all the time, even in the very appellate "Geshe Michael" comes from his oft-cited 20-plus years of study of Gelugka.

On the retreat website, there is a page "An Unbroken Lineage' that makes the claim absolutely unequivocally that this is the real deal, sanctioned and certified.
http://retreat4peace.org/about/lineage

To those for whom this is important, to study with a Lama in this lineage, it does in fact matter very much whether the teachings accord with those of this lineage or in fact have morphed into a new tradition.

    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 9:31am

    Thank you Cyn. I very much appreciate your post.

    It's good to know that other TB monks have also recorded and preserved texts. I shudder to think any of these important documents would be lost forever.

    Yes, I've heard of NKT and I also see the similarities.

    "As to GM himself, both insiders and observers can certainly be rightly confused as to claims of lineage and consistency. There's Eric's statement, and also similar statements I've read and heard from GM himself about mix-and-matching teachings from various traditions. On the other hand, the mantle of his legitimacy, referred to all the time, even in the very appellate "Geshe Michael" comes from his oft-cited 20-plus years of study of Gelugka"

    He also stated that the entire 20 years was not spent strictly at the monastery. The timelines are self-evident from his public words, as much as those can be cited.

    But I don't see how him citing his lineage is an unequivocal claim to 'real, sanctioned and certified' practices. He did receive robes and a Geshe title from Sera Mey, correct? I haven't seen where that is disputed. He has also publicly put forth practices not in line with 'real, sanctioned and certified' practices– whether it is because they are supposed to be secret or not supposed to be done at all seems irrelevant; it is still a shift from the norm.

    "To those for whom this is important, to study with a Lama in this lineage, it does in fact matter very much whether the teachings accord with those of this lineage or in fact have morphed into a new tradition."
    I understand how this is important. I just think it's quite obvious, if subtle, that his teachings have morphed. If you or anyone else wants to study with a Lama in good standing with this lineage, I don't personally think GMR is the Lama for you, based on his actions and the displeasure expressed by the actual lineage.

    Claiming something as factual does not make it so, no matter how one is dressed.

    I don't see how it's still confusing, but I certainly understand how it once was.

      anonymous Jun 23, 2012 10:31am

      cloverleaf, I have a question for you. You're an aethist, you have a lot of time to write and spread doubt. It's a pattern I've seen with those in the pay of the Communist Chinese. Is there anything we should know about you?

        anonymous Jun 23, 2012 3:16pm

        patternSeeker,

        I'm not atheist. I am agnostic…..it's not incompatible with Buddhism at all. You can look up the definitions.

        I'm trying to discuss, not spread doubt about anything. I also type fast.

        I'm an American woman, wife, believer in free speech, believer freedom of religion, and believer in rights and responsibilities of individuals, believer in direct and honest discussion, idealist, optimist, realist, scientist. I am a yogini practitioner and know personally that it works for me. I'm a human with all the complications therein.

        I have never met a Communist, Chinese or otherwise…..have you? You seem much more tuned in to that scene than I am…Hhhhmmmm……

          anonymous Jun 24, 2012 5:57am

          cloverleaf,

          Perhaps patternSeeker was trying to say that your posts sometimes seem a bit disingenuous?

            anonymous Jun 24, 2012 7:23am

            Tenor,

            Is that what you believe, that I'm disingenuous?

            I'm saddened to hear I come across that way. I think it could not be further from the truth. Every single statement I have made here has been honest– raw at times, but honest. I try very hard to remain respectful and not state anything I cannot prove.

            If you have a specific question, I'm happy to answer it.

            I think it's much more honest to state directly what I'm thinking and feeling about things rather than accuse a stated American of communism. Really? You, a monk (I think), are agreeing with patternSeeker on this one?!?!

              anonymous Jun 24, 2012 10:07am

              For what it's worth, I did not sense a disingenuity. I have a few disagreements with you, perhaps I'll post them later, but it's great that you bring a science background and agnostic view to our discussions here.

                anonymous Jun 24, 2012 5:34pm

                Zirconia,

                Thank you for your candor and support.

                I'm happy to discuss any disagreements anytime, though I'm not sure we all have to agree for this whole conversation to be useful and effective. You're tempting my curiosity though…any time you want to discuss…….

                I appreciate what you posted, thank you.

              anonymous Jun 24, 2012 10:45am

              You don't seem disingenuous to me. I really appreciate your presence here. I sort of assumed that patternSeeker either was trolling or making a joke. I can't believe anyone would take the equation atheist + have a lot of time to write and spread doubt = in the pay of Chinese Communist. I also don't agree that you are attempting to spread doubt. I think you are (and are trying to keep the posters on here) fair and honest.

                anonymous Jun 24, 2012 5:31pm

                Ben,

                I really appreciate your support. I've gained a lot of insight in all of this through your posts; I appreciate our interaction.

                patternSeeker may well have been trolling or making a joke…..this is the first forum I've ever participated in and I really don't know how to spot that stuff easily yet, or how to react to it.

                Thank you very much for the post.

                  anonymous Jun 24, 2012 5:46pm

                  Another difficulty in this kind of discussion is that emotions are strong–for good reasons. But that can lead participants, who are convinced of the rightness of their position, to question the motives of those who may disagree with them. "I know I'm right, so if you disagree with me, it's because you're dishonest, or corrupt or….". The idea that two reasonable adults can draw opposite conclusions from the same evidence is hard to accept sometimes. It's best to assume that others have the highest motivations and intent, rather than the worst.

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 5:48pm

                    Well said, Sea.

                    "The idea that two reasonable adults can draw opposite conclusions from the same evidence is hard to accept sometimes. It's best to assume that others have the highest motivations and intent, rather than the worst."

    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 6:27am

    Cyn,

    Thank you for the "An Unbroken Lineage" link in which MR continues to be totally deceitful when he asserts that "Geshe Michael is a fully ordained Buddhist monk". However, at least he doesn't claim to be following the lineage of H.H. Dalai Lama which he always used to do until sometime after his 2006 Indian teaching debacle.

    You wrote that Kelsang Gyatso [KG] was "also trained at Sera Jey monastery." Actually, MR was awarded a 'thank you very much' geshe degree from Sera Mey.

    KG has been such an apostate that Sera Je has 'revoked' its geshe degree award. Maybe Sera Mey could be persuaded to do the same!

    More KG & RM Compare/Contrast:

    1) KG asserts that he has founded his own lineage (based of course on his Gelek training). Thus holders of the Geluk lineage and their students need not waste their time trying to warn people about NKT or explain factual matters cmoparable to why the properties of the color ‘white’ distinguish it from the color 'black', or why 2 + 2 does not = 9. Such basic factual issues underlie many posts on this forum. We have to make these arguments because in an effort to manipulate/con people, MR continues to make false and even defamatory factual claims.

    And, yes, it is defamatory to Buddha’s Vinaya monastics to tell naïve Americans that such monastics’ vows do not prohibit marriage and “spiritual partners,” etc. I’ve seen American women trying to seduce Tibetan monks, even though they had some notion of the ‘vows’. If they believe their lust is totally sanctioned, we can expect even more bizarre behavior around U.S. Dharma centers.

    2) KG has not created a 'split in the sangha'. He’s created some new kind of ordination never conceived of in other Buddhist traditions, and he is not pretending to give Vinaya ordination. Au contraire, he claims that his made up vow ordination is superior to those of all existing/pre-existing Buddhist traditions.

    'Splitting the Vinaya Sangha' is a really naughty vow breakage for Buddhists. RM, being bolder than KG, claims to have conferred actual Vinaya monastic vows. Suffering under the delusion that MR’s allegations are correct, someone like Eric might show up with a neck chain holding a Cross just below his Adam's apple – and his wife in tow – for Sojong at H.H. Dalai Lama's temple. If it is only one person, it’s not an actual problem – at times deluded individuals do attend. But if MR was successful in ordaining a sustainable number of ‘monastics’ …

    3) My inferential speculation: KG and MR probably also have Dogyal in common. Basis for inference: (i) MR's two lama [photographs] 'Unbroken Lineage' is a Dogyal lineage. (ii) The only lama (I've heard) MR admit consulting regarding his controversial 3-year retreat with Christie is the current Pabongka Rinpoche, a Dogyal propitiator, who has been persona non grata at the Geluk monasteries in India for many years. … No one who does not want to be associated with Dogyal would consult him. Even Ribur Rinpoche, a devoted student of the famous Pabongka, specifically commented [in 2001 at a teaching I attended] in regard to the current Pabongka tulku, that sometimes Tulku lineages reminded him of Tibetan chang (homemade brew) – the first parts taste good, but the latter parts don't.

    A side note: KG did not 'streamline' the teachings until after his 'rift'. At the time he was a close relative of the Dogyal oracle. He was invited by FPMT to teach at a lovely property in UK, and he attracted a larger following than the other Geshe teaching there. KG and his followers successfully 'stole' (according to Lama Yeshe) the UK property from FPMT and, subsequently he founded his new lineage in antagonistic opposition to H.H. Dalai Lama. One of the notoroius 'fundamentalist' rituals performed upon gaining control of the property was to build a bonfire out of all the books in the center's library that were not written by KG.

      anonymous Jun 24, 2012 7:46am

      Hi, Tenor,

      One thing that has been fascinating is to observe that as soon as a web page or video is posted here in the context of fact-checking, it often disappears or is substantially revised. I am hoping that someone even more compulsive than I is archiving the files on an independent server and also keeping a list.

      This is just off the top of my head, not even going back through the posts:

      Ladylamas site — taken down as soon as the link was posted here
      video of recently ordained monk claiming he had been assigned a consort — went "private"
      video of GM in June Phoenix teachings saying "we need more scandals" — taken down after link appeared here
      video of GM in June Phoenix teachings saying "this applies to the events at Diamond Mountain" — taken down after I posted the link

        anonymous Jun 24, 2012 6:46pm

        Hello to any DM lurkers out there, even you MR(!) If you ever want to delurk, just hit the Reply button, and we're right here for you!

        anonymous Jun 26, 2012 2:56pm

        Wow. I watched him say "we need more scandals" LIVE on the live webcast… Creepy.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 5:06pm

          Saying "we need more scandals" is like saying we need more of our members to die. Pretty sick.

            anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:11pm

            Yes, what MR said was crass and horrid.

            People often use the coping method called 'humor' to get through a difficult situation…..it's not always pretty or appropriate.

            I don't think we should vilify MR for this particular comment. Profitable or not, there has been a great deal of tragedy in his life lately. I don't agree with what he said, in fact I think it was a highly insensitive and inappropriate comment…..but it was just one comment. We can't expect every. single. word. out of anyone's mouth to be golden with moonbeams shining forth, can we? Not even him.

            How is calling him names helping?

              anonymous Jun 28, 2012 7:53am

              Maybe the people who 'call MR names' or make sarcastic, and even at times humorous, comments are also coping with a 'great deal of tragedy' and pain from situations that RM bears some heavy degree of moral responsibility for creating. To my recollection, those people have not made any snide remarks suggesting that they would personally benefit from more tragedy falling upon others.

                anonymous Jun 28, 2012 8:27am

                True Tenor…..I don't doubt people on this forum are trying to cope as well.

                It's a slippery slope though, isn't it? I mean…..using the same coping mechanism as another (i.e. sarcasm or humor) and believing it's ok for you to do it but it's not ok for someone else to do it….well, where's the empathy?

                I'll reiterate I don't think it was a skillful thing for MR to say. I'll even go ahead and say it's 'worse' for MR to say such things because of his position as a leader.

                But how does this group in one breath say that MR isn't a Geshe or realized being….. but then in the same breath complain that he's not acting or speaking like a realized being? How is okay to both condemn his assertion and also condemn him for not living up to what someone with those assertions might be?

                I really don't understand how people expect to have it both ways.

                  anonymous Jun 28, 2012 8:52am

                  Hey, clover,

                  I think your fourth paragraph, above, is a straw-man argument. The in/appropriateness of GM's comment was brought up here for the exact reasons you note in your initial 3 paragraphs: not skillful speech, esp.for a leader. One needn't be, or claim to be, a realized being in order to be tactful. Therefore, pointing out he kind of put his foot in his mouth with ham-handed humor does not speak to the separate issue of claimed realizations, on either side. There is no "having it both ways" issue here.

                  One could ask: would a realized being be snarky or tactless? If not, GM is not in some sense realized. If so, his comment is fine, maybe some sort of "crazy wisdom."

                  One could take another tack and say the comment was not in fact tactless or inappropriate, but a form of community-bolstering acknowledgment of recent criticisms. One could also argue that GM was not referring to Ian's death, but to consequent aspersions on GM's teachings and integrity, and thus he was not devaluing another human life.

                    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 12:22pm

                    Cyn,

                    "I think your fourth paragraph, above, is a straw-man argument. The in/appropriateness of GM's comment was brought up here for the exact reasons you note in your initial 3 paragraphs: not skillful speech, esp.for a leader. One needn't be, or claim to be, a realized being in order to be tactful. Therefore, pointing out he kind of put his foot in his mouth with ham-handed humor does not speak to the separate issue of claimed realizations, on either side. There is no "having it both ways" issue here."

                    I don't believe GM's comment was brought up as an example of unskillful speech by a leader, at least I don't believe that to be the main, motivating reason for some. I believe some are bringing it up as further 'proof' that he is not what he claims to be:
                    Zirconia, two posts below:
                    "An example of him "not acting or speaking like a realized being" was provided as proof, not complain."
                    and Tenor, below:
                    "As for being a 'realized being' that is his claim – unsubstantiated by his teachers or practices."

                    How can my 4th paragraph be a straw man fallacy:
                    " Arguing against a premise no one has taken, knocking that premise down, and then assuming or implying that you have then discredited the original at question."

                    when those I was speaking to, specifically Tenor, has indeed taken the premise on which my argument was made? Also, never did I discredit the original question of whether or not it was skillful for any human to joke about the death of another human- I think it's a valid point and I agree it wasn't skillful (many times!).

                    I was trying to point out the hypocrisy of this situation. If I'm wrong about that, please explain it better than you have so far, I am listening. I might not have done that skillfully, I'll grant. But it was/is my point of that 4th paragraph. It very much seems to me that there is a problem on this forum with 'having it both ways'. I stand by that assertion.

                    I agree with your statements:
                    "One could ask: would a realized being be snarky or tactless? If not, GM is not in some sense realized. If so, his comment is fine, maybe some sort of "crazy wisdom."

                    One could take another tack and say the comment was not in fact tactless or inappropriate, but a form of community-bolstering acknowledgment of recent criticisms. One could also argue that GM was not referring to Ian's death, but to consequent aspersions on GM's teachings and integrity, and thus he was not devaluing another human life."

                    However, none of those possible arguments were raised prior to my comment. Which, btw, I raised the one about a 'form of community-bolstering acknowledgment" by stating that humor is often (ineptly) used during tragedy.

                    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 3:12pm

                    Zirconie nailed it, in far fewer words than I — a couple of posts below.

                    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 3:51pm

                    Actually, let me try again. Brain exercise : )

                    Rather than going through all the posts regarding the unfortunate off-the-cuff comment, I'll take the hot seat.

                    1) I do not think MR is keeping his vows, in either spirit or letter, secret teachings and secret biographies notwithstanding. I do not think he is a realized being because I believe a realized being would keep his vows. I further do not think he is *so* realized that he can break his vows. This is utterly my own opinion.

                    2) I think the unfortunate remark was just that. I happen to agree with you about the humor ineptly used to deal with tragedy. I remember a horrible inadvertent pun I made at a friend's shiva; we all had been thinking about how he died while being polite, and it was a complete freudian slip on my part.

                    3) I think a realized being would not have said "we need more scandals." My opinion.

                    If the 3 statements above are true, and were stated by me either in individual posts, or together as seen here, how does it follow that I am a hypocrite, in your reasoning, pasted below?

                    "But how does this group in one breath say that MR isn't a Geshe or realized being….. but then in the same breath complain that he's not acting or speaking like a realized being? How is okay to both condemn his assertion and also condemn him for not living up to what someone with those assertions might be?

                    I really don't understand how people expect to have it both ways."

                    The two ways are not at odds, but entirely consistent and mutually reinforcing.

                    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 10:57pm

                    Cyn,

                    "If the 3 statements above are true, and were stated by me either in individual posts, or together as seen here, how does it follow that I am a hypocrite, in your reasoning, pasted below?"

                    Whether or not the three statements are true is irrelevant….

                    I never thought you, Cyn, were acting like a hypocrite. I was speaking about the group in general, no one specifically. I didn't name names in that paragraph on purpose.

                    There are many people posting here that I do not believe are acting hypocritical as a matter of fact.

                    Why did you think I was referring to you specifically?
                    Why were you offended by the opinion I offered as if it was referring to you?

                    The only reason you and I are discussing this at all is because you stated disagreement with a post of mine directed toward Tenor. I'm fine with disagreeing with you, it's ok.

                    "The two ways are not at odds, but entirely consistent and mutually reinforcing."

                    Honestly, Cyn, I believe there is at least one other way to look at all of this and that third way doesn't get mentioned much around here. But even if it did….I'm not sure how the ever-increasing spiral of condemnation based entirely on subjective experience or half-truths is helpful at all.

                    'Mutual reinforcement' of stating an opinion on a snippet of teaching taken out of context and without knowledge of the intent of the person who said such it….well, I really don't want to be part of that downward-spiraling and just plain mean behavior.

                    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:50am

                    No, I didn't think you were referring to me. But your comment generalized "the group" as wanting to have it both ways. And the example you gave for that does not seem to me to be having it both ways.

                    What is the "third way" of looking at this that doesn't get mentioned much at all in this discussion? I am really interested in that, if you want to share it.

                    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 3:37pm

                    Cyn,

                    How can you say "No, I didn't think you were referring to me" after the quote that I based that on (important part in all caps by me):
                    'If the 3 statements above are true, and were stated by me either in individual posts, or together as seen here, HOW DOES IT FOLLOW THAT I AM A HYPOCRITE, in your reasoning, pasted below?
                    is that a blatant question of why I might think you are a hypocrite (I don't)?

                    Then you go on to completely disregard the argument I made in the post.

                    Then you ask another question– here is your answer (below) but I do not want to further discuss this because this is so far off the point of why I posted in this thread it's bordering on the ridiculous. here goes:

                    View #1
                    MR is a realizing being….therefore anything he says or does could/is viewed as 'holy' and 'perfect'

                    View #2
                    MR is just a mere mortal…..therefore anything he says or does is subject to ordinary human fallacy

                    View #3 (and mind you, I said AT LEAST one other view; I can think of more and I'm sure many are out there that I cannot fathom)
                    MR is a realized being and also a human….therefore anything he says or does could be the perfection of an 8th Level Bodhisattva and/or he is subject to human fallacy

                    Here's another, just for good measure:
                    View 4
                    MR is a realized being in human form…..therefore, what he says and does is indeed perfect, we mere mortals simply do not understand because we are not as realized.

                    The list goes on and on…..and I've stated it's beside the point. I do not claim to know which– if any– of the above posits might be true. I simply do not know and will not speculate.

                    The last two (#3 and #4) I believe were indeed brought up in this forum since I posted that I didn't see it being referred to– these have now been posited (I think by Tenor?).

                    I can agree to disagree with you Cyn. I don't need us to agree on this or anything else. I have enjoyed your posts, in case you were wondering.

                    This whole conversation right now feels like it's just not the right thing to do/ not the right place to be for me anymore. I thank all who have helped me come to my own conclusions, but I won't be posting again.

                  anonymous Jun 28, 2012 8:52am

                  People don't dispute that he received a Geshe degree – merely that that there are varieties of geshe degrees and I have heard more than one geshe say his Tibetan was not adequate for him to debate – and that he received a 'small' geshe degree for his service to the monastery as at that time were also awarded to Tibetan monks. I wrote that he was not a 'genuine geshe' in the sense that he does not follow the practices of a 'Virtuous Friend", the meaning of geshe, that I've been fortunate to observe in genuine Geshes.

                  As for being a 'realized being' that is his claim – unsubstantiated by his teachers or practices. Of course, like Devadatta, he may be a realized being who is enacting the role of a blasphemous vow-breaker, mocking the tradition he couldn't live up to, flouting his teachers, etc., in order to show people how disturbing such a path is.

                  Personally, I hope that is what is occurring – the enactment of a warning to modern people who may wish to practice Buddhism. However, in that case, people who are not realized must take heed to the warning.

                    anonymous Jun 28, 2012 12:25pm

                    Tenor,

                    "People don't dispute that he received a Geshe degree – merely that that there are varieties of geshe degrees and I have heard more than one geshe say his Tibetan was not adequate for him to debate – and that he received a 'small' geshe degree for his service to the monastery as at that time were also awarded to Tibetan monks. I wrote that he was not a 'genuine geshe' in the sense that he does not follow the practices of a 'Virtuous Friend", the meaning of geshe, that I've been fortunate to observe in genuine Geshes. "

                    Forgive me for not placing the word 'genuine' in front of 'Geshe' in that sentence…..but your above paragraph illustrates my point nicely.

                    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:23am

                    Of course, once the geshe-awarding process is called into question by saying that the monastery gives the title to cooks and to people who donate funds, then it doesn't make much sense to quote "a geshe from France" or "two geshes from Sera" unless there's an independent geshe-verifying committee.

                    That's an unfortunate path to go down, imho.

                    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 12:20pm

                    There is a difference between a renegade geshe and a geshe who remains plugged into the system even if they are a kitchen geshe.

                    anonymous Jun 30, 2012 9:46am

                    Kitchen geshes, I know, don't 'teach' – let alone claim qualified to act as Vajra Gurus! lol

                    anonymous Jun 30, 2012 9:47am

                    But if they did, they'd be soundly ridiculed.

                    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 5:18am

                    "Of course, like Devadatta, he may be a realized being who is enacting the role of a blasphemous vow-breaker, mocking the tradition he couldn't live up to, flouting his teachers, etc., in order to show people how disturbing such a path is."

                    What an interesting perspective! I'm going to chew on this for a while.

                    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 9:19am

                    In 1997, after Gen Lobsang Gyatso and two monk-translators in training were murdered just outside the gate to H.H. Dalai Lama's temple complex by people dressed as monks, whom Indian police determined had come from Tibet and were in communication with Dogyal supporters, the whole 'Dogyal' issue 'hotted up'.

                    My teachers encouraged studying the statements and transcribed talks of His Holiness, the Tibetan Government in Exile, westerners in Tricycle, etc., along with reading pro-Dogyal materials, and they discussed the back ground of the conflict in detail.

                    But they also taught the Mahayana story of Devadatta as a cautionary tale to remember when we are contemplating the activities of people who are doing great harm to beings in our world. The story is not told to teach us to to avoid 'judging' or analyzing functional reality as correctly as possible — I remember asking about that specifically again after the 2003 retreat scandal and the MR people said it was a sin to 'judge' MR's conduct.

                    The story of Devadatta is told so we don't harm ourselves by developing strong negative feelings against harm-doers — even those who are harming our teachers, Buddha, and Dharma — because responding with unchecked emotions that bring us close to hatred of anyone endangers our Bodhisattva Vow.

                    anonymous Jun 29, 2012 12:07pm

                    Beautifully said.

                  anonymous Jun 28, 2012 8:55am

                  An example of him "not acting or speaking like a realized being" was provided as evidence, not complain.

              anonymous Jun 30, 2012 7:31am

              Cloverleaf, remember? GM is a 8th bhumi bodhisattva, an enlightened being, I don't think he gets the same pass as us "unenlightened human beings".

      anonymous Jun 24, 2012 10:31am

      If the things he wrote in his recent essay "to Answer Questions from My Friends" are true, his geshe degree was well earned through hard work, and I would applaud him for all the things he had done when he was still a monk (before his marriage to McNally).

      His very recent essay in PDF format: http://www.geshemichaelroach.com/GesheMichaelRoac

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 8:32pm

        the issues are his lies. And was that period of study 20, 25, or 30 years — the numbers keep changing. Perhaps next week it will be 35 years.

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 9:58pm

        Zirconia, So many lies, so little time. But I think on earlier posts you can see some of the facts that contradict his self-assertions.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:45pm

          Even Aguse, who was close to him gives a different account. 20 years in Howell, N.J. and I think Khensur Rinpoche was abbot for one year. GM was an assistant and not sitting in a classroom according to her. 15 Years working 16 hours a day in the diamond industry. Not much time left but I am sure he studied and translated. He is a very intelligent man. She says he sat for his geshe exam but does not say he studied at the monastery for 20 years.

          "similar to when Khen Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin became abbot of Sera and GMR became his main assistant there. that is a particularly privileged position in the monastery, though it involves working for free tirelessly for the benefit of 1000s of monks

          ludicrous that you deny that GMR is a real Geshe. i suppose activities such as translating the main abhidharmakosha commentary for 10 years side-by-side with Khen Rinpoche, studying and living with Khen Rinpoche for 20 years, and sitting for the Geshe exams and passing it is not enough to earn one a Geshe degree."

      anonymous Jun 24, 2012 10:55am

      I would be interested to know if other people have experienced some connection between NKT and DM?

      In the early 2000's I was given a KG written book by a DM student so I could learn more about Buddhism. When I did my due diligence and found out about how the Dalai Lama was not a fan, I asked the DM student about it. I was basically told I must have not done my due diligence and had been reading fringe rumors. I was told that other students (I didn't ask if that meant one student or many) came to DM after being in a NKT group and considered both to great groups, and that there was nothing wrong with NKT/KG.

      I always assumed it isolated to the student I talked with, and maybe a couple others, until I read the comment that MR consulted the current Pabongka Rinpoche. I'm curious how if anybody else has heard of connections between DM and NKT?

        anonymous Jun 25, 2012 12:28am

        Of course, a number of NKT Center attenders have left and gone on to study and practice Dharma with other Tibetan Buddhist teachers. But in my experience, they feel like they escaped from a negative situation and are happy to find compassionate teachers. In other words, they do not heap praise upon NKT and KG. KG books are generally translations of excellent Tibetan texts. At some point in the 1990's it seems they began to include prayers, etc. to Dogyal somewhere in each book. Some of their translations seem didactic – either a fundamentalist trait or merely an unskillful translations. Do not know anything about the current Pabongka tulku and KG – as mentioned elsewhere, apparently even among Dogyal practitioners, his reputation does not hold a candle to his famous predecessor.

anonymous Jun 23, 2012 4:59am

Lama Surya Das commented on Diamond Mountain and cults in the Huffington Post.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lama-surya-das/spir

    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 8:15am

    Nice use of the C word in the title. I was wondering which Buddhist leader would comment on this issue first. Hats off to Lama Surya Das!

      anonymous Jun 23, 2012 11:23am

      He doesn't exactly criticize Roach. In fact he sort of defends him by saying that people can misunderstand what goes on in retreats like Diamond Mountain. I must admit I am disappointed in the response of other Buddhist teachers both American and Tibetan to this.

        anonymous Jun 26, 2012 1:35pm

        Yes, he has morality, unlike you. Moral people only speak about thing they know about, and stay far away from performing the violence and immoralities of idle speech and slander, which is all you do.

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 7:44am

          Sorry Namdrol but my reply is both moral and non-violent. It is neither idle nor slanderous. Unlike your reply. You may not agree with what I said but you cannot make accusation without backing them up. You seem not to know what you are talking about I'm afraid.

            anonymous Jun 28, 2012 12:43pm

            I am not speaking about your reply, I am speaking about you and your behavior in general. You speak nothing but idly and maliciously. If you were in a court of law, nothing you say would be admissible, because the moment it would land on the judge's ear it would be dismissed it as opinion, speculation, gossip. And these are things, which if you use to demonize others, makes you collect the further serious karma of harsh speech.

    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 11:21am

    "I've found it useful to thoroughly screen and prepare potential trainees who wish to participate, including observing individuals over a period of time and assuring that they complete shorter intensive retreats before becoming overly involved in long-term retreats in often marginal conditions."

    Yeah. Probably applies to the retreat leader as well.

      anonymous Jun 24, 2012 12:53am

      I think his point about the need to "thoroughly screen and prepare potential trainees who wish to participate" in long-term retreats was the main point he wanted to make in this article.

anonymous Jun 22, 2012 6:59pm

In response to Sid-

We are all busy, all have lives to lead and responsibilities demanding tending. Unlike most of you posting here, I have nothing at stake. I had never heard of Roach before the NYT's article, nor of Ms. Ms. McNally or of Ian. I followed the story because once upon a time I considered myself a Buddhist of the Tibetan tradition, and because Ian's death seemed so preventable.

I've read every comment-literally-posted here, and have been genuinely fascinated by the discussion of how far and in what specific ways Roach deviated from orthodoxy. But, when all else is said and done, it is the the senseless death of our fellow human being Ian that is most disturbing.

The Buddhism I practiced held compassion as a highest value. IMO, it is not a negative action to pursue truth and hold folks accountable– it is a compassionate act, both in Ian's memory and to help others in Roach's and this Board's future who might also be incapable of surviving Roach's twisted demands.

I love debating as much as anyone else here, but I really hope that others more closely involved are ACTING to hold Roach and Diamond Mountain's board legally accountable. Everything else is sound and fury.

anonymous Jun 22, 2012 11:10am

Matthew – Aren't we do for another update? I'm still very worried but you can call me ebwally.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 5:36pm

    A thorough investigation takes time. I don't get why people want to rush for enlightenment and/or buddhahood "within one lifetime" either, I'd wager 2 of my cows (excluding Betsy) that it's not possible.

      anonymous Jun 22, 2012 6:29pm

      I just want a Matthew Remski update – not an end to the investigation

        anonymous Jun 22, 2012 7:34pm

        when he's good and ready 😉

anonymous Jun 22, 2012 6:05am

I believe it's possible that Gelek Rimpoche is indirectly addressing the tragedy in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn7idt97tBM.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 4:29pm

    You're wrong.

      anonymous Jun 22, 2012 4:41pm

      Well, he's not technically wrong because he was stating his belief that it was possible. Just sayin'

      anonymous Jun 23, 2012 12:31am

      Mark — do you know I'm wrong? The link was sent to me by someone versed in Tibetan political culture who said that the timing and references are coherent with traditional indirect censure.

        anonymous Jun 23, 2012 6:12am

        I agree. It seems to fit the pattern.

        anonymous Jun 23, 2012 6:20am

        I'm guessing Mark is American, not Tibetan. Unfortunately, Americans have a very hard time catching on to the subtle, underlying messages expressed in Asian cultures, as Ekan and others have pointed out. This intercultural communication gap allows DM/GMR followers to continue to dismiss Tibetans' subtle condemnation. Most people who haven't spent a significant amount of time in a foreign culture aren't even aware that cultural communication differences exist at all.

        The way we Americans (among other cultures) express ourselves can be described as the opposite of subtle. It takes effort and education to communicate effectively in a different cultural context. It does not come naturally. Tibetans who want to speak out about GMR need to know that they can't be subtle if they want their American audience to understand them. And the onus is on them, as they are speaking our language.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 4:54pm

    I most definitely think it is quite possible. Thanks for posting!

    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 7:29am

    Gelek Rimpoche often speaks of the importance of "intelligent faith" over "blind faith". Healthy doubt is good.

    “O monks and wise men, just as a goldsmith would test his gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so must you examine my words and accept them, not merely out of reverence for me.”
    Shakyamuni Buddha

    An essential part of the practice is to analyze the teachings for ourselves. This is analytical meditation.

    In the same way, it's important to investigate your teacher. Traditionally it's said that we take 12 years to evaluate your teacher. The teacher also evaluates us. Only then do we establish a guru/disciple relationship.

    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 12:38pm

    shows how utterly irrelevant your opinion on everything is matthew.
    there is no dharma center in the US that comes close to teaching buddhist logic as well or as thoroughly as DM/ACI 13 does. most centers do not even rely on these methods.

    there is no comparison, none, between what Rinpoche said in the youtube clip and what Geshe Michael taught in ACI 13. listen for yourself.

anonymous Jun 22, 2012 1:27am

A Cochise Country politico type suggested a campaign to renamed the road to the retreat Ian Thorson Memorial Trail would be a way to keep the DM flacks from forgetting that they are all partially to blame for this tradgedy every time they turn on the dirt road that meanders toward the death cave.

anonymous Jun 21, 2012 10:24pm

[…] The recent tragic death of Ian Thorson involving Geshe Michael Roach‘s Diamond […]

anonymous Jun 20, 2012 9:47pm

Geshe Michael and Lama Christie are literally in this movie trailer about a fake guru.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBIIaTI8C5c” target=”_blank”>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBIIaTI8C5c 2 minutes of hilarity
http://kumaremovie.com/synopsis

    anonymous Jun 21, 2012 7:49am

    Yes, it looks like the movie may be funny, but I feel sorry for the people who were tricked by the fake guru.

      anonymous Jun 21, 2012 10:45pm

      My initial reaction as well. But if the trailer is accurate, the director/star was extremely skillful in avoiding harm to the innocents who became his devotees. His guru message was: I am a complete faker – you are the real gurus.

      Still, people responded with the kind of transference of personal authority to the guru that one associates with gurus who demand such; and they testify with devotion that their lives are transformed by the guru.

      anonymous Jun 22, 2012 11:54am

      “I’m not enlightened. What you see in me is your own goodness or potential.” — Sri Kumare

      He builds his teaching around the one thing he feels strongly about: that his disciples don’t need a guru — that the guru is inside each of us. http://kumaremovie.com/synopsis

      That's somewhat misleading, but empowering, nonetheless. Assuming that's what actually was taught, I don't think people would walk away damaged for years. From reading the comments above, I wish I could say the same for some of Roach's students.

    anonymous Jun 21, 2012 1:06pm

    You can watch the first ten minutes of the film at Film.com: http://www.film.com/movies/kumare-documentary-fir

    MR and CM are in several scenes.

      anonymous Jun 21, 2012 9:22pm

      That film looks AWESOME! So timely! I'd pay to see it.

      anonymous Jun 22, 2012 11:57am

      Good find.

anonymous Jun 20, 2012 9:58am

I guess it comes down to having the energy to do all of these things, call out the board, pursue legal channels etc. I would like to see websites, books, documentaries, but you know, we all have lives, and it really is a big drain to be taking part in something that feels pretty negative, as necessary as that may be. I am fine with dropping in here occasionally and dropping a telling anecdote or two, in hopes that it will eventually plant at least a seed of doubt in the minds of those who can't refuse the GM marketing machine. I fell for him when I was at a particular level of development and "spiritual maturity", and I was warned by a few people, but couldn't resist, I had to find out what was behind the door for myself, which turned out to be absolutely nothing.

anonymous Jun 19, 2012 9:31am

Quotes relating to ethical and legal responsibilities of non-profit board members :

• No founder may be treated as if he/she 'owns' the organization.
• Non-profits exist to provide a public benefit. It must change some aspect of the human condition. It needs to solve a problem, provide education or build a monument.
• Each board member has equal voting rights and equal liability for making sure the charity is run according to proper standards. All board members will be held accountable for the governance of the organization.
• No board member should participate in a board decision that benefits himself or his family.
• The organization should maintain a Board Book – a notebook that contains Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, minutes to board meetings, past 3 years tax returns and annual financials.
• Non-profits do not have owners like for-profit organizations do. A board of directors guides and oversees the organization.
• A board's primary responsibility is 'to uphold the public trust' and make sure the rights and priviliges of the organization are not abused.
*Care: Be a prudent board member and pay attention to what is going on and make decision based on good information.
• Paid staff should not serve on the Board of Directors. This is a conflict of interest and poses potential problems.

    anonymous Jun 19, 2012 3:56pm

    From what I've gathered, GMR doesn't have as much power over the Board as a lot of people seem to think. While he is responsible and accountable for what goes on at DM because he is the spiritual director, the Board will vote against what he advises if they don't agree with him.

    Plus, he is rarely even there these days. Ever since he split from LC, his home base has been in Phoenix.

anonymous Jun 19, 2012 7:06am

It seems to me one bottom-line question is- -what, if anything, can be done to hold Michael Roach and Diamond Mountain accountable? This is America, and so one answer is, use the legal system.

1. As Remski points out, Roach and Diamond Mountain's Board are in business as a public non-profit, not private individuals, which means they can in fact be held legally accountable.

2. Here is a list of those who can sue individual Board members and/or Roach:

1.Insiders — The current and former staff of a nonprofit may bring actions alleging a host of wrongful acts, including wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, and Americans with Disabilities Act violations.

2.Outsiders — Third parties that have a relationship with the nonprofit may allege harm caused by the nonprofit and/or its directors, officers or employees. Outside sources can be vendors, funders, or another nonprofit.

3.The Entity — The nonprofit may bring an action against its directors and officers. Examples include claims by current management against a former trustee. In some states, derivative suits are permitted. In a derivative suit, members of a nonprofit may bring a claim on the nonprofit's behalf against a director and officer. (Note: Claims by the entity against its directors and officers will likely be excluded under most nonprofit D&O policies).

4.Directors — A nonprofit director may sue another board member alleging violation of a duty owed to the nonprofit. Under certain circumstances such an action may be compelled.

5.Beneficiaries — The people you are in business to help — your service recipients — may bring claims against directors and officers alleging wrongdoing.

6.Members — Directors and officers of membership associations are vulnerable to claims brought by members alleging harm to the interests of the member.

7.Donors — A nonprofit's contributors may sue directors and officers alleging misuse of a restricted gift.

8.State Attorney General — In most states, the state attorney general represents the interests of the general public in assuring the proper management of public benefit corporations. As such, the Attorney General may bring a claim against nonprofit directors and officers alleging wrongdoing.

9.Other Government Officials — Other government officials, including representatives of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor, may bring actions against nonprofit directors alleging violation of state or federal laws.
—-
I'm sure the Board members are very nice people with the best intentions. Nevertheless, they share direct responsibility–both moral and legal– for the decisions which led to Ian's death. As Board members of a non-profit they are also legally obligated to disclose to the public ALL relevant information relating to the circumstances that led to Ian's expulsion and death.

American law rightfully cannot and will not make determinations about the validity of Roach's religious teachings, but it sure can help hold him accountable for keeping his followers safe and alive.

anonymous Jun 18, 2012 11:51pm

Although I sometimes feel like this is gossip, I keep reading silently since I don't have any direct knowledge
to add, but it is important the TRUTH comes out, so that ABUSES, either physical, spiritual, deceit and so forth
STOP. I want to know the Truth, I am looking forward to hear more from those who have been somehow involved with MR and
DM

I do believe that many take for granted the messages the cult leaders try to brainwash.
Precisely because they are gullible, they are the target audience for perverted leaders.

anonymous Jun 18, 2012 10:24pm

It is sad to read all of this, but I appreciate the information getting out there. I was never a student/disciple of GMR, but I lived at a retreat center in Santa Cruz for several years when he was becoming more and more popular. At the time he was still allowed to come to FPMT centers, and several close friends of mine became devotees. Something about him always creeped me out, even though he had the ivy league way of presenting teachings down pat. He totally got the Western style of teaching, and had charisma (even if he looked creepy!). Interestingly, after meeting many many high lamas from Tibetan Buddhism (in the Gelug tradition, and others: HH Sakya Trizin, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, HH Dalai Lama, Jhado Rinpoche, Tsokyni Rinpoche, Khandro Rinpoche, etc etc), GMR had this strange thing where he would NEVER meet my eyes! All the other lamas emanated warmth, compassion, connection, but GMR (and obviously this is subjective) would not even meet my eyes even though several dear friends of mine became part of his innermost circle. It’s as if he could tell I wasn’t buying it….

At one point I had lunch with a dear friend, who is now in the retreat out in Arizona, around the time when HH Dalai Lama’s office had censured Geshe Michael’s totally tact-less (and obviously against Tibetan protocol) move to give teachings at the same time as HHDL. (This is a big, rude no-no….no teacher would think of giving a teaching in the same town while His Holiness is, at the same time! It’s crazy.). Gelugpas are pretty traditional, so it was quite a commotion. I asked my friend about it, sensitively, wondering how she justified a letter from HHDL’s office asking him not to give teachings. She explained that “Well a letter came from the OFFICE of His Holiness, but we don’t actually know that His Holiness really feels that way.” I thought to myself, “Uh oh. She is gone hook line and sinker.”

I have grappled with this whole scenario for years, because to this day I have close vajra sisters and brothers who are both part of the traditional Gelugpa school with whom I study (HHDL, LZR, Jhado Rinpoche), and yet they follow GMR. One friend “escaped” if you could call it that, but that student went through ‘the dark night of the soul’ to get out. It was very, very difficult for her, so I respect the author’s inclusion of comments from others who went through a similar difficult period breaking out of it.

One interesting thing too, is that unlike ALL the other Gelugpa lamas I’ve ever been to, GMR never insisted on the traditional paths of practice (ngon-dro, or preliminary practices) that most students are invited/sometimes required to do to obtain higher teachings (especially on tantra). 100,000 prostrations, water bowls, tsa tsas, refuge prayers, guru yoga — these are normal things you do if you really enter into the practice path. It is NOT this simplistic, magical thinking of “it’s your karma of how you see things that makes them so.” As Lama Zopa Rinpoche once taught, it’s not enough to think something and then it happens. “If that were the case,” he said, “then anyone who wanted to become president could become president. There would be no one left who was not president.” GMR was so popular for people who want to practice with a partner/lover because if you just started seeing people as an angel/deity, then they would become that, apparently! And if you didn’t see them that way, then it’s your own damn fault! This really was a magical way of thinking about Buddhism and karma. It is so much more complicated and LOGICAL than that. It is almost depressing how wrong his views on tantra are….they are supposed to be kept completely secret!!! It’s outrageous, really.

Like another writer above said, if you want to study Buddhism, go elsewhere! This is NOT correct Gelugpa Mahayana Buddhism. Go to a qualified lama (except for Geshe Kelsang Gyatso!), someone who knows the lineage all the way back through their lamas and their lamas’ lamas to the Buddha. We are in the degenerate times, the Kali yuga, and false teachers will appear and win people over with charisma and charm. HHDL said you should check a teacher out for 10 years before taking them as your guru. If not 10, then 5. If not five, then ideally 2. It is not a joke…this is your precious life you’re dealing with, and there should not be this level of controversy around a lama (although I’m sure GMR’s students would say that “it’s your negative karma to see it as something negative…he is teaching using crazy wisdom.”). With this karma argument from GMR’s quarters, you can’t win. It’s a TRAP!

    anonymous Jun 19, 2012 3:57am

    Beautifully put. And I can tell it is straight from the heart. Thank you for this!
    And good for your friend that she went through "the dark night of her soul" but made it out to find authentic teachings! I shudder to think about how twisted those poor retreatants are. !Must be. Anyway, hopefully some qualified professionals will be there to help them.

anonymous Jun 18, 2012 4:48pm

Here is a different take I found:
"When I was fundraising for Khen Rinpoche’s projects, I used to do grants, I spent many years on grants, I had all these different projects. And then at some point I just thought the best way to give him money is just go work. I just went and got a job."
Makes it sound like it was his idea to get a job not Khen Rinpoche.

    anonymous Jun 19, 2012 1:22pm

    I would disagree. Although GM does appear to change the story….I think what he has said is true…but I guess one could take any of his words and tear it apart….

      anonymous Jun 19, 2012 9:03pm

      that's confusing. "although gm does appear to change the story….I think what he has said is true" so you are saying he does change the story, but what he says is true? I think it's quite possible too, but if one story is true, that means the other one is false. you can't have it both ways. in this case, as in many others, a lie is self-evident.

        anonymous Jun 20, 2012 2:07pm

        Phurba-

        Why can't both sides of that story be true at the same time? Is your life really so one dimensional that there is only one possible reason for the choices you have made? I know for me personally, most of the major decisions in my own life have been influenced by many other people and my own opinion/needs/wants at the time…..so I could easily not be lying by saying that I wanted to go to college because I wanted to have financial security and also say honestly that I went to college because my father expected it of me.

        If someone picked apart my every word like posters are doing on this forum……well, I think anyone on Earth could be branded a 'liar' that way.

        Life is messy and grey– it's not always this or that. Sometimes it's both, or neither.

          anonymous Jun 20, 2012 4:32pm

          All he needs to do is take off the Sera Mey robes, and he could do his bootleg Buddhism cult in peace until the cows come home. That's it. It 's that simple. Why this conversation is even happening is bewildering, other than he clearly has a whopping Costco-size ego.

      anonymous Jun 20, 2012 3:38am

      "Although GM does appear to change the story….I think what he has said is true."

      Which time?

    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 2:50pm

    According to GMR in this recent video, the monastery 'told' him to go start a business and donate the profits, not to mention he also says he learned of his mother's 'sudden' death while at the monastery, when before he has said she put him there as a child. How many different life stories can one person have?

anonymous Jun 18, 2012 2:46pm

Speaking with an accent not one's own can be indicative of a narcissistic personality disorder-or so I have read.

    anonymous Jun 18, 2012 2:58pm

    Or just, like someone who takes a semester in England and forever more is saying lorry and brilliant!

    Or, whenever 19th century mediums went to channel some great wisdom entity there would be a slightly Indian-ish accent as the entity spoke through them.

anonymous Jun 18, 2012 11:01am

I just want to ask, what the hell is that accent he has? It seems totally affected. Some kind of weird pseudo Asian overlay.

I'm sorry but he really just immediately strikes me as loathsome and creepy – or at best simply ridiculous. And that's before even knowing the rest of it, or listening to what he's actually saying, which as everyone is pointing out is often sheer nonsense.

Why about every second sentence does he seem to try to mask his obvious sociopathic ego by saying "and then when I got my geshe degree I was asked to this" or "my students have asked me to talk about myself some more" or "when I went to get my geshe degree my students went with me", when he really just is saying "me geshe geshe geshe geshe, me have students students students, gurus gurus gurus gurus, robes robes robes robes, make money money money money."

It often kind of bums me out I was born with this burdensome sense of integrity and honesty and humility. I would do so much better in this country if I could just get over them.

He's like Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite – "Vote for (or bow before) me and I will make all of your dreams come true."

    anonymous Jun 18, 2012 11:13am

    From working with Tibetans over the last 8-9 years I can tell you it seems to be an imitation of the speech patterns of Tibetans when they speak English. Because the sentence order of the two languages is quite different, you sometimes get strange speech patterns. He also leaves out articles which is a common issue for speakers of Asian languages who are learning English.
    I also noticed noticed this in one of Christie's videos "And people, start call me lama" etc.
    My opinion is that this is a deliberate move to give a flavour of "Tibetan lama" to the teachings. From watching how the biography changes, to how the stories in the scriptures are manipulated, I think that everything is very carefully planned and orchestrated.
    MR's intelligence and skill at being able to influence his audience should not be underestimated.
    I encourage all those who have access to Tibetan geshes and also who wish to study the Gelugpa teachings in depth to go to the geshes with a complete education for classes. I know as a translator that sometimes people find it a drag not hearing the teachings directly. But I can say from my side I do my best to deliver exactly the same meaning, very carefully , as what I hear. And most of the other translators I know work according to the same code of ethics.
    While MR's teachings may be more palatable to the Western palette, you are not getting the real thing. If Gelugpa Buddhism isn't for you, no problem, seek out something that works. But if that is what you are interested in, don't cheat yourself.

      anonymous Jun 20, 2012 10:19am

      Ha, having worked with Tibetans, lived in Asia, and being Asian myself that ridiculous accent was the first thing I noticed when I watched his videos on Youtube. I was waiting for him to say "sh, Ancient Tibetan secret!" a la the old Calgon commercials. Bizarre and patronizing behavior on his part.

    anonymous Jun 18, 2012 12:05pm

    I agree that the accent is an affectation, and it conveys a subtext of ancient, forbidden wisdom of another time and place. The accent is juxtaposed with an informal, personal, digressive, very American pedagogical style. He also frequently "forgets" English words for things and says, as if a charming foreigner, "how you say..?" This reinforces the idea he has been so steeped in study at a Tibetan monastery that English is his second language.

    However, it's also a pedagogical technique. By asking "how you say?" he engages the audience to supply the missing word. When they do, they get to feel both helpful and smart. Plus they stay on their toes and attentive. But sometimes it is not the exact right word, and then in soliciting other words, GM is teasing out the meaning, seemingly collaboratively, of the given text. Forgetting the English words for things works in tandem with defining Tibetan words and having the audience speak them back to him. Both techniques give a sense of shared discovery and a collaborative effort where teacher and students work to refine the precision of their understanding.

    In addition, forgetting English words for things is very charming when he teaches non-native English-speaker students. He speaks in simple phrases, with stilted syntax, in an act of solidarity with his audience, who, at least as a caricatur-ish generality, speak English similarly. Hence they may feel less talked-at. Since he speaks this way to all audiences, it's less patronizing than if it were reserved only for students from other backgrounds.

    I wonder how his root lama (from NJ) spoke English; if it is a kind of homage to his own teacher's speech pattern.

    This accent and also rhythm of speaking can be seen in his most successful lama trainees. Lama Marut also has adopted this accent, although less pronounced.

    anonymous Jun 18, 2012 2:06pm

    Besides a sense of integrity, you were also born with a sense of humor. I needed a good belly laugh.

anonymous Jun 18, 2012 5:33am

What did he say Buddha's partner's name is? Dilotama or Dilodama? How can no one in the audience challenge him on this statement? The top secret teachings seem to be getting more and more creative–like he's starting a totally new religion.

    anonymous Jun 18, 2012 7:28am

    I'd like to see his textual source for this! A Tilottama appears in the Mahabharata, but to connect her to the Buddha's enlightenment?!

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 8:58am

      One can read with difficulty portions of an Alex Wayman translation of a Khe-Drub Je tantric commentary. The first chapter contains stories from many schools of how Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment, including those of various Tantric schools including the Highest Yoga Tantra – none of which mention a consort. The same book describes Tilottama as an aspara or Khandro-ma or as a personification of the inner heat activity in the final completion stage at the moment of reaching Buddhahood. Buit I'm not convinced he was saying Tilottama.

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 9:19am

        i.e., read it on line found by Googling Tilottama Buddha.

          anonymous Jun 20, 2012 12:42am

          When I googled Tilottama, I found a reference about Buddha having a tantric partner with this name in a previous life (Search on a thread titled What is a Tantric Teaching in Buddhism on Dharmawheel.net ):

          "What tamdrin was saying is that there is a Vajrayāna tradition i.e. that our Buddha, in a past life, took a goddess named Tilottama as his partner and achieved awakening together with her through advanced completion stage practices…"

            anonymous Jun 20, 2012 10:34am

            Citing Alex Wayman's "Introduction to the Buddhist Tantric Systems", Donald Lopez wrote:

            "The tantric path, then, is seen to provide the necessary addendum to bring the bodhisattva to buddhahood; without it he cannot pass beyond the tenth bhumi. Even Sakyamuni, in his last lifetime before buddhahood, became fully enlightened through the practice of sexual yoga with Devi Tilottama in Akanistha." — Elaborations on Emptiness, top of page 92 http://books.google.com/books?id=vg8do_u9KFkC&amp

            I would disagree with Donald Lopez (Prof. of Tibetan Studies at UMich) on his use of the phrase "sexual yoga", because Alex Wayman (Prof. of Sanskrit at Columbia U) did not say anything close to sex or carnal acts. For context, read from the beginning to page 39 http://books.google.com/books?id=P1G9PwC49rkC&amp… Of course, Wayman was translating "Fundamentals of the Buddhist Tantras" by Mkhas grub rje (aka Khedrub Je, 1st Panchen Lama, 1385-1438).

            In any case, are Roach and his students already 10th level Boddhisatvas and in their last lives before Buddhahood?

              anonymous Jun 20, 2012 7:32pm

              Tantra is taught in code. Various aspects and process are given the names of deities and bodhisattvas. The last mention of Tilottma clearly states that it is not a reference to a person but to a special tummo heat that occurs in the final moments before attaining Buddhahood. While the yogic (not Hatha) accomplishments required to practice with a human mudra are quite extraordinary, His Holiness teaches that it is an inferior practice for those who are unable to attain the meditational levels that are the goal of HYT completion stage practices,with mental mudra and dream yoga mudra, '

              anonymous Jun 20, 2012 7:51pm

              The question really is: Are they 10th ground Bodhisattvas LIVING IN HEAVEN! Akanistha is not on earth nor is it inhabited by human beings. The beings of that Pure Land are Buddhas or otherwise extraordinary including the 10th Ground Bodhisattvas. Actually Akanistha is also the name of the Form Realm the Sambogakaya of all Buddhas are said to abide (from which innumerable Nirmanakaya are emanated).

              Anyway, for sure, it ain't Arizona.

                anonymous Jun 20, 2012 8:12pm

                Good point 🙂

                anonymous Jun 21, 2012 2:13am

                Akanistha's not in Arizona? Damn, I was about to call for the moving van. . .

    anonymous Jun 18, 2012 5:31pm

    It is scary that he is now exporting his new brand of Buddhism to Asian countries. I can understand Americans trusting this guy, but why do Chinese and Japanese people believe that GM is teaching real Buddhism? They should know better. I'm not so sure that I believe all this talk about the geshes secretly practicing yoga after they complete their geshe training.

      anonymous Jun 20, 2012 2:10pm

      Buddhism is crippled in Japan and sickly in China:

      "Japan has many temples beautifully kept for tourists and visitors, but many are commercialized. Although there are some serious practitioners, for the most part the traditions are extremely formalized and weak. From the thirteenth century, the Japanese have had a tradition of married temple priests with no prohibition against drinking alcohol. Such priests gradually replaced the tradition of celibate monks. Most Japanese follow a combination of Buddhism and the traditional Japanese Shinto spirit religion. They have priests perform Shinto customs and ceremonies for births and marriages, and Buddhist ones for funerals, with little understanding of either.

      In Inner China, namely the Han Chinese areas of the People's Republic, the majority of Buddhist monasteries were destroyed and most of the well-trained monks, nuns and teachers were executed or imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. This was not to the same huge extent, however, as in the non-Han regions, namely Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. Today, a large number of Han Chinese of all ages in Inner China are interested in Buddhism, but the main problem is the lack of teachers… There are only a few qualified elderly monks and nuns left who survived the communist persecution and can teach, and no one of middle age with any training… In general, the level of Buddhist education is extremely low in the Han Chinese monasteries. People are focusing primarily on the physical reconstruction of Buddhism at the moment – temples, pagodas, statues and so forth … As a result, many Buddhist temples are now open as museums or tourist attractions, with the monastics being the ticket collectors and temple attendants." http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/app

        anonymous Jun 21, 2012 11:04pm

        Your historical recap highlights the importance of attempting to maintain as pure a lineage of Vinaya monastics as possible, because Buddha taught that without the Vinaya monastic communities, Buddha Dharma cannot be maintained in this world.

        Tibet was the great treasure house preserving that Dharma most completely into the 20th Century. Following the decimation of Buddhist monasticism in areas of Mongolian culture by the Soviet Union in the early 20th Century, after World War II, the assault on the last bastion of Tibetan monasticism began and continues to this date.

        This is another reason that people who appreciate or follow Tibetan Buddhist lineages — and with respect to MR, particularly the Geluk lineage — are appalled that an American who was so benefited by that lineage should repay that kindness in a manner calculated to destroy the lineage and lead people far from the Path he pretends to teach.

      anonymous Jun 20, 2012 2:13pm

      Jane,

      My understanding is that MR is teaching business practices and yoga– not strictly Buddhism (real or 'fake', whatever that means).

      Some people don't have a problem with anyone making a 'new brand' of philosophy. I don't see how that view is any less valid than any other. None of us have the end-all-be-all market on philosophy– that's what makes it a great thing, in my humble opinion.

        anonymous Jun 20, 2012 11:31pm

        Cloverleaf,

        No problem with people inventing new philosophies, practices and religions.

        The problem is they lie when they call their 'teachings" genuine Buddha Dharma, and when they claim to have received these from an authentic Geluk lineage (i.e., teachings that can be traced back to Buddhist Sutra – in continuous oral transmissions traceable to Panditas from Nalanda monastery) by monastics who have received an unbroken ordination of Vinaya traceable directly to Shakyamuni Buddha.

        Logically, the rules to keep the monastic lineage established by Shakyamuni Buddha pure for 2,600 years must be quite detailed and exacting. If someone takes a few minutes to research what such rules are, they will understand that the getsul and gelong ordinations conducted by MR and CM were 'blasphemous' mockeries of the sole institution capable of preserving Buddha Dharma in this world according to Shakyamuni Buddha.

        To be fair, MR claims that he teaches his mish-mash health, wealth, Eastern Christianity, Hinduism, yoga, partner stuff to attract the rubes, so that he can then teach them pure Buddha Dharma.

        The problem is, that his 'Buddha Dharma' is not Buddha Dharma; MR knows that it is not genuine Buddha Dharma (he has studied Vinaya), yet he and CM claim that it is [e.g., in June 2010, while raising money for the retreat at Vajrapani, CM claimed to be a good Gelukpa].

          anonymous Jun 21, 2012 3:25pm

          Tenor,

          Thank you for your reply.

          I understand fully what you are saying and I agree with the problems you identify. Although the whole 'my version of Truth is the only Truth and any deviance from my Truth is not genuine Truth' goes a bit far for my beliefs…..I do see how it is that way in Buddhism lineages, I just don't feel that way about religion/spirituality personally. You state you are fine with people inventing new philosophies, practices and religions….just as long as they don't wear your costume or claim to be affiliated with any existing order, right? I get that, though I have no idea how you or anyone might stop someone from doing just that (especially when the lineage gave him the costume to begin with). These are definite problems in this religion and I feel very sad for anyone negatively effected by all of this…..I just think people aren't being given enough credit to discern what's 'genuine Dharma' for themselves.

          My post was written to Jane specifically as an answer to her question about why Chinese and Japanese people would believe that MR was teaching 'real' Buddhism. I don't think they do believe he is teaching 'real' Buddhism, based on his loud break from the lineage and HHDL's statements on such (as you mention below). I believe in the average person's ability to discern Truth for themselves, whatever that might mean to the individual.

          I am not arguing for MR's behalf, simply trying to point out that there is plenty of info out right now that anyone (no matter their nationality) can use to make up their own mind about Buddhism in general and MR's teachings. Or much of anything else for that matter.

          I'm also not intending any disrespect to you or to others who are angry about MR and his claims. It is definitely feeling like a MR-hate-fest around here, though…..and as much as I have a problem with some of his tactics, I don't see how that is helping any aspect of this.

            anonymous Jun 21, 2012 10:02pm

            It's odd to me that people have so much tolerance about this kind of thing in a spiritual context, but not in mundane affairs. For instance, if you found out that the pilot of an airplane you (or a loved one) was on, was never properly trained to fly the airplane– would you just be relaxed about it? Would you stay on the plane, or tell your loved one to stay on the plane? If not, would you then not bother to let the other passengers know, because people should just be left to "discern who is a 'genuine pilot' for themselves? I mean, maybe these other passengers would have no way of knowing unless you picked up the mic and broadcast it on the loudspeaker. Part of people being able to discern is getting the correct information in the first place! So please reflect on that, as a reply to "I don't see how that is helping any aspect of this." No one is hating.. they are simply deeply concerned about all the people who could go down in a burning plane. And with the airplane metaphor– that is one life– from a Buddhist perspective a teacher that leads you on a wrong path with the wrong view leads you to lower realms which may last quite a lot longer than a single human life.

              anonymous Jun 21, 2012 11:29pm

              Well, said.

              anonymous Jun 22, 2012 8:24am

              Phurba,

              Ok, now it's really time to put on your logic cap. No disrespect, we just all (myself included) need to take a step back from the emotion and really look at what is being said here on this forum.

              A spiritual path is much different from a pilot. There IS a set of standards that qualify someone to fly…..they must know very specific ways to handle wind conditions and the particular plane instruments they are working with (my husband is a pilot, by the way). They must have experience (flying hours, solo and with an instructor) in order to put the book-learning into practice and deal with the realities of keeping a heavy thing in the air safely. If they do not do this or do not know what they are doing, the plane will literally fall out of the sky and people will die, for certain, every time. It is repeatable and verifiable science. And for the record, a license is not required for this in every state– you can get a provisional license much like a learners permit in most states and a person certainly doesn't have to hold a license to buy a plane (anyone with the money can do it, though it's not advisable).
              Contrast that with a spiritual or religious leader who only knows what they believe to be (key phrase) the 'standard' for the afterlife or this life, through their own experience and the tradition(s) that they learn personally– not one person (human) on Earth can possibly know for certain how to keep others from 'lower realms' or any other idea about what happens after death……..we- as humans- just don't know for sure what happens when we die, even if we believe we do, because we are still alive. All religions are built upon beliefs and faith and traditions that what that particular religion is teaching is Truth…… but it cannot be tested or proven out with our current methods of testing or measuring, so by default no one can say without a doubt.

              We do know for sure what happens when you try to land a plane nose down in a crosswind….it's physics and doesn't change with perspective.

              Comparing spirituality with aerodynamics is apples and oranges.

              I disagree strongly with your statement 'no one is hating'. I am reading quite a bit of hate around here.

              I'm also heartened to learn that despite the methods of showing it, people are actually deeply concerned about the spiritual lives of those involved…..I am too, that's why I'm still typing/reading all of this. But you or anyone else can't honestly tell me that you know for Certain that what you believe to be true about religion or spirituality is the Correct Path…..that's making a lot of assumptions about the inner life of another being. I don't think anyone is qualified to do that.

              The reason there is so much tolerance about this kind of thing in spiritual affairs is that no one on Earth can say/prove their version of spirituality is the only valid version. By extension, there is much less regulation or governance about spiritual matters…..are you suggesting we should license people before they can try to teach their own brand of spirituality? In America?!?! Who would give out that license or set the parameters? Didn't the Galuk lineage in essence "license" MR when they bestowed the Geshe title upon him? Haven't they also withdrawn that 'license' by shunning him? I understand helping people to understand this (and I agree with doing so)…..but beyond giving that history/information, what exactly would you suggest be done to ensure the spiritual lives of free people choosing to stay with the spiritual leader of their choice? Are you so certain that whatever path they are on is not the 'right' spiritual path for them to take? Are you really suggesting anything is to be done to prevent people from making up their own minds about what spiritual path is correct for them? I hope I'm reading you wrong…..

              I get that you believe people following MR's teachings are headed to lower realms and more lives. I'm just saying that if they know you and others believe that (and I'm convinced the DM retreatants do know this) and yet they still want to be on the path they are on, spiritually……I don't know, it seems to me like more harm than good comes from forcing your views on any other person, even with the best of intentions. We've not come full circle back to "my god is better than your god"…..wars are started for less and it seems like a ridiculous waste to me, for everyone involved.

                anonymous Jun 22, 2012 9:48am

                I really don't think anyone is forcing any views on anyone. Actually, this is literally impossible. You can physically force things on other beings.. but you can not force views on them. You can, however, lie, exaggerate and manipulate people into believing things that are not true, and this is why many here are passionate about uncovering such deceit. In actuality, in this postmodern age of religious and spiritual plurality of course, as has been said many times– people can make any claim they like about whatever belief pops into their heads. However, we are talking in the context of the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition, specifically how it has been upheld and transmitted by Tibetans over the course of over a thousand years. Yes, let's put our logic caps on! Roach is using people's positive associations of these lineages (hard won in the west, I daresay, considering the sheer negative views of how Tibetan Buddhism was a degenerate form of Buddhism, etc. dominant in the early 20th cent– hard won by the tireless work of the Dalai Lama and other wonderful examples) to create a larger and larger worldwide student base, to proselytize his own teachings which do not accord with the teachings of the lineage he purports to be part of. As I said before, this is what people are trying to combat– a very rich texture of deceit. If you have looked into Tibetan Buddhism, you will find that it represents itself to be as much of a scientific reality as flying an airplane. How so? Because theories are put into practice, and proven again and again through personal experience. Just like, to really believe that a hunk of metal can fly through the air, you'd have to see one actually flying, or fly inside of one personally. If you could do neither yet, then you may believe it through the testimony of a number of people who appear to be trustworthy, without motivation of lying, and whose accounts all match eachothers. In Tibetan Buddhism, we have endless first hand accounts of witnesses who have watched their masters die in a completely conscious and miraculous fashion: while still sitting upright in their meditation poses, keeping the posture for days, while there is still a radiant heat at their hearts (tukdam). Some senior western disciples have also been manifesting these signs at the time of death. Likewise, there are signs of rainbows, or the bodys shrinking to a small size, or dissolving completely leaving only hair or nails, and signs of rainbow bindus behind. There are also neurological studies that have been recently performed on senior Tibetan Buddhist monks and teachers that map the activity of the brain during certain types of meditative states in those who have clocked thousands of hours in their practices.. including the great Mingyur Rinpoche who volunteered for such studies. The results were that the neurologists were completely shocked, had never seen these areas of the brain with such immensely heightened activity– especially those associated generally with "feelings of happiness and wellbeing" and they dubbed him the happiest man alive. Science may not consider the Buddhist traditions to properly fit their own model of "scientific", however, from a Buddhist perspective it is a science, a technology, with specific protocols, and views that must be adhered to for proper results. When a person starts manipulating these things, conflating some views with other views, both eternalist or nihilist views(the very extremes Buddhism is determined to be beyond) and not only continuing to call it Buddhism, but Buddhism associated with a particular lineage of Tibetan Buddhist… then I think it behooves all those who are devoted practitioners of Tibetan Buddhist authentic traditions to speak up and to let people who may be deceived that they are in fact being deceived! If you see someone about to spend their life savings to invest in gold, but you happen to have found out that it is just fool's gold– do you just stand idly by and watch them get ripped off? I would argue that even from a conventional ethical perspective any decent human being would stand up and say "hey, be careful, don't be deceived! that is just fool's gold!" "If you want to buy fool's gold, that's your right! But be careful, don't buy it at the same time thinking that it is real gold!"

                  anonymous Jun 22, 2012 12:19pm

                  I could not agree more with the sentiments here. Very well said.

                  anonymous Jun 22, 2012 12:21pm

                  Phurba,

                  I agree with what I hear as your general logic (MR is using unethical methods to make claims that his lineage does not agree with or purport and people should be warned about this). Ok, we agree on that. Except I have not heard him- or the teachers under him I know- state he is teaching strict, traditional Buddhism of any tradition in the sense you imply. In fact, the one time I heard him speak he stated quite clearly that what he was presenting was not in fact solely the lineage in which he trained but a combination of philosophies that he personally believes to be reality. That's my experience; I'm sure at other times he said other things– I have no doubt it changes depending on the audience.

                  However,
                  "If you have looked into Tibetan Buddhism, you will find that it represents itself to be as much of a scientific reality as flying an airplane"
                  No matter how it wants to be seen, to say that Buddhism is scientific reality (to date) is fallacy. To think otherwise is fantastical thinking, simply because science has not been tuned to this area of study long enough to make it a reality. Like I said before, repeatable and verifiable highly-controlled studies (and let's not forget math) turn a generally accepted theory into scientific reality. The first-hand accounts are great! Let's get someone to write them down, make a database and cross-reference experiences so that there is a generally held consensus on these things not relied upon by oral tradition or perception of the senses (notoriously fallible). There simply have not been enough studies for your claim here to be true, by definition of 'scientific reality'. So what I hear when I read this statement is that you are purporting a claim not yet supported by science but with many first-hand accounts of accuracy….is that correct or is there a research community in this area (public) of which I am unaware?

                  I've read the research studies and experienced personally some of the changes meditation can have on the human body– I don't doubt this as a truth in my own life at all. I am saying that it is not yet considered 'scientific reality' simply because for it to be called that, many more rigorously controlled studies have to be done with repeatable, verifiable results and strict protocols.

                  I believe this will happen in the future, but to date it's not proven science no matter how many people have witnessed it or experienced it and despite the study you reference (groundbreaking though it is). Saying it is 'scientific' is an unsubstantiated claim….just what you are vilifying MR for doing. It is very much apples and oranges to compare Buddhism and Aerodynamics (note that I'm not stating Buddhism is not as valid, just different).

                  "Science may not consider the Buddhist traditions to properly fit their own model of "scientific", however, from a Buddhist perspective it is a science, a technology, with specific protocols, and views that must be adhered to for proper results. When a person starts manipulating these things, conflating some views with other views, both eternalist or nihilist views(the very extremes Buddhism is determined to be beyond) and not only continuing to call it Buddhism, but Buddhism associated with a particular lineage of Tibetan Buddhist… then I think it behooves all those who are devoted practitioners of Tibetan Buddhist authentic traditions to speak up and to let people who may be deceived that they are in fact being deceived!"

                  No doubt- I wholeheartedly agree with your statement above. I am saying the exact same thing as you said in the statement quoted above myself….only I'm adding to that:

                  We (you, me and others) have been shouting from the rooftops for more than a month about the ways we see MR's teaching as 'fool's gold'. I've gone on-line and found data about this as far back as when MR came out with CM from his first retreat. The info is there if one chooses to look. When is it enough?

                  If someone wants to believe fool's gold is real gold, I'm contending it's their right to choose to do so as long as they have been told other people don't think it's real gold. In fact, if it's worn as 'real' gold and traded like real gold…..I'm unsure why it matters. The American dollar is just a fancy piece of paper, really, but because people believe in it's value it holds power.

                  At what point will the people trying to warn others about this conclude the warning has been given, is or is not being heeded, and the choice to heed the warning or not rest with the practitioner?

                  You argue that it's not possible to force your views on someone else….but isn't that exactly what you are trying to do to the follower's of MR (misguided as they might be)? You've stated your position, repeatedly– so have others. What is your goal of continuing this? I really do not understand the goal here. People ARE warned, the info is out. What's left is their choice– and their consequences of choice. What do you want to happen here?

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 1:33pm

                    I agree with your assessment of the "Scientific reality" of TB but I would like to point out that HHDL said if there are contradictions between TB and what science says then you have to go with science. This is very different from many other religion/"Spritual" communities including DM where a science strawman (as well as a "god" strawman) is setup in order to be knocked down so that the "karmic worldview" could be shown to be the only credible way things come into existence (it is also an argument from ignorance as I have said elsewhere in this forum).

                    That is kind of secondary to the argument about whether GMR should be calling what he teaches TB.

                    "People ARE warned, the info is out."

                    I'm not quite sure what your argument is. It seems you agree that GMR and DM are not teaching authentic TB. You just think we should shut up about already? Maybe you think people at DM know and acknowledge that GMR and DM are not teaching authentic TB. From what I have seen at DM and heard from DM students, that is far from the truth.

                    Just from my experience. I thought he was teaching authentic TB. Many of his students when asked about DM being a cult would respond, "If it is a cult, then it is a 2500 year old cult." – meaning that GMR is teaching what has been taught since the Buddha. When I pointed out differences between what HHDL teaches and what GMR and DM teach, the current president of the DM board told me that HHDL was teaching altered TB because of the audience to which he was speaking. In other words, HHDL was altering the teachings, not GMR and DM. I've also heard at DM and DM teachings that HHDL is also hiding the truth about "partner practice" for one reason or another. I'm fairly certain many people at DM are convinced HHDL has his own consort.

                    I think all the negative press I read about GMR and DM allowed me to retain a certain skepticism and the GMR/LC break allowed me (or forced me) to state positively what I had been considering up until then. The "Karmic management" taught at DM doesn't work. Eventually I also saw that the TB taught at DM isn't TB.

                    "The American dollar is just a fancy piece of paper, really, but because people believe in it's value it holds power"

                    And there are are many people who attempt to usurp the power of the American dollar by making counterfeit currency. The analogy to what GMR is doing is very appropriate.

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 9:42pm

                    Ben,

                    "I'm not quite sure what your argument is. It seems you agree that GMR and DM are not teaching authentic TB. You just think we should shut up about already? Maybe you think people at DM know and acknowledge that GMR and DM are not teaching authentic TB. From what I have seen at DM and heard from DM students, that is far from the truth."

                    I'm upset at the level of malice that's being spread around here towards another human, that's all.

                    No, I don't think we should 'just shut up already', especially not those harmed by any of this.

                    I do think it's a good idea to take a look at why people have been hurt by these teachings….as in, did they go along with things their gut told them was 'wrong'? Did they accept what someone else said about the nature of reality without due diligence? Did they have mostly a good time but had a weird day? Did they think this was authentic TB and now think it's not?

                    I think these and many others are good questions that should continue to be asked until answers are satisfactory for those affected.

                    I heard much of the same type of thing as you apparently did…..but I never thought what I was being taught was 100% TB of any particular lineage, mainly because I was specifically told it was not. I was given a lesson in the geographic area and history of the region, which honestly I cannot find fault with. We talked about whether or not it was a cult, quite openly, which I don't think happens in many cults. It was a satisfactory conversation to me.

                    I was told that partner practice was common in monasticism (all). No mention of HHDL specifically, at least not that I recall. I was told the problem wasn't with the partner practice per se but with the fact it had gone public. I don't know the truth of that and honestly, it's not relevant to my spiritual path. I do think it's one of those can't-prove-it's-not-true kinda things to say and do, which is shady in my opinion.

                    The people I have met from DM or connected with that were very smart people with whom I could talk and not feel embarrassed because of my own beliefs or lack thereof. I never had anyone touch me inappropriately or put me in a box…..if I had, my view here would certainly be different and my heart goes out to anyone effected in that way.

                    My argument is that demonizing MR isn't helpful to anyone, least of all the people of DM or Ian Thornson. I don't think, at this point, it's a useful thing to do. I think if people are still upset, there should be a new plan of what to do about it.

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 11:05pm

                    You make some good points about demonizing GMR. I think all human beings have good and bad qualities. It might be interesting to make a list of MR's good and bad qualities–not just point out his bad qualities.

                    However, I think the motivation of many negative comments is not connected with malice. People seem to feel a need to warn people that this group is not "the real thing"–not real TB or not real Gelukpa teachings. It would be helpful if GM just stopped wearing the Tibetan monk robes and just made up a new name for his new lineage or religion. Maybe he can call it Seedism or Seedicity.

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 8:15am

                    Thanks, honestboy, for your comments.

                    I agree that maybe a list would be helpful.

                    I don't think the motivation began as malice nor do I think all posting here are exhibiting that emotion….just that when any person starts looking for negativity (or positivity for that matter) all the time, well, people get carried away and it becomes all they can see. The level of focus required to support the argument means that person is thinking about negativity all the time– where is the balance? How is that good for them or for those they are trying to help?

                    I get the need to warn others and I support that.

                    Do you know if the latest talks he gave were given in robes? Is it possible he has set them aside? I don't know; I'm asking. The talk I saw bits of he had on a plaid shirt and jeans, I think. And he's going to be teaching in Asia soon, right? Doesn't he always wear a suit to teach there?

                    Ha– Seedicity! HAHAHA– much laughs, thanks.

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 9:56am

                    Yes, he was giving the Lam Rim teachings in robes. On one day at least, before the teaching, he additionally played the bass in a pop jazz ensemble – i which Eric was playing also in robes.

                    It doesn't mean anything to you, but one of the Vinaya monastic vows is not to play secular music, sing and dance – so it seems that he is on a campaign to publicly flaunt every monastic vow he can.

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 7:00pm

                    In this last video from Phoenix, MR says, "When the Buddha taught Tantra, he didn't do it in the form of a monk. He did it in the form of an angel called 'Vajradhara'. So that angel has long hair, that angel wears silk, that angel wears jewellery, that angel sings music. There's a different mode of one person, Lord Buddha." Clearly a role model for him… http://www.justin.tv/aci_phoenix/b/321808869

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 8:15pm

                    Tenor,

                    Thank you for the clarification on that. I appreciate it and don't doubt your account to be true.

                    Were you there or are you stating this from the recordings?

                    All of this most certainly does mean something to me. I know what the Vinaya means, at least vaguely. MR and this scandal most certainly does effect my life, though not as much or in the same way as some people posting here. I pretty much think not maintaining any vow (marriage, monastic, promises, etc.) is a dastardly thing to do. Mostly though I'm worried about the people at DM right NOW.

                    Hasn't he been playing in a band for years, though? Isn't this 'not new'? So how is his behavior a 'campaign to flaunt every monastic vow he can'? I understand he is breaking traditional vows– maybe more and more, I'll grant– and that he justifies it with his own interpretation of the ancient texts…..but hasn't this been going on for more than 10 years?

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 3:56pm

                    Not to beat a dead horse, but when Eric wrote this on this forum:

                    " To be honest, my opinion is that we are not operating within the Gelukpa Tibetan Buddhist framework. We are teaching yoga. We do promote women teachers. You do not have to be ordained to teach. We have come out of the Gelukpa ttradition, but are moving into something else. That could be made more clear. But for right now, i think GM has no plans to make a big announcement that he has started a new lineage. i think he will let others decide when that has happened. You are certainly welcome to make your own speculations."

                    It was the first I had ever heard anyone from DM say something like that. So much so that I responded:

                    "When you said "we are not operating within the Gelukpa Tibetan Buddhist framework" I am assuming based on previous conversations with you that you are not saying that his teachings have broken from the tradition. It seemed you believe that he is teaching straight Gelukpa. Correct me if I am wrong."

                    Eric didn't respond to my question. I don't believe that Eric was saying that what they teach isn't within the Gelukpa Tibetan Buddhist framework, but rather the specific things he mentions – women teachers, yoga, not being required to be ordained to teach, are the points from which DM differs from the Gelukpa Tibetan Buddhist framework.

                    I would also like to make another point. I had an online conversation about what could be called Buddhism. It is a conversation that can be applied to all religions. I was defending someone who claimed his teachings were "Buddhism" even though they didn't believe in something like past lives or something (I can't remember the specifics). The person to whom I was talking quoted the Dalai Lama. I told him who cared what the Dalai Lama thinks. He isn't the authority on what is or isn't Buddhism. I would argue that the only one to make the call on whether a belief system can rightly be called "Buddhism" is the person being asked to weigh the claim. But this is different from being asked whether teachings can rightly be called "Buddhism in the tradition of the Dalai Lama" or of a specific lineage. In that case, there are authorities that have the right to say this is or is not within our lineage.

                    In just the same way, the pope doesn't have the authority to tell me what is or isn't Christian, but I believe he has the authority to tell me what is or isn't Catholic.

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 4:53pm

                    Ben,

                    Since you have some direct knowledge — what is this partner practice? Without violating vows of secret practice or whatever, in plain terms, is GM teaching his followers to incorporate penetration of a consort into spiritual practice, or is that being reserved for him alone?

                    In the baldest terms, my ex-boyfriend was studying tantra. Was he caressing and penetrating other women and thinking that was not infidelity because it was "partner practice"? [I know you don't know specifically whether he was, or even who he is, but I mean in general, the men who studied tantra there.]

                    thanks

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 11:06am

                    Cyn,

                    Unfortunately for you but perhaps forunately for me, I stopped between my Yamantaka initiation and VY. I know there was a wide variety of opinions/practices at DM. I would be surprised if some weren't engaging in physical practices with a partner. Some of the language in a lot of the vows seem to indicate this was expected but it was explained to me that the language was metaphorical although it wasn't explained to me what the metaphors were and with some of the language, I couldn't imagine that it wasn't referring to sex acts/fluids. I was told that the highest and proper form of practice was strictly mental and not physical.

                    I think your main question was whether you old BF was engaging in the physical practices and I really can't say.

                    By the way, I also found the "I have the truth and can critize you for not beliving/practicing what I do" attitude in a few DMers. I often wonder if the teachings instilled that sort of bullshit in these people or if they would be dicks no matter what. Good luck!

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 1:17pm

                    Thanks for taking my question seriously, Ben, and taking the time to answer. For me, this is a matter of finding out what was actually going on in my own life, obscured from me by Buddhist ontology and karmic seeds-language which I apparently, was not evolved enough to understand. I do think that certain aspects of this philosophy, whether mis-taught originally or whether misunderstood by the student, can be taken by people with a predisposition to do whatever the hell they like and deflect all accountability, as license to be dicks and call it Buddhism.

                    It's been very weird for me to follow this story, read the comments and check out the links and videos, and realize i am now learning more about what the person i was living with was actually doing than he ever shared with me. In fact, from certain biographical facts people reveal, I can even say, oh that must have been so and so whom he vaguely alluded to. Some of you seem really nice and I would have liked to have been included in the potlucks and what have you, back then.

                    My gut feeling, now, is that GM ran the first retreat as a sex camp. I think one post on here says "straight-up balling." I think that when Lama Christie comes out of her brainwashed deity fugue state she will reveal as much. I think that the faithful will then vilify her, and insist even more fervently that "partner practice" is secretly endorsed, and widely practiced, in the lineage. They seem to have been given a party line to point to one passage in a Dalai Lama book as "proof," like apocalyptic end-time Bible-thumpers.

                    My obsession, shared I think by many on this forum, with this story has taken me into looking at new religious movements in general. I hadn't known anything about Scientology except for the wacky Tom Cruise video that went viral a few years ago. Turns out they have a pay-to-play schema of enlightenment with various stages, and "secret teachings" you have to be at a certain level to receive, as well.

                    This may be total blasphemy but at this point I am really turned off by systems of secret knowledge, ladder-like rungs of attainment, and "we have the true path" claims, from any tradition.

                    It is actually the case that Michael Roach has damaged the reputation of Tibetan Buddhism. Simply because he claims its mantle and yet has disseminated think-and-grow-rich, enlightenment-in-this-lifetime ideas, plus this idea of karma in which the believer is basically turning everyone in their life into a puppet-projection, he has made me, at least, mistrust Buddhism, which I had formerly found very appealing.

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 7:56pm

                    here's a thread about tantric abuse. a few posts down is an interesting letter from another lama. and following that are first-person accounts from women who feel they were used as vessels and brainwashed. it resonates with the discussion here.
                    http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,59830,page=

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 6:46am

                    Cyn,

                    Your link to the Scandinavian "Lama Ole Nydahl" & Diamond Way Buddhism also has a connection to MR.

                    Lama Ole is an old rock-n-roller who brought that sexual energy to "Dharma teachings". He and "Diamond Way" are Kagyupa and follow the Karmapa Rinpoche put forward by Sharmaoa Rinpoche in opposition to the Karmapa Rinpoche who is a student of H.H. Dalai Lama (the candidate of Tai Situ Rinpoche, et al.).

                    The Dogyalists support the Panchen Lama candidate of the Chinese Communist Party — in opposition to the Panchen Lama who was recognized by H.H. Dalai Lama.

                    Birds of a feather flock together, so Dogyalists support Lama Ole Nydahl's (Sharmapa) Karmapa.

                    When MR was in India in 2006, he claimed that he was in negotiations with someone in New York who had a much larger following than MR's own. I thought of KG who built his USA HQ in NY state. But in Googling back then, I never found that connection.

                    However, Google revealed a Diamond Mountain & Diamond Way connection. They shared space in some cities and wrote friendly things about each other. Haven't looked into it since.

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 6:16pm

                    Thanks for the big Yawn. Show me your badge dharma policeman venerable? tenor.

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 8:34pm

                    Troll along now.

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 9:51pm

                    Ben,

                    I agree with your quote from Eric- it's really what I was taught. I should have read your second post before I responded to the first.

                    "I don't believe that Eric was saying that what they teach isn't within the Gelukpa Tibetan Buddhist framework, but rather the specific things he mentions – women teachers, yoga, not being required to be ordained to teach, are the points from which DM differs from the Gelukpa Tibetan Buddhist framework."

                    I think that because they have differed from the strict Gelukpa tradition on these points, some people no longer consider it to be Gelukpa or TB at all. My view is it's just an evolution– it came from TB and Gelukpa but is now morphed into something all it's own, incorporating the good parts of the past lessons with new ones. I can see the point of view of the traditionalists, though.

                    "I would argue that the only one to make the call on whether a belief system can rightly be called "Buddhism" is the person being asked to weigh the claim."

                    I think this statement is true, wholeheartedly.

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 3:49am

                    Well, you know Buddhism is just a very recently invented term used by English speaking westerners. It is clumsy, and the shoe doesn't fit that well. The important word is dharma.
                    There is dharma, and adharma. Since Buddhas are the ones that have compassionately revealed to us through imperfect words, signs and gestures what the nature of dharma is, then we can discover what adharma is through contradiction. Denying rebirth does not accord with dharma as is taught by Shakyamuni Buddha and all the great realized lineage masters since. In other words, it is adharma– against the truth, against nature, not in accord with reality. In that way, we can then apply that to the clumsy shoe label "Buddhism", and come to the conclusion that it does not fit under that referent either. All labels are empty, but conventionally, they do refer to specific things. It would be silly to label something as "Buddhist" if it blatantly contradicts the teachings of the Samyaksambuddha of our time and place.

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 8:32am

                    May I ask about this Phurba?

                    "There is dharma, and adharma."
                    "we can discover what adharma is through contradiction. Denying rebirth does not accord with dharma as is taught by Shakyamuni Buddha and all the great realized lineage masters since. In other words, it is adharma– against the truth, against nature, not in accord with reality."
                    I've been told/taught that 'rebirth' doesn't literally mean a person's literal personality is 'reborn' into another being (though it can), but it could also imply that simply their 'soul', for lack of a better term, or 'essence' is transmitted into the next lifetime.

                    I'm saying this clumsily because I don't have the language…..but I'm asking if to believe in rebirth one has to take that literally or if it can be a more subtle thing and still be Dharma? Are both ways of thinking about rebirth 'dharma'?

                    Also,
                    "It would be silly to label something as "Buddhist" if it blatantly contradicts the teachings of the Samyaksambuddha of our time and place."

                    It is my understanding that ALL of these teachings are either passed orally and traditionally or translated (as I cannot speak Sanskrit or Tibetan)……won't there always be a bit changed/lost/new in the passing down? How is this prevented? Is it prevented? Haven't some of the 'great lineage holders' added in their own or modified things slightly/subtly?

                    My questions are very sincere. I would appreciate any light you could shed here. Thank you in advance.

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 10:51am

                    I would argue that the definition of a word is derived from popular usage not from authority. It is because of this that the definition of words change over time. You may bristle at "Buddhism" or "Dharma" being applied to a set of beliefs in which rebirth is not included but the best you can do is try to convince others that the labels are inappropriate. Since many "Buddhist" no longer believe in any supernatural entity known as a Buddha, but only recognize a single man who had ideas about how to reduce suffering in this lifetime, appealing to what the Buddhas taught isn't going to make much of an impression.

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 5:14pm

                    Cloverleaf- Thanks for lengthy post.
                    Can I ask you what it is you admire about Michael Roach?
                    How is it that he strike you as a complete fraud? I am truly perplexed by that. You must have the awesomest Karma in the world to experience him that way (by DM theory),
                    If he has these woderful positive attributes I am missing, please let me know what they are.
                    Seriously, I am not trying to be sarcastic. Am I missing something or something?
                    Thanks in advance.

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 5:16pm

                    I meant to write "How it is that he does NOT strike you as a complete fraud?"
                    sorry typing this on an ipad.

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 9:20pm

                    Fleurine,

                    You are more than welcome to ask any question of me; I will answer as completely as I know how to do.

                    "Can I ask you what it is you admire about Michael Roach?
                    How is it that he strike you as a complete fraud? I am truly perplexed by that. You must have the awesomest Karma in the world to experience him that way (by DM theory)"

                    For the record I'm agnostic, not Buddhist. This whole Karma thing to me just seems like keeping score of the Golden Rule I learned growing up. A way to keep people ethical and explain the inexplicable aspects of life, not a way to control or shame anyone. I see how causes and conditions create our experiences, at least to some extent, because I have found that to be the case in my own life before I had ever heard of MR or DM or THY or any of all of this.

                    I admire MR for being a hard-worker. Faults aside, he has accomplished quite a lot and I have met people for whom their lives have benefited from his presence and teachings. I was astounded to learn of the translations…..to my knowledge still ACI is the only place doing such a thing (please correct me if I'm wrong!). He isn't afraid of banishment, which I admire because social pressure is such a strong force. He is a truly funny person from what I have seen, as in good sense of humor.

                    There are people I greatly respect that consider him to be their Lama and because that is a reality for me I look really hard to see the good in his ways.

                    I will not speak out against their beliefs as I have no right to do so. I don't condemn anyone for believing what he says or following him; it's a choice in my opinion.

                    He does strike me as too slick; a bit slimy. I was uncomfortable in his presence– but it wasn't so much him as it was the level of devotion directed toward him and the celebrity-like circling of people attending him. I didn't/don't understand that degree of subordination, but it is common in many religions and religion-based communities, not just this one. The talk I heard was really basic stuff, business 101. And I should note I attended this talk as part of something else; I had no idea when I signed up who he was or that he would be speaking. Nothing he said was controversial-sounding to me at the time or now.

                    I do think much of what I read about his history is highly suspicious My red flags are waving. I am not a follower or devotee of MR. I will not be attending any more of his teachings, though I can say that I have learned quite a bit from what I have heard so far. Like……listen to my own inner beliefs and what my own body tells me. Ask questions of everything; don't accept anything at face value. Open my heart for if it is fully open, love can come in. Basic be a good person stuff. And also that one person's God is another person's Devil.

                    I'm not Buddhist. To me what he is teaching is a combo of many philosophies and I don't see anything inherently wrong with that. I think if his teachers want him to disrobe and they are brave enough to publicly request this, he should do so. In the most recent teaching link posted on this forum he was not wearing robes, so for all I know he has. I have no personal insight into MR. I think his tactics are shady- using heavily charged emotional language, tempting people with the promised land (or Enlightenment)– basic ploys to develop interest in a product. Like any good salesman. But I also hear this same type of talk from the 'respected lineage holders' on YouTube videos, so I really don't know.

                    I just don't think it's right to demonize anyone, ever. Hold people accountable, yes of course– but don't just talk shit about them with all your free time. If there have been wrongs done to you- take him to task, by all means. I have not had that experience, so I'm not in a position to feel that way. I also don't believe i can 'save' anyone else from 'realms'– we all make our own choices in this world and we all account for them, one way or another.

                    I think recognizing the capacity for fault in all humans (and I include MR and CM and any other human in this)….and somehow having empathy for those faults is where true compassion lies. I feel very compassionate towards MR. I feel compassion and empathy for this whole situation.

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 5:39pm

                    Some good points, cloverleaf, but I would argue that just by wearing his robes and using the title "Geshe" to promote himself he inherently gives the impression that he is teaching TB. Further, last I saw (and this may have changed) he still claims to be part of the Gelukpa tradition, and at least some of his students claim that they have studied TB in the Gelukpa tradition. For example, I believe Kelly Morris is a student of MR and CM and yet claims to be part of an unbroken lineage going back to the Buddha. http://www.conqueringlionyoga.com/. Here is another yoga teacher who claims to have studied TB in Gelukpa tradition. http://www.jivamuktiyoga.com/teach/teacherInfo.js… but who I believe is or was a student of MR and CM (I am pretty sure both were mentioned in previous versions of her bio).

                    My points: he should disrobe, he should drop the "Geshe" title even if it were legitimately earned if he is teaching outside TB (PhDs don't go into hospitals and tell patients they are a doctor), and he (and his students) should be more honest about what they teach, and what they have studied. If they refuse to do this, then I think it is up to the broader community to make information readily available to others. Of course, people, in the US at least, are free to still follow MR if they choose, but they should at least have information.

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 8:42pm

                    Knittinginnc,

                    "I would argue that just by wearing his robes and using the title "Geshe" to promote himself he inherently gives the impression that he is teaching TB. Further, last I saw (and this may have changed) he still claims to be part of the Gelukpa tradition, and at least some of his students claim that they have studied TB in the Gelukpa tradition."

                    I would agree with you. In fact, I have in several posts.

                    I would also say that he IS part of the Gelukpa tradition– at least was– because he was bestowed the title of Geshe and given robes at some point for whatever reason. Someone at Sera Mey gave him that title and robes and from what I hear, had high hopes for his future teachings– it's not MR's 'fault' he has the title and robes (even if he bought them). Unless and until they forcibly take back the title and robes, which I respectfully understand is not their way, I don't see how anyone can say he is not of the Gelukpa tradition– he's clearly a mark in their history. He's not following the traditional practices- Quite Openly not following the practices known by most to be accurate and 'true'. How is this so difficult to understand? I understand why they would want to distance themselves, but you can't just say something never happened. I don't blame the Gelukpa tradition for MR nor do I hold them accountable for his beliefs/actions. I'm a Westerner though, maybe we think about these things differently.

                    To use your analogy, I wouldn't blame a John Hopkins grad for killing their patients– again, apples and oranges. I might take a good hard look at the science behind the medicine, though.

                    There are no current protocols for a rogue monk, as far as I know and aside from shunning (which is being done), and until there are, the robes do mean something to anyone without knowledge of that monastic tradition (i.e. most Westerners). But maybe not what traditional Buddhists think they mean. For instance, when I met MR I had no idea there were different sects of Buddhist Monks– it's akin to thinking all Christians are Catholic, I know now, but there is my blind spot revealed. I also didn't trust him just because of his clothes. I think it's that way for many people in America. All this tit-for-tat seems a bit over the top to me.

                    "My points: he should disrobe, he should drop the "Geshe" title even if it were legitimately earned if he is teaching outside TB (PhDs don't go into hospitals and tell patients they are a doctor), and he (and his students) should be more honest about what they teach, and what they have studied. If they refuse to do this, then I think it is up to the broader community to make information readily available to others. Of course, people, in the US at least, are free to still follow MR if they choose, but they should at least have information.'

                    Again, I completely agree. That's exactly what we have been doing on this forum and other forums since late April.

                    The information is readily available for anyone who looks to see. What more do you want? Or, if you don't agree that this info is available- how exactly do you, Knittinginnc, propose to make it so? What's the plan here?

                    anonymous Jun 22, 2012 11:47pm

                    Here's the other part that no one seems to address, with respect to his wearing the robes. while engaging in partner practice. Some people here have said that partner practice is never allowed for monks but others have noted that it is sometimes, when the monk (or nun) in question has sufficient realization. There are well-known sources and at least one well-known instance (of a very respected monk engaged in partner practice) to support this latter view–that is, ordained folk with sufficient realization may engage in partner practice.

                    So then the critical question becomes: does GMR have the level of realization? Well, that's not an easy question to answer with certainty, but it is easy to speculate about. Whether such speculation is helpful, is another matter

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 5:37am

                    Please identify the 'very respected monk' who engaged in partner practice. Also, are the people who have been 'ordained by MR and CM as 'Vinaya monastics" and then given spiritual partners also to be held as highly realized.

                    MR wrote a letter to H.H. Dalai Lama claiming his realizations. If H.H. Dalai Lama had believed those claims, he would have invited MR to visit his home, receive personal teachings, and maybe even join the meditators with some realizations who live inside the "palace grounds" of His Holiness' residence. If anyone has the capacity to 'judge' another's realizations, then that person is His Holiness. Instead, His Holiness (quite 'rudely') did not deign to reply and made some mocking comments re some generic persons' spiritual pretensions at the next teaching at the temple.

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 9:55am

                    Serkong Dorje Chang is the monk I had in mind.

                    I am only intending to add a ooint about whether partner practice is allowed under certain circumstances. The answer seems to be yes, based on example. I'm not asserting anything about anyone's realizations, including HHDL, since I simply don't know.

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 10:45am

                    The point appears to be, robes OR consort practice, not both.

                    " Because if one does visualized consort practice, one does not have to give up one’s robes"

                    "So the 13th Dalai Lama advised Serkong Dorjechang to give his robes back and take on a consort, which he did."

                    http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/gre

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 11:43am

                    You must have posted as I was writing. Happily, my conjecture (based on Vinaya) is confirmed.

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 11:55am

                    I am just learning as I go. As you know, I once fell very hard for the MR/C libretto.

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 11:38am

                    Sea,

                    Thank you for your reply about 'the monk'.

                    Preface: You say, "I am only intending to add a ooint about whether partner practice is allowed under certain circumstances. The answer seems to be yes,"

                    I'm only trying to make the point that 'spiritual partner practice' is not permitted to Buddhist monastics and in particular to Geluk lineage monastics.

                    Someone on the forum complains that people keep going over the same issues over the decades, and there's no point because intelligent people have access to the information and if they want to believe something, fine.

                    However, studies show that people begin to believe something that they initially didn't know about or resisted believing when they heard, after hearing it repeated again and again. A secret of advertising/propaganda. MR's students have heard a number of false stories over and over again so to counter that they need to hear the facts probably even more times. Because once people accept something as a fact or valid opinion based on their trust in the person they 'learned' it from, someone they trust when they hear it, it is very difficult to change their minds even because people cling to their own beliefs as if they were as solid as the laptop desk resting on my legs.

                    As an aside, perhaps coincidentally, Serkong Dorje Chang was well-known as a Dogyal practitioner.

                    (1) I'd like to know the source of that information? If it is not an autobiography, then it is many levels of hearsay.

                    Monks are allowed to return their vows 2 times, i.e., take the vows 3 times. A monk who was really qualified to do practice with a human mudra, and believed it would be of benefit, would return the vows before engaging the practice. Returning the vows involves a private conversation between two monastics. If the practice was for a limited duration, then that person could retake the vows and many observers would not be aware of the details.

                    (2) Counter Examples:

                    (A) It is public knowledge that the young Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche had a sexual misadventure. He made no effort to spin it as a 'spiritual partner' practice – because that is oxymoronic when applied to Vinaya monastics and no such 'practice' exists. Allegations to that effect are slanderous. So Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche left Gaden Jangtse monastery, lives as a lay person and studies the geshe curriculum at the Institute for Buddhist Dialectical Studies in McLeod Ganj, India.

                    Aside: There's a third Serkong rinpoche from Gaden Jangtse (Serkong Tritul) who is active in the Dogyal leadership and expelled from exiled Gaden Jangtse.

                    (B) The most famous Rinpoche – one to whom I feel enormous gratitude – to run afoul of Geluk's adherence to the Vinaya vows was the Rheting Rinpoche who found the 14th Dalai Lama. Because of that "enlightened activity", he was the Regent of Tibet.

                    At some point it became known that he was involved with a beautiful Lhasa lady. He was living in a personal residence, and only two people would know whether or not he had returned his vows. However, one of the duties of the Regent was to confer the Vinaya vows to H.H. Dalai Lama. And to be qualified to confer those vows, one must have held the Vinaya vows purely for quite a number of years. Although his supporters put out that he was engaged in tantric practice and his realizations were held in very high esteem, particularly at Sera Jey, it didn't matter. Because if he had engaged in tantric practice he had either broken his Vinaya vows (and thus was not longer a monk, so of course he couldn't perform ordination) or he had returned them and he'd have to keep them purely for 10 years before he could perform ordination, and H.H. Dalai Lama required novice vows in the near future.

                    So, Rheting Rinpoche resigned as Regent because the facts of the situation were irrefutable. Presumably, he had returned his vows and took them again, because some years later, he sought to regain the Regency. The disaster that followed followed a failed coup attempt is blamed by some Tibetans as the precipitating karmic cause for the current situation in Tibet.

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 6:17pm

                    You seem to have a lot of free time, tenor. Do you practice?

                    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 6:24pm

                    troll alert

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 9:46am

                    Regarding disrobing, clearly this is a complex questions with no easy answers other than him willingly taking them off (which he does seem to be doing more frequently these days). Perhaps at some point the questions surrounding his ability to use them will make the cost of wearing them so high that he will voluntarily leave them behind. I don't know though.

                    This forum is great, but it is hard to read unless you are really invested. As someone else suggested, I think a book or website (like michaelRoachFiles) that chronicles this information in an easy to read format would be very useful. Unfortunately, I do not have time to be part of such an effort.

                    I also think it is not just a matter of raising questions about him but also about his students who claim to be in the lineage of the DL to market themselves and give themselves legitimacy, but who have only studied with him and CM. Whether his students should claim so is clearly questionable from my point of view.

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 12:36am

                    Sorry cloverleaf, no offense but it is late and I got a little tired halfway through your long post. Just as a quick reply to as much as I was able to read: here is the actual definition of science according to free online dictionary

                    sci·ence (sns)
                    n.
                    1.
                    a. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.
                    b. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena.
                    c. Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study.
                    2. Methodological activity, discipline, or study: I've got packing a suitcase down to a science.
                    3. An activity that appears to require study and method: the science of purchasing.
                    4. Knowledge, especially that gained through experience.

                    I really don't think you could deny that Buddhism is a science according to pretty much every category listed. Ok, that's all for now. I think you have quite a narrow reading of the word, that doesn't accord with the english language.

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 9:02am

                    Phurba, my "narrow reading" is of the actual phrase you cite:
                    "If you have looked into Tibetan Buddhism, you will find that it represents itself to be as much of a scientific reality as flying an airplane"

                    I was saying that the science behind aerodynamics is different, fundamentally, from the science behind Buddhism.

                    It's apples and oranges– different methods of science. Which you would know if you had studied these things.

                    I am a scientist. For you to say to me that Buddhism, or packing your suitcase, is 'science' may strictly be true in a very loose sense of the term, but is as insulting to me and my colleagues as me saying to you that I can be Buddhists without believing in or doing any of the practices.

                    I have no doubt and no problem with saying that aspects of Buddhism are scientific. But come on– can you really prove rebirth with conventional measurable means?!?!

                    I'm simply saying that the science hasn't caught up with Buddhism– NOT that it cannot do so in the future. It's really funny that you are arguing this point with me– the fact the Buddhism was a least trending towards scientific inquiry is the whole reason it interested me in the beginning. Your arguments make me want to run screaming from Buddhism and warn anyone I see what uneducated people are supporting it.

                    My view on science isn't narrow– it IS the definition of scientific theory, which if you had any formal training in this area you would know. You can't just make it up as you go along and call it science!

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 1:28pm

                    Sam Harris, is that you? I'm looking forward to reading your new book: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/look-into-my-e

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 1:36pm

                    Of course I understand what scientific theory is, but I never asserted (nor would I) that Buddha or Buddhism used/s scientific theory. That was something you projected into my post. What I was saying– and I thought is was clear, I apologize if it was not– is that from the perspective of the deep practitioners of the path of Buddhist practice (not the dabblers or the dilettantes) it is a science with a specific technology– in the same way that you can consider the science and technology of flying airplanes. NOT identical in the methods– of course, I am not an idiot and I would never expect anyone to interpret my statement that way. I am uncertain how you did so, but I will just assume it was an innocent mistake. According to the Buddhist tradition there are methods, and frameworks to begin operating in, until these things are verified through personal experience. And before they can be, the experts who have collective shared experience of verification are trusted, through lineages of education and practice– in the same way that 99% of humanity will trust the scientific experts on the prevailing proved truths without each individual doing their own research ad nauseam to prove the same thing. But in Buddhism there is a single point that all is leading towards, using different language or methods according to various capacities. Just as an astrophysicist may make discoveries using certain tools and an astronomer using another set, although their goals and disciplines are quite similar. The aspect of Buddhism that is also pertinent is that there is a rich history of people achieving specific results, we can see it through historical accounts, and we can meet living masters if we have the time and inspiration, and study them up close. We can see that historic and contemporary masters of the tradition all speak of similar experiences, similar states of knowledge they have accessed and transformed through. If we are fortunate, and there at the right time, we can witness them at the time of death and experience the difference between that and a non-practitioner dying. And there are many other comparable observations that could be made. I of course, would never try to convince you or anyone what my experience has verified for me, and I don't expect everyone with a passing interest to do the intensive travel and studies that I have done. Or closely served a great master as I have done. But I have confidence in the technology of this path for very good reasons, and it certainly has as specific an effect as that of a hunk of metal flying through the air. I hope I have made my point more clear. You or someone else who has little direct experience of the living masters, the tradition, or of personal practice may think the claims are wild, or fantasy, etc… but this could be compared to the members of a tribe in a far off island that have never seen an airplane fly. You or I may visit them by boat, and then tell them all about airplanes, and our personal experience in an airplane, etc. But no amount of confidence, and no amount of passion about the science, technology, or any of it is going to convince them that you aren't either totally BSing them or living in a fantasy. But if they see one flying, or better yet, get inside one and fly: only then would they see the truth of it.

                    Now, regarding science in general–since you seem to be a faithful believer: it is not secret that science is largely corrupted by the interests of corporations or the military industrial complex. Even putting the trends of larger funding aside– if that were possible- it is clear that in individual cases one set of scientists will conduct experiments with a clear objective of what they are trying to prove– not with an open mind of inquiry. For instance, they may do research with a clear biased objective to support the efficacy of a drug as opposed to finding flaws with it, or to prove how harmless genetically engineered food is, or how global warming is just a farce, so no need to reduce emissions, stop deforestation, etc. We also know of course that per Heisenberg's uncertainty principle that the simple act of observation can powerfully influence experiments especially at the level of small particles. Then not even often taken into account is the inherent philosophical bias that is held by an individual or group of scientists that would determine which hypothesis they'd even think of testing in the first place, and the philosophical agendas towards getting particular results. I am sure if you are a scientist you may respect the purity of the idea of the 'scientific method', but in reality how that is used by subjective human beings is quite a messy thing. It is perhaps not possible to divorce a human being from their subjectivity, and looking into certain contemporary trends in quantum theory the views around this get even wilder. . . Thomas Breuer's subjective decoherence, the wave vs. particle issue, etc. So let's please not get puritanical about the idea of the scientific method, it is a certainly a useful tool.. .but not relevant to this conversation, and it was not a point of comparison in my airplane metaphor.

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 2:56pm

                    Phurba,

                    Apparently we are not communicating effectively. I am not intending to offend you.

                    I understand what you are saying about your own and other people's experiences. I am not doubting or discounting any of that!!! There is no need for you to prove any of this to me- I believe what you have shared. I believe that if the protocols are followed, Enlightenment can be attained. I believe I don't know everything about what happens at the moment of death…..and also that there might be people who do know what happens and what practices to do then. I believe that there are high practitioners who achieve states I can't even fathom right now– you are preaching to the choir about this. I believe well-practiced Buddhism works, no need to convince me.

                    I'm not a 'faithful believer' of science– there is no such thing. It's an oxymoron to say such a thing. I believe 'pure' science is effective. It's not all of who I am, just one way I am able to think. And yes, I know the scientific community has been corrupted, like every other community of human enterprise of which I am aware.

                    "So let's please not get puritanical about the idea of the scientific method, it is a certainly a useful tool.. .but not relevant to this conversation,"

                    I got puritanical about the scientific method deliberately. I believe it IS relevant as an analogy to what is happening in the Buddhist community. Don't you see the similarities between the the corruption of that and the corruption within Buddhism?!?! Don't you see how me wanting you to be specific with your language on science is really not that different than you wanting MR or anyone to be specific on their language of lineage or practices?

                    "I am sure if you are a scientist you may respect the purity of the idea of the 'scientific method', but in reality how that is used by subjective human beings is quite a messy thing. It is perhaps not possible to divorce a human being from their subjectivity"

                    Exactly the point. In all religions too.

                    Science– pure science– seeks to minimize this subjectivity. I think 'pure' Buddhism probably does too. Neither one is always successful.

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 4:27pm

                    Well, you were not offending me, I just thought you misunderstood me. I guess maybe we are communicating effectively now because it seems we are on the same page.

                    "Science– pure science– seeks to minimize this subjectivity. I think 'pure' Buddhism probably does too. Neither one is always successful."

                    I was going to put something like this in my last post too but it got too long and I forgot. So yes, I think we are pretty much agreed on all points. 🙂

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 4:29pm

                    Actually just an aside.. I don't believe that "objectivity" is precisely what is aimed for in Buddhism. . . but then words are never perfect when it comes to the aims of Buddhism so let's not try to replace another clumsy word with it either. . .

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 5:52pm

                    Agreed, Phurba. Thank you for the conversation. 🙂

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 9:01pm

                    Buddhism is a science? I think most Buddhist monastics and laypersons would disagree. Other than human and animal realms, can we prove the existence of heavens and hells, of gods, ghosts, etc in the other 4 realms? Can we prove the existence of higher beings, Buddhas, and Boddhisatvas, etc?

                    Newton's 3rd law–every action has an equal and opposite reaction–is observable/measurable/demonstrable, while karma/vipaka is not. We can not prove that the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who died at 72 without facing trial, is suffering in hell. His comrade, Brother #2, is still alive at 85. Is his long life the "instant karma" for being responsible for the deaths of 1.5M of his countrymen? How can we prove to his survivors that he'll face some sort of karmic justice in future lives? I'd say we can't prove any Buddhist doctrine. Still, Buddhists choose to believe in the supposed truths, and that's the beauty/ugliness of faith.

                    anonymous Jun 23, 2012 11:56pm

                    Just as a scientist's experiment is conducted according to a certain logic, and then the results are witnessed by them alone, perhaps their small team as well– then the larger population takes this on faith, unless they recreate the exact same experiment, according to the same logic and conditions, etc. In Buddhism, yes all of these things you mention are directly experienced by those at a certain level of the path. This is inevitable. There are delogs, who leave their body and travel to the different realms and describe them in detail upon their return, including those suffering in lower realms for their actions, and those who experience the purelands… Chagudu Tulku's mother was one, she informed her family and friends that she was leaving her body and not to think she was dead. Yet her body showed no signs of life while she was traversing the realms. . There are tulkus who have the clarity to recall their past lives and even the passage between, etc. If you refuse to believe a scientist, or a Buddhist practitioner, but want to test out the discovered truths: then you need to recreate the experiments. Do it yourself.

      anonymous Jun 20, 2012 2:45pm

      Roach was only giving secular talks to the Chinese: how to get what you want, money, good health, a partner, etc. In "spiritual partnership" talks in the US, Roach and McNally got into details about how to find the right partner and keep him/her. Once you find "the one", however, it's not guaranteed to be long lasting–it all depends on your karma(?!) whether your wife won't leave you for a younger guy, or your husband won't die shortly after. I feel for their losses, so no schadenfreude here, but just wanted to question their qualification to speak on relationship and "karmic management".

      anonymous Jun 20, 2012 10:28pm

      So many times H.H. Dalai warns about fake Tibetan lamas, who call themselves Dharma King (Choe-Jay) and teach primarily to Chinese communities in China, Taiwan and S.E. Asia. He says they are total fakes seeking money, power, and sex although he doesn't name names. In various contexts, His Holiness urges people who become the students of 'lamas' who turn out to be charlatans or manipulative exploiters to expose them to the public.

      Euro-Americans tend to confine their limited historical knowledge to an attenuated lineage they trace to UK/Rome/Greece/Ancient Israel.

      Nonetheless, being a 'spiritual con-artist' is an ancient career path around the globe and was not invented by 'Elmer Gantry.'

    anonymous Jun 18, 2012 5:50pm

    Was the baby Jesus there too?

    anonymous Jun 20, 2012 3:13pm

    Wouldn't it make sense that Buddha had a partner? After all, he taught vajrayana. That would include completion stage practices, so I have to think he actually engaged in these practices in order to reach enlightenment.

      anonymous Jun 20, 2012 5:22pm

      No my dear it does not make sense. We are complete. We have everything we need. It was even taught at DM that a partner was not necessary. There are solitary practices and they are done in the mind. I remember years ago MR saying he was 100% male and 100% female. We already have those male and female energies. I think it would be good if you could speak to some well respected Geulgpa lineage holder. You don't have to give up what you believe, just do some investigation and find out what others are saying.

        anonymous Jun 21, 2012 2:17am

        You don't need consort practice in Mahamudra or Dzogchen. . . FYI
        And these are considered higher practices than karmamudra.

        anonymous Jun 21, 2012 1:12pm

        I know we already have both male and female energies and that there are other methods for getting both of those energies into the central channel.

        I also never said I believe that Buddha had a partner. I honestly have no idea if he did (and I was thinking more in a previous life, before he taught as Shakyamuni Buddha), and never gave it any thought until yesterday. I was just throwing the question out there to see what you all had to say. I'm not at a point in my life where this kind of practice would even be part of my path, so it's not a pressing matter where I just have to know. More of a curiosity.

      anonymous Jun 20, 2012 8:44pm

      Vajrayana is great, but the historical Buddha did not teach it.

        anonymous Jun 21, 2012 1:26pm

        That's not what I've learned – the lineages trace back to Buddha. He taught vajrayana 16 years after his enlightenment, and it was passed down orally from teacher to student. So now I'm really confused.

          anonymous Jun 24, 2012 5:24am

          Many Buddhists (e.g., Theravadan) do deny that Shakyamuni Buddha taught tantra. However, I am persuaded by H.H. Dalai Lama's presentations, and by some 'logical reasoning' respecting whether or not the meditative techniques taught in sutra are sufficient to generate the Dharmakaya and Rupakaya, and by the Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma by Shakyamuni Buddha in which the Third Wheel presents material that is quite preparatory to the tantric teachings, just as the First Wheel included presentations that were only explained in the Second Turning.

anonymous Jun 18, 2012 3:32am

"but wouldn't something even this ridiculous be easier to believe if I were wearing robes?"

Such a great point.

anonymous Jun 17, 2012 10:09pm

Michael Roach explains it all for you! the history of his teaching, his world mission, tantra, emptiness, spiritual partners, prana, yoga, and more in this video from Phoenix today: http://www.justin.tv/aci_phoenix/b/321808869

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 11:42pm

    WOW, he fit all those things into two hours! Could you break it down for us in a paragraph?

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 11:56pm

    Calling Rev. Tenor and any resident expert on Tibetan Buddhism.

    At 0:38, Roach made these shocking statements: "If you're in an elevated state, you'll get those ideas more easily. How do you get into an elevated state? Serve other people, or do yoga, or meditate, especially with a partner, OK? In the higher teachings, Lord Buddha himself got enlightened, on the night of his enlightenment, he meditated all night with a partner, with his spiritual partner, whose name is [not sure], OK? So it's a practice, it's always been a practice since Lord Buddha he invented it, so he said if you match the male and female energies, and then you put your mind these ideas, you'll grasp them faster, and he encouraged that, OK?"

    Is this the teachings in Vajarayana Buddhism? It's certainly not in Theravada or Mahayana Buddhism.

    Haven't watched the rest of this 2 hour video.

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 12:12am

      Did he make any specific claims to his realizations?

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 1:35am

        I don't know, I skipped over a large segment, then I heard the batsh!t crazy statements about the Buddha meditating with his spiritual partner, etc. Will listen to the rest later.

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 12:56am

      No. Absolutely not.

      Sorry, the concerns addressed on this forum are very important, but these days I cannot really participate here because the device that allows me to connect to an ethernet cable/internet here in India broke. The old netbook that can connect with its very slow processor and broken keyboard, makes typing comments too difficult. However, once a day I print a PDF of the forum and review it. Thankfully many people here are continuing to investigate, analyze and publicly discuss MR's teachings and operations. By the way, the proper English honorific for Buddhist monastics is "Ven." not "Rev."

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 1:18am

        Thank you, Ven. Tenor. I really appreciate your participation here.

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 7:30am

        Ven Tenor – Can I send you something to help you connect?

        Slight correction – Tibetan monastics go by Ven. My tradition is Vajrayana Japanese and my title is Rev. My teacher is Bishop. All very American.

        This is not the first time RMR has taught this. I think he has done it in 'spiritual partner' talks, which were public, and in tantra for sure. Not only Buddha but King Udrayana did the same thing. He and his consort became enlightened as dawn arose. I never challenged him because he had "20 years" training in a monastery and certainly knew more than I did. Ha!

        Very important that I find a good quote about his realizations and perhaps 8th bhumi claims today. Does anyone have one?

        What I did do was follow his advice, which was Maitreya's advice, to put things that I had questions about on a shelf until I could accept them. Soon, the shelf got to full, it all came tumbling down.

          anonymous Jun 18, 2012 8:02am

          It's my hearsay information that there are not very many Vinaya monastics in Japan. Usually, japanese practitioners receive a combination of lay vows and Bodhisattva vows and, along with training, then are referred to in English as priests or Reverend; however, they are 'lay persons'. But I don't know that to be accurate. I sat at a Soto Zen center in the 1980's which definitely did not offer Vinaya ordination,

            anonymous Jun 18, 2012 10:20am

            I wish I could say more but am at a disadvantage since I don't speak Japanese, so I speak with no authority other than what I was told and that is that I am a fully-ordained nun/monk (interchangeable sort of). Shingon is different than Zen in so many ways. I would love to discuss this, but want to stay on the topic of GM right now. So much to do. Be well.

              anonymous Jun 19, 2012 9:33pm

              you were told that you were a nun/monk? and claim no authority. Though you are being taken here as the authority for all things DM and GM? I am sure that yes you would like to stay on the topic of someone else.

              Though it is too bad that Ven tenor did not seem to hear your sweet offering of a new computer. very nice of you. reminds me of one of your teachers.

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 1:01am

      These teachings and practices are so secret nobody's ever heard of them.

        anonymous Jun 19, 2012 10:16pm

        interesting to see this teaching coming up. notice anything familiar to what GM has been teaching since 2003? Also, notice the presenters, one of which is widely considered an authortiy on tibetan buddhism. http://www.tibethouse.us/programs/full-calendar/v… maybe not so secret after all..

          anonymous Jun 19, 2012 11:12pm

          I'm a fan of Robert Thurman's works (my favorite is called Uma). Send us some link that Thurman or any scholar who claims that the Buddha meditated all night with his "spiritual partner" and that the Buddha himself invented and encouraged the "spiritual partnership" practice.

          BTW, you neglected to mention that this is the same Thurman that "begged [Roach] to renounce his monastic vows and to stop wearing the robes that mark him as a member of a monastic order." http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/garden/15buddhi

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 1:27am

      Zirconia Way – trying to stream the quote, but don't find it at 0:38 on the linked video if you get a chance to post more info to link to it, thank you.

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 1:35am

        It occurs on the above link at 0:37:45.

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 1:46am

        The time stamp is not very precise when we skip around. Please jump to 0:35 and listen for a few short minutes.

          anonymous Jun 18, 2012 4:00am

          Listening 1x an Image to comes to mind: a weaver soaks a bunch of yarn in urine and filth. After that thread is completely driy, he weaves it into a shawl with threads of pure silk, cashmere and cotton. Nothing to do but throw the whole shawl away, and find a reputable weaver.

    anonymous Jun 18, 2012 7:28am

    I started around 0:34 and noticed this:

    "He's(Tad's?) a blank screen. He's just there. Then, if you've been nice to other people, he's nice to you. And if you've been mean to other people, he's mean to you. That's emptiness, that understanding. That's what I want to get into world consciousness. That is the concept I want to spread in the world."

    That's emptiness? I'm not Buddhist, but it sounds like a mixture of karma and the Christian notion of sin or virtue as judged by a god outside of you.

    Who is this Tad guy?

    BTW, I've heard this concept of yoga teachers being "high practitioners from their last life" from THY teachers.

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 8:26am

      You are correct, Annette! Not even close to Emptiness. But when your teachings are based on deception, you become habituated to making false statements just because they 'sound good.' Actually, he knows that is not Emptiness and is displaying a bit of contempt for his audience. Like in the opening of this video, when he talks repetitively about 'the small people' who donated to Diamond Mountain.

      Flattery ('you were a high practitioner in past lives because you have an interest in Yoga") is used by con artists to attract the suckers. Don't worry, sooner or later he'll denigrate them to foster their reliance on his power to raise them to his Arya/superior state.

      Of course, to practice non-harming, we need to contemplate, meditate on Equanimity and various wishes to benefit, that we then implement in our interactions with everyone we meet. If we have warm-hearted feelings towards people (and animals) we encounter, even when they are acting unpleasantly or somewhat aggressively, somehow they do sense that our minds are not directing negative, judgmental thoughts against them, and they are somewhat pacified. Dogs growl and bark at people who are afraid and angry at them.

      To call another human being 'a blank screen' suggests that MR believes he creates the universe and populates it with his own projections. Oh! Maybe that is why he doesn't feel 'guilty' and talks as though the only Diamond Mountain tragedy is that he has had bad international press in the last couple of weeks.

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 8:36am

        Thanks for your reply, Tenor.

        Do you know who "Tad" is?

        anonymous Jun 27, 2012 5:59am

        it's basic sautrantika. the mental images you impute are a result of your karma ripening, just as your mental factor of feeling is ripening due to karma. in this sense, and as the Dalai Lama explains, when you are for example very angry, 90% of the angry-ness comes from you not from the object.

        there is an emptiness of a substantial and self-standing mental image or feeling.

        Tenor, it's time to leave the internet for not knowing what you are talking about. Fuck off.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 10:24am

          "However if we jump to the other extreme and say this is just pure illusion and everything is just mere projections of the mind, then we will be falling into the trap where the Chittamatrans fell, which is total mentalism.

          So now the question is that things do not possess intrinsic objective independent existential statuses. Yet at the same time we are not happy with the conclusion that everything is just mere projections of the mind. So the question is, "Where is the middle way?". What is the alternative?

          So here, Madyamikas say that things and events come into being purely as a result of the aggregation of many factors and it is on the basis of that aggregation of causes and conditions and many factors that we impute identities upon that aggregation." – HHDL "Talk on the Four Noble Truths" recorded in London 1996

          From what I understood, at DM it is taught that the " aggregation of causes and conditions and many factors" are all karma. In fact I remember LC say something like "Don't worry about causes and conditions. There are no causes and conditions except your own karma."

          I believe, that on the substantialism/nihilism scale, DM philosophy is too close to nihilism. Things don't really exist except as projections of your mind forced by karma.

          It is an important discussion but not necessary in discussing DM because I believe the main principle taught there is that of "Karmic Management." Not only are thngs projections but you can control those projections by planting the correct Karmic seeds. It is drummed into the heads of students over and over again and I believe logically and experientially (GMR/LC breakup among other things) it can be shown to be untrue.

          anonymous Jun 27, 2012 11:47am

          (1) Actually Sautantrika (Sutra School) is a Hearer Tenet system.

          Presumably, you are referring to Svatantrika Yogacara Madhyamika (Yogic Autonomy School) one of two sub schools of the Middle Way (Madhyamika) Autonomy (Svatantrika) school.

          Yogacara adopts many aspects Cittamātra (Mind Only) with some tweaks [e.g., Mind Only asserts mind and external functioning things (other powered phenomena) are truly existent, but Yogacara as a Svatantrika Madhyamika tenet system asserts that all phenomena lack true existence.

          (2) You are misstating what His Holiness often explains when he cites something a Neuroscientist friend told him: When you are angry, at least 90% of the negative qualities that you perceive in the object of your hatred are not qualities of the object of your anger but your own distorted misperception/projection.

          He doesn't say that “90% of the angry-ness comes from you not from the object”! 100% of the angry-ness comes from you.

          But your perceptions that fuel your anger are merely exaggerated misperceptions of negative qualities that you project onto the target of your anger. The person functionally exists one way, with, say, 10% negative qualities, but you perceive the person to be 100% bad.

          His Holiness asserts Madhyamika Prasangika (Middle Way Consequentialist) tenets. His Holiness does not subscribe to the Madhyamika Svatantrika tenets, so he does not assert that a single karmic seed is the cause of both your perception and simultaneously the object that you perceive which is a Mind Only and Svatantrika assertion.

          Mind Only tenets specifically deny solipsism and cannot be interpreted to justifying calling another human being a ‘blank screen’.

          Speaking of Madhyamika Svatantrika reminds me of another MR lie: When talking about the Autonomy school, on one occasion, MR claimed to have witnessed the actual magical illusion (that is discussed in presentation of Middle Way Autonomy tenets) in Dharamsala in the '70s. This blatant lie is contradicted by his earlier lectures that discussed this metaphor and by the Gaden Tripa, who in response to a question about the magic trick, said that that no one has witnessed that illusion in India in modern times. Sometimes he just has to go the extra mile to sell the story.

            anonymous Jun 27, 2012 11:56am

            Correction "which is a Mind Only and Yogacara-Svatantrika assertion".

          anonymous Jun 28, 2012 12:42am

          So, aguse, if 90% of your angry-ness comes from you, why the "fuck-off" to Tenor?

anonymous Jun 17, 2012 2:55pm

In a post somewhere above, Tony gave credit to Michael Roach for:

1. "trying to give equal opportunity to women in Buddhism by first training and then elevating normal looking female teachers"
2. "help more people by teaching the dharma through yoga, business and relationships, rather than just sticking to the Geshe curriculum"
3. "consciously, purposely celibate from about the age of 20 (now almost 60). I cannot think of another American male living that has chosen to be celibate for this long."
4. "all he does is work. He barely sleeps"

While I applaud Roach on his work to preserve ancient texts, I disagree with Tony:

1) Gender equality: There are many female lay dharma teachers ("normal looking, feminine") at http://www.dharmaseed.org/teachers/?page=6 including Martine Batchelor ( http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/119/ ) who teaches and writes independently of her husband, Stephen Batchelor (former Buddhist monk and famed author).

In scandals involving Eido Shimano Roshi, Sogyal Rinpoche, etc, female disciples allegedly were pressured/tricked into sex to get special teachings and status. McNally reached the top level status after sharing a bed with Roach for years. Is that an empowering message for female spirtual seekers out there? As it turned out, after years of (secret) marriage, Roach made his wife his equal partner. How magnanimous and progressive! Take note, Stephen Batchelor (and men in the Western world).

A 45-year-old male teacher marrying his 25-year-old student, and keeping her within a 15-feet radius 24/7 for over 10 years, is hardly the guy with female empowerment in mind.

2) Bringing his teachings to a broader audience: having lost his credibility long ago, he is not invited to lecture at FPMT centers or any Buddhist institution that I know of. Naturally, he has to find his audience elsewhere.

My understanding of chapter 4 of the Diamond Sutra is that one should be compassionate and charitable "without attachment". For our good deeds, we should not have some quid pro quo expectation. Whether karma/vipaka as taught by Roach is "right view" is debatable, but the recent tragedy and the fact that he could not keep his wife from leaving him for another of his students suggest that he should not give teachings on "karmic management", as it doesn't seem to work.

3) Celibacy: You assume that Roach has been celibate, that may be the case, but it's not "skillful" to create the appearance that he's not. Feel free to accuse me of having a dirty mind, but the Dalai Lama's office wouldn't vouch for him either ( http://michaelroachfiles.wordpress.com/2006/05/24… ).

I don't know anyone who would question the celibacy of full-blooded American Buddhist monks like Bhikkhu Bodhi, Rev. Heng Sure, Ajahn Sumedho, etc. Catholic priests are also known to choose celibacy for life.

4) All work, little sleep: admirable, but not necessarily healthy for his body/mind

anonymous Jun 17, 2012 12:54pm

I just want to say to Matthew that I am blown away by his eloquence about his experiences, and that if this level of insight and ability to speak about it is the gift from the price paid for his involvement with Roach, then it was quite simply worth it. Life is one long string of woundings. It's how we are able to translate our pain into insight that matters, if not most then a lot.

I had similar if toned down experiences with a Zen teacher at whose center I lived for years, so I can honestly share much of what you speak to. Happily my love of practice trumped some rough experiences, and I keep plugging away on my own Dharma road, this Great Way.

anonymous Jun 17, 2012 11:58am

i have only run into people in Tucson that study at DM twice this decade.One a friend of Will"s (he believes Will knew none of the history of Roach before getting involved) and yesterday by chance(sort of a weird one,,,,,maybe Ian's ghost in my gps?) I'm buying stuff for A trip and ran into a Yogariffic looking sales person (great at her job..helped us a lot) We start talking about The Spot emergency beacons.I tell her the only person that I have know that tried to use it couldn't get it to work.Turns out she is "very close' to the board and started pointing the finger of blame away from the Roachster (who is the boss ..the board is his fiction).. toward the dead guy and the crazy woman.
My point here is the stern tone in debate,parroting the company line and the ease with which Ian and now Christie have been pushed in to the inconvenient crazy members corner by her and many backers is another sign of the power of this cult. She told me that yes some things need to change but the first retreat went perfectly.Of course, she went on, there were only 5 people in it….brother…oh brother…so as she stares blankly at the non perfect being in front of her telling untruths about her Lama I could just see her brain turning off. I liked her and spared her gory details and changed the subject.No one should love something so rotten to the core so much.It;s just not fair. Yu guys need to tell your members the truth (Roach screwed up in first retreat and this one is a mess)
She did let out the fact that the inter group split is real and Christie had been staying in a cabin. for the majority of the last months (the cave story is mostly bullshit ) I think the Board(read Roach) just cannot be trusted to tell the truth about this event.What else is out there?

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 1:31pm

    Personally, I'm hoping there'll be some kind of lawsuit. With depositions. Depose Ernie, Michael, Christie, and the doctor who treated Ian inside the retreat. Get the facts on who was privy to Ian's behavior well before the board was shocked! shocked I tell you! a full year after the stabbing episode. And find out the actual sequence of events that led to the cave call. Everything now is spin and silence.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 2:29pm

    Thanks so much for this Jerry! The Yogariffic (love that) is MR's preferred demographic. They have all seen The Matrix and can be easly duped with fake schlorship and phony Buddhism. He LOVES these women, and he MARRIES them when he can. Maybe it's a Daddy thing, or some religious thing. The man is not attractive.
    Even if CM came out and told a halfway truthful story, these yoga gals would still follow around MR, thinking he has an inside track to omniscience. Personally, I could care less about them (a seeker is born very minute), but that he does this in robes is beyond the pale. Thanks for the update!

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 6:31pm

    Wow, if this is true, then the board has lost control. Another post mentioned that current retreat leader John B worked on the Kali initiation with Christie and presumably had a good working relationship with her. We know that he argued for more leniency for her from the Michael letter and that Christie met with retreat members before she 'left' from her letter.

    An organization cannot have people within the organization overriding the desires of the top leadership, the board. If the board has any backbone, they need to investigate this possible insubordination ASAP (and it sounds like they may already have confirmed it) and, if it proves true, deal with it, presumably by ending the retreat, or else figuring out every individual that was involved in the insubordination, and removing them.

    This is really serious stuff. I hope the board will take their role seriously and investigate thoroughly, if they haven't already investigated it, and take the action a competent board must take if the allegations prove true.

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 2:19pm

      The additional time JB requested of the board to allow Ian and Christie to prepare leaving retreat, was time spent planning their deadly misadventure…Too sad, but very true.

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 6:35pm

        I don't want to put you on the spot but it seems you know a lot more than us about what happened. What do you believe actually occurred? I mean about where they were and when they went to the cave. Those sorts of things. Is it true the Ernie is now viewed as a persona non grata at DM? Was there more than just the violence that Christie mentioned at GRT2 which upset everyone? It certainly sounded like it.

        And this might be too personal but, how are you viewing all this in regards to GM's claims of realizations and the status he bestowed on Christie? Do you believe in "Karmic Management"?

anonymous Jun 17, 2012 9:15am

abc:

I see how hurt you are by what is happening on this blog and I am so sorry. Many of us here are hurt and confused as well. I have been a follower of GMR for about 7 years and have been to DM and have done a number of the ACI classes and have listened to every audio of bok jinpa taught by CM. That being said I am extremely disappointed and feel completely duped by GMR. Neither GMR or the board have answered any questions that need answering:

Why did Michael Roach say he was in retreat alone and then present Christie as his spiritual partner only later.

Why are so many of Michael Roaches interviews different and why does his bio change depending on the audience? Why did he say in the Oprah audition that his mom put him in a monastary?

Why was Ian allowed in the retreat after a letter from his former girl friend (and mother of his child) sent the board and Michael Roach a letter about the abuse he inflicted on both her and her child?

Why did Michael Roach claim he and Christie did not marry in 2003 even though they were already married.

Why did Michael Roach claim this 'scandal' was good for book sales. Is this a scandal or a serious matter with the loss of the highest female teacher in the lineage and the death of her husband?

Why did Michael Roach say Christie was Vajrayogini and then turn his back on her?

And why at Diamond Mountain or any other teachings by Michael Roach, Kimberly or Michael Hewitt or Marut will you find people literally pushing each other out of the way to get to the feet of these so called lamas?

If the world is coming from you and not at you why are you attacking us instead of looking at you own mind to see why you see us as attackers. The way you view our concerns is coming from you, right? Not us.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 10:29pm

    What a great summary of questions NA. Why indeed?

    anonymous Jun 18, 2012 7:36am

    "Why did Michael Roach claim this 'scandal' was good for book sales? Is this a scandal or a serious matter with the loss of the highest female teacher in the lineage and the death of her husband?"

    He clearly calls it a scandal, so that's the answer to your second question, but thank you for pointing out the difference the label makes. As to the first question, he teaches people to see things as positive, because everything's coming from you. If you see something as negative, it means there is negativity in you, and he wants people to cultivate a positive outlook. This was his own way of looking at the situation in what he sees as a positive light. Unfortunately, referring to someone's death in this way is, as I mentioned before, at the very least a sign of poor judgment.

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 11:06am

      You know what they say, "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

      I had a dream last night that this forum was playing into his hands perfectly, that he could use anything said here and spin it in his emptiness chamber to his advantage. That by posting his video, I was helping him "plant seeds" (gah!). Crisis and opportunity… in pseudo-tantric fashion, he will use the energy, no matter its source, to fuel his agenda. He claims to be a bodhisattva – would that were true.

    anonymous Jun 26, 2012 1:03pm

    oh abc, im so sorry, im so sorry, you're so hurt. did big bad geshe michael lie and trick you with his "secretive organization" too?

    i can't tell whether you are all so stupid as to actually believe what you are saying, or whether you are just spreading nonsense for the sake of hurting popular tibetan buddhist groups. perhaps a mix.

anonymous Jun 16, 2012 11:24pm

Jerry the farmer!!! boo hoo hoo a path on the ten million acres of BLM land. WILCOX was the largest exporter of beef in the USA for decades. Millions of cattle like yours have trampled the land and eaten every native plant, leaving it a completely different place. a path! the land will reclaim that path within ten years. I bet that you and your friends have left hundreds of thousands of shot gun shell littering the land. A PATH!!, boo hoo hoo call the national guard!

the retreaters are quietly using the land for contemplation. Some will do better than others.

YOUR HOUSE IS ALSO RIGHT IN THE LINE OF MEXICAN ILLEGALS,,, ARE YOU GOING TO LEAVE?

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 11:30pm

    Is this an example of DM debating skills? or did you come up with that "boo hoo hoo" technique all by yourself?

      anonymous Jun 16, 2012 11:39pm

      svan, that was good….

      im not from DM and dont know buddhist debate, but yeah I overused the BHH thing your right. you win

        anonymous Jun 17, 2012 12:02am

        Thanks, abc. It sounds like you went through the tantra course and initiations… was it all positive for you then?

          anonymous Jun 17, 2012 6:48am

          svan. Yes the experience was incredible. Wouldn't trade a second of it for anything in the world. And, I dont accredit all of it to GM or LC or "my karma". The friends, time of growth and study of much else to complement the Buddhist studies was an incredible bunch of years. 15 years from now I will bring my kids to Bowie for a monsoon season and revel in the memories of this time.

          I would just like to see this site gain some accuracy. From reading the posts it seemed that a wimpy Buddhist tone is not well accepted here, so I morphed into a more agro approach as to speak the same language as the rest of the bloggers.

            anonymous Jun 17, 2012 7:37am

            ABC,Thanks for posting!
            You are making our case batter than we ever could, I daresay. You seem especially compassionate toward Mexican people without documention. Are you also known as aabbcc, by any chance?

        anonymous Jun 17, 2012 8:28am

        I don't know how one could say he or she is not from DM when one undergone tantric courses and initiation in GM and LC' "lineage"? Don't they know that means they are their Varja gurus? They belong to the lineage of DM! By the way, not the lineage of HHDL…

          anonymous Jun 20, 2012 5:05am

          Yes, notice that they usually use the vague expression "in our lineage" without saying what their lineage is.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 11:29am

    ABC your tone is what i call DM stern. It's the tone you greenhorns use when you, for one of many examples. . dismissing Kat's vision of the retreat .Her and David P. have only lived this "middle of nowhere building shit" for 30 years. What did they know compared to a track home builder from Safford?Considering I've kept a high ranking member from being murdered by a local miner survivalist because he was shown disrespect,had 2 k of tools boosted by a ex-member,put up with idiots moving rattlesnakes near me (any of you want to pay the 1000 dollar vet bill for Patchez?),nearly been killed twice by head on collisions by Tucson members racing back to the real world (I still have blood from the fighter pilot that hit the bull on a t-shirt…what happened to him),I have patiently listened to abuse stories for 10 years from members and friends and families of said members plus I have (until Ian) delayed something from coming your way that you will just hate (me too).. Considering all this, you might change your tone or dance up here with your bloody Kali sword and see if you get back down the hill . Also you don't no shit about grazing.The 100 year old English Walnut Trees and Spring at Bear Springs were kept running just fine by Apaches and evil ranchers until you holy beings have nearly killed them..

    anonymous Jun 20, 2012 3:32pm

    I thought Jerry was a rancher not a farmer?

anonymous Jun 16, 2012 10:02pm

I have great news!!! Our loving brother Sid is a very special guy. We should all be ever so grateful to have him part of this dialogue. And I do mean Special.

Out of over 60 tantricas questioned (this amount of people is very difficult to contact, as DM terms are done and 95% of people are moving on with their lives after the fun and crazy time we all spent practicing the left handed path in the desert. the rest are in retreat). but yes out of everyone that I have contacted… SID IS THE ONLY PERSON WHOS GENITALS WERE TOUCHED AND THE ONLY PERON WHO WAS KISSED. everyone else's genitals were "hovered over" most did not even notice that, but they knew that it was happening because we had studied the initiation prior to going in, and knew that this was part of it. NO OTHERS FLY WAS UNDONE.
The moment following this some people remember being fed a piece of mango??? was this the kiss??

not many of you care about this shit, or believe anyone doing any defending. I just want to help us keep things accurate. Since most of this is based on testimony from people who left 10 years ago.

ALSO. THANK YOU MATTHEW PEMSKI FOR BEING SUCH A GREAT POET. YOU WROTE THE "LONG LIFE PRAYER" FOR GESHE MICHAEL THAT IS STILL USED BY SOME PEOPLE TODAY. If you were more of a prophet you could have added… "I will demand your tongue one day, but please stay healthy until the timing is better to get me published and famous."

EKAN.. no tool was shared in the drawing of blood. it was a small needle from a diabetic blood sugar tester. something many people (esp apaches since we are all so post modern here) do six times a day!, each person got a new sterile disposable needle to draw a small DROP of blood. BOO HOO HOO. "thats a red offering" boo hoo hoo. some of us loved the drama! it was fun. doesnt matter the news outlets already reported so much incorrectly.

I think that you all have done a great job of inhibiting future students from GM. And I think that you have also made a huge dent in the efficacy of Buddhism and even spiritual practice in the future. People will stay away from eastern stuff with greater determination now. And then a half generation will go by and the need for spiritual fulfillment will become too much and we will have a "new new age" movement. great. thanks.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 4:27am

    abc — thank you for bringing up the Long Life Prayer. i had almost forgotten about this poem. i think it speaks powerfully to how enthralled i was with Michael at the time. it also shows me that the attention of writing doesn't really change for me, unlike its object. to me it's like a letter to a former lover.

    i'd love to see it again, to remember those feelings more clearly, so that i might be better able to study and elucidate how it all happened, and what it all meant to me personally. if you or anyone else has a copy of it somewhere, I'd appreciate seeing it. you can send it to me directly at [email protected].

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 4:46am

    abc. I see how hurt you are by what is happening on this blog and am so sorry. Many of us here are hurt and confused as well. I have been a follower of GMR for about 7 years and have been to DM and have done a number of the ACI classes and have listened to every audio of bok jinpa taught by CM. That being said I am extremely disappointed and feel completely duped by GMR. Neither GMR of the board have not answered any questions that need answering:

    Why did Michael Roach say he was in retreat alone and then present christie as his spiritual partner only later.

    Why did Michael are so many of Michael Roaches interviews different and why does his bio change depending on the audience?

    Why was Ian allowed in the retreat after a letter from his former girl friend was sent to the board and Michael Roach about the abuse he inflicted on both her and her child?

    Why did Michael Roach claim he and Christie did not marry in 2003 even though they were already married.

    Why did Michael Roach claim this 'scandal' was good for book sales. Is this a scandal or a serious matter with the loss of the highest female teacher in the lineage and the death of her husband?

    If the world is coming from you and not at you way are you attacking us instead of looking at you own mind to see why you see us as attackers. The way you view our concerns is coming from you, right. Not us.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 8:10am

    ABC, I just wanted to bring to your attention that using all capital letters in digital correspondence is like screaming in person, and is considered rude.
    We all feel your pain here, believe me. Many many of us here have been 100% duped by Michael Roach. This is a safe place for screaming, but would you mind terriblly, to stop screaming?
    The ALL CAPITAL LETTERS make normal dialogue harder. Thanks in advance!

      anonymous Jun 17, 2012 12:45pm

      just to say, dropping onto this post at random while totally abreast of the whole GMR scene, it reads as plain bat shit crazy, as if to confirm what i assume everyone around to be like. uh, thanks, I guess.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 2:20pm

    abc, thanks for setting the record straight about the Kali initiation. It's good to know those blood offerings were conducted under safe and sanitary conditions.
    It seems that you and others have derived some benefit from your experiences at DM (debate, discernment, logic and right speech perhaps not too high on the curriculum). Others have experienced harm, and some have experienced great harm following these teachings and world view. Why is that?
    Because MR's teachings of karma and emptiness are corrupt and distorted. Because he is teaching Tantra from a book, without the practice, preparation, permission, authority or lineage to do so. Because he wears the same robes as HHDL while breaking every vow they represent.
    Please don't confuse what you have learned at DM with authentic Tantra or authentic Tibetan Buddhism. That is the greatest favour you could do for these two precious traditions. Your "lineage" is Diamond Mountain and you follow the teachings of Michael Roach. I just want to help us keep things accurate, too. Thanks.

      anonymous Jun 20, 2012 7:25pm

      Is this what you mean by authentic Tantra and Tibetan Buddhism? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Ka3bEN1rs
      How are you sure that your views are not corrupt and distorted?

        anonymous Jun 20, 2012 8:09pm

        Why do you keep changing your name, ABC/need answers/question. Just curious?

        anonymous Jun 20, 2012 9:09pm

        If only this young man had studied under MR and LC. Then perhaps he would be able to view his sexual abuse as a teaching, if not as an initiation or empowerment.

          anonymous Jun 21, 2012 7:29am

          How about this example of Tantra and Tibetan Buddhism? http://behindthethangkas.wordpress.com/

            anonymous Jun 21, 2012 3:49pm

            Would you mind stating your point in (your own) words rather than just randomly posting links?
            It would make discussion a lot smoother, and save people from misinterpreting what you may or may not be trying to say.
            Thanks in advance.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 9:37pm

    ABC's tone is suspiciously reminiscent of allyson the bully.

      anonymous Jun 17, 2012 10:30pm

      As someone pointed out to me, there does seem to be a similarity of tone among many of MR's students but I think this one has been a little more of a recluse for a period of time and joined the forum more recently. New information about the long life prayer and a rehash of the clean needle. The boo hoo is specific and telling. In fact, she must have been very close to the initiation in order to speak with authority about the needles and to have spoken to 60 students. I don't think Allison would bother. She is on adventures and having fun.
      abc, I am very worried about you. I write these words sincerely and nothing negative is implied. It comes from my heart.

        anonymous Jun 17, 2012 10:44pm

        Basically, the lesson we can take away from this is that institiutional religion, whether it be Buddhist or anything else, sucks.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 10:44pm

    Hi abc, I just finished writing a long response to your post as aabbcc, so I won't repeat myself. I stand by my recollection of my experiences. Then again, maybe it was just my karma playing tricks on me. It would have a been very easy to mistake a cold piece of mango for human lips. Nah.

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 12:38am

      Kissed & touched by the goddess herself? High five!

      anonymous Jun 20, 2012 3:17pm

      I wasn't present at Sid's & ABC's initiation but can speak about what did happen at my own.

      Kissing did occur during my Yamantika/Tantra initiation given by GMR/LC disciples. The kiss was quick & on the lips only. Also, a hand touched my pubic area but was never lowered to my actual genitalia.

      I was extremely relieved that this was the extent of any "sexual" encounter during my initiation because another student had warned me that this initiation would require my having actual sex with my teachers.

      After asking questions, I was reassured that this was not the case & that any sexual encounter was only to be visualized and not actualized.

      But I've always kind of wondered about that.

      Is this typical for a Gelugpa Yamantika initiation — to visualize having sex with the teachers giving you the initiation?

        anonymous Jun 20, 2012 3:27pm

        Absolutely NOT!! I have had this along with my partner who had it from several Gelug Lamas and this is not what is visualized.

        anonymous Jun 20, 2012 3:41pm

        We're not really supposed to talk about these things openly, so I don't feel comfortable going into any kind of detail on this forum. But what I can say, based on my experience, is that it's not typical for a traditional Gelupka Yamantaka initiation to include any kind of visualization of being in union with your tantric lama.

        anonymous Jun 20, 2012 7:38pm

        Thank you Butterfly, I remember how adamant they were about the secrecy thing, now we know why. I was not at the VY initiation the following, but apparently GM apologized for having "gone a bit too far with some people". He also apparently claimed "all the rumours that you hear are true", and that Christie was helping him with his "base" desires. Can anyone remember him saying anything like that?

anonymous Jun 16, 2012 2:41pm

Under Matthew's original article, JOsh said,

"i also remember GM once citing elizabeth claire prophet as an authority. her church universal and triumphant? now that was a cult! she stockpiled automatic weapons and thought grizzly bears were created by evil sorcerers. citing her in a talk doesn't implicate GM or DM in any of that, but it shows a real naivete."

Her Wikipedia bio has much in common with Michael's story, in some ways like a blueprint. This post by her son is also illuminating: http://www.blacksunjournal.com/elizabeth-clare-pr

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 5:00pm

    This is totally fascinating, AV, thanks.

    I just listened to a great radio documentary (sound montage style) on them http://soundprint.org/radio/display_show/ID/89/na

    and — get this comment from another post on the ex-leader's son's site:
    http://www.blacksunjournal.com/religion/1503_eliz

    comment (#70)

    "I was at a fall conference (I think it was my second conference ever) and still relatively new. I spent the afternoon sessions in King Authors Court (usually decreeing) and observed a guy completely losing it. He was in a cold sweet, decreeing like mad, hunched over at times, almost growling the decrees. He kept changing seats, and made quite a ruckus doing it. He was obviously extremely disturbed. No one official confronted this. I finally walked up to a staff member and asked if things were alright? This lady in a most dismissive tone said, “Oh, he is an SU student.” Like that somehow changed things.

    "SU student" means Summit University student. Those are courses people can sign up for to be in a class at the Ranch to learn "the teachings" in depth. Don't do it!!!

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 7:49am

      The chanting of the decrees was mesmerizing and also scary. Thanks for sharing this link.

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 8:27am

        I'm finding this all a bit too compelling… yesterday I watched Sean Prophet's 5-part youtube interview about growing up as the son of the channel of the ascended masters, then an Oprah show featuring his 2 sisters (one of whom was a true believer at the time; has since renounced and written a book), then I segued into listening to violet light stuff, thence to a 30-part (!) Bible-perspective "documentary" about New Age thinking (in which they put 19th-century spiritualism, Mary Baker Eddy, Darwin, the ascended masters tradition, reincarnation, Darwin, and Nazis in a big blender and called it the work of the devil… while at the same time giving lots more direct quotes and historical timeline to various New Age beliefs than I'd had before), then I looked at a video called "The List" in which Amnesty International, the UN, the Unitarian Church, etc. were linked in a complicated genealogical-looking chart as some kind of New World Order conspiracy. The I watched an Australian news special on a guy there who purports to actually be Jesus (with his consort, Mary Magdalene) and is building up a compound of followers; then a guy in Siberia who is also Jesus and has a medieval-seeming pastoral-end-times village going. Then I listened to the Jonestown enforced-suicide tape. Then I watched the entire "Golden Gate Bridge Suicides" film and then a 20-minute short on a forest in Japan at the base of Mt. Fuji in which 50-100 people a year commit suicide.

        I do not recommend this playlist. I have a mind-control-and-death hangover this am.

          anonymous Jun 18, 2012 8:32am

          That's quite a playlist! Maybe take a mental detox day today?

anonymous Jun 16, 2012 2:05pm

I just watched this YouTube video and there are even more inconsistencies presented. First of all he states he was studying at Princeton when he received the phone call that his mother died so he went to India and spent 25 years studying in a Buddhist monastery. But according to his bio he went to India in 1973 then he returned to the U.S, and graduated from Princeton and his mother died later. Then he says after 25 years of studying with the Lamas in the Monastery in India and receiving his Geshe they gave him the assignment to go to NYC to start a business using the principle of mental seeds to create a successful company. How could this have occurred after receiving his geshe degree when the on-line profile states Andin corporation was founded in 1981?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2kH_EaO6Ug

Since all along he has claimed that he founded Andin Corporation is this really true? How could he found a company in 1981 when he was supposedly busy first in NJ where he says he never left the monastery for 6 years starting in 1975 then the next 12 years he spent in India. In his official bio he states he received his Geshe degree in 1995. How could he have started Andin corporation in 1995 when it was founded in 1981? There are just so many inconsistencies in his statements. It is really hard to believe anything he says. I wonder if he is just a pathological liar?

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 2:32pm

    it would be great if people could catalogue and note all the inconsistencies they find before the DM internet people try to rewrite everything to make it gel.

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 2:33pm

    A liar knows the power of the truth and acts to conceal it. On the other hand, there's the bullshitter (to use a Princeton philosopher's terminology): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q_h5ZyjJWA

    Thanks for posting this, elma.

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 3:59pm

    For me, he is clearly a pathological liar. Although I am not sure what his clinical psychiatric diagnosis is. Obviously it would include: grandiosity, extreme narcissim, hyperreligiousness and magical thinking. He seems to lack feeling/empathy despite what he says. He he could feel emotions normally, he would have disrobed long ago, in my opinion.
    I don't believe anything he says, or much of what his followers say. He has lied about himself for decades, in ways that can easily be verified by non-interested thrid parties.

      anonymous Jun 16, 2012 8:12pm

      He shows many many traits of sociopathy which includes the ones you listed above.

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 4:36pm

    Pax – I had breast cancer recently. It is not a death sentence like it was back when MR's mother had it. If my son took a one year leave of absence from college because I had cancer, it is reasonable to expect him to spend time with me while I enjoyed some good health, rather than leaving the country and waiting until I was stage 4 before telling me to come to him in a foreign country. This explanation seems odd to me. I am glad to hear that it is probably not the truth. It really bothered me when I read it.

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 5:18pm

    Michael did not get a telephone call in the middle of his Princeton years telling him that his mother died. Michael when to India in 1973 and in 1974 (time off from his studies). His mother visited Dharamsala in late 1974. As he has stated truthfully elsewhere, Michael returned to Princeton to graduate in 1975. It is strange that he should not be straightforward about these dates. Maybe, true, he was "studying at Princeton" (in 1975) when he got a phone call that his mother had died and THEN LATER he went to India, for the third time. But that's not what most listeners would understand him to be saying in the video.

      anonymous Jun 16, 2012 7:03pm

      I can confirm Michael was in Dharamsala in 74 and 75 as we both attended classes at the Library. I didn't know him well, but I do have a distinctive memory of seeing him in robes one day, with a newly shaved head and a big grin. I assumed he had received an ordination of some type, but cannot say from whom. Geshe Dhargey possibly. I think that was in 1975.

      anonymous Jun 17, 2012 3:37am

      There are also some glaring discrepancies between this account and the account that he gives in his Oprah audition tape. It seems the story is tailored to make it more appealing to the particular audience.

        anonymous Jun 17, 2012 8:18am

        To me The Oprah audition tape is so telling regarding the shoddiness of his personal biography. I imagine Oprah's assistants dismissed it immediately. "My mother put me in a monastery?" Whaaa?
        That says it all very succinctly.

    anonymous Jun 20, 2012 7:56pm

    And I have heard him say that he was already into Buddhism when his mother got cancer and that he took her to India and she met the Dalai Lama and he helped her die. The story seemed to change every time I heard it. During my days at DM, GM was always sending instructions to Ven Elly, who is like his communications officer. She was always complaining that he was telling her to lie in press releases, that she had to stretch the truth. She had a hard time because she took her vows seriously, so she considered these directions to stretch the truth as a practice, a "teaching" from her lama. And that is the only way anyone in that community survives, by looking at the constant onslaught of inconsistencies , lies and rumours as a "teaching".

      anonymous Jun 21, 2012 7:13am

      In my experience, a person who habitually adjusts a story for his own purposes will not hesitate to lie about other people in order to protect him/herself.

anonymous Jun 16, 2012 8:44am

I am sorry for the severe problems Michael Roach's group is having, and like everyone else I can't help but try to analyze Roach (and company) a bit. Here is an interview with a professor at Roach's alma mater, although I will make it clear that it is an older interview that has no mention of Michael Roach or Buddhism. The interviewer discusses the book "On Bullshit" with the author, Harry G. Frankfurt. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q_h5ZyjJWA

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 9:01am

    Also, I apologize that "and company" sounds harsh towards Roach's followers. I am sure many of them are quite sincere and well-meaning. I will define "and company" to mean Roach's equivalents–leaders of other groups gone haywire.

anonymous Jun 16, 2012 4:52am

This is an interesting perspective. Points to what Jerry was saying about the possibility of suicide:
http://rustichello.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/somet

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 6:46am

    There are many valid points in that blog.
    I appreciated this:
    "I can’t say that the theological issues have moved me, from where I sit enlightenment doesn’t seem that different to wealth, or enormous pectorals, or trophy wives, or the capacity to drink a carton in a single sitting. Something else grabbed my attention, the bathos I guess. The great overblown seriousness of the enterprise (three years!) and the shocking shoddiness of the end, it’s almost laughable."

    As well as one comment mentioning Into the Wild.
    As soon as I Heard about Ian's desth I thought of that book.
    Thanks for posting this!

      anonymous Jun 16, 2012 7:11am

      You're welcome. Thanks for all your input, Fleurine.

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 8:08pm

    Annette, after her first 3yr retreat, Christie said in an interview that during deep retreat, she would find food and going to the bathroom gross! So, the less she ate, less bathroom runs! I believe DM's teachings has completely made her delusional that she is a deity who doesn't need much earthy things to survive!

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 7:29am

      Or that her own body's natural needs and processes were gross.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 5:01pm

    I just thought I would post this up here somewhere:

    A kooky little you tube video about How Cults Work (which if you are reading/posting here you probably already know)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxJyfqeaKU8&fe

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 3:35am

      That was riveting, Fleurine. Thank you. I've seen so many of these tips followed by certain "gurus."

      anonymous Jun 18, 2012 1:55pm

      This cult video is not reflective of the general culture at DM. Sorry! (Not really "sorry", but actually glad.) Fortunately for some, there were/are strong personalities at DM, and these personalities never minded poking fun at some of these sillier aspects of communal living: Singing, hyper prana practices, veganism, partner-practice teachings, dressing in suits-and-ties for business talks at DM,(lol,) etc…these dissenters were NEVER censured nor ostracized, or made to feel unwelcome.
      The spiritual life is not for the weak-minded, insecure, or those with chronic low-self-esteem. BUT those were the ones you'd find closest (physical proximity) to the 'lamas', now that I think about it. Hmm. And those hangers-on-types who went into the retreat are remarkably (or not,) absent. The gutsy smart-asses and those w/o impaired senses of humor will be just dandy in there. It seems that there is indeed some necessity for a protocol for screening Westerners who wish to do extended retreat, and the need for such protocols is clearly in evidence when factoring-in the damaged psyches that often graft themselves onto a group identity as compensation for their own shortcomings; self-perceived, or otherwise.
      The intellectual beauty at DM is that any arguable position that uses logic to trump any 'dominant' paradigm at work in the group was/is always at least grudgingly acknowledged. That is probably due in large part to the debate culture fostered there. This cult video made me fell better, actually! Thank you.

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 6:02pm

        No problem…I have never set foot at DM, the NYC scene from 10 years ago, was culty and bizarre enough for me.I went to a coffe shop class or two at the 3 Jewels and the "teachers" had the eyes-glazed look of culties.
        But, BTW, a hallmark of an intensifying cult is moving to an isolated location. Remind you of anywhere?
        No good can come from being isolated with a group of MR followers, in my opinion. People have already started dying there. Or did you guys forget that already? Just my .02 The photo of those creepy homemade huts in the NYT gives me a genuine case of heebie-geebies. This is strictly my opinion.

        anonymous Jun 18, 2012 6:25pm

        I got a little confused. When you said this:

        "The spiritual life is not for the weak-minded, insecure, or those with chronic low-self-esteem. BUT those were the ones you'd find closest (physical proximity) to the 'lamas', now that I think about it. Hmm. And those hangers-on-types who went into the retreat are remarkably (or not,) absent."

        You are referring to Ian, Christie and perhaps the other few who have left?

        I think I know a few of the "gutsy smart asses" and many told me that there were quite a few people on the debate ground they couldn't/wouldn't engage with because tempers would flare when they pushed too hard on their beliefs. They also told me that many students never even went to the debate ground. I went to the one in Tucson and I didn't get much out of it. To be honest, I think the slapping hands type of the debate practiced at DM showed who was best at that style of debate but didn't get deeply to matters of truth and proof. In my house, where many DM students stayed, we simply talked, and for me that seemed to allow us to get to the hearts of matters quicker.

        "The intellectual beauty at DM is that any arguable position that uses logic to trump any 'dominant' paradigm at work in the group was/is always at least grudgingly acknowledged."

        I know in the classes I took, fallacies (particularly argument from ignorance) and emotional arguments typically won the day. I can think of maybe 4 people who, after I showed them the problems I had with the ideas of karma at DM, told me that "they weren't good with all the logic stuff, they were more into compassion." I have also been told, "I believe that GMR is an enlightened being and I don't care about all this logic stuff."

        I will also acknowledge that there were people who, when I presented the problems I had, would tell me they see the same problems and are still working on them. I can only think of a handful of people who would remain calm and use logical arguments when discussing the truth of the teachings at DM.

anonymous Jun 15, 2012 6:38pm

I hope LC does her next retreat with a lama like Lama Zopa. He could train her to be a real lama who could benefit many people. I can see that she has good intentions by watching her videos.

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 1:55am

    Good sentiments Dave. But I really think this idea of "training to be a Lama", let alone a "real Lama" is a big obstacle to proper view and motivation. It is so easy to get that aspiration co-opted by the ego. Even the great master, teacher of HH the DL, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche spent most of his early life in strict retreat. And he was recognized as a high tulku from a very young age.. he could have been sitting on thrones with adoring acolytes from day 1. But he went into deep retreat, for a long time.. alone. Finally, he was ordered to use this wisdom he'd been cultivating to go out and teach others, by his own Guru. He was told that now was his time to benefit beings directly through turning the wheel of dharma. And so even though he would have preferred to stay in retreat, he humbly followed his Guru's command. There are many yogis that practice their entire lives in retreat, or semi-retreat, whatever..without teaching dharma or becoming anyone's guru. It is possible to benefit others through perfecting your own wisdom and realization. This will automatically bring benefit. To "train" to be a Lama, or to have the motivation to become a Lama, should be seen as highly suspect, –in oneself and in others too. There is too much room for the motivation to be contaminated. The pyramid fast-track-to-Lamahood marketing scheme that has arisen in the DM community is just not how it is done. In this instance, if Christie does study with Lama Zopa again.. it will be up to him to determine if she is ever qualified to act in this capacity.

      anonymous Jun 16, 2012 4:54am

      I think if she decides to do the retreat with Lama Zopa , hopefully it would be with the goal of becoming a better practitioner, rather than a "lama" or "guru". People who start this intention easily fall into the path of the eight worldly dharmas:
      hope for happiness and fear of suffering,
      hope for fame and fear of insignificance,
      hope for praise and fear of blame,
      hope for gain and fear of loss

      In the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama:
      There are people who call themselves religious-minded, trying to show this by dressing in a peculiar manner, maintaining a peculiar way of life, and isolating themselves from the rest of society. That is wrong. A scripture of mind-purification (mind-training) says, "Transform your inner viewpoint, but leave your external appearance as it is."

      I agree that we need women gurus. But qualified ones, like the upcoming Geshemas (female Geshes, who will graduate next year), Jetsun Kushok-la, Khandro-la, Geshema Kelsang Wangmo. A complete training takes years and years, and tough tough love from a Guru.

anonymous Jun 15, 2012 3:13pm

https://plus.google.com/photos/100910113640564801

A google map with notes is near the end of these photos ( and our view of the retreat)
.End it now Roach with more dignity than you gave Ian in his last months on the planet

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 4:51am

    Jerry, thank you very much for these photos. For those of us who are not familiar with the area, they are so helpful for providing context. Land such as this must really be treated with respect.

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 5:05am

    Jerry, these photos are great. We Americans with an immigrant background need to put more thought into our use of this precious land. And we need to respect the culture of the land, not erase or rewrite it. We are guests in their country.

      anonymous Jun 16, 2012 8:30am

      Thanks Annette..when i came down from the cave area and saw what a mess the lama House — the Knapp Ranch house has turned into (it is on the Historical register ,built from the remains of Fort Bowie around the turn of the century) it really bummed me out. I looked at the poorly maintained shake roof my friends installed, the peeling paint ,the cracked stucco,the weed covered dead yard the 100 year old under watered English Walnut trees are about to die in and i think back to how beautiful it was when the amazing Chrisy Graham used to own it.Lush lawn with her German Shepard rolling in the grass then bolting to the spring pond Martin Flores built.
      Chrisie reading a book in the shade in the swing.and planning the next gift for under privileged girls with dreams and talents she was going to make happen through the Amazon Foundation.
      Water gushing to the orchard out of the regularly mucked out spring box..damn……

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 11:37am

    Jerry, Someone else posted this link: http://www.awakeningjournal.org/lama-christie-int
    It's an interview with Christie in December 2010, just before entering the great retreat.
    I don't know what happened in that cave, but reading this and her Shift in the Matrix, makes me think that whatever they were doing in that cave was part of their "practice". Christie says, "I’m hoping to be able to practice seeing my personal partner as my angel who has come to save me as well as my partner practicing that towards me. I’m very excited to see how far we can get together in that practice." The pressure would be on them to prove something in this retreat. Then the eviction happens it's like throwing fuel onto the fire of their "divine pride".
    This stands out for me as well, "I was ready to jump when my Lama said jump, over and over again. He led me to beautiful, magical places above and beyond my wildest dreams." Ian was ready to jump, the way Christie was with MR, and Christie perhaps had something to prove: that she could lead her Ian and her students to great enlightenment, to surpass MR himself, to create the "mandala" she envisioned… I'm just speculating here too, of course, and with less information and firsthand experience than you and others have. We can only ask questions and hope for answers. But you're right, things definitely don't add up so far. Only Christie and her attendants can say what really happened.
    I agree with you about ending the retreat. Thank you for the photos and all your comments here.

anonymous Jun 15, 2012 1:03am

GMR doesn’t need his students to defend him, nor has he ever asked anyone to, however I feel this forum lacks input from his students and those with personal experience with the topics and events discussed. [By way of background, I have been a student of GMR since 1999, been on tours and taught ACI classes, but haven’t lived at DM or participated in the Tantric courses]

Yes, the tragic death of Ian is sad and any reasonable person would want to know why, what happened, could it have been prevented, and how can this kind of thing be prevented in the future. Do you not think all of the people at DM also have these concerns? As tragic as it is – which no one is denying, why is it then reasonable to chuck out everything else about DM and Geshe Michael because of this one event? It doesn’t seem right to discount everything Geshe Michael has done / is doing and all of the organisations that he has established in the world because of the mistakes / bad judgement of a few (perhaps including GMR).

Some points in support GM:

1. Trying to give equal opportunity to women in Buddhism by first training and then elevating normal looking female teachers. GMR didn’t need Christie to help him teach, he didn’t need to refer to her on the stage for parts of the dharma he was deficient in. He stated this as much in an early spiritual partner’s talk I was at in Tucson. By having Christie up there next to him he was promoting the promise of a normal looking, feminine, eloquent American woman – as a legitimate teacher. This has not happened in the history of Buddhism until now. It is hard to argue with that objective, even if the outcome wasn’t perfect.

2. Against personal preference GMR decided that he could help more people by teaching the dharma through yoga, business and relationships, rather than just sticking to the Geshe curriculum (as he did from 1993 to 2000 with the ACI courses and meditation modules). I believe this was an act of ‘skilful means’ and tens of thousands of people have heard GM in the last 9 years as a result. Geshe Michael could have easily chosen a different path. He could have stuck to the traditional path and been a shaved head, always-in-robes monk, teaching only the traditional Tibetan Buddhist subjects at various FPMT and other TB centres (think Ven. George Churinoff). He also could have chosen the academic path, and followed the likes of Prof. Georges Dreyfus or Prof. Thurman and set up a successful career publishing translations and teaching the finer points of Madhyamika philosophy to those few studying religion in universities. Both options would have been less controversial, attracted less attention, and his teachings would have been received by the few that fit into those niche groups.

3. Regards sexual monkey business, regardless of whatever may or may not have happened physically between GM and LC, GM was consciously, purposely celebrate from about the age of 20 (now almost 60) . I cannot think of another American male living that has chosen to be celibate for this long.

4. If you have ever been behind the scenes with GM you will know that all he does is work. He barely sleeps. His ‘free time’ is basically translating and preparing the next teaching / retreat or working on a future project or checking on existing projects.

I have read all the previous comments here, and do appreciate the heartfelt input from the contributors. It is great to see the mutual support and critical thinking from this community. There are so many unanswered questions, so many rumours and conspiracy theories proposed on here, it would be difficult for any one person to address them all. I suppose if you don’t have someone that you can talk to directly for answers then this forum is the next best thing.

    anonymous Jun 15, 2012 5:35am

    Hi Tony- Thanks for posting. This forum has a lot of input from people with extensive personal experience, starting with both of the original posts from Matthew., as well as many many many others. Did you at least read the original articles?
    I realize it might be difficult for any person to read 2000 more posts. But rest assured we HAVE personal experience.

    anonymous Jun 15, 2012 7:03am

    Thanks, Tony, for reading and contributing.

    From your last paragraph I can tell you understand that the speculative threads of this sprawling forum are because people are trying to make sense of a situation in the absence of some crucial facts.

    The conversation has ranged from the timeline on the ground, the motivations and psychology of the participants, GM's lineage and his teachings versus teachings that posters have experienced in Gelugpa and other traditions, close textual analysis of extant interviews, videos, and writings, and extrapolations regarding the well-being of retreatants now and the future trajectory of various GM-affiliated projects.

    I think the energy and time people have put into this discussion is not about ghoulishness or schadenfreude, but in large part because we are all seekers. Some are disillusioned or aghast; some more about resolving cognitive dissonance.

    I will say about your point #1: From what I understand, Ani Pelma (a nun) was already teaching. So the difference, if I get where you're coming from, is in the "normal-looking, feminine" qualifier. CM as a young, flowing-locked yoga-bodied-type was identifiable to the sorts of students he was then attracting. And her elevation as co-teacher on the stage reduced the sense of other-ness and gave a sense of gender equality in spiritual attainment.

    That is one component, but there is also the fact that they were secretly married at the time. In addition, wasn't her embodiment as his spiritual partner teachings a little bit of bait? You can get what we have, you can get a babe. What if GM had chosen as consort a woman less suited to angel projections, someone closer to his age and with more "edge"? Why did the gesture of equality need to capitalize on the same cultural construct as a car ad? (See the pretty girl? You can have her! She comes with the car!)

      anonymous Jun 15, 2012 7:40am

      Easter 2003 Quiet Retreat Interview

      Q: So how did you choose the bracelet, for example? I mean the hair, that makes some sense; the ring, I have a question about that later, but why the bracelet?

      GMR: Oh, just Vajrayogini gave it to me.

      Q: And then the rings. I mean did you guys actually have like a ceremony?

      GMR: We’re not married in that way. It’s not … I’m Vajrayogini’s disciple, and I wear her ring.

      anonymous Jun 15, 2012 12:20pm

      2. Not everyone agrees that diluting advanced teachings and serving them up to the masses is a good thing. MR/DM is to wisdom as McDonald's is to nutrition (to borrow from Anonymous Snake). Yes, he could have taken those other more traditional paths and woe that he did not. As far as "modernizing" the teachings and breaking all the rules to reach a wider audience, yeah, sure go for it, but don't claim to follow the very tradition and lineage that you're reinventing at the same time – that's sending mixed messages. That's creating a false impression in the minds of others, or more simply put: LYING. Take off the robes and do not call yourself a TB monk in the lineage of the Dalai Lamas and do not claim to teach from that lineage. If you're going to break with tradition, break it already. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

      3. Or can you? Wow, that is quite a claim, yes indeedy. Double-wow that you believe it.

    anonymous Jun 15, 2012 11:10am

    Tony, if that’s the best you can come up with in support of Roach, that’s pretty sad.

    1. The fashionable feminism which may have partly motivated the “elevation” of Lady McLamas and McVajrayogini herself is nothing to be particularly proud of. Shrewd marketing though, for sure.

    2. He had lost all credibility as an authentic Buddhist teacher. The yoga and prosperity Buddhism etc. is just more shrewd marketing.

    3. This is just too stupid to respond to.

    4. No doubt he is an ambitious workaholic type. Snake oil salesmen often are.

    anonymous Jun 15, 2012 11:56am

    Hi Tony,
    I think that the elevation of women in Tibetan Buddhism can happen without MR's help…
    A german nun is already the first female geshe and there will be more exams for the geshe
    degree administered next year.
    Having properly qualified nuns teaching is way more important than having people with dubious qualifications
    claiming to be teachers qualified to give initiations and completion stage instructions.

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 6:05am

    "As tragic as it is – which no one is denying, why is it then reasonable to chuck out everything else about DM and Geshe Michael because of this one event? It doesn’t seem right to discount everything Geshe Michael has done / is doing and all of the organisations that he has established in the world because of the mistakes / bad judgement of a few (perhaps including GMR)."

    This is not some court of judgment where we're trying to label Michael Roach "good" or "bad." Reality is more nuanced. It is true that Roach has had some positive projects. This is a forum for airing perspectives and sharing the facts. The facts speak for themselves.

    1. What does "normal looking female teachers" mean? Young, thin, white, with long hair?

    2. "Both options would have been less controversial, attracted less attention, and his teachings would have been received by the few that fit into those niche groups." What would have been wrong with that?

    3. "regardless of whatever may or may not have happened physically between GM and LC, GM was consciously, purposely celebrate…" Regardless? What is your definition of "celibate"?

    "I suppose if you don’t have someone that you can talk to directly for answers then this forum is the next best thing." You are right about that. Thanks for being willing to jump in.

      anonymous Jun 16, 2012 7:18am

      AnnetteVictoria, one slight comment:
      1. Long 'blond' hair and referred to by Thurman as a "blond bombshell". Not what I would call 'normal'.

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 7:08am

    Hi Tony, I don't know if you have studied with any mainstream Tibetan Buddhist group but none of what you say in your supporting statements would be viewed as legitimate.

    1. There are many fine female teachers of Buddhism coming through without the help of Roach's ex-consorts and business partners. Christie McNally is not qualified to call herself a Lama. I know several female lamas – all have done over a decade of retreat and have full bhikshuni ordination. McNally is a pretty yoga teacher. Are you saying she's in the same league as the likes of Ven Robina Courtin, Ven. Thubten Chodron or Ven. Pema Chodron? Seriously?

    2. The yoga thing is more appealing than the hard graft of study and retreat. Roach has watered down the Buddha's teachings with this narcissitic nonsense. You cannot further the BuddhaDharma in any significant sense by teaching yoga.

    3. This doesn't even make sense "regardless of whatever may or may not have happened physically between between GM and LC, GM was consciously, purposely celibate" (rather than celebrate). If Roach was involved in sexual conduct of any kind with McNally or anyone else, he was breaking his vow of celibacy. The Vinaya is very clear on this. he may believe he is a siddha but nobody else does.

    4. Roach does do good work for charity. I do not deny but he uses the works and the scholarship to sell the yoga and prosperity courses – NOT the other way round.

    Roach may have set out with good intentions but the adulation has gone to his head and he has gone seriously off track.

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 5:06pm

This is in response to the question- why didn't Christie McNally call for help earlier?

I don;t have any insight into what condition Ms. McNally was in, other than what I have read. For what it's worth, though, I had a personal experience that allows me to see one possibility.

Decades ago, I fasted on water and lemon juice for an entire month. It had nothing to do with weight- I was slightly underweight at the time, and to be clear, it had nothing to do with Buddhism, though I undertook the fast as a joyful act to "cleanse" myself spiritually, whatever that meant to me at the time.

I set a date to begin the fast, and went ahead with that date even though 4 days beforehand I was hit with a severe case of food poisoning. I couldn't hold down anything for those 4 days, so had already lost a few pounds and was weakened going into the fast.

An important element of this experience was that I was entirely alone for that month, and many miles away from anything or anyone else, house-sitting in the middle of nowhere for a ex-professor of mine who was on a year-long sabbitical abroad. As part of my spiritual "journey" I stopped answering the phone or making phone calls one week into this period of lunacy,

I can tell you from personal experience that starving oneself while in total denial of reality is actually a very peaceful process. I felt purer and calmer by the day. Three weeks in, I felt that I was acutely connected with absolute reality. I had absolutely NO desire to eat. I threw away all the food in the hose that wasn't canned, because the smell of any kind of food had become so overwhelmingly powerful and disgusting that it was like being subjected to someone's cheap rank perfume in a confined space.

In the last days of my fast I could no longer distinguish between my waking and dream states. I felt like I didn't sleep at all, but on the other hand, I never left my bed. I didn't understand my condition at all– I didn't feel week, I didn't feel hungry, I had no awareness that I was on the brink of death. I simply felt…..peaceful, wise, and increasingly removed from the material world. I stopped getting up to even drink my water.

In the last hours of my fast, now motionless on my bed, I felt a shift in…something, and a cold burst of what felt like it might be wind in the room, and then there were two…..beings…speaking to me, telling me I could go with them if I wanted. From a great distance within myself, bubbling up from deep down, came my voice telling them that I wasn't ready. They left, and as they did the phone rang, and for the first time in weeks I answered it.

If that friend hadn't called when she did, and insisted on my telling her what was going on, and refused to get off the phone until I made myself get a drink of water and promise to eat, there is absolutely no doubt that I would have died, and it would have felt peaceful and right.

Everything else aside, yes, I can understand quite easily how it could be that past some crucial point neither Christie or Ian would have been able to able to help themselves or one another. The real question is how it was that they found themselves at that terrible junction.

    anonymous Jun 15, 2012 5:52am

    Thank you for sharing this. I think it gives a lot of insight into the situation.

    anonymous Jun 15, 2012 9:18am

    Thank you for your very interesting insight.

      anonymous Jun 15, 2012 10:18am

      You're welcome.

      I read earlier today that Ian's official cause of death was dehydration and malnutrition (no food, no water), the affects of which I tried to describe. I'm still puzzled how it was that Ms. McNally was treated for dehydration only, but don't know from what I've read at what point they decided not to retrieve food for themselves.

        anonymous Jun 15, 2012 3:11pm

        Once…The poorly planned poorly carried out Roach retreat drove them crazy. He killed himself and she wasn't far behind…hard living with a near dead husband or a dead one when your spiritual leader throws you under the bus

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 4:38pm

A public health announcement from Dr. Anonymous Snake, professor of entomology, CZMU:

The presence in Arizona of a particularly virulent strain of Gelugpa modifying roaches or GMR has recently come to my attention. GMR can readily be identified by their Tibetan monk’s robes, long, stringy hair, and dangerously dumbed down “dharma” teaching. Should you encounter one, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT approach. Instead, locate the nearest authentic dharma teacher and engage in a serious program of study, reflection and meditation under his or her guidance.

Peace, joy, happiness to you, Dr. Anonymous Snake

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 4:08pm

As much as the public now knows about Michael Roach, I hardly know anything of Ian Thorson or Christie McNally.

How did they first become involved with Michael Roach and Diamond Mountain and what were they looking for in the beginning? Was it a gradual involvement or were they running away from something?

What did they study in university? What work or employment did they have before being yoga teachers? Did Ian have a history of violence dating back to college or beyond? How did their personalities and behavior change as they became more involved in DM (beyond the "they became distant")? And where is McNally's family? Did or does she have a support system outside of DM?

I'm sorry for the glut of questions, but even though I view Thorson and McNally as victims of a cult, how this all came to fruition is a mystery to me since there is hardly any information about them as people in the articles published or tv pieces I've seen. I'm wondering if anyone has any answers to these questions or if there are any reporters attempting to answer this.

    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 4:31pm

    I don't know much about Ian, but I know a little about LC. I actually had a conversation with LC's mom at a teaching in Tuscon years ago. She told me that after LC graduated from NYU, she and a friend went to travel in India. Her friend ended up bailing at some point, but LC continued on as planned, where I assume she met yoga and dharma teachers. After that, she went back to NY, where she ended up attending GMR's teachings. I believe she was also taking yoga classes at Jivamukti. She would have been in her early 20s at the time. She married GMR in April of 1998, at the age of 25. IMO, she was still fairly new to the teachings when she became his spiritual partner/wife.

    I believe her family lives in California (parents are divorced), but I've seen both of her parents pop into the yoga teachings GMR and LC gave in Tuscon. I never studied at DM, so I don't know if they visited there or how often. But I never got the impression that she was cut off from them.

      anonymous Jun 14, 2012 6:42pm

      Thanks sky! That helps to fill in the picture a little bit. It seemed so odd how she went from photography at NYU to supposed goddess (bit of a career jump!), and I haven't read or heard any comments from her family unlike the Thorsons. I suppose if her parents were followers of Roach, or at least viewed Roach as a legitimate teacher, maybe that explains the silence.

        anonymous Jun 14, 2012 7:02pm

        No problem. 🙂 Just to clarify – her parents weren't followers of GMR. They didn't attend the teachings as students. I think they just came by from time to time to support LC, you know, the way parents go see their kid play in a baseball game. I don't know what their current feelings toward GMR/DM are, but I'm sure their silence is out of respect for their daughter and what they feel she needs at this time.

        I'm sure there are some other people who were actually around GMR's group at the time LC and Ian first got involved with him – like Matthew, for instance – who could provide more details.

        anonymous Jun 14, 2012 7:57pm

        "majored in literature" http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/garden/15buddhi

        "degree in literature and philosophy at New York University." http://michaelroachfiles.wordpress.com/2007/10/14

    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 7:44pm

    Interesting statements from Christie's 2010 interview:

    "In terms of myself, I’m hoping to be able to practice seeing my personal partner [Ian] as my angel who has come to save me as well as my partner practicing that towards me. I’m very excited to see how far we can get together in that practice. This is the first time that I’ve ever been able to fully go into that practice. Although Geshe Michael and I spoke about this in spiritual partner talks, it wasn’t the retreat practice that I did because I always felt as though he was the Lama and I was the student. I don’t think that’s in my current relationship so much, I think we have much more of a partnership."

    "Most of them I can’t talk about because many involve inner body practices that are secret in our tradition. But I’m encouraging other women who are initiated into the secret practices to keep a record of their own experiences so we can leave a legacy for women in the future."

    "Through the grace of my Lama. Bottom line. I could never have dreamed to do any of things I’ve done without the blessing of my Teacher. It’s his vision that made me into a Lama. I am fully a product of my lineage. The only good thing that I did was I simply surrendered to the process. The degree to which I surrendered is the degree to which he could build me and make me perfect. The degree to which I didn’t surrender is the degree to which I still have to fix myself. I was ready to jump when my Lama said jump, over and over again. He led me to beautiful, magical places above and beyond my wildest dreams.

    In terms of career, marriage and motherhood, who knows? But I hope that I can be some kind of a role model even for those positions because I don’t see myself as any different from any other normal woman of the world, who is struggling to find her spiritual path. I would hope to be accessible to everyone, not to say that everyone must take the intense spiritual path that I did in order to succeed in their path. You simply have to follow your heart and be willing to do whatever your spiritual path calls you to do. My spiritual path called me to do some crazy things but your path might not. Somebody’s spiritual path might call them to have a child. You have to be open and receptive to those callings."
    http://www.awakeningjournal.org/lama-christie-int

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 3:02pm

Now, how long did MR study?
Easter 2003 Quiet Retreat Interview with GM/C
GMR: "I’m going to say something a little different. Sometimes people ask me, “How did you pull off the Geshe thing?” Like how did you do that? Total, it took me eighteen years. And I always say, “I was just enjoying the classes, and I had no intention of being a Geshe.” It never even crossed my mind until the final year, and then I got a letter, and it said, “You’re up”, and I was surprised because I was just enjoying the courses. I just wanted to know the courses. And I never had that goal in mind; it just came at the end. And I think … I’ve practiced my whole adult life, from the day I left college, to try to become enlightened. And now looking back, I see this is how it’s supposed to go. You train; you meet lamas who train you. If it’s your way, you get ordained. If it’s not, you don’t. And I want to say that it’s not necessary to be ordained to see emptiness directly, and I wasn’t ordained at that time. But what I just want to say is that this is Lord Buddha’s teaching, the natural progression of Lord Buddha’s teaching."

I posted earlier that in various places he said his training was 20, 25, and 30 years. Here he says 18. Khen Rinpoche died about a 1 1/2 years later, but MR did not spend that time in New Jersey. http://michaelroachfiles.wordpress.com/2003/06/09

    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 3:12pm

    Do they just think people won't notice the story is changing all the time?

    Or that people will notice but just take it as Roach "manifesting" something?

    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 4:48pm

    The man's education is bachelor's level. I do not know what his degree was in.
    No master's, no PHD.
    Sera Mey Monastery does not recognize him as an aumnus.
    His other scholastic achievement seems to be that he was photographed in a large yellow hat.
    I believe Rev. Michael Roach was a moderately succesful manager in a profitable business.
    I do not believe either CM or IT were masters level educated. I do not know what their(undergrad) degrees are in.
    All these people seem to present themselves as Highly Educated, in a traditional sense.
    None of them are.

      anonymous Jun 14, 2012 4:50pm

      oops should be alumnus

      anonymous Jun 14, 2012 7:02pm

      Thanks for the summary. I'm interested in what exactly Thorson and McNally's background was as well, I think I read a comment saying she studied photography, anyone know what Thorson's background was in?

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 1:45pm

Ok, it is story time:

Praise to the authentic Wisdom Gurus of the three times and ten directions.
May this be of some benefit.

"Many years ago, In India, there was a great scholar named "Source of Teaching" who lived and taught at the Buddhist university Nalanda. By practicing his deity's sadhana, he attained common siddhi, and was able to perform great miracles. While giving initiations, he could put ritual vessels in the sky without the support of his hands so that he could use his hands to make gestures. Although his mind was very powerful, his teacher instructed him not to leave Nalanda until he attained confidence in his Wisdom Mind. Nevertheless, he left the university with his one devoted student to perform the actions of a saint in the world.
On the road he met a girl who did not believe in Buddhism. Near a peach tree he asked her for some peaches but she said to him, "You take them yourself, I don't want to serve you." So he sat near the peach tree, and looking up, fruit fell in front of him like rain. Immediately the girl said, "Before you eat those peaches look at me". As he looked at her, she looked down at the peaches and they all went back up into the tree, so he could not have even one peach. He became embarrassed and then angry. She told him, "Even though you are a very powerful yogi, you will see that after three nights you will not be alive."
He left with his student and after a while became sick with blood in his urine. Even though he had deity's visualization power, his anxiety increased because his wisdom confidence was not great enough. He thought he was being punished by the deity for disobeying his teacher's advice not to leave the university until he had wisdom confidence.
He was told by many people that his illness could only be cured by sea foam from the ocean. The ocean was far away so he sent his student there to bring it. On the way back, the student met another girl on the road who asked him where he was going in such a hurry. When he explained that his teacher was mortally sick, she replied sadly that he had already died. The student threw away the sea foam and ran to the town where he had left his teacher, but when he arrived he found him alive. His teacher asked, "Where is the sea foam?", and the student explained that the girl by the road had said he was dead. Then Source of Teaching knew he would die from the demon's power. Still, he decided to try through his own power to come back into his body after his death and so he asked the student to protect the corpse. When Source of Teaching died, this same girl, who was a witch, emanated many wolves who circled around his house during the night, scratching at neighbor's doors and howling loudly so that the whole town knew there was a corpse nearby. During the day she appeared to spread the news about where the corpse could be found, so the townspeople came and took the body away to burn it. After three days has passed, a whirlwind appeared near the student, and from it a voice spoke, saying, "In this life I could not get enlightenment, but maybe I will be able to in the bardo".
Many Buddhist texts mention other examples of obstacles created by self-righteous or self-satisfaction demons. Practitioners like Source of Teaching may have been emanated by the Buddha to teach us how to recognize the effects of these demons. If we are intelligent or famous for our intellect but lack wisdom confidence, we must always guard against self-righteous demons and self-satisfaction demons in order to practice in a pure way. Without complete confidence in our Wisdom Mind, we will continue to be deceived by magic, whether we think it is the magic of demons or whether we think it is the magic of our own neurotic minds. Without really understanding, we will view anything mysterious with suspicion, separating subject from object, subtle from gross, and mistrusting the real nature of wisdom mystery inherent in our own minds."

~ Thinley Norbu, from Magic Dance

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 5:47am

The story appeared in the online edition of Bild, the newspaper with the largest circulation in Europe. Not sure how many people read the website, but the story was featured on the homepage on Sunday.

(in German)
http://www.bild.de/news/ausland/sekten/buddhist-t

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 1:54am

The self-satisfaction demon of our worldly qualities appears when we interpret good circumstances such as position, friends and comforts with pride and a sense of fulfillment and become attached to our good fortune. The self-satisfaction demon of our spiritual qualities is more subtle. For example, we may think our spiritual path is superior, our teacher is best, our blissful or visionary experiences are very special. Our mind becomes obscured by self-importance with these thoughts because our obscured mind cannot increase our pure qualities, we cannot conquer the self-satisfaction demons.
The self-righteous demon appears when the need arises to express comparative concepts about oneself which interpret the self as being better than the other. For example, we may think "I am more beautiful, more intelligent, more gifted than they are". In high Vajrayana Buddhism, deities are portrayed stamping on four bodies. These four bodies are symbolic of the annihilation of the self-righteous demons.

Self-satisfaction demons and self-righteous demons are the most dangerous for practitioners. Without realizing Wisdom Mind, a practitioner may become a saint or sage with his ego, and through certain sadhanas, may attain great powers like a magician. But without a true understanding of our real wisdom nature and without confidence in our Wisdom Mind, no matter what powers we attain through practice, if we cannot release our mind from our ego's pride at having attained these powers, it is only the cause of samsara.
Guru <<Knowing Three Tenses>> said, "There are so many saints, but so few are realized". Without realizing Wisdom Mind, even though a saint may be able to perform many great and varied miracles, if the essence of his magic is ego, he will only create self-righteous and self-satisfaction demons which are great obstacles to enlightenment. For this reason, the practitioner's path is very difficult.
In general, until a scholar has complete confidence in his Wisdom Mind, he must practice sincerely and alone."

—-Thinley Norbu, from Magic Dance – The Display of the Self-Nature of the Five Wisdom Dakinis

more later

    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 3:30am

    A lot of this is in the ACI courses….. or to be simple…. don't tell us about your spiritual partner when you married her ass a few years ago…. don't lie to me about your shit, and then expect me to pretend you didn't; I don't need this fucking liturgy… we've gotten bogged down with this nitpicking and really the question is… GM are you a lying shit or what? I'm way too old for bullshit.

      anonymous Jun 14, 2012 6:47am

      My perception is that GMR never acted with malice, but we do have evidence that he has lied – whether through omission (the fact that he was MARRIED to a woman in 1998), exaggeration (saying that there were more people at a teaching than there really were), obscuring the facts (the lineage of Tibetan Heart Yoga), or outright lying (that entire mess with HHDL's office in 2006).

      It's a problem because it's planted a seed of doubt in my mind. It's harder to believe what he says now that I know these things, so unless I've seen it backed up in a text or heard it taught by another teacher, I have to shelve it. What he taught in the ACI courses in the early/mid-90s is right in line with what I've heard my other teachers say.

      I don't think he's a bad person, but he has made some mistakes – just like any person does. The difference is that he is in a position of power, so he must be held to a higher level of scrutiny and accountability.

        anonymous Jun 14, 2012 11:45am

        And because he is in a position of power, his actions affect people's lives. And because he acts as a spiritual leader for people, people are affected very deeply by his words and actions.

        Don't forget the sexual abuse and the lives and relationships ruined by his brainwashing.

      anonymous Jun 14, 2012 10:06am

      The point is, there can't be a grosser example of "self satisfaction" or "self righteous" demons than a scholar running around everywhere telling people they've really special, they're on the 8th bhumi, you know? Especially when said scholar is blatantly ignoring what what their own teachers say about the matter. (And I am not even getting into the distortions of the teachings or rituals).

      SO, in the words of Thinley Norbu "Until a scholar has complete confidence in his Wisdom Mind, he must practice sincerely and alone"

        anonymous Jun 14, 2012 12:04pm

        Sky, it's not about being a bad person or a good person or having good or bad intentions. It's about conduct. What MR has done. And you give a good summary in your first paragraph.
        His actions do not suggest any attainment of wisdom, because wisdom brings us closer to reality, it doesn't take us away from it. Compassion without wisdom is misguided. This is how "good" intentions can bring "bad" results.
        If MR has made mistakes, he's not admitting them. He has made choices, conscious choices and he doesn't apologise for any of them.
        He should take off those robes for good and scrub all reference to the Gelug lineage from his teaching, his web sites and the web sites of his students. They do not have the transmission and are not teaching TB in the Gelug lineage of the Dalai Lamas. It's like selling "baby formula" diluted with melamine, only in this case, minds are being poisoned instead of bodies.

          anonymous Jun 14, 2012 12:15pm

          I agree with what you're saying, Svan. Of course conduct matters, and some of his conduct has been questionable. I wasn't trying to say that my belief that GMR hasn't acted with malice or isn't a bad person is an excuse for his conduct.

            anonymous Jun 14, 2012 12:58pm

            If there's any harshness in my remarks, Sky, it's not meant for you, but for MR whose conduct has been irresponsible and reprehensible, in my opinion. I cannot cut him any slack for his behaviour, especially when he continues to abuse the trust of his students so thoroughly.

          anonymous Jun 16, 2012 12:16am

          "Compassion without wisdom is misguided. This is how "good" intentions can bring "bad" results."

          I think Trungpa called it "Idiot Compassion"

    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 6:10am

    intrepid – this answers some suspicions I had. Thank you. So you could fly in the air and still not be a realized being. Nice to see it in print.

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 1:34am

In reference to any disciples of Roach who are magnetized by charisma or any subtle energetic influence that they project as a sign of realization in support of his bombastic claims, here is an excerpt of a speech by the 100the Ganden Tripa:
"There are many gods and Nagas assuming the form of the powerful ones and granting boons. What certainty is there in god whose appearances are ever changing, obstacles befell on persons who had the vision of evil spirit in the form of white Manjushri. In the past, Tendar, a slain Mongolian abbot of Sera Je monastery, too is said to have had the vision of an image similar to that of Je Tsongkhapa, but had to undergo many obstacles. And, in our ritual texts, it had been said that there are many demons and spirits who assumes the form of a deceased and inflict sufferings to their surviving relatives. And many fire sacrificial rites are meant to banish and ward off these outer evil forces. Even amongst the retinue of the great protector, Vaishravana, there hides many terrifying demons. And, as for the fifteen directional protectors, there are `the fifteen evil protectors' that are to be subdued through Phurba rituals and the `fifteen godly protectors.' And as for the sixty two Chakrasamvaras with reference to the subduables and the subduers, it is held that there are sixty two evils that are to be subdued. And if the practitioner does not abide by the vows and if he were not free from desire and attachment, the power of the evil deities would increase and would cause more harm than good. If we worship or invoke gods and protectors with a mind focusing on the nine apprehensions of conceit as the center of our meditation and practice, then it is said that the god and protectors, if good and real would never fulfill your wishes but would be as dangerous as holding a burning thunderbolt in your hand."

from: http://dalailama.com/messages/dolgyal-shugden/gan

    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 1:38am

    But anybody can just claim this, or say they felt it … ecclesiastical mumbo jumbo

      anonymous Jun 14, 2012 2:04am

      The main point really is " And if the practitioner does not abide by the vows and if he were not free from desire and attachment, the power of the evil deities would increase and would cause more harm than good. "

      This is just the view of the tradition Roach is coming from. The reason I posted this context is because even though he may genuinely believe himself that he is in constant communication with Vajrayogini, and even if there seems to be some subtle vibe around him that instills faith in his followers.. this could be nothing other than a demon in disguise– this is according to his own tradition. So I am merely trying to appeal to the faithful that are otherwise caught in a pickle of cognitive dissonance right now.

        anonymous Jun 14, 2012 2:06am

        Thank you, that is a real statement.

anonymous Jun 13, 2012 3:53pm

Case closed: http://www.willcoxrangenews.com/news/article_9a72

    anonymous Jun 13, 2012 5:23pm

    Capas needed a better map…retreat valley was the better route. 60 feet scramble…in your dreams…think the water with plants was home remedy stuff
    when i say better route of course the helicopter was the best but with the help of the retreaters a guy on a good atv could have gotten close and scrambled up with emergency stuff from the Ranch house (Lama House area)

anonymous Jun 12, 2012 9:23pm

Somebody's got to come up with some way to control or at least mute all these insane cults.

See for example my blog post: http://diamondsutrazen.blogspot.com/2012/06/tulku

This is some serious crazy and criminal shit that American "lamas" are doing. They need to be restrained by the Tibetan lamas, or if not by Tibetan lamas then by the police.

    anonymous Jun 13, 2012 1:08am

    Good to see you, AW… thanks for all you've done/are doing.

anonymous Jun 12, 2012 9:18pm

Everything people believe about Chrisies time in the cave is bullshit. I thought about keeping this quite but believe what we found out today should make friends of Christie McNally double there efforts to get her in a safe place…safe from herself… I went up to the cave with a author doing a book on deaths in retreats.He had a student think she was a Hindu goddess and fly out a temple window on a student trip to Tibet or Katmandu a few years ago.It was her first and last flight. He has recently spent time with the Roachster trying to control his mind but Scott's a smart guy and has a great crap meter. We took off this morning with gps co-ords (sort of) water and fruit with a beef jerky chaser. headed to the cave The hike from the Fort to the cave area is best reached on the illegal trail the retreaters are building (Tara trail..even has a sign) up and around the mine facing the parade ground.Then up around to the saddle followed by a unbelievably tough scramble to just below the cave.This is some of the most dangerous hiking I have done out here..I stayed 200 feet below the "cave" because it felt a bit like death tourism to me having known Ian a bit…just made me edgy (something creepy about that area..sort of feels like your being watched)…this was a good choice because it was a 45 minute bushwhack straight up to the cave. Scott (a hiking animal)checked out the clean cave (DMers had taken stuff out) and spent time looking around while i walked a wide radius just below seeing no signs of a walking path,broken brush ..tracking stuff I have grown up doing…Scott noticed the same up by the cave…no human scat,slide marks,soft sitting places under trees.Basically no one was there for a long period of time.The cave story is bullshit.The ranger and us think they must have been staying in the mine or bunking in a cabin with friends (they had plenty) then they went together to the cave to die like monks in a book.Ian dies and thankfully Chrisie decides to live (for now0
I had less water and came straight down.This route past the lama house would have gotten ATV's up to the steep part 400 yards below the cave…instead 6 hours pass as things get organized from Wilcox.Someone pointed out them being dead in the cave worked for many principals in this story. I get back to Fort and Larry the head Ranger is watching for me.Over an hour later Scott comes down maybe an hour from being in big trouble.i was really glad to see him.It would have been a drag to have to run for the border with the other death bringer in this story the Roachman!No one in Angel wear went up there on a regular basis. They went up to die because Michael Roach drove them both crazy

    anonymous Jun 13, 2012 5:51am

    Wow Jerry

      anonymous Jun 13, 2012 7:18am

      The suicide by natural causes idea came from another reporter with separate sources and information.when told of what was up their. Scott doesn't think it was the case (sorry I said he agreed) but i believe it matches up with the state of the place and gives reason to why she didn't call earlier… note Corvid is me Jerry when i enter from my kindlefire thing

        anonymous Jun 13, 2012 9:19am

        BLM Law enforcement Rangers arrived at the Fort and are headed to the border with the retreat…they came in 2 SUV's
        The tara trail makers could face arrest. If that stupid trail wasn't built Ian and Christie would never have ended up in that cave. Jerry

          anonymous Jun 13, 2012 9:29am

          This is good. Finally someone will have to take some responsibility.

            anonymous Jun 13, 2012 9:53am

            Who? When? How?

              anonymous Jun 13, 2012 9:56am

              What is Michael's take on suicide?

                anonymous Jun 14, 2012 8:06pm

                He's publicly spoken against it on numerous times, as recently as the qrt's in February. He lost a brother to suicide almost forty years ago.

          anonymous Jun 13, 2012 10:15am

          Maybe I am missing something. If there is a trail to the cave, why was it so hard to find them the morning of Christie's distress call?

            anonymous Jun 13, 2012 1:22pm

            I'm confused about the events of that morning as well.

              anonymous Jun 13, 2012 2:18pm

              The trail make to the top of Tara goes above the cave but loops around the back…Tiny semi-cave is located in a huge rock face craggy rock area on the Northwest side below the top…it is a tough spot.The retreaters built the trail,knew where Christie was but were not asked to help in the rescue…so it was left to people that didn't know the facts…all palace intrigue stuff

                anonymous Jun 13, 2012 2:27pm

                Also the tattooed West coast choppers looking t dude that was Chrisies right hand man came and picked up his stuff with a uhaul yesterday C something he was the guy swearing at Warren at Fort Bowie visitor center on rescue Sunday in front of a kids field trip "mommy what does CSucker mean" was heard by a maintenance guy…cringe!!!!!

                  anonymous Jun 13, 2012 4:00pm

                  I assume you mean Ernie (Ven. Chandra), The guy in the sombrero next to GMR in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7i9IqWTj-U

                    anonymous Jun 13, 2012 5:18pm

                    that is him…seems to be a bit unpopular up there these days

                    anonymous Jun 13, 2012 5:25pm

                    Along with learning that Ian and Christie were going into retreat together, finding out about his ordination was another occurrence of "what are they thinking up there?" for me. I eventually assumed I had misconceptions about the role of a monk in TB.

                    anonymous Jun 13, 2012 5:54pm

                    It's a little strange. If I got the timeline right, when this video was made, GMR thought Ian and Christie were in a motel somewhere but Ernie, sitting next to him, knew that they were camped out next to DM and was part of the deception. It's like a novel about medieval court intrigue.

                    anonymous Jun 13, 2012 6:02pm

                    Ben thats why the retreaters should have been called to an emergency meeting rescue morning…this was a bit bigger deal than frozen pipes…people knew stuff and were not given the chance to help

                    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 12:09am

                    Glad I missed this party!! Sorry, I couldn't help but laugh when one of the students encouraged people to bring their "whole family" to the free party.

    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 1:51am

    Jerry, rewrite this, it is incomprehensible.

      anonymous Jun 14, 2012 4:23am

      And thank you for clarifying that Jerry and corvid are the same person.

        anonymous Jun 14, 2012 7:52am

        Kevin..The cave and it's surrounding area showed no sign of use over a long period of time.The goddess and Ian had to have been elsewhere for months.No way she went up and down from there on a regular basis. My guess is a retreat cabin or the mine facing the Fort.The illegal trail built by the retreaters goes up and around Tara mountain(oh this really pisses off the Apaches..naming there shit) and allowed access to the mine then later the mountain top. Again no sign of long time camping up there either. No stove in the cave..just a little water and beans….they went up there to die,she set next to the body and changed her mind.Maybe he was still alive at that moment and she was trying to help them both but however it played out others had to know there locations before the big move to this 5 foot .overhang called a cave

    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 6:07am

    Jerry, your pictures make this perspective pretty clear. Thanks for posting them.

anonymous Jun 12, 2012 6:30pm

Reposting something Svan came across: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/himalayan-buddhist-a

Just so you know, LC did not grant the Shri Devi empowerment to everyone who went into the candlelit dome. It appears that she didn't grant it to the people who didn't seem to feel a burning need to have it.

    anonymous Jun 12, 2012 9:43pm

    poor rabbitthorn…never invited to party with the cool people

anonymous Jun 12, 2012 3:43pm

Two are now one
Death in a desert from, ‘the waters of pride’,
The crashing of thunder, is whispering time,
Glowing sunshine, in an age this is grime,
If you don’t take it with you, it can’t then be mine,
If this is what sustains you, then you cannot yet climb,
Your crystal cave in the diamond mine,
Cutting the ego, as a marketing pastime,
Reshape all wisdom, abandon all mores,
A little bit of knowledge, a fortune, a score,
Hungry Ghosts are roaming in the great vast unknown,

Viral havens are thriving in a sea of dark slime,
If it is mold that preserves you, your health is just fine,
Steaming rich soil, is a bacterial gold mine,
All of life is growing, one cell at a time,
What you believe in, just as you die,
A heavenly sit-com, a movie of crime,
The latest accolade in a language of lies.
Four rivers of suffering, translated it as mime,

My stomachs contents are a bacterial hive,
Intestines are heaving, digesting a pie,
The food you gather, looking for style,
Leaves us hungry, you’v another book to rewrite,
Samsara is beginningless, your delusions are fine,
For busy little insects, shit is a mine,
Common sense is a natural human flaw,
Make it all up, let your business grow tall,
Who is to know that it’s confusion you sow?

Change your state of mind and call it the all,
Limitless delusion, is always on show,
Buy your own ticket, leave all you own,
Collecting your badge, to prove you know more,
Dreamy lovers in silence live alone,
Playing with fire and burning their soul.
Paradise in a moment, the thunder does fall,
Self indulgent yearnings, a demon is born,
Death in a desert, Two yogas have gone,
If this is what sustains you, Mara is on the throne.

anonymous Jun 12, 2012 2:07pm

I'd like to call for one or more volunteers to collate these comments into a single word document with subject headings. Many have said that this thread is a unique collection of perspectives on many aspects of not only Tibetan Buddhist culture and practice, but also contemporary spirituality in general. Perhaps the resulting document can be published in e-book form, with its proceeds dedicated to an appropriate charitable effort. Maybe an education fund for Ian Thorson's daughter, Thea, or a donation to one of Roach's universally acclaimed projects, such as ACIP. I'm willing to oversee the project, although many might feel I'm not objective enough to perform an editorial role. But I can get the ball rolling if interested parties contact me directly at [email protected], so that we can collectively explore options.

    anonymous Jun 12, 2012 2:17pm

    need your valid email address…

    anonymous Jun 12, 2012 3:32pm

    where in germany does Thea live?

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 4:28pm

      I am in Germany. Let me know if I can help in any way.

        anonymous Jun 12, 2012 5:13pm

        no big deal..I am going to Germany with the boss next week and had a book Ian gave me back by the quarry..i had forgotten about but just saw it

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 5:06pm

      I'm not sure she is in Germany.

    anonymous Jun 12, 2012 7:32pm

    It would be great if it could be something on the internet, free of charge, that would come up in a Google search. I can't see someone being excited about finding a new teacher and then coming home and buying a book that trashes him. From what I understand, Ian's parents are well off and take care of his responsibilities.

    anonymous Jun 13, 2012 1:28pm

    ian also has a son by another woman. what about a college fund for him?

      anonymous Jun 13, 2012 1:56pm

      Unless you know her and have asked her if she wants her , her children, and her relationship with Ian to be part of this discussion, maybe it's best to respect her privacy.

    anonymous Jun 13, 2012 6:25pm

    this was my hope for this.

anonymous Jun 12, 2012 1:14pm

A lot of important contextual information is buried deep in comments here, inaccessible to a casual reader.

Sorry if by commenting I am crashing an insiders' party, but I'm going to do so anyway. What pushed me over the lurkers' edge is the hearsay that Christie's mother allegedly said that Christie has accused Michael Roach of murdering her husband Ian.

First- to friends of Christie- may I suggest to you that posting such "information" is not the slightest bit helpful to your friend. My first response to that post was– how shameful that anyone, least of all a practicing Buddhist, would decline all responsibility for a situation she so clearly contributed to, to whatever extent.

Second, as a parent, I wonder why Ms. McNally's parents haven't locked her up in their house until qualified help arrives. Ian's parents seem so sane, can the same be said of Ms. McNally's? Yes, she is certainly of age- and over, but parents can provide a unique grounding and perspective, and if MY kid started babbling about being a goddess, I know I wouldn't relent until she was in therapy.

Last, Michael Roach invoking Jesus should alarm everyone who cares about the folks still under his influence. He's on the defense, and is upping the ante to hold onto his vision of power.. There is absolutely nothing new about this kind of behavior… but… it is appalling that Roach is dragging some peoples' perception of Tibetan Buddhism into the mud with him.

    anonymous Jun 12, 2012 1:35pm

    "A lot of important contextual information is buried deep in comments here, inaccessible to a casual reader."

    I was hopng this forum could give information to someone who is currently studying or thinking of studying at DM. Someone like me who thinks that authentic TB is being taught there. I'm afraid not many folks are going to wade through 1700+ comments. Maybe someone smarter than me can make a suggestion on how to remedy this.

    "Last, Michael Roach invoking Jesus should alarm everyone who cares about the folks still under his influence."

    I can only assume you haven't listened to GMR a lot. This isn't upping the ante. This is typical talk. Employing his methods (maybe they are also part of TB, I can't say), one is to become as Jesus was. Your goal is to become the savior of the world.

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 1:39pm

      I wanted to clarify – "Someone like me who thinks that authentic TB is being taught there." should be "Someone,as I was, who thinks that authentic TB is being taught there." Kind of an ugly sentence but I think it's important to affirm that I no longer think that.

        anonymous Jun 13, 2012 11:01pm

        Editorial suggestion: "Someone such as myself, who once thought that authentic TB was taught there."

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 1:54pm

      "maybe they are also part of TB, I can't say"
      The goal of Mahayana Buddhism is to benefit beings: and in order to do that it is understood that one has to go beyond limited habitual perception and action which often inevitably harms others more than helps them. In other words, the goal is to become awakened, a "Buddha". Only with this clarity can one be able to truly be of benefit, and not harm. It is not to "save" the world, or to take on the sins of the world, or whatever may be understood in a Christian context via Jesus. It is understood in Buddhism that really, no one can save anybody else– but you can assist them on the path to saving themselves. If you start leading them on a false path, deceiving them about your abilities and the nature of the path that you are leading them on– then this is considered to be outright harm, not benefit. I think all these correlations to Jesus -and we know this is not an isolated incident– is misleading in so many ways. And as we can see clearly through these articles and comments from former students– there is so so much more that is misleading.

        anonymous Jun 12, 2012 2:28pm

        Ben- yes, Roach is new to me, so my bad if invoking Jesus is not new to this teacher of Buddhism.

        Phurba- yes, that is my understanding of Mahayana Buddhism, and what I was taught over 30 years ago, when I spent years immersed in Tibetan Buddhist practice.

        My teachers were so completely GROUNDED. They showed me by example what it was to be compassionate, deeply aware/alive, and SANE.

        I well remember asking one of my teachers' more advanced students, who had just returned from a month retreat- -what did you learn? Her reply? That there is nothing that a good long warm shower in the morning can't make feel better.

        anonymous Jun 12, 2012 3:53pm

        Phurba, Jesus taught the same thing. basically "Don't worship me, become like me". All good guru's are a guide on the path here to help you awaken. If you are going on the modern structure of Christianity you are misjudging Christ. He was here help awaken people and show them the God within themselves but that is not useful or convenient to governments and systems that desire to control people. Thus you have the crucifixion as in "let's get rid of this guy". Just saying.

          anonymous Jun 12, 2012 4:34pm

          Well, there's many versions of what this questionable historical being "jesus" may have said.. but I think the modern presentation is the most pertinent when invoking him in the modern age. If we merely look to the New Testament translations in English, we find quotes like "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." -Mt. 21:22
          "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." – Lk. 21:33
          "If thou canst believe, all things _are_ possible to him that believeth." – Mk. 9:23
          "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:3
          There's many quotes where he clearly defines himself as divine, and refers to his special relationship with God that makes him beyond everyone else in an ultimate way
          These above and many others are certainly _NOT_ Buddhist teachings.. so you can't say he said the same thing. .

          But here's a good Jesus quote for GMR to reflect on : "or everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." LUKE 14:11

    anonymous Jun 12, 2012 3:30pm

    Mr Mcnally is rock solid and would do anything for her.He was not told by any of you Roach people about the kali initiation even though many of you believe her to have been crazy for years.Next time pick up the phone of skype..

anonymous Jun 12, 2012 9:20am

Also if Christie's friends could tell her this, it might be helpful. Of course, being an ordinary deluded being myself I cannot ultimately discern Christie's realization, but only deducing this through conventional reasoning.
I hope she does meet a good teacher in Nepal or India who can help her begin this journey of responsibility and healing.

anonymous Jun 12, 2012 9:05am

I think it is important for Christie to know this, maybe she might even be reading this blog:
Dear Christie
It is okay to be ordinary. You are in good company, there are countless, infinite ordinary beings in samsara. No one through simply expectation or hope can wish realization onto you. Realizations take lifetimes to develop. Our progress alternates with making mistakes. Enlightened beings start as ordinary beings who commit to abandoning faults and cultivating virtue.
It is okay to admit that you are where you are. Confused and not sure where to go to figure things out. You will find if you express this, and honestly reach out for help, support will be available to you.
It is said that on the mountain of pride the waters of virtue cannot remain. We all need to be humbled from time to time. Through humility, we learn to admit to our mistakes and take responsibility for them.
If you are able to do that, just admit that you are an ordinary being who made mistakes, then a process of healing will begin for many people. Confusion will be clarified through truth, and you will come to a point where you can make authentic spiritual progress, just like the rest of us.
With humility, you will become what the Tibetans call a "suitable vessel" able to really receive the teachings that are the antidote to the delusions.
Please make yourself ready to take this step Christie, for the benefit of both yourself and others.

anonymous Jun 11, 2012 11:27pm

Where is Christie McNally? Who is with her? Is she okay?

One can only speculate how it must have felt when Christie opted out of her marriage to Michael to take on a student of her own, someone who she could partner with in creative pursuits and marriage. It would seem that Christie’s new found independence from “Geshe” Michael would feel awkward, to say the least, for Michael.

I don’t know how Michael took the news of Ian and Christie’s affair. How long had it been going on? When did Christie and Michael begin to be more than fifteen feet apart from each other?

Why is it important to question all of this?

Shouldn’t “Geshe” Michael be kneeling at Christie’s side right now begging forgiveness for being the root of the dishonesty and betrayal and also for causing them to leave their sacred retreat? If he is unrepentant then isn’t there cause to fear? Is Christie outside of Michael’s grip?

Is there cause for concern?

“People do strange things out of fear,” Christie wrote in her Shift in the Matrix. “There have been some crazy rumors going around, most of them outright lies, They went into our house, and did a thorough search of every personal item we owned. They told people they were searching for drugs. That is a lie. They were actually looking for incriminating photos of a certain ex-friend of mine. But I had thrown those out long ago.”

Is the ex-friend Michael?

Regarding the talk she gave in February she writes, “… You should trust your Lama with your life, and totally surrender to them. So the story I told on the third night was about surrender.

#4. Then people have asked why I would talk about such highly personal things. Well, that’s easy – I thought it would be of great benefit to people. I want to live my life for the world, and give the whole world everything I have to give.”

Christie was speaking openly and honestly perhaps.

We can only guess because Diamond Mountain is silencing her voice by not releasing the recording of that talk to the public.

What are they hiding? Why?

How could Michael manipulate his Board to turn on the woman he held up as a deity? They were her students and friends!

When I asked Christie’s mother about the Board of Diamond Mountain
she said Christie said, “Michael murdered my love.” Michael manipulated the Board into taking the actions that sent Christie and Ian out.

Can we finally assume that Michael is forcing the Board to keep the recording buried?

Having been on the inside for over a decade of what can easily be described as a cult, one can further speculate that Christie knows everything there is to know about Michael and his Diamond Mountain. Does that make Michael nervous – or did they work out an arrangement? Is that arrangement cancelled now that Christie’s new husband has been murdered by her first?

Where is Christie? How is she? How can we know for certain?

    anonymous Jun 11, 2012 11:36pm

    Hi there,
    Christie was last seen in Kathmandu a couple of days ago, it seems like she tried to see Lama Zopa Rinpoche. She didn't get an appointment however, just managed to offer a khatag in the farewell line with a bunch of other people before Lama Zopa Rinpoche left for the airport to go to California.

      anonymous Jun 11, 2012 11:47pm

      Well, now that he is gone she should at least seek solace from some of the siddhas scattered around the valley… they do exist there if you know where to look. Lama Wangdu, the Chod-pa for instance, he doesn't care if you're part of a cult or which lineage you're from or if you're a hindu or a xstian or white or asian or if you happen to think you're an angel.. he is a force of healing straight up. Seems she could use some company like that.

        anonymous Jun 11, 2012 11:47pm

        hahaha I meant "solace in" not from.. but you knew that

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 1:19am

      Thanks for the inside scoop Khedrup. I appreciate it.

        anonymous Jun 13, 2012 6:02am

        Hi ,
        My friend who is a student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche emailed me about it a couple of days ago. She was there along with the rest to say goodbye to Rinpoche before he left for America. She mentioned it as she is following the DM story a bit and knows that I am as well

          anonymous Jun 13, 2012 7:13am

          I think this is a positive sign. Before she got mixed up with Roach I believe she was Lama Zopa's student. In one of her bios she mentioned studying at Kopan. Maybe after all this she is going back to where she was before she met Roach. I really hope the best for her and then she meets with some teachers in Kathamandu that can provide her with some proper guidance.

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 5:42pm

      Hey Khedrup
      Who saw her in Kathmandu? And how did you hear about it?

        anonymous Jun 13, 2012 9:31am

        Sorry posted this above by accident
        Hi ,
        My friend who is a student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche emailed me about it a couple of days ago. She was there along with the rest to say goodbye to Rinpoche before he left for America. She mentioned it as she is following the DM story a bit and knows that I am as well

    anonymous Jun 12, 2012 12:07am

    It seems that you are only aware of one side ! and choose to only believe one side ! I'm not on either side, but both sides are important in order to get to the real truth of this whole situation. Some of what you say/believe come from christie's letter and to be honest many many people that were at the great retreat and that read that letter feel/believe that she is in a delusional state, so how can what she wrote be truth in this reality when she appears to be living in another reality. Not seeing abuse as abuse and not feeling that a knife can cut and seriously wound another and not calling for help much sooner when she and Ian were not well and dehydrated, why didnt she call ?!!?? Michael made none of those choices but she did? I do believe that there is a serious problem at diamond mountain and for many years obviously for this incredibly unfortunate incident to come to pass. So sorry for Christie's loss but I dont see how it can all be blamed on Michael. Also, I do know that the decision to ask them to leave was solely due to the violence that had taken place and the board members (not just Michael) felt that this was the best (maybe not all of them , but forsure some of them, I heard this from them.
    just had to add , as your post is so biased !

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 12:58am

      Well, anon108, what do you expect? Ebwally is a personal friend of Christie's, she is open about this. She is not a student of GMR or DM. She is concerned for her friend. I think bias is pretty natural, given the situation. If there was less secrets, if the recording was released, and GMR would answer direct questions and not stay silent– then there would be much more information with which to try to come to an objective perspective.

        anonymous Jun 12, 2012 1:28am

        Thanks Phurba, you are correct on all accounts, except I'm a boy. 🙂 Truth out.

          anonymous Jun 12, 2012 2:30am

          oh sorry eb… hard to keep track of gender in this dimension

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 1:16am

      Thanks for your response Anon.

      Why didn't Ian or Christie call for help sooner? That, indeed, is the question. Can't blame Michael for that, no.

      What violence took place? What did Christie say in February?

      I'll be biased until I hear the recording of her talk. Please ask the Board to do the right thing.

        anonymous Jun 14, 2012 11:12am

        repeating myself but the physical evidence points toward the idea that they intended to die up there and she thankfully changed her mind.Hell they had a beacon,cell phone and lungs…at night you can hear long distances up there. 5 years ago I helped a Guatemala maid returning from Christmas with the family who had fallen in a Boison and was to short to get out above our ranch up in little Immigrant Canyon.i could here her a half mile away. So we drove the Polaris Bigboss up the Verada as far as it would go and hiked up to her…40 minutes later she was sitting in my truck with ice on an ankle headed to meet up with the brother in law at a Wilcox hotel….We could have called for a friggin helicopter..waited 6 hours like a bunch of Greenhorns would have done but we decided to do it ourselves.Plus some rich New Yorker must have really needed the penthouse cleaned after 40 days without Maria!

          anonymous Jun 14, 2012 11:38am

          I was wondering why they didn't call for help when they made the decision to stop getting the food at the bottom of the mountain because they didn't think they could get back. Seems like that would have been the time to call for help.

      anonymous Jun 13, 2012 3:50pm

      It seems to me that Christie is no different from any other abused woman who has lived with an abuser. She is delusional in the way all abused women are delusional who excuse the abuser by saying, "he didn't mean it, it was an accident. He was sorry.". Her reference to Ian, who, from what I have read in GM's letter appears to have had some type of breakdown or mental illness that no one address…why was a man who attacked others, either verbally and more importantly, physically, allowed to persist in that behavior? Allowed to remain without access to counseling? GM, in his letter, does not help matters, indeed he perpetuates the myth that Ian was somehow more special than other because he "hears" the world in a particular way, because he suffered "windmills" of energy. What the F does that mean? Christie is no different from GM when writing about Ian but she has an excuse, she drank the Kool-Aid and believes that violent people, including her husband, are here to teach her about herself. Hello, they are here to abuse you which doesn't mean that you can't get the hell out of Dodge. Ripening seeds or no, plant a different seed. There is NOTHING that makes it alright to sit and be abused, not even once. .
      in her letter Christie refers to Ian as "My Love, "never naming him. She has transformed him from common man to mystical being there to teach her. To name him would be to make him real, warts and all and that would make her situation much worse. Ian has been lost in all of this. No one saw and named his illness for fear of being ousted. And now he is dead. No one talks of him, only CM and GM.

        anonymous Jun 13, 2012 4:24pm

        She call him "Ein". The same as in "A statement by Ven. Chandra and Ven. Akasha shedding light on the events on Sunday, April 22, 2012".
        http://www.scribd.com/doc/91072639/Statement-on-L

        I don't think she was "delusional in the way all abused women are delusional". It was much more than that and it was based directly on the teachings at DM. As Karina posted about when McNally left GMR for Thorson, "GM said somewhere that he was getting too attached to LC so she left him to teach him non-attachment"." McNally wasn't a woman with her own feelings and emotions, she wasn't attracted to Ian but was a holy being that was trying to teach GMR something.

        One thing about this "everything comes from you", it either is or becomes, "everything is a teacher to you". I remember have a conversation with a DM student and she told me that the newscaster on TV was speaking for her and to her directly, to teach her. I told her that thinking such a thing is a sign of schizophrenia.

        I can see that how you interpret the world and what is and isn't important to you says something about you and can help you see more of you inner workings, let's say. And I am fairly certain this idea is a part of Authentic TB but I can't say whether the way it is explained and practiced at DM is traditional. Once again, I think it might be useful but it can lead to serious delusion.

          anonymous Jun 13, 2012 6:00pm

          I have heard an audio recording of a teaching with Robert Thurman, -I think it is on the Tibetan Book of the Dead-
          where he describes a TB "exercise"– now note he refers to it in a conditional way– as an exercise (if not this word exactly, this was the idea) in which you imagine that everyone in your life is already enlightened, and whatever they are doing is for your benefit, a way to bring you to enlightenment– whether it is seemingly positive of negative. I believe he is quite clear that this is akin to a thought-experiment.. NOT something to begin replacing your worldview with as some kind of absolute truth about reality.

            anonymous Jun 13, 2012 8:33pm

            MR: "And in the lower half of tantric practice, called kye rim, you try to imagine that people around you might be divine beings. That’s what kye means in kye rim, to create a divine being around you and try to perceive them that way. But as your practice bears more fruit, if your practice is sincere and if you follow your vows strictly, then those karmic seeds ripen in your mind, and the same beings that other people would perceive as normal people, you perceive as divine beings. I like to call them angels. Maybe it’s not so good in a dharma publication, but personally I like to call them angels. But you know what I’m talking about. And your perception of that being changes and they become a divine being for you, and they teach you."
            http://michaelroachfiles.wordpress.com/2003/06/09

              anonymous Jun 14, 2012 5:39am

              So people took MR literally because he was, in fact, speaking literally.

                anonymous Jun 14, 2012 7:05am

                Yeah, but you shouldn't start at a level like this as a practitioner. That's like building the top floor of a house without putting in the foundation first, or like learning calculus without even knowing addition and subtraction. And even if you are a tantric practitioner, you don't go around talking about your practice openly to people who have not take initiation because it's not helpful to them. Again, it's like explaining calculus to someone who is still learning basic math. It doesn't mean they don't have the capacity to get to that level of practice if they so choose, but they're not there yet.

                Of course, there are texts and teachings that explain what tantric practice is about so that a practitioner has an idea of what it's about and what kinds of commitments you will be making. And the whole point is so that you can become a being who is better able to serve others. It should be completely driven by compassion and wisdom.

                But it takes time to get there. Practicing Tibetan Buddhism is a lot like a trade. You have to commit yourself to it. You learn various methods of practice – different meditations. A teacher of mine likened it to becoming a mason, so you can build your foundation, then becoming a carpenter so you can put in the framing, then becoming a plumber so you can put in the pipes, then an electrician so you can put in the nervous system. Then you have a rock solid foundation to sit upon if you do decide to do tantric practice. You are rooted in compassion and wisdom. And you never stop doing those foundational practices, even when you're doing more advanced stuff.

                  anonymous Jun 14, 2012 7:30am

                  Sky I'll leave the philosophizer thing to you guys but I do this "seat of your pants" building the top floor first is exactly how the Knapp Ranch was turned in to the Mess on the hill now called Diamond Mountain.Expert knowledge on the location of the retreat was ignored by guys that considered themselves "master Builders' after having completed 2 houses.Experts on fires in Canyons warnings met by dull glazes and patronizing attitudes, Issues pertaining to easements ignored because "well man we have a 500 year plan". This elevated level of confidence with nothing to back it up is what ruins dreams out here.It could get a jolt when bulldozers cutting a route to the Marble Quarry start blading retreat valley if the cowboys sell to a certain interested party. You guys didn't know shit about building out in the sticks,scared the land and basically created a unsafe mess back there (hell Kat's dirt houses would have been a way more awesome way to go…in another location)….you rushed it and it's headed for problems sort of like the retreat itself..".figuring it out as we go" i think the magic man said once in an interview.

                  anonymous Jun 14, 2012 10:41am

                  Does the teacher or intiator of tantric practices have a responsibility to ensure that the student is ready? I would claim no one else can. I would also claim that GMR and his students which went on to teach/initiate tantra fell short in this. The students were bound to fall short in ensuring their students were ready because GMR didn't ensure they (his students) were ready.

                  I saw the mad dash to get into the tantra classes. All you had to do was finish the ACI courses and "finish" was really a relative concept at that point.

                  Others have said that having a firm understanding of emptiness and compassion is essential for successful tantric practice. I would speculate that you won't get these at DM. You will get "emptiness lite" a special creation of GMR and compassion that says you do things for others because that is how you get what you want.

                    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 11:21am

                    Yes, the tantric lama has the responsibility of determining whether or not the student is ready. Sometimes, a lama will give an empowerment to a student who is almost there but not quite ready, and then it's really more of a blessing.

                    I also saw that mad dash you mentioned. I came to the GMR/LC teachings through YSI, so I saw more of the yoga side of it. I think a lot of yogis find tantric practice to be very attractive. But I saw so many people accelerating through the ACI courses – in some cases, not having yet finished them – in order to get into the tantra program at DM.

                    This is why I've had my doubts about whether people were ready to be doing these practices. It was just all happening so quickly, and it sounded amazing – enlightenment in this lifetime. You're the bullet touching the target – that's how close you are to seeing emptiness directly. I can understand why people wanted it. Their intentions were good, but where was the grounding in method and wisdom?

                    Of course, as more as been revealed in this forum, it's complicated further by the fact that some of the empowerments they've received and practices they've learned might not even be completely legit.

                    anonymous Jun 15, 2012 8:58am

                    Yeah Ben, I have friends in Vancouver who were giving initiations after 3-4 years of "study". Its' madness. I worked with one of them, and once he brought one of his students to help out on a job site. The student kept referring to him as "Lama" on the jobsite. I started ribbing him about this, and he told me I was jealous, which is the same charge GM has been levelling at his critics for years.The student from that jobsite now has his own students in Vancouver. This is going on in ACI groups the world over.

                    anonymous Jun 15, 2012 10:49am

                    If anyone who has any background in the principles of Buddhist Vajrayana could suspend disbelief about all the other red-flags (lying about solitary retreat, then flaunting a girlfriend while still in robes, long hair while in robes, claiming high realizations publicly, distorted ways of teaching karma and emptiness for worldly gain, not honoring the commands or requests of his tantric Gurus, etc.) then the simple facts of fabricated/invented initiation rituals involving genital touching, blood-drawing and weapons along with authorizing people who have barely begun dharma studies to give tantric empowerments and be called "Lamas": this should be more than enough straws to break 1008 camels' backs.

                    anonymous Jun 15, 2012 10:47pm

                    r u in Van.??
                    just checking as I would love to talk with someone like yourself,
                    thanks

            anonymous Jun 14, 2012 9:07am

            Exactly Phurba, I'm sure there are useful and sometimes necessary applications for such a worldview, but in the world of GM this is the default "all channels all the time" worldview, and it only leads to some kind of schizophrenic detachment from conventional reality. There is no room for any other perspective. I know this from experience. I remember what it was like to be inside that type of delusional mind, and it was very hellish. And the worse things got, the harder I tried to practice, a downward cycle. And it took a long time to "de-program", I feel exceptionally lucky to have been able to emerge with some level of sanity intact. These days, when I speak to people who are stuck in that world, (a few of them have tried to contact me to "reason" with me of late), I feel nauseous.

              anonymous Jun 14, 2012 9:40am

              Just stay strong. People from your old life have no power over you, and you can decide who you talk to or not.

              anonymous Jun 14, 2012 12:01pm

              Sid, that's what I've been trying to say all along, too. Only you've said it so much better — thanks!

              For instance, that the satellite teachers from DM who are teaching in my city are very much into the default channel you mention. They're saying that the tragedy can be looked at from a "conventional" viewpoint or a "tantric" viewpoint.

              The keyword is "or." The DM default channel is an absolute channel. There's no integration of conventional with tantric in the way that Phurba implies from Robert Thurman's teaching.

              And since the world is full of nuances, these types of absolutes rarely work out very well.

                anonymous Jun 14, 2012 3:59pm

                I would reckon that the proper "tantric" way to view this tragedy is that there is a broken tantric lineage, due to broken samaya with the supposed tantric masters own gurus.

                anonymous Jun 15, 2012 9:00am

                Sorry Butterfly, didn't mean to cut your grass, I confess I haven't been reading all the posts.

                  anonymous Jun 15, 2012 2:49pm

                  Sid, your commentary is perfect here & I appreciate it more than you can know.

                  I worry about anyone under the influence of the teachings of GMR & LC, particularly everyone in the current great retreat. I fear for their spiritual and emotional safety. And since Ian's death — their physical safety as well.

                  I feel like anyone currently or contemplating studying any of the GMR/LC teachings should beware of the dangers of their "default channel" worldview. Their extreme views on karma and their particular brand of the "tantric" way of viewing reality.

                  I feel that Phurba's earlier comments about the Robert Thurman exercise nearly perfectly illustrates this "default channel" worldview:

                  "…you imagine that everyone in your life is already enlightened, and whatever they are doing is for your benefit, a way to bring you to enlightenment– whether it is seemingly positive of negative. I believe he is quite clear that this is akin to a thought-experiment.. NOT something to begin replacing your worldview with as some kind of absolute truth about reality."

                  Except I believe that in the case of GMR & LC this actually DID replace their worldview as some kind of absolute truth about reality.

                  It's this very absolute "tantric" way of viewing life that I think completely possessed LC, especially after having just re-read her "A Shift in the Matrix" teaching. This "default channel" is practically screaming at me in her writing. It's this "tantric" way of thinking that made her **believe** a knife couldn't possibly cut someone.

                  I also believe that this absolute "tantric" way of thinking has GMR saying that **they need more scandals** to sell more of his books (I wouldn't wish more death upon anyone if it were me). It wouldn't surprise me to soon hear GMR saying that enlightened beings spread the publicity of the scandals in order to bring people to Amazon to buy his books so that they can reach their enlightenment in this very lifetime. This would definitely be in line with his brand of "tantric" thinking.

                  And unfortunately, this absolute "tantric" way of viewing is being perpetuated within my own local ACI group with regard to the tragedy. If it was merely a "tantric" view without being absolute, it would be healthy. But it's being presented as the ONLY way to view the tragedy which I find dangerous and unhealthy.

                  Spirituality is serious business and should not to be taken lightly. That lending your heart, mind and soul can have DIRE CONSEQUENCES. Especially as Matthew has pointed out, when people are already emotionally unstable in the first place.

                  GMR's teachings should come with a very strong warning label. At least this latest publicity can serve as this kind of warning — hopefully before these teachings claim the next Christie McNally or Ian Thorson.

                    anonymous Jun 15, 2012 4:03pm

                    OK. Even though I agree with you, I am going to nitpick just because students of GMR will nitpick and then disregard everything else.

                    "Except I believe that in the case of GMR & LC this actually DID replace their worldview as some kind of absolute truth about reality."

                    I believe if you told a DM student this they would tell you that, no, the tantric worldview is not an absolute reality. Everything is empty and so the conventional WV and the Tantric WV are equally illusory and projections of your karma. But by pretending to live in the mandala (tantric WV) you will planting powerful karmic seeds to become a buddha and live in a buddha's baradise (which is still a karmic projection).

                    I believe that they believe slipping into the conventional WV is seen as that, a slip, and is to be greatly avoided.

                    To most this isn't a big distinction but, as you might have seen, one error negates the entire comment for some even if it was a minor point not greatly related to the point you were trying to make.

                    "GMR's teachings should come with a very strong warning label." – This is why it would be great to have the major points of what has been discussed here available to anyone looking for info on GMR or DM.

                    I saw "diamondcutter.org" (I think that was the name of it) which had a lot of the negative info about GMR. It didn't stop me from studying with them but it made me analyze more thoroughly what I was taught which helped me to see the errors in what they were teaching.

                    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 5:50am

                    "Everything is empty and so the conventional WV and the Tantric WV are equally illusory and projections of your karma."

                    Is a non-illusory perspective which is not a projection of karma not considered possible?

                    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 8:43am

                    I believe that would be the direct perception of emptiness which isn't really a perspective. Understand, I am not saying what is taught in TB. I really can't say I know what is taught in TB. I am telling what I believe is taught at DM.

                    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 9:00am

                    Thanks for clarifying, Ben.

                    So if I understand this right, GM's students choose the tantric worldview instead of the direct perception of emptiness? Why the need for a worldview at all?

                    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 10:48am

                    OK. Any other DM students or TB practitioners feel free to correct me. The direct perception of emptiness occurs in a dep state of meditation. When it happens, you have a non cenceptual experience of emptiness which (and this is a DM definition) is the lack of anything not coming from you forced by karma.

                    Once you come out of meditation you still see the illusion your karma forces you to see (and I believe the illusion is that what you are seeing is self existent) but you now know it isn't true.

                    I believe there are some big difference between what DM teaches and what TB teaches. I believe that in TB, emptiness is the lack of anything existing in an imaginary way (I believe that is the term HHDL uses). "Imaginary way" boils down down to anything existing "self existently". Which I think boils down further into the understanding that things arise because of causes and conditions and the imputation of a label.

                    Where what is taught at DM differs from this is that emptiness does mean lack of exiting in an imaginary way but that boils down to "not coming from you based on your karma" which is also what "self existent" means. For "things arise because of causes and conditions and the imputation of a label", the only causes and conditions is your karma and nothing else. Which means that the computer I am using to type this on is only a computer because that is what I am forced to see it as by the force of the karma arising from something I did to someone in the past and had that something I did to someone in the past been a really good or virtuous deed to a high virtuous object, instead of seeing a computer, I could be seeing a divine angel teaching me all the secrets of Buddhism.

                    In the tantric WV, you are attempting or pretending to see everyone as a high divine being and so the virtuous acts you perform towards them have greater karmic power which will result in increaling better things manifesting for you in the future. It also plants the seeds to see yourself and everyone else as divine beings – not just pretending to see them as divine beings as you are doing now.

                    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 1:30pm

                    Hi Ben,

                    It just seems to me that in the DM view there is too much emphasis on "you". The "you" that perceives emptiness and "your" karmic perceptions and creation of "your" karmic paradise. In the other teachings on emptiness the emphasis is that there is no "you". When one perceives emptiness then there is the interconnectedness with everything in existence and there is no you just the union of luminosity and clarity. It is when one experience a state beyond self identity that the perception of emptiness occurs. The emptiness realized is the emptiness of a self. At that point everything is the union of Luminosity and clarity. It doesn't seem like the DM teachings ever talk about the union of Luminosity and emptiness. I know the great realized beings do not possess any ego and become more gentle and more humble over time. I believe they see directly that there is no I, just the supreme interconnectedness of all that is. HHDL never makes any sort of spiritual claims but through his teachings it is evident that he has obtain a very high level of spiritual attainment. I just do not sense this about Michael Roach and his presentation of emptiness. There is too much emphasis on his karma and his karmic vision. It just seems way too self centered.

                    anonymous Jun 16, 2012 10:56am

                    Two things:
                    1. sorry for all the typos.
                    2. Tantra practice has a lot more to it than what I have mentioined here. There are the inner body practices which I haven't gone into. Also, I believe the first goal of tantra practice is to get you to the direct perception of emptiness.

                    Once again, I may be getting what is taught at DM or in authentic TB wrong. I am no expert in either (but I think I know DM philosophy fairly well).

                    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 6:07am

                    Annette, one of GM's main twisted teaching is that everything comes from karma.

                    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 11:17am

                    Yes, which seems contrary to emptiness. I think the way he uses karma is like the Christian concept of "sin," which (ironically?) means "missing the mark."

          anonymous Jun 14, 2012 6:15am

          GM Enlightenment series teaching at ACI, posted June 12
          http://www.justin.tv/aci_phoenix/b/321168030
          watch 1:29:54-1:35

          He tells a story of debating in the geshe college on the point of whether an enlightened being can perceive all others around him/her as enlightened beings, and yet they do not see themselves that way. He says this has to do with the events at Diamond Mountain.

            anonymous Jun 14, 2012 7:17am

            I didn't watch the video, but in response to the second paragraph, I would have to ask – then why would a Buddha continue to emanate and teach others if they weren't aware that other sentient beings were suffering? Yes, an enlightened being experiences everything as blissful (sambhogakaya), but they are also omniscient, so they know how beings are perceiving themselves (as suffering) and help them.

            I'm genuinely asking this question, so if someone wants to take a stab at answering it, I'd appreciate it. 🙂

              anonymous Jun 14, 2012 7:33am

              One traditional answer is that Buddhas perceive all beings as Buddhas, but spontaneously manifest for others without thought; another line of reasoning holds that they relate to sentient beings through their innate buddhaqualities but recognize that sentient beings are not in possession of that knowledge themselves, etc.

                anonymous Jun 14, 2012 7:38am

                This is good food for thought. Thanks, Malcolm. 🙂

            anonymous Jun 14, 2012 9:47am

            Was the video removed?

              anonymous Jun 14, 2012 2:36pm

              I don't see it anymore, either.

        anonymous Jun 14, 2012 9:26am

        Yes, Karuna Ian slipped through the cracks long ago. Back in 2000 it was obvious that he had some kind of dissorder (autism, aspergers, who knows), but whenever anyone expressed concern they were re-assured that he was "special", a trickster. At one point there was even a thanka like drawing of Je-Rinpoche in "yogi" aspect floating around, with long hair, cross-eyed and drooling , sitting on a tigerskin, looking a lot like Ian. This was another of the little sub-myths at DM, that Ian was the yogi aspect of MR, who himself was somewhow akin to Je-Tsongkhapa. Pretty crazy huh?
        And something else I haven't heard here yet was the fact that Ian was abusive with his previous partner at DM. I don't remember her name, but when I was there in '06 they were sleeping together in the wash without a tent in the rattlesnake/scoprpian invested desert. She ended up having a child with him. There was a pshycologist/therapist named Candy there at the time who had been "assigned" to him, to try to quietly help him with his anger/abuse issues. The last time I saw her she was frustrated that her advice regarding Ian was being ignored by the board, and she left the fold around the same time I did.
        That is the great tragedy here, no one gets treated like a human being in Gm's world, Christie was treated like a statue to worship, a ritual implement. Ian as well, no one saw him. He needed real help, he didn't deserve to die in a cave like that.

          anonymous Jun 14, 2012 9:59am

          Sid, that is deeply disturbing. It takes enormous skill and grounding to deal with issues such as those Ian would seem to have had, and it is just tragic that the care and support he received was so lacking, although I don't doubt that there was a great deal of love.

          anonymous Jun 14, 2012 10:35am

          Did Ian use to sit cross eyed and drooling?

            anonymous Jun 14, 2012 1:10pm

            Ian was a pretty strange person but I've never seen him sitting cross-eyed and drooling. He was actually someone with whom I could have a conversation and not get the "party line" or instructions on what ACI courses I needed to do. He did have this one trait that I see in DM students. I actually see it in the faithful of other religions as well. When I asked him a question, he would often say something like, "Well, I think GMR would say…" or " I think Christie would say…". With Christian fundamentalists it's, "Well, the bible says…". It typically happens when they are trying to defend a position a reasonable person wouldn't hold.

            Ian was strange but he wasn't stupid. I mean he was stupid about some things but he had a sharp mind.

            For the most part, I enjoyed having him around. I could talk all kind of trash about what was being taught at DM and he would laugh and we would have an honest discussion. One which felt like we were trying to get at the truth, not just defend what we believed.

            anonymous Jun 14, 2012 3:46pm

            well he was cross eyed but no he didn't drool. The yogi in the drawing was crosseyed and drooling, and people thought it looked like Ian. I'm giving this as an example of one of the many little pieces of mythology that was built up around DM.
            Ian was one of the first people I met In the GM circle. I went down to NY one weekend in 99 to try and meet GM, and after spending a weekend at Godstow with all of them and being completely freaked out by it all, I took the train back to the city with Ian and Mercedes. They seemed really down to earth and assured me that things were not as weird as they seemed. I was impressed with Ian then, he was always studying and seemed to know a lot.
            But then when we all ended up in AZ I quickly realized he was not right. He had absolutely no practical abilities and was barely able to take care of himself. I remember him frolicking around the desert with Beatrice, both in their flipflops, while everyone else worked their asses off. At one point he was in the habit of drinking vinegar, because he read in some old text that it would cure his "lung", which he claimed was the cause of all his strange behaviour.

              anonymous Jun 14, 2012 5:08pm

              Thanks Sid and Ben for your responses. From the photos and the short YouTube video I saw of Ian he appears fairly normal. It's hard to understand how out there he was. I have a friend that is extremely intelligent and can speak and read 5 different languages but he is the same way, in that he can barely take care of himself. How did Christie end up choosing him out of the group. Someone else mentioned that in the community he was considered quite a catch, but from the descriptions of him I am having a hard time understanding that. How did his anger/aggression manifest? How did GMR react at their initial involvement?

          anonymous Jun 15, 2012 9:55am

          Here's a video of Ian: http://archive.org/details/dmuvids

            anonymous Jun 15, 2012 10:37am

            Thank you, Zirconia. The way in which he talks about his daughter at the very end of that clip is so unbearably poignant. No child should lose their father like this. Thinking of her also.

            anonymous Jun 15, 2012 11:39pm

            Note he mentions "magical" in relation to French poetry. He seems quite odd to me. Not insane but sort of fake humble/grandiose. NOT grounded.
            Sort of brainwashed, for lack of a better word. With that strange stilted DM way of talking…and trademark DM eyebrow expressions. OH God he got mixed up in the wrong crowd.

            anonymous Jun 16, 2012 11:06am

            "And then I met a teaching that if you followed it you could be happy all the time." How in the world did THIS become the teaching?

          anonymous Jun 16, 2012 12:38am

          ian was not cross eyed and did not drool. And nobody at DM was forced to or thought of him as an all powerful or even 'any powerful yogi" we all cringed everytime he was in public as we knew that he would someday make us all look bad. UMMM…

          he did not have any disorder that would fall under the autistic umbrella. He was stubborn. and lazy. lazy enough to not EVER have a job and stubborn enough to kill himself instead of making a phone call.

          AND>>>>> two things. the medical provider did initiate the call to the police as was her duty as a licensed MD. she stitched him up, had the police notified and went back into retreat. \

          there was no sharing of a tool to draw blood at kali. so big deal we pricked our finger with a diabetic blood sugar needle. each person got a fresh new one. all sterile. boo hoo hoo call cnn, drama is fun for some of us.

          so many more inaccuraccies that it is a waste of time. but you should all consider… no police or any other authority is investigating this or pressing charges… including HHDL! and no woman at all, ever, is claiming any kind of abuse sexually by GM. YOU ARE ALL ARGUING AND GOSSIPING BASED ON rEMSKIs EMOTIONAL ARTICLE. no basis. waste of time. killing buddhism. killing the last shreds of religion in the USA. EATING YOURSELVES LIKE CANCER

            anonymous Jun 16, 2012 8:07am

            aabbcc the pattern of sexual attraction to his students seemed to go way back.Talk to Ben Brewer or drop over and I'll tell you 2 incidents the person involved relayed to me. Another insider that wants Roach gone has a laundry list of this type of stuff. If you fail to be able to process this what else are you turning a blind eye to? if no one else dies will you consider this retreat a success,,how about 2? This thing is tainted and when the retreaters come out they will be looked at not as inner explorers but survivors of a Donner Party type screw up. What was it a New Zealander said about it up there….."Those guys couldn't organize a piss up in a brewery"

            anonymous Jun 16, 2012 11:17am

            aabbcc, was Ian also physically violent especially towards his partners as GMR and others here have suggested?
            Doesn't that call into question the wisdom of those who made the decision to allow him into retreat with his partner, LC?
            Was Christie correct in interpreting a violent spouse as a "divine being engaged in divine play"?
            If another person in retreat came to her, as she was the retreat leader, and told her of someone else being violent towards another, should she have advised them to see it as "a divine being engaged in divine play"?
            Shouldn't a nearly divine being, as GMR purports to be, have seen the problems with making LC retreat leader and allowing Ian into retreat?
            Maybe you haven't read enough of the comments to know that many of us here believe that ending GMR and DM has nothing to do with "killing buddhism". In fact, I think many here view stopping GMR and DM from claiming they are teaching Buddhism as being a step towards preserving Buddhism.

            anonymous Jun 16, 2012 11:02pm

            Thank you for your post aabbcc. It is good to hear from someone who was there. I do find it odd that Christie would marry someone who she knew would someday make diamond mountain look bad, but then there are many things I find it hard to understand about diamond mountain.

            Congratulations on completing the Tantra series (or the Kali initiation of it) and being well on the way to be enlightened in this life time. I can feel your great compassion towards Ian, and also toward us readers, who are trying to understand how such a senseless death could have occurred in a place that changed our lives in some way, by letting us know we are 'eating yourselves like cancer', 'killing buddhism', and 'waste of time'.

            anonymous Jun 17, 2012 10:16pm

            Hi aabbcc. Your post makes me think of some of the adrenaline fueled posts I made back on page 3. I know much of what is written here is hard to hear and I am sorry. Yes the original article was emotional, and many of us are speaking from a lot of emotion here is well, and that, I believe, is a wonderful thing. Mr. Roach has affected some of us very deeply. My personal relationship with him and his network of followers has probably been one of the most influential relationships of my life, for better or worse. I have just decided to be really honest, as best as I can, about my experiences with him and his followers and his teachings, coloured as they may be through my own perceptions and projections. We are definitely not killing Buddhism here, if anything, it will be strengthened through the resolve of some of the very knowledgeable people who are commenting, especially those writing from what I consider the "traditionalist", viewpoint. I see the outcome from all of this to be very positive, discussions around the evolution of spirituality, by those of us with direct experience, are of great value. So relax, GM is obviously not going to stop teaching, you will be free to take in as much of his very unique perspective as you care to. But there will be, from now on, a lot of other takes on his perspective available for would be acolytes. Do you know what the most transformative aspect of my experience with Mr. Roach was ?(and still is). It was the extraction process. Letting go of years of attachment to a very tenuous system of belief. Confronting the issues that sent me looking for answers in the first place. The freedom is amazing. I look back on the years that I neurotically kept my book and how unhappy they were. The great thing is that I still have access to all of those ideas when I need them, to cross reference them with other views. Up until Ian's death, I didn't feel it was my place to interfere with anyone else's trip, why should I stop anyone from having the type of experience that enriched me so much, in a " what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" sort of way. Well, because it did kill someone. And there are signs that others are becoming dangerously unhinged.
            Oh; and the millions of Christians, Muslims, Jews etc in America are doing a fine job of preserving and evolving their own "shreds" of religion, and probably not too concerned with what the tiny fraction of Buddhists are up to.

    anonymous Jun 12, 2012 6:53am

    Sorry, but does anyone else find the coddling concern for Christie a bit offensive? Whether she's in the Bahamas at a resort meditation spa, or traveling the world (and where is all this money coming from) where is her responsibility in all this?

    Maybe she's spent years being brainwashed, and if that's the case, she definitely needs help (REAL psychiatric help – not meditation/yoga/spa help). But then again, maybe she was quite aware of the image she created at DM and was participatory in its evolution. Maybe she absolutely believed her own hype and started to see herself as a deity, and thus thought she was above the laws of nature and man. If this is the case, her students are as much to blame for continually encouraging this illusion.

    Now here's another thought – maybe, just maybe, we just have a psychologically immature adult who is skillful at removing responsibility from herself because taking responsibility is hard. Taking responsibility means you suffer consequences. Taking responsibility means you're not above others. It's what grown adults do.

    A man is dead. A man that could likely have been saved had he received help just a little earlier. Christie also, admittedly, STABBED another person, then brushed it off like a child who accidentally broke a lamp. In my opinion, this is horrifically offensive. If your average co-worker or neighbor casually admitted the same thing – what would you think?

    Again – just opinion, but it seems like Christie needs to grow up, or if she's terribly sick, someone needs to get her some serious psychological help. Objective help. Not help from whatever psychologists are involved in the DM community. She's a woman edging FORTY, who's been living like a magic fairy god in an imaginary world.

    And I wouldn't discount the possibility that she eventually emerges, and spins this whole thing into a lucrative book or TV interview that completely portrays her as a poor victim while she throws the whole DM place under the bus.

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 3:43pm

      Roach threw Ian under the bus first.he then signaled Christie in that fck up letter that he thought she was asking for Roach to save her….friggin hated him ever since myself…he wrote the script for her and she decided not to play along…time for many of you all to stop protecting roach too!

    anonymous Jun 12, 2012 10:17am

    What about finding an online archive of Christie's teaching? I've searched Wayback, but perhaps someone w/better IT skills can locate it?

    According to ebwally's response to Ekan on pg6 (contact info for DM to request release of LC's teachings in Feb):
    "Ann said Christie's February teaching was available on-line for about twenty-four hours before it was taken down for reasons Ann could only speculate."

    Seems like there's a way to find it archived??

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 10:57am

      The likelihood of finding that audio archived somewhere online is extremely slim. If archive.org didn't get a snapshot of it while it was up, then that's a dead end. Also, not actually knowing what the file was called makes it that much harder. I could check Google's cache, but I don't know how far back it actually goes – or what website it was actually hosted on. I'm assuming DM's site, but who knows. The Google cache of DM's downloads page goes back to June 5.

      It would be best if the audio was just released by the Board. And it would also be good if there could be complete transparency from all involved parties. It's been over a month since Ian has passed, and there are still way too many questions that require an immediate answer – namely the retreatants' well-being and all things directly relating to the retreat.

      anonymous Jun 12, 2012 11:05am

      Recordings of the "Great Retreat Teachings" scheduled for the Cinco de Mayo party/weekend were supposed to be broadcast at the following link (before being cancelled): http://www.justin.tv/diamondmountain
      Chances are, the February GRTs were available here as well. There's not much up there now except some recent teachings from "Ven. Lobsang Chukyi". These alone speak volumes about what was being taught and the level of understanding of the student-teachers. Perhaps more can be recovered…

        anonymous Jun 12, 2012 11:32am

        The other Great Retreat Teachings are hosted on theknowledgebase.com, including LC's first retreat teaching from 2011 on love. I poked around and was able to see all the media files (I did nothing illegal, I just looked at the directory of all audio files hosted on that site). There's nothing there for LC's February 2012 teaching, only GMR's.

        We're not getting that audio from anything already existing online. It's long gone. DM will have to repost it.

          anonymous Jun 12, 2012 12:25pm

          What's interesting is — I think the timeline is right — those teachings on love were given *after* the actual stabbing, which, once revealed in the February teaching, resulted in expulsion.

          I listened to the "Love" teaching, part 3, last night. It was kind of spacey and blissed-out. Watch the dust motes and pour the orange juice slowly or you'll miss your life. Her only concern with Ian (not mentioned by name) was that sometimes she would ask him what he was thinking and it would be something mundane and that hurt her feelings. This might lead to a cycle of closing one's heart (and the partner doing so in response as well) as opposed to the opening to love cycle. Nothing actually Buddhist in the teachings. Just basic mindfulness. The wind chimes and tent flapping are terrific.

          At this point they'd been on retreat for 6 months. The aggression and violence allegedly demonstrated by Ian, and the knife-play-cum-self-defence-cum-kali-delusion episode had already occurred. One or more fellow retreatants already knew it had happened, and helped with procuring or providing first aid.

          You would never know any of that from her tone. She sounds kind of like a hippie on a really good trip. She does not, however, to me, sound like a spiritual leader here.

          A year (?) later her talk mentions events from early 2011, and all hell breaks loose. What did she say and how did she say it? Why bring it up now?

          anon100, above, makes good points. In everyday life, you get arrested and jailed for much less serious offenses than stabbing someone. It's as though the people at the retreat (Christie, the assistants and medical provider) believed they were in some kind of magic bubble where nothing is what it seems and it's all part of the inner journey.

            anonymous Jun 12, 2012 1:56pm

            I don't know what CM said, but this is the teaching MR offered right after the February GRT. He describes its purpose: "to identify your negative emotion (mine is jealousy) which has ruined your life up to now, made you unhappy with all your friends and partners, ruined countless days, made you uncomfortable with your family" etc. http://blip.tv/yoga-studies/geshe-michael-roach-i
            The next set of GRTs were to be offered in the context of a Cinco de Mayo party weekend, cancelled due to "unforeseen circumstances" on April 22. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7i9IqWTj-U&fe
            This is the person responsible for setting up the retreat, for putting CM in charge and for "removing" her. What responsibility does he still have for the remaining retreatants in Arizona and the couple that I know of doing a separate "great retreat" under his "guidance" in Canada?

              anonymous Jun 12, 2012 2:28pm

              This link – a teaching from June 11, 2012 – about 5:00 in – GMR proudly says his book sales doubled on Amazon, and they "need more scandals". All to the laughter of the audience.
              http://www.justin.tv/aci_phoenix/b/321143600

              Wow.

                anonymous Jun 12, 2012 3:06pm

                wait, really? i don't really want to listen to the guy so i will take your word for it, but — really? that was yesterday? does he really mean they should get some more retreatants dead so they could sell more books? even as a joke it is in such poor taste and lacking all compassionate grounding in reality it is shocking. . and that people would actually laugh.. there is no perspective for some of these folks apparently

                  anonymous Jun 12, 2012 4:00pm

                  It's true, I watched it as well. It's sickening. He said his sales doubled and joked that they need more scandals if that's the result. Completely sickening. The delusion that he and his followers live in must be nearly insurmountable; he will have to self-combust because he's seemingly closed off to any outside force, no matter how negative. I guess when the person you're most jealous of dies (his self-proclaimed fault) AND your books sales double, things are going pretty good in your world.

                  Wake up, Roach followers. Only an evil man laughs at profiting off another man's death.

                    anonymous Jun 12, 2012 4:20pm

                    "Sickening" was my first thought, as well.

                    I think Mr. Roach has shown his true colors here.

                anonymous Jun 12, 2012 4:08pm

                Seriously????
                Scandals are good for selling books? Someone died!

                anonymous Jun 12, 2012 4:18pm

                I can't even.

                It was one thing when the there was controversy surrounding him after HHDL's Office made a denouncement, but this is entirely different. A man has died and there are still questions regarding the well-being of the retreatants. Is GMR that out of touch with what this scandal is actually about? Sure there are other questions that have to do with whether or not he is a qualified teacher, but the main reason there has been this "negativity" and "publicity" is because someone died.

                Even if DM didn't play a direct hand in Ian's death, this comment of GMR's lacks common decency. I'm actually stunned right now.

                anonymous Jun 12, 2012 4:50pm

                Don't worry, Allison will explain it to us.

                anonymous Jun 12, 2012 5:50pm

                i think that means instead of 20 books, he sold 40 of them. MR will never sell too many.

                I could care less what he sells, the truth needs to be told.

                anonymous Jun 14, 2012 4:26pm

                We need a spreadsheet to keep track of all the disappearing web pages and videos!

                  anonymous Jun 15, 2012 5:48am

                  Some of us are working on collating all the info. Contact Matthew if you'd like to help.

              anonymous Jun 15, 2012 9:08am

              Ironically Svan, I am supposed to be an emergency contact for the the couple on Gabriola. I wouldn't worry about them too much, physically at least. Roger is no city slicking greenhorn and they are not that far from civilization really. Their digs are actually pretty comfy. I hear they are gardening and building stuff and have internet access and get visits from friends and family. Not exactly Milarepa's cave.

                anonymous Jun 15, 2012 1:39pm

                Thanks, Sid. I imagined they were being pretty well looked after, physically. The caretakers here and in Arizona too, are probably knocking themselves out to serve their "lamas". It doesn't sound like you consider them to be your lamas, and I understand wanting to support them as friends – I also supported them, in my small way. I suppose my concerns were more to do with their mental and emotional health, but I am starting to think they are so far down the rabbit hole, the light can't reach them. Like MR himself, Marut and all the rest, they can blithely spin the reality dial to play whatever music they want to hear.

                How lucky we were not to have followed too closely on their heels. Big thanks for all you've shared here.

                anonymous Jun 15, 2012 11:24pm

                HI Sid, and svan, are you in Van.
                I would love to talk wtih someone in Van. just to get my head around some of this stuff and sid, you seem like someone I would like to speak with if you are willing?? I would really appreciate it. I have questions and some confusion etc. like many on these forums.
                much appreciated

                  anonymous Jun 15, 2012 11:59pm

                  anon108, I am in Vancouver – do you know how can we share contact information privately?

                    anonymous Jun 17, 2012 1:12am

                    Hi, I've contacted Sid, since he is using his real name, but i'm not sure how to share info with you? Do you know Sid, He now can reach me.
                    thanks

        anonymous Jun 12, 2012 2:28pm

        I did not realize when I posted this link and mentioned these videos that this woman had just come out of retreat to give these teachings (as part of her retreat, I understand)… I had only watched some of the last episode, but in the first episode, she appears quite traumatized… This whole situation is tragic and heart breaking. These people need help…

          anonymous Jun 12, 2012 3:27pm

          It is actually really nice to hear someone who is actually there express direct emotion and talk openly about loss. You are right, she just rotated out, which is a new thing they're doing.

          I hope they don't take it down. She is processing in the moment. It's very genuine. 'When you're grieving it's very hard to process in writing." (in part 1) Seems like she almost thought about leaving, but has taken a vow and feels solidarity with all the other retreatants. But she has to "go back the the beginning."

          As for GM's "more scandals" comment, I am getting a sense (that comment and the Jesus comment) that he does have a good heart but he just does not know how to process this, both in himself and also how he continues to address insiders while being heard and evaluated by outsiders. And he hasn't taken a break in his whirlwind schedule of events, which have their own agendas and syllabi. It's like the wrong tone, but not malevolent or delusional. I think he is a scholar and philanthropist and a