The Michael Roach Bubble.

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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 analysis by matthew remski

Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful! — Lorca

important background:

— Christy McNally’s letter, April 19th
— Michael Roach’s open letter, April 26th
— my original post, May 4th
— John Stillwell’s rebuttal, May 6th
— my followup, May 19th
— Michael Roach’s essay, June 2nd
— NYT article, June 5th


since I last posted: a brief synopsis…

There are reports that Christie McNally was last seen in Kathmandu, trying to secure a private audience with her first teacher, Lama Zopa Rinpoche. She couldn’t. There is a report that Christie’s mother has quoted Christie as saying: “Michael Roach murdered my love.” The Thorson family is starting to talk to the media. The claim that Roach’s sexual partner practices are a legitimate aspect of Gelukpa tradition has been thoroughly savaged by several knowledgeable commentators. A Facebook page has been organized to croudsource letters of concern to the Dalai Lama, and to request that Sera Mey monastery – Roach’s putative alma mater – formally distances itself from Roach. Dozens of followers and ex-followers of Roach are beginning to come forward with their memories.

No one knows where this story is leading. But a close look at how it’s unfolding, and how Roach and others have chosen to respond so far, gives a dizzying view on how deep this rabbit hole goes.

There are now almost 48K views of my original May 4th piece about the circumstances under which Ian Thorson died after being expelled from Diamond Mountain by Michael Roach and the Diamond University Board. There are over 28K views of the follow-up. There are over 3200 comments between them in which over 200 supporters and critics of Michael Roach slug out the issues of his responsibility for McNally’s mental health and Thorson’s death, as well as his qualifications as a monk, his virtues as a philanthropist and cultural translator of Tibetan philosophy, and his credibility as a scholar and “realizer” of Buddhist attainments. The threads read like a collective doctoral study of Tibetan metaphysics and cross-cultural anthropology, as well as the twisting saga of present and ex-students navigating a swamp of devotion and trauma. Huffpo picked up the story on May 22nd.

When the New York Times reported on June 5th, the floodgates of global media opened. Fernanda Santos’ story – an account brief and elliptical enough to provoke many new questions – was broadcast throughout the English-speaking world, reinvigorating the source-threads with a slew of new commentary, and prompting an immediate followup by Nightline, in which Ian Thorson’s grieving mother called out Roach’s group point-blank as a cult. Lama Surya Das warned the world about him in HuffPo. Since June 6th, I’ve fielded calls from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Newsweek, CNN, and People Magazine. The story is getting louder. But on Diamond Mountain there is the silence of continued retreat, and tight lips.

Except for Roach, who has had plenty to say – mainly about himself. He’s published a 26-page self-report of his academic history. In recent public appearances he has compared himself to Jesus and Abraham Lincoln. He has bragged about his well-attended appearances all over the world, and about his book sales doubling on Amazon despite negative publicity. He has joked that “We need more scandals.” He has compared his critics to demons. And at the opening of his first public appearance on the American soil in which Ian Thorson’s flesh is dissolving, he held down the rhythm on double bass as a devotee sang “What a Wonderful World”.

The disjunction between Michael Roach’s bubble of obliviousness and consensus reality is being laid bare before our eyes, in real time. Thousands want to know why a frail young man meditated to death in the arms of his wife, in a cave without food or water. They want to know how his wife came to believe she was a goddess. They want to know what paroxysms of religious delusion and/or domestic violence led her to stab him months before he died. They want to know why her former lover and guru exiled them both from their home and community. Despite Roach’s claims to kindness and empathy and selfless service, it appears as though he is happy to laugh about a tragedy in his wake, and ignore these now-global questions that cut to the very heart of modern spiritual integrity. Perhaps we can chalk it up to his decades-long meditative rehearsal of a neo-Tantric mirage in which every calamity is a divine teaching moment, every criticism is proof of his virtue, and every call for transparency is an invitation to greater secrecy.

On a broader scale, Roach’s snubbing of consensus reality is a powerful display of irreconcilable worldviews: the collision of premodern tribal magicality with postmodern skepticism and inquiry. The public discourse around his intentions is a powerful display of the hostile barrier of mutual misunderstanding and distrust between religious insiders and outsiders. In an age in which progressive religiosity is at least attempting a dialogue between premodern faith and postmodern reason, the Diamond Mountain story shows what happens when this dialogue crashes and burns, or perhaps never gets started.


the endless Roach monologue that answers nothing

Roach’s public relations strategy is, as they say in the theatre, to “mark, park and bark”: hit your stage mark, stand your ground head-on, and deliver your lines to the nosebleeds. His first public “response” to the tragedy of Thorson’s death and the embarrassment of McNally’s delusions consists of a 26-page essay in which he self-reports his educational achievements. Of course, it’s not a response at all, but a massive deflection to counter a far less meaningful accusation that recent events have resurrected: that his monastic degree was less-than-honestly procured. Numerous sources both now and dating back to the old website have charged that Roach’s academic credentials are honorary, and that his account contains gross exaggerations that play upon the cultural naiveté of his western students. Karen Visser reports that one of her current Sera Mey contacts, who remembers Roach’s visits in the 80s, describes Michael as a “cushion geshe”, someone who donated money to have his cushion reserved in the debate hall when he wasn’t there. This allegation has been supported by several commentators, but their anonymity cannot provide corroboration. Which is why some critics are seeking clarification from Sera Mey directly in a letter-writing campaign.

That Roach self-reports his achievements also does nothing to address his central credibility issue: he changes his story almost as often as he tells it. Honestly, I find this tragic, because buried somewhere within his look-at-me bluster is a story of amazing adventurousness, persistence, cross-cultural intelligence, devotion, and philanthropy. Even Roach’s harshest critics praise his work on the ACIP project and his considerable charitable contributions to Tibetan monasteries-in-exile. If he could simply restrain himself from exaggerating his educational story (time spent in Tibetan monasteries vs. time spent in Howell NJ) or his tenure with Andin International (implying he was still part of the company when Warren Buffett recently bought it), the uniqueness of his educational achievements (he is not, as he has claimed publicly for many years “the first Western geshe” – Georges Dreyfus was, as of 1985), his medical talent (“I’ve helped people with their health problems”), his singular insight into the historical Buddha (“On the night of his enlightenment he meditated all night with his consort”), his engineering skills (claiming to have “designed” and “built” the first wells and water lines for Sera Mey monastery), his self-portraits might inspire the broader sympathy he seems to desperately need. But such restraint is unlikely: his essay has to be read, after all, in light of his repeated claim to be on the verge of omniscience (self-reporting that he’s on the “Path of Seeing”). Michael Roach is not content to be a good guy. He really wants to be seen as a god as well, even as his fantastically twisted humanity is denuded before the world.

Beyond being utterly tone-deaf to the gravity of the Ian’s death, a number of structural aspects of this autobiogushical performance are worthy of note. Roach begins the essay with the faux-self-deprecating preamble common among the autobiographies of Tibetan saints:

Friends of mine have asked me to write some details about my life, partly to clarify information which appears online or in the press about me as my teachings become more prominent around the world, and partly because one of my Tibetan lamas has asked some of my students to write a biography about myself. These friends have been pestering me for some years—but I felt hesitant to respond, since it seemed a pretty self-centered thing to do. But as it may be helpful to my students and friends, I have decided to relent.

He “relents” with the device of question-and-answer, lending a teacherly “Ask the Expert” rhythm to his description, but ignoring the fact that these aren’t the questions that anyone is asking right now. Finally, the very title of the essay announces it’s written “for my friends”, indicating no intention of directly engaging outsider scrutiny, or anyone who would peal back the mask of his authority. Roach’s primary audience for his defensive screed consists of his own followers: at this dangerous juncture he must retain as many current devotees and sponsors for his expensive projects as possible, and to gain new adherents to replace those who are surely leaving. He seems to forget that as the director of a 501(c)(3) organization, we are all his sponsors.


story time for the clean-up crew

On the videos of his June 8 to 17th teachings in his new Phoenix meditation-and-media centre, you can watch Roach start out on the sound-stage in band formation, with double bass or sitar or guitar in hand, and then step aside faux-meekly for a scene change, as devotees build a teaching throne for him, complete with silks, flowers, and icons. Then he mounts the throne to read and give the oral commentary on sections from Pabongka Rinpoche’s Liberation in the Palm of Your Hands, the thick slab of a beginner’s practice manual for the Gelukpa tradition that so many feel he’s dragging through the mud.

The subject matter of these teachings was chosen long ago. But the timing of the subject provided an uncanny opportunity for Roach to kill several birds with one stone: launder his orthodox mantel, rally the faithful in the wake of the tragedy (never to be mentioned directly) with some “back-to-basics” pep, demean critical thinking and healthy skepticism, and reinforce the walls he has built between the 21st century and his pre-modern fiefdom. Pabongka Rinpoche’s book may be philosophically rich, but it is also culturally impenetrable, laced with the kind of monastic ephemera and medieval folklore that Roach constantly weaves into his discourse to romanticize his adopted tradition and amplify his other-worldly authority. In teaching this particular book at this particular time, Roach announces unambiguously: Daddy’s back in town.

The obviously hurt and confused students lap it up. Ani Chukyi (who I remember as Anne Lindsay back in 1998), spoke in her parallel teaching about what a relief it was to hear her lama (Roach) “start at the beginning” again, given the stress and scandal of Ian’s death. It would seem that the most effective rear-guard action a tottering authority figure can perform would be to remind his followers how good it felt to gambol in the age of innocence, before his ex-girlfriend went mad, before his most naïve protégé died in a cave, and to regress everyone to a warm and knowing place, untroubled by independent thought.

On the first night in Phoenix, during a section that describes the process for preparing for the ideal meditation session, Roach related Pabongka’s encouragement to clean your room prior to sitting down through a story that seems quaint enough, but which, given present circumstances, carries an ugly message. I’ll paraphrase:

Once there was very stupid monk. He was so stupid he couldn’t memorize a single sutra. So the Buddha told him to clean the temple with a broom. He said: when you sweep, recite: “Clean the dirt. Sweep the dirt”. Try as he might, the extremely stupid monk couldn’t even remember the two phrases together, or in order. Nonetheless, his faith in Lord Buddha was so great and his sweeping so ardent that he quickly attained levels of meditative equipoise and insight that rivaled those of the greatest scholars.

The moral is: you don’t have to think. You just have to believe. And sweep up the temple dirt. So the idiot monk sweeps himself right into heaven: a story that might give all of us idiots hope, until we realize that it’s also an ideal story for the reassertion of paternal (anal, in psychoanalytical terms) control amidst chaos.

Two suggestions hover beneath this story. Firstly, Roach is reminding students that he was the stupid temple-sweeping monk for his teacher, Khen Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin (as per the anecdotes at the end of his blovathon). Secondly, he is implying that continued devotion in his students will obviate their cognitive failures. This suggestion is already an easy sell with most western adherents of Tibetan Buddhism, who will commonly say: “The Tibetans have been studying the truths of Lord Buddha for a thousand years: we shouldn’t presume to be able to understand anything”.

It is this tendency towards self-imposed ignorance that keeps Roach’s temple-soiling swept clean by insider brooms. The guru’s history is an incomprehensible hagiography: don’t scrutinize it too closely. Sweep, sweep. If you are troubled by his behaviours, the problem is your perception. Sweep, sweep. Roach and McNally’s relationship was a divine mystery: don’t interrogate its power/gender dynamics. Sweep, sweep. McNally’s delusions of grandeur are a display of karma that only a Buddha can understand. Sweep. We can’t really know why or how Ian Thorson died. Sweep. Given the possible confusion that recent events might provoke, it’s best to scrub McNally from all Roach-related websites. Sweep. “Don’t take it too seriously”, Roach reassures his crowd on the second night in Phoenix. Sweep, sweep.


“I’m not comparing myself to Jesus, but…”

The idiot-monk story is perhaps too subtle. Let’s skip right ahead to where Roach compares himself to Jesus. The transcript (6/9/12) is as follows:

In the last week there’s been a lot of crazy publicity about myself and Diamond Mountain. I haven’t actually seen that much of it. But I was in Guadalajara a few weeks ago,  right?– who was there? [receives acknowledgement from students] yeah, and it was weird, because the last time I was in Guadalajara 20 people came, or something, not many people came, and then this last time a thousand people showed up, and it was one of the largest places you could have in Guadalajara to fit people. And that happened several times on this last tour, right? In… where was that? [looks to devotees again] Colombia, and then again in Mexico city, sold out in the museum of the wealthiest man in the world — Carlos Slim. It was strange. the tour was pretty strange. I don’t know about you, if you were in Guadalajara that night, it felt like the Mexican revolution was going to happen again. I actually got nervous. I felt very — especially when our friend got up [a student in the crowd apparently mimics the Mexican friend’s fist-pumping actions], I just felt this energy run through the crowd and thought: this could get out of hand, you know.  Where do you go from here? To a soccer stadium or something? What’s going to happen next, you know. And I thought “Very powerful forces were being unleashed.” I felt like that. And it felt a little bit unsettling. I was a little nervous about it. And so then I thought “Something strong is going to happen.” In Buddhism they say when good forces are happening very strong, then there will be opposite forces will come. And you have to expect it. and I think personally, this is just my own opinion, we’ve done… many of you have done 20 years of  work, 25 years of hard work, free classes, 25 years of free classes, the university is free, the classes have been free, and 20K pages of traditional scripture have been unleashed into the modern world in a modern way. And people are starting to respond: even in Moscow before that, 850 people came to the talks. First time I’ve ever been there. Things are happening, things are moving, great forces are being unleashed, I feel. And I just want you not to be nervous or afraid or like that, okay, it makes me a little, it’s overwhelming for me and stressful for me, all the attention, and a lot of the negativity. But I think it’s natural, when good forces get very strong, and it’s happened throughout history. Read the story of — I’m not comparing myself to Jesus — but there’s a story: he healed Lazarus, he brought Lazarus back from the dead, which I cannot do, and I don’t claim to be able to do. But then he got in trouble. Beginning from that day, he got targeted by the authorities. They said that he was wrong to bring back people to life without asking the authorities: something like that, you know. And then they said, “O we have to go to Jerusalem now.” And Peter said “I don’t think you should go, you know, stuff might happen.” and he went anyway you know, oh-wey [slight tearing in voice, touches face]. So just, I feel that powerful good forces are being released, and there will be a reaction. and don’t be disturbed, don’t be sad, and don’t take it too seriously. Bigger things are coming. Much much greater things are coming. And beautiful things, global things, globally-changing things, and naturally there will be some reaction in the world. The more we do, the more reaction there will be. And that’s just natural, in the whole world. So embrace it and ride it, and don’t be nervous, and don’t be, especially don’t be unkind to other people, okay. Be friendly, be kind, be understanding of their needs. Respond to them with kindness and grace, elegance. That’s your training, that’s what you do. So whatever comes, our job is to practice, to be kind to people, be good to people, do our daily meditation, do our daily yoga, study. Show that you are well-trained, by being kind and forgiving, and serve people. That would make me most proud. Okay?

Okay indeed. Let’s analyze the rhetoric a little:

— To Roach, the breaking news is “crazy publicity”. It’s not the report of a death of his long-term spiritual student in his care under conditions of religious delusion.

— In the same breath, Roach veers from the content of the publicity, and diverts to stories about his recent global renown.

— From his throne, he quizzically asks his students to remind him where he has been and where he is going. This pretends to dilute his personal agency, creating the impression of plural group-think. The interchange affects a modest tone of someone “just swept up” in something bigger than him. This is consistent with his general practice of affecting charming foreignness and naiveté, as though he were native neither to English speech nor to the postmodern world of horseless carriages, flying machines, and the interwebs. Repeatedly asking students to find simple words for him is a powerful rhetorical device that keeps the class engaged and gives an artificial sense of solidarity in shared discovery, as the commentator Cyn points out.

— Throughout, Roach uses two rhetorical keys to the obfuscation of responsibility: plural address and the passive voice.

— Roach also often uses the 2nd person address to allude to himself. The collusion of 1st and 2nd person addresses creates a powerful boundary porosity between charismatic leader and devotional follower, such that who is doing what becomes obscured. This makes it very easy for underlings to feel a false sense of equality with him, empowerment from him, and participation in his plan.

— Roach name-drops Carlos Slim (the world’s richest man!!!), as though he were the sponsor/endorser of his Mexico appearance. Really, Roach just rented a venue from the guy.

— Only the Dalai Lama could ever teach in soccer stadiums. An indirect comparison.

— Multiple elliptical references to “powerful forces being released”. Again, the passive voice detaches Roach from responsibility. When credit is due, this rhetorical gesture affects modesty. When blame is near, it affects disengagement.

— “We’ve done, many of you have done”: he colludes his own narrative with that of the group. In fact, nobody in the room has “done” what he has done, but this fits the pattern of Roach handing off his own grandiosity to others. Later, he says, quoting Jesus (in plural): “O we have to go to Jerusalem now.” The suggestion of collective movement is vague and apocalyptic.

— As per usual, Roach uses the word “free” to describe his teaching products. Access through the front door may be free, but it’s certainly not free inside. The organization floats on a pre-modern sponsorship model in which donors are continually pressured for major contributions. “Free” is a way of obfuscating/romanticizing the real costs of a megalomaniac vision.

— “I’m not comparing myself to Jesus” – and then he does, alluding especially to Jesus’ heterodox actions. Then comes a terrible irony that makes me throw up a little in my mouth: Roach reminds us that Jesus’ troubles began over raising Lazarus from the dead, but of course his own troubles have sparked global interest because he is administratively and perhaps spiritually responsible for a man’s death. Roach is colluding Lazarus with Ian. But Ian’s corpse is not rising, except perhaps in the imagination of those who believe that he died in ecstasy. “[Jesus] brought Lazarus back from the dead, which I cannot do…” says Roach. Is this helpless Jesus somehow even more sympathetic?

— Roach tears up as he alludes to Calvary, preprogramming pathos amongst his devotees for whatever storms of persecution may come. I find this particularly dangerous.

— “Greater things are coming” echoes John 14:12, in which Jesus says– “Truly, I tell all of you with certainty, the one who believes in me will also do what I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (International Standard Version) Faith is presented as the prime consolation and route to self-empowerment. Keep calm and carry on.

— Bring it home with an appeal to forgiveness, kindness, and service. Position universally unassailable sentiments at the end of outrageous deflections and narcissistic allusions, to make the “main message” seem sane.

— “Okay?” This transcript reveals a comparatively sparing use of this particular Roachian rhetorical interrogative. He’s given teachings in which almost every sentence is followed by a hasty bark of “Okay?”, which instigates a regular head-nodding rhythm amongst the crowd, making it more and more difficult to any individual to feel, much less express, dissent. It’s a pretense at dialogue that can bully the crowd into group assent. I believe the head-nodding itself is a kinetic cue for physical kriyas. (He might have to alter this rhetorical device as he becomes more popular in Latin America. “Okay?” can become “Olé!”, leaving even less room for doubt. Buenos dias, Geshe Olé.)

the anxious shaman-charismatic-nowhere-man

I’ve spoken with many who knew Roach in the early days of his ministry.  One remembered that Roach quite obviously had an issue with regarding women as equal fellow students. Also: that it was impossible to have an adult conversation with him, because he couldn’t seem to temper his internal mystical reverie for long enough to see and feel another’s humanity, perspective, otherness. I remember this as well: a kind of conviction that impressed the doubtful at first, but slowly revealed itself as a lack of interpersonal skills and general failure of empathy. From a postmodern perspective, his neo-Tibetan world seemed simple to an infantile degree. From a psychoanalytic perspective, he was a narcissist who had failed to develop healthy ambivalence with regard to the complexity of the world.

But from his own markedly pre-modern perspective, he was simply walking the walk. By his lights, Khen Rinpoche was a Buddha, Manhattan was swarming with tantric deities, every good thing that happened to him was a divine blessing, every bad thing that happened to him was a divine teaching, and anyone who doubted any of this was obviously perverted by contemporary delusions or perhaps even demons, and couldn’t call themselves a real Buddhist.

To begin to read Michael Roach, one has to contemplate the extraordinary clash of pre-modern and postmodern cultures that constitutes much of the Tibetan-Buddhism-Comes-West experience. We might call it an “epistemic collision”, in which two descriptions of the world and existence are mutually exclusive, leading both to mutual distortion and/or romanticization. The Tibetans have not generationally waded through the scientific or humanistic revolutions that form the groundwork for postmodern life.  How do we meet them? How do we understand their world of deity yoga and oracular possession? How can they understand our general democracy of thought? What do we create out of our mutual projections onto each other?

In my experience, Tibetan religions can speak powerfully to a wounded place in pomo folk that yearns for pre-modern simplicity, or perhaps even a renewed clarity of childhood power dynamics. This is not to demean the soaring complexity of Tibetan metaphysics, nor the therapeutic jewels in its meditation technology, but to suggest that its hierarchical and faith-soaked method of transmission runs counter to the secular-liberal-humanist neurology that most western acolytes bring to it. To take it on fully, we have to partition off about four centuries of culture in our brains. Like every split, there is price to a pay.

It is not surprising that someone with as much manic devotion to this otherness as Roach will refuse to engage in dialogue with postmodern consensus reality. Perhaps this is the root of his power over the postmodern-wounded. He is quite literally not like the rest of us. Not just because he thinks he is almost omniscient: this should simply land him in the psych ward. He is different because, in addition to his outrageous self-certainty, he lives in a neo-Tantric world in which thinking one is almost omniscient is an utterly rational possibility, and, in fact, the most intelligent thing that anyone can accomplish – perhaps because it is a world that predates dialecticism, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, intersubjectivity, and neuroscience. At the root of Michael Roach’s leadership power is his adamantine refusal to participate in the complex, unresolvable, and evolutionary conversation of contemporary human adulthood. He trail-blazes a path out of the twisting and thorny garden of historical growth. He offers simplicity, and claims it is free of charge. But adherents must pay for it with the only coin of real value today – the very foundation of empathy and positive collective change in the postmodern era – the capacity to hold multiple complex perspectives in an uncertain, passionate, humble, loving heart.

Roach’s persona is haloed with his astounding transformation from someone we might have recognized as one of our own into someone out of a myth. He is not an inscrutable old Tibetan like his teacher Khen Rinpoche, who lived and died in relative obscurity except for those few New Jersey students who served him for decades, trying to catch a glimpse into his arcane world. Roach not only peered into Khen Rinpoche’s world; he seems to have died into whatever he imagined it to be, and then rebirthed himself out of it, back into postmodern life, as a transcultural, ahistorical shaman.

I remember thinking within the first few months of meeting Roach: “Here’s someone who is like me, who came from my culture and people, and then became someone entirely different. He excised every ambiguity I could not tolerate. He got rid of his cynicism: he hears god in Neil Young.” This was a profoundly consoling thought for someone as alienated from his culture, time and people as I was. I thought: “He’s really done it. He went there, and did it.”

But where did he go, really? He crawled back into the pre-modern womb he thought Khen Rinpoche lived in. And what did he do, really? He regressed himself not only backwards into our psychohistory, but energetically into the form of a doubtless child. Sometimes he even looks like a weird baby – a disproportionately large head tufted with thin strands of fine hair, a puffy neonatal face, and those mesmerizing, moist, unfocused eyes. And the constant crying of toddler-like separation anxiety, which always triggered an irrepressible fountain of my own tears. (My mirror neurons were particularly sensitive to his gestures, manner, eyes, and face. I responded to Roach in a way that I never responded to a Tibetan teacher. Are we simply more responsive to the apparently familiar?) My devotion to Roach fell apart when I realized that what I really wanted was to be a baby again, held once more in powerful arms I could trust. But because I saw, thankfully, that he was too wounded to hold me, I had to become my own father.

The shaman: Roach skinwalks many worlds. His terrain is not only flush with mandalas and deities, but with media kits and databases. He floats with ease between laptop and ritual implements. He is neither monk nor businessman, but can play both. Neither man nor woman, but can embody either. We love the shaman, even if we doubt his sanity. He can do anything: be everyone, be no-one, live everywhere, and be of no fixed abode. We allow the shaman to sing, dance, weep, lie, cross-dress, sleep with whomever he chooses or withdraw into self-satisfied celibate meditation, and generally perform all the actions that we ourselves suppress or cannot find strength to do. More importantly, we allow the shaman to do the one thing we know we can never really do ourselves: avoid the absolute confrontation we each face with our limitations, our smallness, the fact of being here, in this mess, now. The shaman carries the existential hall-pass, and we want it, badly. To get it, we leave our language, our homes, our families, our historical moment. Or so we think.

A commenter calling him/herself JOsh had a slightly different take on Roach’s skinwalking, from the perspective of his relationship to “traditional” or “renegade” Buddhism. S/he pointed out that the comment thread to my second piece displayed the political calculus of Roach’s indefinability. As apologists for Gelukpa orthodoxy attack his credentials, Roach claims revolutionary virtue: he is translating and modernizing, he is empowering women, he is healing the Sino-Tibetan cultural rift by teaching in China. As secular humanists attack how he is running a public institution or abusing his power over women, he can claim the impenetrability of his lineage tradition, enshrouding it in a foreign language and episteme. He is, of course, preserving pristine ancient knowledge and rebuilding the secret technologies of transcendence, which our postmodern alienation has thrown into the dustbin of the “archaic”. Roach squirts nimbly between these two attacks, and boards his plane to the next public talk, his suitcase folded with maroon robes and Armani.

Robes and suits are both disguises for the shaman-charismatic: his real power comes from the capacity to change between them and alter the meanings of both. The same holds true for his juggling of ancient and modern texts and cultures in general. The ability of the shaman-charismatic to shape-shift on a dime makes others feel that he is in contact with a greater sense of presence. He holds purchase on the “now”. In a very eerie way, Roach really does perform (if not practice) the instant-karma schtick he teaches: humans can be anything they desire in the present moment. And they should change, right now, for his version of the better. And they must change immediately: time is running out. Roach has insisted for decades that the only purpose we all should have in life is to experience the same meditative reverie that he did in his early 20s. This is a massive projection, worthy of a top-shelf narcissist. Roach is consciously telling his students: “You must be like me: my experience is the only worthwhile experience out there.” Perhaps unconsciously: “I need you to confirm that experience to sooth my anxiety over its meaning.”

Why all the pressure? Isn’t daily life filled with enough tension? Or is the threat of an ultimate anxiety (“I might not become fully enlightened in this lifetime”) the very distraction some of us need? In an early draft of my first article I characterized this pressure as “apocalyptic”, but Diana Alstad persuaded me to withdraw the word, in the absence of technical evidence. But I’ll bring it back here in limited form: Roach’s take on Buddhism promotes an intense personal apocalypticism, in which the follower feels as though his world is limited to a single choice while death stares him down.

“Personal apocalypticism” gives insight into the agonized pursuit of higher and higher meditative states. It gives insight into why Roach will not compromise in the face of public scrutiny: there are much greater things coming – don’t be distracted by Ian’s death. It gives insight into black-and-white and magical thinking, failures of ambivalence and existential immaturity. Personal apocalypticism outwardly projects all-consuming private desires motivated by an intense fear of irrelevance or death. Ironically, all of these tensions are the targets of a certain brilliant Axial age philosopher named Siddhartha Gautama, aka the Buddha, who challenged his fellow humans to face old-age, sickness, and death without flinching, to recognize that everything changes, and to understand that personal identity is a vanishingly small element of our grander shared story, and only has worth to the extent that it works for others.

Who is Michael Roach? Saint, charlatan, scholar, bullshitter, philanthropist, sociopath? Perhaps the most sophisticated answer is actually the one that funnels down through the Diamond Mountain talking points: Roach is the hallowed object of his own dumbed-down version of subjectivist Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, i.e.: an empty screen upon which we project our hopes and fears, and more ominously, the texture of our past behaviours. According to Roach’s own reasoning, his critics can’t help themselves: I myself am forever stuck in the samsaric loop of criticism, clearly. I am being manipulated like a puppet by the numberless cynical puppeteers of my past selves. Meanwhile, his supporters are simply enjoying the results of their past support. We revolve in mutually exclusive karmic bubbles. A part of me wants to endorse this empty-screen line of reasoning, if only to have it remove attention from Roach himself, so that we can look more clearly at the behaviour that surrounds him. Who is Michael Roach? might be exactly the wrong question, because what a narcissist really wants you to do is to puzzle endlessly over who he is, and to spend more time and money in his dream than in your life.


charisma as an autism-spectrum affectation

In 1922, sociologist Max Weber defined charisma as a “certain quality of an individual’s personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.” What is this quality?

You could feel it rippling through the room. Roach built expectation masterfully, starting almost every public appearance woefully late, especially for those with babysitters. We sat and waited and meditated and prayed and studied. Then a murmur passed over the crowd and we stood in silence, turning to his looming frame, the extra-devout surging closer with flowers. His face was radiant, and he was flanked by floating seraphic women, like a transfigured saint in a Renaissance painting. (Christie, Ora, Elizabeth. Why wouldn’t he float into retreat with these women? They seemed bound to him in a gossamer web.) He stopped to accept every flower, but also randomly chose students to share a tender word, giving everyone the impression that personal and intimate attention from the guru was possible. But he never met anyone’s eyes for more than an instant.

The vata-types visibly trembled as he passed. I myself felt an upward rush of longing and fulfillment along my spine. I remember my face flushing and the swirl of rich and nameless emotions, feelings that I associated with every moment in my own Catholic childhood when absolute otherness was revealed in a ritual that brought me as close to god as it set me apart from people.

What’s strange about the shaman-charismatic is that you think you’re responding to his magical body, but this is only marginally true. To a far greater degree, you are actually responding to other’s responses to him in a snowballing feedback loop of shared expectation and wish-fulfillment.  This became clear to me when I saw that the kundalini jolting through those beside me did far more to rattle my internal space than Roach ever did. I think that often what the charismatic does in a performance setting may be vanishingly small. His inaction in fact might be the source of his power: he might be doing nothing at all except showcasing his withdrawal into smiling internality, a radiant autism that stimulates the wishes of those around him for their own perfectly happy solitude. With all attention flowing towards him, he seems to functionally embody a vampiric lack of empathy. Showing the pretense of giving everything and empowering everyone, he doesn’t actually have to give anything or interact with anyone He merely has to affect the glowing receipt of adulation. He is removed from human concern, sanctified and smug, untouchably serene. He is not there to submit to the difficulty of interacting with people, except in the most abstract sense. He is there to be seen being better than others.

It comes down to this: the crowd sees a blissfully self-absorbed human, and they feel within themselves the intense wish to join him, all alone at the top of his invisible diamond mountain. Psychic and sensory data flow inward for the devotee: the kundalini shiver feels like light flashing through internal mirrors of infinite regress. And the most disconcerting thing of all in this kind of darshan is that while everyone is gazing at the guru, no-one is looking at each other. This explains the strange sight of devotees literally shoving each other out of the way in reception lines. He invites many to gather together to have an intensely private and isolating experience, which mirrors his own.

The charismatic draws his followers into his own absence of intersubjectivity while playing their emotions like a violin. Stimulating intense emotion is essential: without it, he has no power. As many sociologists of religion have pointed out, the charismatic attains his position through an overt challenge to tradition or law, creating a one-man vortex of attention, centered upon his body. Roach becomes Roach by challenging the boundaries, norms, and social structures of both Tibetan monastic culture on one hand, and the postmodern western episteme on the other. This is why he can no sooner give up his robes than his laptop. The double rebellion creates an inherently unstable structure: if Roach tumbles, neither world will have his back. There’s no desk job to fall back to, no farm team to coach.

The lack of institutional or traditional stability in Roach’s corporation demands from his students complete emotional investment in his persona. His position is dependent upon the kind of heart-devotion we see in Roach’s current personal assistant Mercedes Bahleda (among so many others). This emotional allegiance must actually strengthen in the wake of institutional or humanistic attacks upon his authority. Many followers find themselves in a zero-sum game of emotional dependence: the ring around Roach will get stronger, until it breaks. I also believe that the intensity of these conflictual, split, and isolating emotions is in turn a kind of fuel for the internal friction that causes kundalini to seem to rise.

many followers, leading themselves back

The shamanic-charismatic leader can hold power, but if his followers get in too deep, they lose their social place within consensus reality, and eventually have nothing to fall back on except the worn platitudes of libertarian freedom and individual responsibility. They will define their own bondage in terms of choice. This is painfully clear from some of the comments from Roach’s supporters in this forum and elsewhere. In response to criticism leveled at their guru, his worldview, and his administration, we’ve seen supporters argue self-reliance (Ian was an adult who made his own choices in a free country); marginally relevant facticity (The retreatants aren’t living in huts, but real houses, with real appliances!); diminishment (Sure, the Kali initiation of 2010 featured weapons and bloodletting, but it was really just theatrical); compensation (Don’t you recognize how much good this man has done in the world?); and retreat (Why can’t you all just leave us alone?).

But no true supporter can earnestly engage with any of the substantive criticism of Roach, precisely because it comes from the complex world they so much wanted to reject, in which he cannot be all things to all people, but is in fact a social and political leader like any other whose rise to prominence must attract requisite scrutiny. The scrutiny is intolerable because it presents an ambivalent picture that violates the radiance of the teacher-student bond. To acknowledge Roach’s many sides would require an act of integration and accomplishment of ambivalence (cf. Melanie Klein) greater than most true supporters would be able to bear. For many have split out their own capacity for certainty and all-goodness, and projected it onto Roach. The extent to which Roach Knows is the extent to which They Are Ignorant. There are many who don’t just live in his shadow. They are his shadow.

But how many true supporters are there, really? Not a lot, I suspect. One thing about even a pre-modern sangha in a postmodern world: no-one in Roach’s sphere of influence can remain unexposed to criticism for long. I have emails in my inbox forwarded to me from DMU insiders originally sent to DMU board members that link to my 5/4 piece. I’m sure this current post will itself be sent to other insiders from well-meaning outsiders. And through these links, the vast online discussion about Roach’s fitness for service will be turned over and over like steaming compost for the integrity garden.

One difficulty in gauging the level to which consensus reality has penetrated the true-support network is that true-supporter arguments will linger in form and content even as those who make them feel themselves fall away from Roach. They will continue to espouse self-reliance arguments (among others) but they will gradually shift away from defending Roach towards defending themselves. Because at a certain point upon leaving the thrall of a charismatic leader it is less important to defend his honour than it is to justify the time and money and emotional/familial capital you spent on him. What I hear beneath the arguments of many threshold-supporters is the pain of the sunk-cost: how can I have spent so much on a fraud? For some, the sunk-cost feeling becomes the sunk-cost fallacy. Turning back on their devotion would be intolerable. Many may feel their only option is to double-down.

The most tenacious self-justifying argument of the devotee backing his way out through the temple door (sweeping up all traces of his presence as he goes) is the libertarian argument, which unfolds in two stages. The first is hostile towards outside critics, or earlier-exiters who are casting blame: “It was always up to you, you know. Everyone was/is free to make their own choices. Geshe Michael isn’t doing anything from his own side. This is a free country. No-one forced you to be here. Don’t blame Roach for your vulnerability. Nobody made you believe anything you didn’t want to believe.” This stage is a basic abdication of responsibility for the social fabric, and attempts to quell the guilt of having watched fellow devotees being abused in one way or another.

The second stage softens, and turns inward: “Well – I really can’t say how other people experienced the man, but I got some good things out of my time with him, and I’m grateful for that. It might not have been right for everybody, but what can we say? Life is mysterious.” This stage takes what it can from a bad situation, and rationalizes the individual benefit. It gives a wistful air to the general narcissism of new-age spirituality.

This second stage is what I smelled in a personal email from Winston McCullough, the first old-timey Roach-devotee and colleague I reached out to back in late April, before I published anything. I remembered Winston from 1998-2000, not as a personal friend, but as a community leader, disciplined student, and all-round dharma-optimist with whom I’d play-debated our beginner’s understanding of emptiness theory on the debate ground when we were both dharma-tourists at Sera Mey in South India. I’d heard that he’d resigned as the first director of Diamond Mountain in 2004, and had moved with his family to the Northwest. Because his current online bio fails to reference his six (and perhaps more) years of intensive student-and-working relations with Roach (an omission increasingly common among former prominent Roach students, though none have come forward with the kind of public criticism that some standards of integrity might demand), I assumed that his move implied a window of philosophical and perhaps social space between himself and the guru.

I reached out to Winston to see if a prominent former student of Roach such as himself might be interested in providing a public mentoring voice to his former foundering community, perhaps by contributing to or tempering the content of my post. Looking back on this, I don’t exactly know what I imagined he could do, but I suppose I at least expected him to indicate that he wanted to do something. But he declined to involve himself. And in classic second-stage-withdrawal style, he wrote via e-mail that he was “sorry about whatever challenges people may be experiencing”. As in: they may be real challenges, or perhaps not (too hard to say, it seems, with psychosis and stabbing and death – it’s all a matter of perspective, no?), but in either case they were issues that he couldn’t comment on, because he has moved on.

For the first six or seven years after I parted ways with Roach I felt like I too had moved on.  I pretended that I could frame my “lost years” in the most beneficial personal light, and be done with it. Psychologically, it was much easier to focus on “I got what I needed from the experience; if it wasn’t ideal for others, well, that’s unfortunate”. (June Campbell, author of Travellers in Space, describes this very well in this 1996 Tricycle interview, which also has much to offer to the discussion of the role of women in Tibetan tantric culture.) Faced with social trauma, we are, above all else, compelled to make things make sense. We will compromise our empathy to resolve cognitive dissonance. The rationalization of self-benefit often comes through turning a blind eye to those around us. After all, if it was bad for others, how good could it really have been for me? What makes me so special and so lucky that my life has generally come together, while Ian’s has been ripped apart?

What I would like Roach devotees and almost-ex-devotees to know is that withdrawing from charismatic control into renewed personal integrity is a long process with many stages. First you may feel hurt and disillusioned. You may suppress this in order to begin the rationalization process. You may be confused about how it was possible for so many people to have such different experiences. You may begin to doubt your doubt. You may feel some are being hysterical in their criticism – those guys like Remski who were always haters anyway. You may feel humiliated that others aren’t listening to your legitimate complaints. In my experience, all of these feelings will interweave without resolution until you finally allow yourself to be truly angry at the lost time and your vulnerability and not standing up for people you saw bullied and your guru’s incredible presumption and the general shortness of life, and in that anger begin to find yourself by resisting the river of power that has continually swept you downstream, and out to sea.


squeezing out of the bubble: dialogue with lama marut

Winston might have made a clean-ish break from Roach’s sphere, but others will find it much more difficult, because their professional lives and public personae are enmeshed in Roach-related endeavours. And some of them are burdened by the additional complication that their personal behaviour has mirrored key aspects of the Roach shadow-play. Consider Lama Marut, also known as Brian K. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at UC Riverside, and a protégé of Wendy Doniger and Mircea Eliade himself.

I knew Brian in 1999-2000. He’d been a surfer, biker dude, smoker and drinker, a rather footloose and roguish divorced father with a beautiful daughter of eight or nine years old. But by the time we were sitting across from each other in a Bodhgaya hotel restaurant between teachings by the Dalai Lama and commentaries by Roach, he’d seemed to have accepted Je Tsongkhapa as his personal lord and saviour. He went vegetarian and alcohol-free, softened his intellectual bravado and skepticism, and started talking about taking ordination.

I can’t say I knew Smith well at the time, but his desire for ordination puzzled me. There seemed to be something penitential about it. (Smith rejected this presumption in his email response to an earlier draft of this section, preferring to use the word “complex”.) But his path made more sense to me when he told me over rice and dahl that he was the son of a Baptist minister, and that his relationship with both his father and his birth religion was fraught with tension. I have since wondered – and still do – whether the oscillation between sin and redemption, as it is for many bred-in-the-bone Christians such as myself, is a key self-soothing rhythm of Smith’s psyche, as it was in my own.

I’m not sure what Smith did while Roach was in his first retreat from 2000 to 2003 – we fell out of touch – but I remember hearing that he was amongst the first students of the Diamond Mountain neo-Tantra programme beginning in 2004, and that he received novice ordination from Roach (and McNally) in 2005, and then full ordination in 2009 from the pair, who were then in the process of separating. Gelukpa traditionalists discount these ordinations, saying that Roach cannot give the monastic vows he has so clearly broken. And certainly for such vows to be co-administered with McNally, they say, who herself held no ordination office, surely invalidates the entire ritual. In a personal email, Smith defends his ordination as a private matter: “Taking these vows was an extraordinarily powerful and personal experience.  As far as I’m concerned, no one can “invalidate” the vows I took.”

Ordained or not in the eyes of Tibetan tradition and culture, and clearly inspired by his teacher’s heterodox gumption, Smith put on his robes with gusto, and began teaching publicly as a neo Tibetan Buddhist monk. A catalogue of his work is available here. A good example of his recent teaching is this video, which he sent me directly during our correspondence. I’m not sure whether he sent it as an example of recent teaching qua teaching, or as a passive-aggressive suggestion to me: that I am presumably unhappy with Roach et al. because I take a “victim’s perspective”.

In either case, it confirmed for me Roach’s influence over his general message. In Smith’s hyper-subjectivist message of “You are not a victim of anything or anybody, and you are the creator of your own world”, he reifies the “adhyatmika bubble”, as Hart deFouw calls it: a particularly new-age devolution of karmic theory, more in tune with The Secret than the Pali canon or the Bhagavad Gita – a wholesale rejection of adhibautika (the actions of others) and adhidaivika (the general ecology). (Adhyatmika refers to self-generated willful actions, said to account for roughly 1/3 of the total action of which experience is made.) This criticism applies to Roachian metaphysics in general. Perception is far more complex than can be understood by the dichotomy of “coming from other” vs. “coming from self”.

In both Smith’s revised bio-note and his personal emails to me, he asserts he is not Roach’s puppet:

In the academic world, it is assumed that while you learn from your teachers and respect them for what they taught you, you also are to integrate what you’ve learned and then take it in your own new and independent direction.  A good teacher teaches a student to think for themselves.  I have tried to honor all my teachers by doing just this.  In my spiritual teachings over the past several years I have drawn on my own material – mostly from my own original translations of Sanskrit texts – and taught them from my own perspective.  I am not simply parroting GMR or anyone else… (personal email, 6/25)

But for someone so interested in intellectually distancing himself from Roach it is odd that he recycles Roach’s own myopic interpretation of Patanjali 1.2, positing vritti as “turning inside out”, instead of the accepted “fluctuations”. “Turning” can work as a translation if it refers to simple repetitive movement (of the gunas, etc), but not if it begins to imply cognitive reversal at the heart of Roach’s “Think-Method” version of emptiness theory. Patanjali isn’t asking for a reversal of perception, but for an end to it, such that the isolation (kaivalya) of purusha and prakriti can be re-established. Roach’s interpretation simply reifies cognition (pramana). For both Roach and Smith to use this text to suggest a kind of cognitive-behavioural-therapy fix for general human suffering is a gross simplification of Yoga and Buddhism. I’m not a Sanskrit scholar like Smith, but I am widely read enough to know that he is squeezing vritti through a Roach-sized window into a teleological agenda that the text will not support. As an academic, Smith well knows the broader interpretation of the term. Bending it for his purposes is as intellectually dishonest as his teaching beside a picture of the Dalai Lama – after claiming that lineage doesn’t matter.

Simplification can have its value. In general, we come to resolve our birth trauma with an overly-objectivist cognitive stance. To at least consider the absolute opposite — that experience is subjective alone — can have therapeutic value, in the sense of pattern-disruption. But it is a transitional teaching at most, and one which unfortunately steers seekers away from the intersubjective, from which empathy proceeds and to which it returns, in my experience. Experience is an ineffable weave of objective presentations and subjective stances: feeling the rich uncertainty of this condition is a dear treasure of the heart.

Philosophy aside, what gets really interesting about Smith is that he seems to have wrapped himself not only in maroon and in Roachesque “Buddhism-As-The-Secret” talking points, but also in key aspects of Roach’s performance as well. Within a short period of time, “Lama Marut”, as he is now known (the misappropriation of the “Lama” honorific by someone considered to be unqualified is deeply insulting to Tibetan culture, by the way) was attracting his own students and “fast-tracking” them into advanced practices through initiations that he had only recently received himself from Roach. One commenter on my second piece likened this to practicing surgery on the general public following a weekend “healthy lifestyles” seminar.  He also took a spiritual partner, with whom he began teaching a pastiche of Mahayana Buddhism, Hindu devotionalism, and Indo-Tibetan Tantra, all under the philosophical umbrella of Roach. In other words, Smith seems to have mimicked many of his mentor’s choices that have drawn fire from both traditionalist and humanist critics.

Most strange of all, both his rhetoric and his Tiblish (Tibetan-English vocal rhythm, tone, and syntax) began to mirror that of Roach directly. Both affect a neo-oral-tradition teaching style of constant content repetition with minor variations, peppy filler, and pop-culture digression. Even his speaking posture seems to have merged with that of his teacher. Like Roach, Smith is a large man, and key staples of his performance are to loom forward with beneficent menace as he speaks, gesture emphatically with his large hands, and use the full force of his resonant voice almost constantly. It is not the communicational stance of the intersubjectively aware, or the therapeutically sensitive. The stances can make both Roach and Smith come off as self-certain bullies seemingly unconcerned with the intimate dialogue at the heart of evolution. They have the truth, and they’re going to mark it, park it, and bark it.

Smith’s imitation of Roach ends, however, at public relations and crisis management. Since the scandal broke, Smith has radically altered his public teaching persona in ways that sharply distinguish him from his free-falling guru. He announced that he was going to start teaching in civilian clothes. He wasn’t formally giving back his monk’s robes, but would now reserve them for those teaching circumstances in which they wouldn’t set him apart from the householder culture he primarily serves. This gesture was announced with a catchy tagline, which quickly went viral (Smith has a large social media following for his dharma tweets): “The purpose of a spiritual life is not to become better THAN others, but to learn how to be better FOR others.” Soon after, he published a clarification of his views on the issue of lineage purity, taking an essentially postmodern and deconstructive position of how power comes to be formed in spiritual cultures. In it, he foregrounds all of his academic influences, glosses over his Roach-affiliation, and erases what had been a cornerstone of his marketing as a dharma teacher through past years: that he is a “fully-ordained Buddhist monk in the lineage of the Dalai Lamas”. Both shifts happened to coincide with the release of his new book and its dedicated world tour: A Spiritual Renegade’s Guide to the Good Life. These are all very deft self-protective moves, and if his core students have enough gravol on hand to stomach the rolling, Smith may survive his self-extraction from the Roach bubble for long enough to attract new students who have never heard of his disgraced mentor. Brian Smith is like Michael Roach’s postmodern doppelganger, minus the premodern episteme: a mirror of form, content, and behaviour, but savvy enough to know when to take a new tack.

Smith’s ace in the credentials-hole is his academic background, although the disjunction between his professorial career and his Lamahood poses an interesting challenge. His titles are a keystone of his public credibility, but their professional meaning within his current role are strained. Scholarship in Comparative Religion demands either a strict non-sectarian viewpoint, or at the very least a refined sensitivity to the problems of insiders being able to theorize with transparency. Smith made his career in a field in which it is virtually impossible to be taken seriously as a scholar while making overt displays of religious faith. His credentials are in a discipline that specifically demands the opposite of what his allegiance to Roach displays. So: he is making an interesting and messy public epistemic shift, and using the academic paradigm to support the religious, when it does not. More accuracy in his self-representation would require more nuance, as in: “I’ve retired from academic life and culture to pursue the spiritual teachings that are closer to my heart…” followed by a statement about the clear difference between the two, and the value of each. His position here is not dissimilar to Roach’s with regard to being liminal to two traditions, yet claiming the authority of both. I’m sure he wants to do a better job than Roach does of navigating this thicket.

Luckily, Smith isn’t in as tight a corner as Roach is. He has never publicly claimed mystical realizations or powers. His own claims of Buddhist lineage reach back only to Roach, a known eclectic. Unlike Roach, he hasn’t bet the farm on asking people to believe he’s the only person in the world authentically blessed and trained to be somebody special. And an entire career spent in peer-review culture has evidently given him the capacity to respond to criticism, rather than to pretend it doesn’t exist. By displaying the capacity to change, Smith might be performing what he is teaching: liberality and adventurousness in spiritual life. The real test of his ability to avoid the Roach undertow will be to see whether it becomes clear that during those crucial seven years of his teacherly formation he only parroted Roach’s teaching style and content, and not Roach’s willingness to feed off of age and gender power imbalances, certify unqualified teachers, abuse his students’ emotions or trust, socially shun students who don’t defer to him, or put them at psychological risk through bizarre initiation practices.

One thing is clear: in direct statements at least, Smith is standing by his man. Here is our interchange about how he is relating to Roach in the wake of the scandal.

Me: Regarding having taken vows with Roach and McNally: is it not true that there are more than enough insider Gelukpas who assert that MR has broken samaya significantly enough to invalidate the ritual of his ordinations?

Smith: How Many “Insider Gelukpas” have asserted this? How many would be “more than enough”, and who would decide this?

Me: Is claiming ordination from someone who has been excommunicated and then going on to benefit from the authority of the robes conscionable within the broader context of Gelukpa monastic culture?

Smith: I am unaware of any such “excommunication”, or what “excommunication” would mean in the context of Tibetan Buddhism, or even which individual or institutional body within Tibetan Buddhism would have the power and authority to do such a thing.”

Me: Have your robes and lineage-clarification decisions been at all influenced by the tragedy at Diamond Mountain, and the controversy surrounding Roach’s continuing insistence on wearing robes, and his clear overstatement of Gelukpa adherence?

Smith: I have posted video and audio in which my reasons for not wearing robes while teaching are stated, and the purposes for putting up the lineage and influences statement on my website may be found within that very document.

In reading these semantic parsings of simple questions, it must be remembered that Roach is Smith’s Tantric Master, and to publicly or even mentally question him in any way carries an enormous religious penalty — countless lives in hell, for starters. The bonds between Tantric vow-givers and vow-takers will be psychologically overwhelming for some, and I imagine that we will see many similar responses, ranging from the uncomfortable to the downright tortured, from Roach’s students as they revision their identities and allegiances.

In my opinion, I think the smartest, most genuine, and truly “renegade” thing that Smith could do when the time is right would be to make his strange association with Roach an utterly transparent part of his spiritual autobiography. I heard the first part of it years ago, over dinner. Perhaps the fuller version would sound something like this:

I am the son of a Baptist minister. I became a scholar of religion to understand the nameless pressures and ecstasies of my childhood. But after many years I realized that my scholarship had stripped me of faith and wonder. I wandered through my middle years chasing empty consolations. And then I met a man my age, from my culture, who truly believed all of the things I remembered from childhood, but had since merely studied in books. I fell in love with his strange passion: I felt it rejuvenate a buried vitality and hopefulness. But gradually, I saw that like myself he was wounded, perhaps beyond repair, and that mirroring his life was not getting me any closer to the truth of my own. I realized that I had followed someone else’s dream in order to wake myself up. My entanglement with him showed me the necessity of finding my own path.

Now this would be a teacher I would listen to.


I don’t know how to love him

I’m asking for a lot transparency from Roach and Smith: far more than their public personae or personal pride – or in Roach’s case, grasp of reality – can likely bear. What transparency do I have to offer in return? A little more every day, I hope.

These past two months have provoked a rich stream of contemplation for me. I’ve had to revisit a strange and often dark time in my life and continue to uncover its meaning. I’ve wrestled with the ethics of outraging old friends and emotionally distressing thousands of people I’ve never met. I’ve been sleepless with the consideration that my reporting and opinions may contribute to profound changes in the paths of people I don’t know. I’ve wondered if these articles might cause damage far beyond my intentions: that not only will Roach’s halo tarnish and teeter, but that his charitable efforts will also be threatened, and that the Tibetan culture he has appropriated will suffer further by spotlighting this tragedy.

And yet I’ve felt compelled to pursue it. Not for fame or money, as some have accused. In this field, the former is of dubious value, and the latter is non-existent, except for a few professional journalists for whom I’ve provided a shitload of legwork. So: why? Not only because it’s my story as much as it’s anyone else’s who has crossed paths with Michael Roach, but also for a much deeper reason that I am just beginning to own. I loved him. In his apparent mystical ecstasy I felt the answer to my own terrible longing. I was obsessed with him, and in some ways I still am. There’s something about Michael Roach that pulls on all of my unintegrated threads at once, something that shows me where I am a scared and petulant child longing for comfort, where I demand certainty where none exists, where I am lost between cultures and millennia, and how easy it was to console myself by withdrawing into masturbatory religious sentiment.

Before Roach went into retreat in 2000, I sealed a strange bond with him in a public performance of a book he had just published and for which I had been an editorial assistant. It was called The Garden, and it consisted of a young seeker’s narration of encounters with Buddhist saints in a meditation garden on successive summer nights, co-ordinated by a suspiciously McNally-like high school girlfriend/angel. It was, like everything Michael did, quasi-autobiographical. He enlisted myself and my ex-wife to create a script of the book, and rehearse it for the launch. We wrote, memorized, blocked, and rehearsed for a month as a duet, with myself playing the young Michael Roach, and my ex playing the parade of teachers, from the saturnine logician Dharmakirti to the young prince Gautama himself. The launch was early in 2000: we had all just returned from the roll-over of the millennium in India, broke and feverish. It felt like the end of something big, both socially and personally: an entire community was about to lose their teacher for years, the book summed up many of his basic messages, the first great Roach diaspora was about to occur, and my ex and I, vagabonds since we met, were about to rebuild yet again our entire social and professional lives.

Even the performance venue was suggestive of an ending world. Harper Collins, Roach’s publisher, rented out an old Barney’s store that had gone bankrupt in the recent recession. We built our makeshift set around empty shelving emblazoned with the brand names of haute couture. Someone brought a few can lights with gels, someone else set up the video, and someone else brought vegan catering to set up beside the artful pyramid of new books. I don’t know how many people came; it felt like two hundred or so. We used the grand marble staircase in the centre of the main floor for the entrances and exits of the saints.

We began: I closed my eyes under the lights and listened for my ex’s step on the stairs. I molded my posture and mental space into what I imagined my teacher’s internality felt like: an upward pulse, a buoyancy, a radiant loneliness. I felt an ecstatic merging into the presence of a man I wanted to be. I felt my name and story vanish under the gaze of those who wanted to see their teacher’s life laid out before them, projected onto an empty screen. I’d been in music and theatre for years, but never had the form and content of performance intertwined so deeply with my own secret longing.

It was over before it began. Michael rushed towards me with tears streaming down his flushed face. He took me in his arms, and embraced me with crushing force. His body trembled with emotion and radiated intense heat. I began to weep as well, overcome by an abject wordlessness. I felt him love me in perhaps the only way he knew how: manically, desperately. I went limp in his arms, surrendering to him, having become him.  It took years for me to shake the feeling of being gripped and held. Years to rekindle my own heat.


new rumours, which, if corroborated by the crowdsource, may continue to provoke therapeutic anger

Many ex-devotees of Roach are recovering from a merging similar to my own. They are coming forward, tentatively. Many have been silent and withdrawn for years, trying to make sense of having given their power away to a dream. In addition to the dozens brave enough to post their experiences online (though perhaps still too wounded to use their full names), about a dozen more, who have all expressed a wish to remain anonymous, have sent me heartbreaking e-mails recounting their psychological suffering and marginalization in the shadow of Diamond Mountain. I’ve been told that students have been pressured into sexual consort practice, that Roach-affiliate organizations have failed to pay administrative workers promised wages for over two years, that Roach’s senior students have spiritually terrorized newer initiates, that marriages have ruptured in the wake of bizarrely sexualized initiation rituals, and that other intimate relationships have crumbled under the weight of philosophically-provoked emotional abandonment.

I can’t corroborate these accounts by myself. Presenting them prematurely exposes me to the accusation of fabrication. How can I protect the anonymity of my sources while showing that I’m not rumour-mongering? I can’t. But I’m willing to take a risk. My experience so far with Roach-related stories is that they begin as frayed threads that dangle until pulled upon by the crowdsource, and are drawn out and woven together on a collective loom of resurrecting dignity. Prior to the publication of my second piece, an anonymous e-mail appeared in my inbox: “If people start talking about the Kali initiations of 2010, Diamond Mountain will implode.” I referenced this “rumour” in my post in the form of a leading question, and it led to several hundred comments exposing a nightmare of spiritual chicanery, psychological bullying and sexual harassment. So far in this story, smoke has definitely signaled fire. And the smoke keeps billowing.

The vast majority of Roach’s students have taken a set of vows – as I once did – associated with the Bodhisattva ideal, a rigorous code of compassionate ethics. One of these vows is the vow to “dispel rumours” that threaten the integrity of Buddhist teachings or teachers, or threaten the ardour of the faithful. By not responding to the many questions raised by the Thorson tragedy (and its Diamond Mountain context) that remain unanswered by his open letter, Roach and the entire DM board seem to be breaking this vow on an hourly basis. If the rumours are untrue, perhaps other students will show more courage, and address them directly.

Why do my correspondents wish to remain anonymous? Because uttering the story of trauma can be as painful as experiencing the trauma itself. It is not surprising that ex-members speak in layers of disclosure. They will only speak at first in the silence of their hearts, and then in whispers, from behind a scrim. Finally: encouraged by the voices of others, a more confident sound may emerge.


following Christie McNally back to where it all started

The voice we all want to hear most is that of Christy McNally. Not from behind a retreat blindfold, nor from a teaching stage, nor in an hallucinatory letter posted online from the middle of nowhere, trying to console confused devotees. With more than fifteen years at Roach’s side, she will know, more than anyone, how it all happened, how it all works, and exactly what he has done. But her authentic knowledge will be wrapped in the thick shadow of her complex self-perception. I imagine she is far more deeply split than anyone I see in therapy, with an unconscious part feeling she has been a slave to another’s dream, and a more conscious part actively rationalizing that slavery by assuming a false mastership role.

This is why I found it so moving to read of her travelling to Kathmandu and trying to meet Lama Zopa. It’s a classic story of a person returning to the site of her original trauma: the place where she began to change and split, to think she was becoming someone other than an East Coast photography and literature student with a bright and uncertain world before her. Perhaps a regular job, a family.

It was also very moving to read that she had to stand in the reception line like every other beginning student, that she received no special acknowledgement from this strangely luminous little monk she met in this very place in the mid-90s, at the beginning of her journey – before all the grandiosity, the thousand airplanes, the knives, and Ian’s malnourished eyes gleaming in the dark of the cave.

And perhaps most moving of all: to read that she offered a white silk kathak scarf to the old man, now so frail and sick, and that, as per the custom, he gave it back to her. Christie spent close to a decade wearing white silk “angel clothes” as she stood demurely beside her maroon-robed master. It is as though she offered Lama Zopa the rags of an old disguise. And the old Tibetan gave it back to her, placing it tenderly around her neck, as if to say: Own your life. Own your past, your path, your culture. It’s never too late. Start now, from the beginning.


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.


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anonymous Feb 26, 2016 10:31pm

The place is a ghost town,the board including the likable Nicole and the decidedly creepy rest of them are gone.The mystery man from China came through with the cash and the ugly student center is finished.It dwarfs the temple.They also bought the 360 acres across from me and North of Winston’s house (another gutless actor in this bad play)..the rental thing is a bust so far….banal evil is the bottom line

anonymous Feb 24, 2016 8:38am

It's interesting to come back to this after a few years and a bit of distance. I am not a student of GMR but have listened to a lot of his teachings. My own teacher in whom I have a lot of faith, having studied with her for 15 years, met him and said he had some good qualities.
I think what stands out for me the most is how much are we willing to actually take on the teachings, which in so many ways break apart our western worldview with it's scholarly, atheistic, one-life, scientific, ego driven agenda. How much actual study and practice does one do before the teachings make real impact, going from a sentence in a biography to validate ourselves, to a complete profound understanding of our fundamental nature?
What this article did for me was not expose a narcissistic charlatan but really remind me how much western students of Buddhism create a whole identity around being a practitioner. Instead of using the teachings to create "groundlessness" as Trungpa Rinpoche said, we weave a reality around ourselves that can't help but crumble in some way when the truth exposes its shaky foundations.
When are we going to see that "commodity dharma" can't survive. The crumbling of dharma seems to be less about bad teachers and more about trying to apply worldly thinking to something meant to destroy gratuitous self-aggrandizement.
Trying to find a status quo when the status quo needs to be destroyed. I don't think Tilopa, Machig Labdron et al were that popular with the establishment either.

anonymous Sep 26, 2015 4:58pm

Clear cut examples that GMR's method didn't even work for him:

1) Oprah pitch
2) TED pitch
3) Breakfast wish
4) Dehli belly

    anonymous Feb 14, 2016 3:57pm

    Zirconia, you're the most prolific poster in these comments and seem well informed on the latest news and developments. Who are you (what is your real name) and how come you are so immersed in this story? Are you a disaffected student?

anonymous Aug 24, 2015 5:10pm

Monkey Business as Usual

Yvonne Jaques and her husband Roger founded the Geshe Michael Roach Diamond Mountain outpost in western Canada, Three Jewels Vancouver (3JV). She emerged in 2013 from the most recent and infamous three-year Diamond Mountain retreat rebranded as “Padma Yvonne” and began teaching a new philosophy of her own invention — “Padmanjali Sadhana” — which she describes as follows:

“Padmanjali Sadhana weaves together the powerful and transformative outer methods of our Hatha Yoga Pradipika lineage with the exquisite inner methods of wisdom and love of our Tibetan Heart Yoga and Tibetan Buddhism lineages in a potent blend of asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha, meditation and philosophy.” []

And if you order now, she'll even throw in a set of tofu knives!

Like most of his students in the public eye, Padma Yvonne’s website is virtually scrubbed clean of GMR’s influence and guru-disciple relationship — despite the fact the she was a full-on student at Diamond Mountain, having completed the full set of controversial tantric teachings. But she appears to have learned nothing from Geshe Michael Roach’s disastrous mixing of singular, perfectly adequate non-Tibetan Buddhist yogic traditions (e.g., Kali worship, Hatha yoga) with traditional Tibetan Buddhist tantric exercises and philosophy. In this respect, “Padma Yvonne” honors the spirit of her guru by dragging behind her wagon train Tibetan Heart Yoga, a Geshe Michael Roach invention merging Hatha yoga with Tibetan tantric breathing and visualization exercises, and which are available and taught to any non-initiate.

She has now hitched her wagon to Swami Muktibodhananda Saraswati, a devout Hatha Yoga Pradipika teacher and practitioner. This would be, under normal circumstances, laudable; Swami Muktibodhananda Saraswati is highly respected in the yogic community. But 3JV students find themselves taking traditional Tibetan Buddhist sutrayana and tantrayana classes alongside Hatha Yoga Pradipika and kundalini retreats — all the while believing that there are no differences between yogic breathwork and Tibetan tantric practices. This is a major fallacy.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika is perfectly fine and exquisitely complicated enough without adding Tibetan Buddhism (the real, non-GMR variety) to the mix; Tibetan Buddhism is equally perfect and exquisite without Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Pick a side and run with it. Unless you like gin in your wine, in which case, by all means, have yourself a good time.

    anonymous Aug 26, 2015 10:32pm

    Regrettably, many people from this 2nd retreat are helping GMR spread his mistaken views of karma.

      anonymous Aug 31, 2015 8:02pm

      investigation Discovery. Deadly Devotion gives Roach a wack"….

    anonymous Aug 31, 2015 9:23am

    What exactly is your beef with this approach? They say they are weaving the "outer" methods of the HYP lineage with the "inner" methods of wisdom and love (which presumably is a reference to the wisdom realising emptiness and bodhichitta) of the Tibetan lineage.

    Buddhism didn't emerge in a vacuum. Like all things it is historically contingent. Yogic practices like pranayama and asana existed long before the Buddha taught and became incorporated into Buddhist practice. Just as, for example, Christian clergy are known to attend Buddhist retreats in order to learn how to meditate so they can apply that meditation training to their Christian practice, what is the problem with Buddhist practitioners who are qualified for such practices also learning pranayama and so on from a yogic tradition that is perhaps stronger in such practices than the present Tibetan tradition which endured a monumental hit to its tantric tradition with the loss of almost, if not all, of its tantric institutions in 1959?

    The boundaries between spiritual paths and traditions is not as neat and demarcated as you may want to believe. They are porous and there has always been interactions and cross-influences between practitioners of different traditions that bump into each other or emerge from each other on their historical trajectory. This is NOT to say that one should practice a cocktail created from the ideas and practices of an array of spiritual traditions. But it is equally an extreme to assert that the Buddhist path emerged from and has continued to subsist in its own vacuum of purity. Don't assume that Buddhism is this neat, self-contained, unequivocal package that has been unambiguously passed down generation to generation. There's no such thing. That's why Buddhism looks so different in different parts of the world. And that's in keeping with the central message that the Buddha spent his teaching life explaining – there is no essential self to things. Things instead exist as contingencies.

      anonymous Sep 2, 2015 4:10pm

      Take it up with David Frawley: "Hindus and Buddhist respect one another but seldom combine the teachings of these two different religions by way of their actual practices. They tend to follow one tradition or the other but seldom both… In this eclectic age, many people do some synthetic experimentation combining different spiritual paths and teachings according to their inclinations or inspirations… Yet it frequently gets people lost or confused, trying to mix teachings together they do not really understand."

    anonymous Sep 1, 2015 12:42pm

    indeed, Tibetan Buddhism has its own yogic movement practices… Kum Nye, Yantra Yoga, Trul-Khor… mixing Hatha with Tibetan Buddhism is like putting hot dogs in spaghetti… the spaghetti was fine as it was… and if you want to have a hot dog, have a hot dog… 🙂

      anonymous Sep 2, 2015 11:37pm

      You're the one making the assertion that what this person is doing is inappropriate. The onus is on you to back up your claim with reasoning. All you are doing is repeating the assertion without any offering any substantive reasons. Telling someone to take it up with someone else doesn't let you off the hook of backing up your claim.

        anonymous Sep 3, 2015 12:05pm

        Friends: Realization of the self is the main Vedantic formula for moksha or liberation. Buddhism does not accept the idea of a self that needs to be liberated. You will need to check your Atman/Brahman at the door.

        The real losers are the students who look to mish-mash teachings of GMR & crew and think that they're getting some great truth, when in reality all that's being sown are the seeds of confusion that they have to sort out.

anonymous Aug 11, 2015 3:45pm

Thread running out of steam? After all the talk, what change has there been?

    anonymous Aug 26, 2015 9:16pm

    Some older students (including the angels from the first retreat) left him. Some would-be students have been warned away by discussions here.

anonymous Jun 7, 2015 8:36pm

Come together: the naked truth

anonymous May 12, 2015 3:27pm

A man of miracles

anonymous Apr 25, 2015 1:43pm

The oracle of Phoenix

anonymous Feb 20, 2015 11:03pm

feedback from current and former students, please?

    anonymous Feb 23, 2015 11:04am

    My bet is Roach is getting the retreat setup for independent groups as a precursor to cashing it out…..because he is all about the diamonds after all …….After 5 months of nothing,construction has begun.Imagine yourself perched in the once pristine mountain valley in a meditative state when ex -Guatemalian special forces lead Burreros stop by……courtesy of the isolation induced wrong headed group think of the DM retreaters….creating a path for stranger danger and it looks like a path Ian used to get in way over his head……

      anonymous Feb 26, 2015 12:00am

      Birdman, what have been going on since the end of retreat? How active is the place? I assume there're only caretakers as the students are gone? Are there occasional gatherings among DM students? How often have they rented out the place?

    anonymous Mar 3, 2015 6:19pm

    seem to be getting my comments deleted…

      anonymous Mar 4, 2015 9:24am

      back on….the building is going hot and heavy with a pretty together looking construction company.A few more big name defections are coming and as long as Roach leads the group the disgust for them grows as the story gets out. the group had been met with quite a bit of snark in town and tucson on leaving their burrows…..oh and one would hope at the event in March they honor Ian……and fire the Roach..

        anonymous Mar 5, 2015 6:34pm

        3 of the 4 women who were in the first retreat with him have disassociated themselves.

anonymous Feb 9, 2015 7:56pm


Lama knows best!

    anonymous Aug 11, 2015 3:43pm

    Your links are dead. How you find this stuff in the first place?

      anonymous Aug 26, 2015 9:12pm

      The owner decided to make the videos private. Google searches.

anonymous Jan 18, 2015 9:44pm

Hi Alistair,

You said you're no longer associated with DM, but are you still a follower of GMR?

I don't know where Jerry/corvid got the info, but a commenter named Josh wrote:

"the instructor of one of the courses i took (british i think, or australian. alistair? maybe he's in retreat) said on different occasions that GM was:
-the next jesus
-the supreme being"

    anonymous Jan 19, 2015 8:29pm

    Hi Zirconia, I've just looked at the link you provided and it's quite a shock, as well as somewhat amusing, to see such manifestly bizarre statements attributed to oneself. For the record, I would never have made such statements. And for what it is worth, while Mahayana Buddhism asserts 'omniscience' as a quality of the minds of fully enlightened beings, there is no notion of a supreme being in any Buddhist tradition that I know of, while the phrase "the next Jesus" sounds straight out of some Christian evangelical service. Personally, I remain grateful and respectful for much of the education I received at Diamond Mountain, whilst now choosing to further my Buddhist education and practice in other arenas and with other teachers.

    anonymous Jan 20, 2015 7:00pm

    Zirconia, interesting the Aussie has jumped ship…..I heard that Mercedes has too.Why they are pushing to open the retreat for non followers is a real puzzle.The only answer is Roach wants to bring in more cash.Again….the valley is dangerous.The stupid retreaters made a trail that is used nightly by Narco traffickers ….they now come right next to the cabins….

      anonymous Jan 21, 2015 3:43am

      I don't think it's particularly interesting, and it's certainly not of relevance to an exploration of the genuinely important topics that have emerged in the aftermath of the tragic passing of our friend colleague, Ian. Also, "jumped ship" is inaccurate and rather heavy handed language that misses the nuances of the evolutionary nature of and maturation process associated with a student's relationship with their spiritual guide. Unfortunately I feel that we can all too easily descend into idle speech when we have this powerful opportunity before us to engage in a very constructive evaluation of what constitutes a healthy spiritual practice, a healthy and mature relationship with our spiritual teachers, and correct worldview.

        anonymous Jan 22, 2015 11:42pm

        Speaking as an outsider, I think following the vajrayana is like taking a short cut to the top of Mt. Everest, you need to have a sherpa, and on such treacherous journey, you can't afford to question him at every step, you do as he tells you to, you just have to have complete trust in his skills and knowledge. Therein lies the danger as he may not be skilled or reliable, or shouldn't have been licensed as sherpa in the first place.
        Correct me if I'm wrong, but students are encouraged to view the lama as a divine being, so I'm not sure if it's possible to have a healthy relationship from such an imbalanced power structure.

          anonymous Jan 23, 2015 11:00am

          Hi Zirconia, what do you mean by “speaking as an outsider”?

          Aryadeva famously lists three qualities of a qualified student in his “Four Hundred Verses”: being open-minded; applying one’s discerning intelligence; and being committed to one’s spiritual goals. Much as i’m personally unqualified to speak authoritatively on what constitutes a proper relationship between a student and their Vajrayana teacher, it seems that the relationship is based on a foundation of, among other things, a high level of maturity on the part of both the student and the teacher. i don’t see any basis for suddenly abandoning one’s discriminating intelligence at the Vajrayana level. How could becoming an automaton who blindly follows whatever a certain person says be in any way compatible with becoming enlightened – having fully realized and cultivated one’s inner wisdom and other qualities? Blind, unquestioning following of what an authority figure is arguably the infantile state of forfeiting our own freedom and intelligence and hoping that someone else can make everything ok for us if we just do what they say. It seems to me to be a regressive, as well as a lazier, approach, that is surely opposed to the state of authentic awakening.

            anonymous Jan 25, 2015 1:44am

            Outsider as in not a student of the path.

            I agree that students should not suspend their good judgements. As the Dalai Lama said: "If the spiritual master is following a wrong path, which is contrary to mainline teachings, the student should be able to take a stand and not blindly follow that path."

            GMR does teach the proper way for students to relate to the lama, but perhaps not often enough. From what I could gather, and I may be very wrong here, students are more frequently taught variations of the following views, and many do hold them:

            1) The lama is empty, if only you had better karma, you'd see that he's flawless.
            2) Any flaw that you see in your lama is not coming from him, but is a projection of your own impure mind.
            3) Having a negative view of your lama may incur very bad karma, perhaps may even lead you to vajra hell (NYC's diamond district?).
            4) Seeing your lama as a holy being should be part of your practice.
            5) It was GMR's service and devotion to "Holy Khen Rinpoche" that lead to his direct perception of emptiness at the age of 22 (a service of about 2 years seems quite brief).

            And there's that talk where he claimed that an easy way to cleanse your karma is to just have faith that your lama is a holy being.

            I'd very much appreciate it if you would correct me on any point that I got wrong.

              anonymous Jan 25, 2015 6:05am

              Well, I'm not the most qualified to comment, but I'd say that, generally speaking, view 1 was taught, although to see one's teacher as flawless would, according to this view, require not just "better" karma but powerfully virtuous ripening karma, if not perfectly virtuous karma. Re view 2 – i'd say that it was taught that anything negative that one perceives in the world is the result of one's own negative ripening karma. Re view 3 – this is a view i hear from time to time within Buddhism but it's not something that I ever heard Geshe Michael emphasize; i'm not sure if Geshe Michael has even taught this as he much prefers to focus on the upside – the good results that come from observing one's vows and commitments – rather than focusing on the unpleasant results of not observing them (please note that i don't understand your NYC's diamond district reference). Re view 4 – i'd say it it was taught that it's highly virtuous to see all living beings, not just one's teachers, in the most pure way. Re view 5 – no, i never heard Geshe Michael express it that way. GMR does teach that serving one's teacher is one of the most powerful means to collect the merit for realizations, but not as the one and only means. In class six of ACI course 6 Geshe Michael presents five specific steps to accumulate the merit for deep realizations of which serving one's teacher is one. The five are:
              1. Find a qualified spiritual teacher
              2. Serve the teacher
              3. Serve those who are most in need (eg the sick, the poor)
              4. Learn to meditate
              5. Study emptiness

              I hope this helps.

                anonymous Jan 26, 2015 10:49pm

                Thanks for the info, diamond district was just a lame attempt at humor. What is taught as "the most pure way" to see other beings? How are we supposed to view animals, rapists, and murderers? I assume you sat through tantra courses which actually spanned 6 years, not 7?

                  anonymous Jan 27, 2015 11:31pm

                  You're welcome. The issue of "pure view" is very complex and nuanced, and one that I don't feel qualified to address with any authority other than to state that i don't consider that it involves abandoning one's discerning intelligence and/or engaging in magical deluded thinking. The foundation of any valid view, whether it be at the sutra or tantra level of practice, is a correct understanding of the nature of reality (ie the correct view of emptiness and dependent arising). If that foundation is faulty then it's going to be reflected in the results.

                    anonymous Jan 31, 2015 12:42am

                    Again, as an outside observer I may very well be wrong, so please do correct me. In other Buddhist traditions the student-teacher relationship is more or less between near equals, with students showing respect and deference to the teacher, as they do to professors. In vajrayana, a student has such a relationship at the beginning, but at some stage will consider the lama a divine being, and thus all actions by the lama may be viewed as enlightened activities. Once the lama is viewed as divine, the student seems to have few options but to intentionally or unintentionally suspend his judgement ("Who am I to question Buddha or judge his actions?") and defer to the lama's supposed divinity and wisdom. This is an issue not just with Diamond Mountain, but with Tibetan Buddhism itself. However, it seems less problematic in Tibet and India where lamas in close-knit communities help keep each other in line, and such semblance of checks and balances to some degree protects students from ill-qualified lamas. In the West, the lama is usually isolated, and independent of supervision from a sangha of well-practiced lamas. With unquestioned loyalty and adulation from students, a lama may intentionally or unintentionally act out of accord with the dharma. For those reasons, the student's elevation/deification of the lama is a clear and present danger for both parties. Perhaps a skillful lama would modulate such practice in the West, and not push it to the forefront.

                    anonymous Jan 31, 2015 9:12pm

                    I think these are valid criticisms of the course that some relationships between teacher and student may take and indeed seem in some cases to have taken. I agree that the undiscerning deification by students of the guru/lama is potentially very toxic. However, I'm unsure if it is meant to be that way – even in Tibetan Buddhism. There's an advanced subject in the Tibetan monastic tradition called "trang-nge" which is learning to discern between teachings that are meant to be taken literally and those that are not meant to be taken literally and as such are to be interpreted. It stems from an initial acknowledgement in the Tibetan tradition that the Buddha, accepted by the tradition as a fully enlightened being and thus a supremely authoritative source, gave conflicting, even contradictory, responses and presentations on certain topics, especially emptiness and the nature of reality. This is understood as being "skilful means" by the Buddha in speaking to the level of his audience and hence altering his presentation depending on who was listening at the time. This means that not everything the Buddha ever taught may be accepted as literally correct. So how does one distinguish between that which may be safely accepted as literally correct and that which is not? One cannot even rely on statements by the Buddha that purport to clarify his conflicting presentations because how can one assume that such clarifications are themselves literal? The Buddha may have colouring his clarification based on the capacity of the audience at that time. As Je Tsongkapa, the founder of the Geluk sect, writes in his commentary "Lekshe Nyingpo", we have to figure out for ourselves, by way of applying logic, which statements are literally correct and which are to be interpreted. We cannot merely rely on the statements of an external authority. We need to do the much harder (but ultimately much more satisfying) work of subjecting the statements to our own logical analysis and reaching our own firm conclusions.

                    So there you have in the Tibetan Buddhism an acknowledgement from a highly regarded source that one should not suspend one's judgement and use of logic even when it comes to listening to the teachings by a source that is considered to be fully enlightened.

                    There is often a regressive and co-dependent tendency among students to seek all their answers in the guru, this external authority figure, and to surrender their own discriminating intelligence and independent thought in the process. I think the adoration and adulation of students towards their teacher can trigger a narcissism in the immature teacher that is potentially very damaging. However, I suspect that an authentic teacher – a genuinely qualified teacher – will avoid these dangers and will seek to empower the student and help them to cultivate their own spiritual intelligence and other good qualities.

                    anonymous Feb 2, 2015 10:59pm

                    A typical student probably would not have access to or interest in "trang-nge" or "Lekshe Nyingpo", but would have seen fellow students prostrating at the lama's feet. Such visuals can work in subtle but powerful ways on the student's mind.

                    What seems strange, at least to an outsider like me, is that the roles among DM couples were not well-defined and even reversed: GMR was Christie's lama, and she was his, this mutual role reversal was again repeated between Ian and Christie. Each person viewing their partner as divine is not a part of the tradition (*am I right?* just as lamas do not prostrate to students), and a deference to each other's judgment seems to be more dangerous: "My divine partner probably knows what's best."

                    anonymous Mar 5, 2015 6:38pm

                    Care to comment on guru yoga and/or samaya?

        anonymous Feb 15, 2015 8:18am

        Noticed your comment that it wasn't you that drove with the Brewers..sorry, time sort of blurs things but I am sure you know who it was and of course kept it to yourself.People come and go at DM and the institutional memory is pretty fuzzy as a way to prevent potential new members from smelling the crazy.On the Jesus thing pretty sure it was attributed to you.I remember Ben was real worried this idea was out there.

          anonymous Mar 3, 2015 8:34pm

          I have no idea who or indeed if anyone drove with the Brewers across the country. And I never heard all the years I was there any story about any student wrecking their vehicle's transmission, let alone doing so thinking that their karma would somehow allow them to transcend the laws of physics. We've never even met, you don't know me, and yet you so confidently assert that I do know who it was and i'm keeping that knowledge to myself. Bizarre.

            anonymous Mar 4, 2015 9:16am

            Aussie, I heard it from Judy years ago….the names may be foggy but who could forget that magical thinking….same stuff that has and will get you greenhorns in trouble at the Cabins on the Beltrans trail.Did you help build that trail? What thinking person with any experience near the border would think of doing such a thing?

              anonymous Mar 6, 2015 8:03pm

              Jerry, I can tell how genuinely concerned you are about the trails that have been created in the DM retreat area (as well as other matters) and I think I read somewhere that you said you approached the authorities as a concerned citizen. That's putting your money where you mouth is and I respect that. Too often people bang a loud drum about some issue but never actually take any meaningful action.

              However, maybe you should aim your fire a little more selectively. Why have a dig at folks like me whom you're incorrectly assuming may be responsible for things you consider to be irresponsible or crazy such as these trails?

              If the local authorities are declining to take any action on matters you have brought to their attention then I guess you can continue to lobby them that they may change their minds, and you can also directly approach the DM board and formally present your concerns and recommendations in a neighbourly (i.e. not too adversarial) manner.

              Good luck in standing up for what you believe in. Peace, and over and out.

                anonymous Mar 7, 2015 7:49am

                Not sure if you didn't see my question regarding guru yoga.

                  anonymous Mar 8, 2015 10:28pm

                  You say you're not a practitioner of the path, Zirconia. If you aren't following the Buddhist path, may I ask what is your motivation for exploring such topics and following this story so strongly? Also, I note you're using an alias, but have you disclosed who you are on this forum? It's always easier to have a conversation if one knows to whom one is speaking.

                    anonymous Mar 10, 2015 2:06am

                    I have always had an interest in various religions, but someone close to me is Buddhist, so I'm a little more drawn to Buddhism, maybe I am Buddhist-curious? I have a hard time understanding the DL's and TNH's talks, so imagine my delight when I first read about GMR, finally a learned monk who speaks fluent English. A few years ago, I almost went to one of his talks, a Buddhist monk in the diamond business sounded interesting enough, but I didn't go at the last minute, for once in my life, laziness saved me. Given his credentials, in all likelihood I'd have been drawn into his world. More than likely I would have received refuge vows, and who knows, perhaps even ordination vows from him.
                    As for motivation, I have enough respect for the dharma to be sufficiently concerned about his version of Buddhist philosophy (karma presentation) and history (Christian influence through St. Thomas). I hope that gives you a better idea of who you're conversing with. BTW, if you 're no longer interested in discussing with me the topic of your choosing, I'd appreciate it if you would say something to that effect rather than disengaging mid conversation (the equivalent of hanging up).

                    anonymous Mar 11, 2015 4:09am

                    Hi Zirconia, I have no wish to hang up mid conversation. Please bear in mind that i may not have the same amount of time to devote to this forum and address the additional topics you raise. I have answered your questions to date to the best of my ability, but I’m unsure whether there’s much more I can offer the conversation.

                    However, to address, albeit briefly, your most recent question: guru yoga and samaya are, as far as I am aware, very advanced practices in the Vajrayana tradition. i think that western buddhists are probably still in the early days of fully understanding them and how to apply them to our western culture. They are practices and ideas coming from very different cultures. Traditionally, one would learn about these practices in a very personal way from a qualified teacher with whom one has the appropriate kind of relationship.

                    I wonder if there may be more fruitful ways you may explore your interest in Buddhism. There are many other highly articulate and esteemed Western teachers of Tibetan Buddhism and many Tibetan teachers now teaching in English. And of course there's an extraordinary multitude of books on Buddhism these days. I think it's a matter of finding a teaching and a delivery that resonates with us personally.

                    The main thing about Buddhism is that it is not meant to be of mere intellectual interest but something that genuinely transforms our hearts and minds for the better and helps us achieve greater meaning and satisfaction in our lives. Yes, there are certainly compelling lessons to be learned from the Diamond Mountain experience but i think we need to be vigilant not to get too caught up on the scandal and gossip because how does that actually help us at the end of the day? One of the first things that the Buddhist path awakens us to is that our lives are impermanent and that we don’t know for sure if we will even be alive tomorrow. The question then that each of us must answer for ourselves is: how may I live my life most meaningfully and so die without any regret?

                    All the very best with your exploration of Buddhism and I hope our conversation has been of some value. Signing off now, peace.

                    anonymous Mar 13, 2015 9:56pm

                    We had been responding to each other's comments within a few days, but my reply to your trang-nge comment was 5 weeks ago and is still unanswered; but I'm glad it's not intentional, you may want to sort the posts by Last Activity. BTW, that reply should not be misconstrued as idle gossip, my intention was to address the topic at hand, and understand how it is practiced by tradition vs at DM.

                    As far as I can tell, guru yoga and samaya may create a staggerlingly lopsided power dynamic that can be unhealthy/problematic, at least in the Western cultural context, and especially when practiced by unskillful Western newbies. As the DL has wisely pointed out:

                    "The problem with the practice of seeing everything the guru does as perfect is that it very easily turns to poison for both the guru and the disciple. Therefore, whenever I teach this practice, I always advocate that the tradition of “every action seen as perfect” not be stressed. Should the guru manifest un-dharmic qualities or give teachings contradicting dharma, the instruction on seeing the spiritual master as perfect must give way to reason and dharma wisdom. I could think to myself, “They all see me as a Buddha, and therefore will accept anything I tell them.” Too much faith and imputed purity of perception can quite easily turn things rotten."

                    But GMR seemed to not have foreseen such dangers, even when practiced in a private one-on-one setting. In fact, he seemed to encourage such unbalanced view when he claimed divinity, and wrote in another letter that the women in the first retreat were all angels/female Buddhas.

                    I'll take to heart your reminder of not getting caught up in the scandal and gossips. I feel that the info in this forum has created a clearer, but somewhat skewed, view of GMR and DM. Though I'm on the path, there are plenty who are or would like to be, and I wouldn't hesitate to alert them that they're possibly being mislead down the wrong path: the "proofs" of success through karmic management all have huge holes. Unfortunately, it does not seem possible to challenge his karma presentation without mentioning background stories.

                    My outsider's perspective may be very wrong, and as always, I'd appreciate any feedback from you and other students.

                    anonymous Mar 17, 2015 5:24am

                    I trust your expectations of responses to your questions are commensurate with the nature and context of the dialogue. Notwithstanding your earlier analogy, it's not really like a phone conversation (much less a face to face conversation) because I only 'hear' what you next say if and when I have the time and calling to check the website. I have each time endeavoured to answer your additional questions to the best of my ability in the time i have available, and if in the process I have missed one of your questions then please be forgiving.

                    For the record I end my participation in this debate with this final post, although not without offering a different take to your position that "it's difficult to challenge his [Geshe Michael's] teachings without delving into background stories." (I note this line has been edited on the post appearing online to "it does not seem possible to challenge his karma presentation without mentioning background stories." At the end of the day, unless we have some kind of clairvoyance, none of us actually knows what goes on in Geshe Michael's mind or what spiritual realizations he has or doesn't have and so on; and we don't really know the inner workings of his relationships with [Lama] Christie and others. But what we are able to do is assess what Geshe Michael teaches. Does the worldview that he teaches, especially the view of karma and emptiness, make sense? Is it helpful and correct? I suggest this is a much more profitable exercise than speculating on his personal life.

                    This approach is reflected too in the four reliances that are taught in Buddhism:
                    1) reliance on the teachings and not the teacher
                    2) reliance on the meaning and not on the words that express it
                    3) reliance on the definitive meaning and not the provisional meaning
                    4) reliance on the transcendent wisdom of deep experience and not on mere knowledge.

                    And then of course there's the famous statement of the Buddha recorded in the Kalama Sutta (here, the translation is from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikku):

                    "When there are reasons for doubt, uncertainty is born. So in this case, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering' — then you should abandon them. When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them."

                    All the best.

                    anonymous Mar 18, 2015 11:00pm

                    I assume the conversation on your chosen topic has not been very fruitful for either of us–which is regrettable. On the topic of his worldview, of karma in particular, GMR proposes "coffee meditation" as the method to hasten a desired karmic outcome, for example a perfect partner. Is such teaching "helpful and correct"? The method wasn't particularly helpful for GMR, Christie, or many tantra couples–according to Christie's account: “a huge number of break-ups”. If the "Diamond Cutter method" could "remove diseases", from gout to cancer, why wasn't it helpful in ridding him of diarrhoea on trips to India…? Why was Andin in crippling debt despite his massive merit of partially paying off Sera Mey's debts?

                    Is his method for getting karmic results in this lifetime supported by scriptures or commentaries? Unless you re-engage in conversation on this new topic of karma and emptiness, I won't bother typing out my reply. In any case, I wish you the best on your path and hope that you will help lead others away from the wrong the path.

                    Remski's new article on DM tragedy

                    anonymous Mar 21, 2015 7:45am

          …. When you get sneered at by NPR you might be in trouble….the Salo relieve was even better….gave the goddess a slap too….

                    anonymous Mar 21, 2015 8:54am

                    The big white bus with the Whales( read potential sources of income) came in last night …..they will be pressing them for cash and helpfully noted there is no atm machine at the campgrounds!,,,,,

                    anonymous Jul 24, 2015 11:12am

                    He saw their deigning to have sex with him as 'angelic' but as to no more than a linguistic trope. He could care less about their 'divinity' once he's sexually finished with them.

                    anonymous Aug 6, 2015 5:15pm

                    Good to see you commenting again, but your assessment seems pretty harsh, unless you have personal knowledge.

      anonymous Jan 31, 2015 8:01pm

      Well Jerry/Corvid, speaking as a 4th generation Arizonan, I have to ask where are the places in that portion of AZ that are not drug trafficking routes. The area has been attractive to that activity for ages and has nothing to do with the retreat area.

        anonymous Jan 31, 2015 11:07pm

        Hey Kev, are you comfortable with disclosing how soon you're supposed to view the lama as a divine being? It seems like GMR pushes that pretty early and hard, but I don't have primary knowledge, and so may be wrong.

          anonymous Feb 1, 2015 11:03am

          Good question. My experience of the group was that it wasn't uncommon for a group member to respond to a question from someone with something along the lines of — "So you think you can know what an enlightened being's motivations are?" (paraphrase). But, other members of the community would never use that sort of language. There's also the use of words like "perception" with the implication that yours is faulty. Interestingly, for me, when I watched a documentary on a Tibetan Buddhist child tulku, there was a young monk who, in reference to a question about an elder, said that they couldn't know the world view of an enlightened being. The more I learn about Tibetan Buddhism, the more I see the same problems as DM repeated in other areas.

            anonymous Feb 2, 2015 10:56pm

            Thanks, Kev. Please send my regards to Ekan if you run into her.

      anonymous Jan 31, 2015 8:54pm

      The Retreat is over. The space would be used for people doing short-term retreats–this has always been the plan– and that plan is not strange for a spiritual/retreat community.

        anonymous Feb 6, 2015 4:40am

        Hi KEVIN, The RETREATERS took it as a group task to build an illegal trail up to the top of a mountain on BLM property.This incredibly stupid act opened the route to A observation overlook for cartel spotters.Again,it did not exist before the retreaters made the three mile or so trail.With my own ears I heard a coyote discuss " visiting" Bliss's cabin.That is when I called BLM and the trail was some what covered over….but it was a half assed effort at best.When the Discovery Channel crew was up filming into the valley last month a lot of tracks headed up…All respect to your AZ roots but a new generation of cartel rivalry has created a far more worrisome enviro….why do a retreat next to a smuggling route used by Zetas working for the BL's?

anonymous Dec 15, 2014 8:08am

Hi there,
I was asked to clarify my claim that Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tarchin had distanced himself from Michael Roach. Here my clarification:

I spoke with a good Dharma friend who was/is a student of Michael Roach, he had the recording where Geshe Lobsang Tharchin distanced himself during the teachings from Michael Roach (see my earlier comments). I asked him if I can get a copy of this recording, and although he initially agreed he later refused because it was a recording of a Highest Yoga Tantra teaching and because he felt uncomfortable with it. I said honestly that I would like to use the statement to make it known to a broader public.

When I remember correctly he gave me later a name of the person who is in the charge of the Khen Rinpoche recordings, and when I remember correctly I asked that person by email but he never replied.

There was also a journalist who was very interested to get this recording (which I also told my source). But at the end I was not able to get the recording …

I trust my source but so far I was not able to get the recording.

I hope this helps,
Tenzin Peljor

    anonymous Dec 16, 2014 4:43pm

    Thank you for commenting further, Tenpel. I suppose it's Tibetan cultural practice, but I don't fully understand why Khen Rinpoche would make such an important pronouncement to his tantric students while the students of Geshe Michael – who presumably are more at risk – are not themselves similarly advised. There must surely be a way of diplomatically handling this. I understand that a teacher would hesitate in publicly criticizing one of their students, but if someone with authority genuinely believe that a student has gone rogue and is hurting others then isn't there an imperative public interest to be served by speaking out? Kudos to figures like Bob Thurman for speaking out publicly.

    This blog and the comments are testament to the strongly held opinions that the community has, and yet Geshe Michael is able to continue to wear his robes and represent himself as a lineage holder of the Gelukpa tradition without being directly, personally challenged. The institution itself seems not to be set up to be able to confront these kinds of situations.

    Thank you again for responding further.

anonymous Dec 7, 2014 8:10pm

In a comment to Matthew's original article someone stated that Geshe Michael's teacher in Howell, New Jersey – Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin – pronounced in 2004 to some of his students, presumably not long before he passed, that Geshe Michael had gone astray. The poster said that he/she would endeavor to procure a transcript of Khen Rinpoche's statements to share on this website. Another person posted that Khen Rinpoche was distressed by Geshe Michael's conduct and appearance when Geshe Michael and his then partner Christie McNally visited him in the summer of 2003 shortly after the conclusion of their retreat in Arizona.

I personally and directly heard both Geshe Michael and Christie McNally speak favourably of their visit to Khen Rinpoche in Howell in the summer of 2003 and never give any indication of any disapproval by Khen Rinpoche towards their practice. Indeed they both indicated that their visit was very congenial and harmonious.

I request anyone who has authoritative information on this matter to post here and share it. It's a big deal if the highly respected Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin did speak disapprovingly of Geshe Michael's practice. It makes it difficult for students and prospective students to get a handle on how the lineage views Geshe Michael when little is ever said publicly, even if a lot is being said privately. When the Dalai Lama's private secretary requested that Geshe Michael not come to Dharamsala in 2006 it was spun within the Diamond Mountain as being the personal, and envious, request of a member of the Dalai Lama's staff and certainly not the view of the Dalai Lama himself. It was even suggested that the Dalai Lama privately supported Geshe Michael's practice. This is how things can be spun and why it is very helpful for students to receive an unequivocal direct statement from the lineage holders to help them make up their own minds as to whether to follow a certain teacher.

The wall of diplomatic silence is not necessarily helpful. Can't we just be transparent and direct?

    anonymous Dec 10, 2014 10:46pm

    I agree. Thank you for your posting.

    anonymous Dec 14, 2014 11:07pm

    1) In his 2003 letter, GMR ostensibly requested lineage lamas for endorsement of an upcoming book, but more than likely was really asking for blessings of his "spiritual partnership" with diamond angel McNally. The lamas closest to GMR and who had lived in the West and met McNally seemed more perceptive of such intention. Lama Zopa endorsed the book with a few short prayers, but was sufficiently alarmed to suggest GMR to demonstrate some magical ability such as a supernatural control over his genitals.… Later on, GMR was no longer welcome to teach at Lama Zopa's FPMT centers.

    The Dalai Lama and Khen Rinpoche wrote no endorsement, even for a book about Buddhism and authored by a geshe.

    From Karma & Emptiness in the Yoga Sutra, Part Two:

    John Stilwell: The fact that Khen Rinpoche did not send a letter doesn’t mean he doesn’t approve; it just means he didn’t send a letter. And I think it’s important to understand that Geshe Michael and Christy will be going to Khen Rinpoche’s initiation in August, and they’re going to be there, and they’re going to be spending time there, and they would all be spending a lot of time together. So this is a piece of information to factor in, along with some knowledge of Khen Rinpoche, and what ever other information you can get your hands on. You have to look at it and you have to think about it. Does the fact that Khen Rinpoche didn’t send a letter mean that he doesn’t approve? Maybe, but not necessarily. It may just mean that he is highly secret and won’t talk about anything secret unless the person is in front of him and he knows they are qualified.

    As it was obvious to Stilwell, the approval that GMR sought was not really for the book, but for himself and his "spiritual partner". I don't know how they were received during the visit, but Khen Rinpoche's refusal to write a few endorsing statements for the book may be indicative of his general feeling.

    2) In 2006, besides the disapproving statements, the DL's office also refused to accept a $2000 birthday gift to the DL. His 2 private secretaries wouldn't have done so without the DL's knowledge and approval.

    Question: What's the book (it's not the Diamond Cutter), has it been published?

      anonymous Dec 17, 2014 2:13pm

      Thanks for this, Zirconia. The book in question for which the endorsements were sought (and some were indeed obtained although in the end none was used) was "The Tibetan Book of Yoga" released in 2004. For those who are very familiar with Tibetan culture and know about such incidents as the refusal in 2006 of Geshe Michael's offering to the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa's reply there seems to be sufficient content to draw a conclusion. However, for those who are not so familiar with how Tibetans act and certainly for those who are new to Buddhism and don't know Geshe Michael's history (i'm thinking of new students in Arizona or overseas – Geshe Michael predominantly teaches overseas now), there is no clear and direct public rebuke of Geshe Michael from the establishment that may protect students from being led astray. The institutions themselves don't seem to have any power of ex-communication or the like (to compare with the albeit flawed Catholic example). I think that it's a weakness of the system if the lineage holders strongly disagree with Geshe Michael's behaviours and consider that he is not living in accordance with the vinaya and yet he is still able to wear the robes and pass him off as a monk in the Gelukpa tradition, as the first American geshe etc without formal sanction. Surely this is the not first time in Buddhist history that a teacher has started to act questionably, and yet where is the institution's own mechanism for dealing with it efficaciously?

    anonymous Dec 17, 2014 1:55pm

    Ben Brewer the ex-construction supervisor that left Diamond Mountain and now lives in Prescott last I heard will tell anyone that asks what happened.He talked to Khen Riposhe personally and was told Roach was a bad actor…He does an imitation of the New Jersey spiritual leader going off on roach.Ben, who I worked on a construction project for a couple years confronting Roach about the women and Riposhes comments.Roach basically told him "my way or the highway" and Brewer and family let…150k lighter in the pocket book…He also predicted the disaster the retreat would become.

anonymous Nov 12, 2014 3:28pm

I studied with a local ACI group for about two years. The main teachers had all been through the 18 regular ACI courses and the 18 tantric courses. Like many others who had seriously studied Tibetan Buddhism before discovering ACI, the curriculum filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge, and the western flavor helped me in my understanding, made it accessible.

However, there are two very important issues that any ACI student must consider, whether they are current or new students.

The first has to do with karma and how the organization heavily promotes the idea that you can work your karma to make more money, find a love partner, get a better job, and so forth. There is a major cognitive disconnect with this viewpoint when compared against the teachings of the Buddha in general and in Tibetan Buddhism in particular.

One of the aims of one’s practice is to reach a transcendent state of existence beyond the self. One works toward this goal by accumulating karmic merit, which gently starts to chip away at one’s self-cherishing and self-centeredness.

If you’re only going to nursing homes to visit the elderly so you can find a romantic partner, or you’re only donating money to charitable causes in order to increase your material wealth, you’re not practicing Buddhism. Worse, this level of dis-ingenuity in your practice will, karmically speaking, come back to you in the form of insincerity and underhanded situations directed at you, and it certainly won’t help decrease your self-centeredness; rather, it helps only to fortify it.

Consider: at the end of all practice sessions, one dedicates the merit of their practice to the enlightenment of all sentient beings. Any activity of body, mind, or speech that one undertakes must also have this intention. If you’re out in the world performing positive karmic deeds, you must dedicate the merit from the deeds in the same way in order to move forward on the path. If you are using the karmic merit you accumulate for your own needs and desires, you’re simply not practicing Dharma.

The second issue has to do with tantric teachings. In my experience, the basic ACI courses are heavily infused with the tantric view, and students are regularly pushed into tantric practices before completing their basic studies. No doubt this was done out of sense of loving-kindness. However, without a solid sutra background, the practices will be meaningless and even harmful.

Recently I heard the Dalai Lama say that one should be wary of studying with Western Dharma teachers who emphasize using the practice for material gains. He said it was okay to study sutra topics with such teachers, but not tantra. Once you’ve entered the tantric view, the Kool-Aid of Infallibility is a demon you’ll have to wrestle with, and it can be a long and arduous disentanglement process if your realize that your teacher and the teachings have strayed too far from the path and have lost the essence of the teachings.

I’m all for the incorporation of Tibetan Buddhism into modernity, to extend it beyond the heavy rituals that outsiders associate with the practice. Teachers like Alan Wallace embody this ideal. I believe this incorporation is something like a distinct Turning of the Dharma Wheel for the Western world. But the essence of the teachings and of the highly-developed path of Tibetan Buddhism must be kept in tact, otherwise they will lose their efficacy, and could eventually disappear entirely.

    anonymous Nov 15, 2014 8:50pm

    Infallibility is a major issue, but GMR has made it known that he's a bhumi-one Boddhisattva, so many students have gladly drunk the Kool-aid. According to Red Pine's translation, Master Asanga said, “Cling not to self-existence, reward or karmic fruit. Guard against not giving or giving for a lesser goal.”

    anonymous Dec 10, 2014 10:55pm

    I think it has more to do with the first issue that you state. If karma ripens inevitably, then the encouraging of "positive" ripening leaves other karmas to ripen unexpectedly. That isn't a very elucidated statement, but it should be knowable to anyone with knowledge of DM thought. ON the 2nd, the dedicating of merit is well practiced at DM.

    anonymous Aug 20, 2015 6:17am

    Yes, the presentation on karma appears to be what Trungpa called "spiritual materialism".

anonymous Jul 5, 2014 6:39pm

Karmic management at work

    anonymous Oct 17, 2014 12:44pm

    Well the cult is now going to rent out the retreat grounds to other groups.We are to rely on their proven excellent judgement to ensure clients are not dangerous or put in danger.The adventure continues……..oh in 2006 this guy called it all "As the Seventh Dalai Lama noted — between Samsara and Nirvana no difference exists. Nonetheless, the effects of the karmic law of cause and effect are infallible.

    Thus when His Holiness the Dalai Lama warns us to stay away from RMR — because RMR has been engaging in black karmic deeds (according to Tibetan Buddhism — trampling on the vows of a fully ordained monk and conducting a schismatic ordination for two) — we should pay heed to the warning for the sake of this and future lives.

    Warnings are not 'conflict'. [We don't want to engender animosity against RMR, CM or their students.]

    As sane (and, yes, 'ordinary') beings living in this Jambudiva realm, we preserve our Precious Human Rebirth because we wisely alter our behavior and thinking based on warning advice.

    Even though nicotine and cigarette smoke tar do not have a self-nature of being inherently existing carinogens, nonetheless inhaled in sufficient quantities by a body (also lacking inherently existing self-nature) such a body often develops a deadly illness (that also lacks such a self-nature).

    Similarly, our mental continuua have "no nature" existing independently from their "own" side. Nonetheless, Buddha dharma teaches that the karmic consequences of the actions of following false teachers often is lower rebirth.

    So when the toddler, who lacks an inherently-existent self nature runs towards a street (that cannot be found when searched for by a mind looking for the ultimate mode of existence of that road), and a loving adult (similarly empty of inherent nature) SCREAMS [in loud foreceful voice that is completely empty of self-nature] a message [similarly empty of self-sufficient existence] – STOP!!! COME BACK!" —

    That's a loving warning — not a good-karma-burning temper tantrum.

anonymous Jun 24, 2014 10:45am

Medicine man

anonymous May 29, 2014 9:36am

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is not just 'an old man'..but an exaulted, realized Buddhist master who just completed a 2 week retreat in N. Carolina where he, energetically, taught for hours and hours each day.

    anonymous Jun 30, 2014 8:10am

    in 1976 FPMT, being Lama Yeshe's British followers, bought a big place in the country and renamed it Manjusri Institute. Lama Yeshe himself selected the protector deity (an emanation of Manjusri), one Dorje Shugden. History then contrived to do what it did. The building is now the home base of NKT (New Kadampa Tradiion) and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, a fully realized being, is carrying on a childish international grudge match against this protector, hiding under H.H. the Dalai Lama's coattails. Now, I personally loathe both the exclusivism of the practice involved and despise the teachings of the promulgator, Phabongka, who is a favorite of Geshe Michael, but I gotta say it, Lama Zopa ain't no better than the rest of 'em.

anonymous May 10, 2014 1:35pm

I'm still interested in Ms. McNally. As I look on Amazon it appears she and Michael are writing more books together to be published in 2014, is this true? Where did she come from? Where did get money to move on after Ian (Ein)'s death? I'm trying to figure out how she got money and where she is now. Do you have any of these answers? thank you. I'm new this whole debate and I have been trying to sort through this giant mess. Thank you so much for writing such a detailed article about Michael, how starnge!

    anonymous May 27, 2014 11:54pm

    I hope she's getting some rest and counseling.

anonymous Mar 6, 2014 3:44pm

NBC's Dateline is going a one-hour program on DM and Michael Roach. It will not be on the internet and must be watched when broadcast.
Sunday, March 9th @ 8pm.

    anonymous Mar 27, 2014 1:22pm

    is there anyway to view that Dateline report on the web now?

    anonymous Apr 5, 2014 6:31pm

    Retreat ends…..the visitor parking lot holds 200 cars and it was occupied by twelve at the peak of the shindig.Good luck to the retreaters in the real world. if the person that borrowed my " FREE TIBET" sign in front of my place is finished with it please return it to it's place.

      anonymous Apr 6, 2014 12:18pm

      I heard they are all busy trashing Ian when his baby mama and daughter are out of ear-sight. They have some China intelligence agent (most likely )dressed like a monk up there…drag a few hundred dollars through a broke hippy campground and you will be surprised how fast the Dali Lama starts getting trashed.The one picture of him in the temple is next to the place they brush the dirt off their shoes. Stay classy Roach.

      anonymous Apr 7, 2014 10:43am

      Did anyone go to the coming out party? How come there is nothing online about it? I thought it would be a big deal and was waiting for the updates.

      anonymous Apr 7, 2014 12:11pm

      To be clear the main lot was pretty full..maybe 150 people

      anonymous Apr 7, 2014 7:45pm

      China is big business, they wouldn't risk offending wealthy clients.

      anonymous May 6, 2014 8:20pm

      Did the sign go missing on the day the retreat ended? Then it was because such words might offend the Chinese supporter that was picked up at the airport and driven to DM by Jigme. It is said he donated a million dollars to the retreat and is some kind of a guru in Beijing that charges enormous fees. Curiousier and Curiousier.

        anonymous May 14, 2014 4:57pm

        Yep…I thought nothing of putting up a sign to advocated for the freedom of Tibet.It lasted about 20 minutes. I just heard one of the leaders just missed joining Ian in the next life due to a poorly treated lung infection in retreat.Blind luck only one death occurred in this bad horror movie next door.

anonymous Nov 24, 2013 7:38pm

Yesterday I went to my Aunt's funeral which was held at Grace Lutheran Church in Glendale, AZ. How disappointed I was to see that Casa de Jardin, the project of Michael Roach, was literally right across the street. It made me think, where is it that they want to build this larger project. How horrible, the church of my family since 1946 encroached by this roach.

anonymous Sep 10, 2013 8:28pm

"Your comment must be approved by the site admins before it will appear publicly." oh

    anonymous Sep 10, 2013 8:29pm

    so approve it already. this is thrice, and i don't see it

anonymous Sep 10, 2013 8:26pm

why are you censoring my comments? yeah, you, dear site. what i wrote was: hi, zirky…yep, first he breaks his monastic vows, then he trashes his marriage vows. Ah, it's all an illusion, right?

    anonymous Sep 14, 2013 10:01am

    Hey bestie, it's a curious choice for him to not only go solo (no new dakini?), but to pass McNally off to Thorson.

      anonymous Sep 15, 2013 7:00pm

      "solo" si! pero, 'unofficially' might apply here. What he does in private (and his core ladies' entourage won't be adding any comments here) can be kept private. Maybe he should relocate to Colorado City or Manti. As to 'two',Thorson was a cute 'one', (uh) compatible and very close at hand…

anonymous Sep 10, 2013 4:39pm

why are you censoring my comments?

anonymous Aug 31, 2013 11:09am

As best stay low hinted last year:

"Eventually, I told him, 'Listen, I can't do this anymore,'" she says. "Either be a faithful partner to me, like you are claiming – in body, speech and in mind – or I will start behaving the same way you do.' His response was that this was the situation I had walked into, and he had no intention of changing. Long story short, he started moving away from me and pushing me toward Ian."

The only wealthy Tibetan is Richard Gere.

    anonymous Sep 5, 2013 9:24pm

    Thanks for the Rolling Stone link. That is a long story. It's good that at least Lama Christie was willing to speak frankly.

      anonymous Sep 14, 2013 9:56am

      It's too bad she didn't release her 44 page document to the public. People don't really know her side of the story from just a few snippets in the RollingStone.

anonymous May 24, 2013 9:26am

The New Rolling Stone story is out.A reporter friend that read it texted me "That Roach is a real POS..feel so sorry for Ian's family….even Roach hates Diamond Mountain"

    anonymous May 25, 2013 9:40pm

    From the article:
    He says that Diamond Mountain's days as a school are numbered anyway. "We should just make it online."
    McNally is sad to hear this but not surprised. Roach, she says, told her he "hated the place" and used to call it "Demon Mountain" in private.

      anonymous May 26, 2013 12:24am

      The beatings to the head he gave to the Goddess and her telling people about them at the meeting might have really got things going.Everyone is still only telling parts of the truth.
      . The Navajos mentioned in the story were from a fence crew that strung barbed wire when the HYl sold.2000 acres off.The lead man had been told by his Granmother the land around and including Bear Springs was bad and they refused to stay up there while the job ran.When DM bought the place the rains stopped and the spring dried up…a message?

        anonymous May 27, 2013 1:16am

        Navajo? Would that just be inter-indigenous shit talking?

    anonymous May 27, 2013 8:16am

    June 6, 2013 issue for the record. Makes total sense that Roach hated 'Demon Mountain' but somehow, I never put it together. What a destructive person.

      anonymous May 27, 2013 9:18am

      No better cover than to appear as a monk.

anonymous May 8, 2013 2:31pm

[…] (pdf) > Trouw – Een monnik met een hobby (16-8-2002) > Michael Roach files > The Michael Roach Bubble > Wikileaks – Ole Nydahl Diamond Way Buddhist […]

anonymous May 6, 2013 12:02pm

Teaching May 5 2013….terrible turnout….parking lot by temple half full and no cars in the illegally bladed north parking lot.
Hindu-Fusion cult leader Roach looking crazy as ever in the linked video.On the brighter side he is sleeping with a sock monkey these days rather than a mentally ill woman 20 years younger than him.

A cult member tore off the addition some vandal put on the Bear Springs sign (changed to "Dead Bear Springs") but I understand "murdered Bear Springs" is going up any day.

    anonymous May 9, 2013 9:02am

    A wool, or cotton sock-monkey?

      anonymous May 10, 2013 8:01pm

      A little cotton a little Chinese slave labor …..oh, something new is coming…..

anonymous Mar 27, 2013 12:03pm

Hi Matthew

I just wanted to thank you for all the articles you have written regarding your experience with GMR and DMU. I have been following them for about 6 months now. 7 years ago I moved out of Tibetan Buddhist "situation" in Toronto, after 12 years of living there, that sounds uncannily similar to what you describe. In fact, reading your articles had been the first real catalyst in helping me to come out of denial of what happened there. The first article I read of yours I actually cried for the first time about it. I, like the students you describe, was so scared to talk about it at all. I didn't want to say anything bad about my Teacher. I couldn't even think anything negative so I just didn't think about it at all. After I left I went on a 2 year binge on drugs and alcohol to avoid thinking or feeling about it at all. At times I still struggle with my addiction. I'm starting to wonder if it is because I still have not really taken the time to deal with my feelings about my experience living where I did. In any case, I am beginning the journey. However, it is difficult. Sometimes I feel like such an idiot. How could I have been so stupid? At the time I thought I was receiving everything I needed that I never felt before….Love, belonging, acceptance. Now that I am not there, I have such a hard time experiencing these things in my life. Sometimes I feel so confused…like I don't know who I am anymore. I am starting to think that I will explore therapy. It is just such a strange thing I feel…who is going to understand me and what I am going through? Anyways, I just wanted to share some of my experience and feelings with you, and, my gratitude for your writing and exposing the truth. (I apologize for the poor grammar – i am pretty emotional right now….hopefully my message comes across clearly enough)

    anonymous Apr 7, 2013 12:51pm

    it does. but do be careful about using the word 'truth' when the clouds of 'false' fill the sky.
    hi jerry
    as for the rest of you, not with a bang but a whimper…..

      anonymous Apr 8, 2013 8:38am

      Best……you will not believe what's coming.The few people like you that reported back what you have seen and think of Roach have people in your corner. Just wait.

      anonymous Apr 16, 2013 12:38am

      hi there…thanks for replying. I don't think I understand what you are saying though….could you please elaborate?

        anonymous Apr 16, 2013 8:47am

        what i mean is i don't understand be careful about using the word truth when false clouds still fill the sky…

          anonymous Apr 25, 2013 8:18am

          weeks later….I'll try….it's been said a million times…look into your own heart…do not be mislead by glib assurances backed up by 'doctrine' or 'tradition'. One man's heresy is another man's truth; this holds worldwide for all religions. Lama Yeshe (lovin' his genuine smile) once said, "You Americans are too gullible. Need to check out guru very carefully." Cut to the chase: GMR has all the emotional maturity of an eight-year-old. He likes his toys (fancy resort, big red SUV, all that adulation..attention). Too many people at DMU take their 'tantric vows' more seriously than their marriage vows. Squeaky clean rules of conduct only serve to mask deeper layers of arrogance and spineless moral turpitude. Of course the (left-hand) tantric response will be that one should not 'judge' without the 'higher realization' that 'we' have achieved but you have not. Bull-pucky!
          Don't worry about Roach's claim that he has 'seen emptiness directly'. Lao Tzu said, "Those who speak do not know. Those who know do not speak."

anonymous Mar 11, 2013 5:25am

Thank you for writing this. I have been a critic of Roach since the 1990's. I invited him to Bodhgaya to teach in the mid 90's, not knowing him but only hearling some good things. At that time he was still on the approved FPMT techers list. I then spent a month at Diamond Mountain in the early 2000's and from that experience became the author and publisher of the old website. I am glad to see a copy is still archived. From my experieence, Roach is deleded and a danger to the public, and to hte Dharma in general.

    anonymous Mar 14, 2013 12:01pm

    Hi Tony, I'd love to talk to you about your time in Bodh Gaya. Drop me a line.

anonymous Feb 27, 2013 3:31pm

Christie, it's time. It's easy to use words like "bodhisattva", but now it's time to act like one, or at least like a Buddhist. Please, come forward, explain yourself and accept the consequences. Is the woman who said "I want to live my life for the world, and give the whole world everything I have to give." going to spend the rest of her life in hiding? Is that how a Buddhist teacher acts? Where is your pride, or at least your sense of shame? Is whatever you're afraid of worse than continuing to disgrace the Dharma?

    anonymous Feb 27, 2013 10:01pm

    I don't think Lama Christie is to blame for what happened. She had her head filled with delusions of grandeur and then shown the door to the desert. She is probably in need of a lot of time to reflect on reality. I hope she has a good therapist who can deprogram her.

      anonymous Mar 8, 2013 1:00pm

      How is she not to blame? She was his teacher, he was on a retreat with her, and he died as a result of her decisions. Delusions of grandeur notwithstanding, of course she is to blame.

    anonymous Feb 28, 2013 10:21am

    It's accepted and proper decorum to allow the widow a full year to grieve her sorrow, before re-entering public life.
    Let Christie be for a while yet.

    anonymous Feb 28, 2013 11:28am

    Christie was Ian's "lama" and he died while participating in a retreat under her tender care. It's time for her to explain herself.

      anonymous Feb 28, 2013 4:55pm

      I agree with Rocky. I say give her a break. She lost her husband under very trying circumstances, to which her decision-making might have contributed. she needs time to mourn and time to process any need for change in her spiritual direction. It would profit no one for her to come forward prematurely.

    anonymous Feb 28, 2013 5:41pm

    You are all rather naive if you think her newfound reticence is due to her need to mourn/grieve/process etc. Perhaps you have never lost a loved one but, I guarantee you, it is quite possible to talk under such circumstances, if one has nothing to hide.

    anonymous Apr 6, 2013 11:13pm

    In the future when people google Christie they will get this in the search….she should say something but with the change in the Cochise County Sherrifs Department after Dever rolled his truck while drunk as shit it might not be smart.In our county the investigators come from his department not from the DA. Word is Dever made that call…new guy might see it in another light

    anonymous May 3, 2013 10:04am


      anonymous Dec 4, 2012 10:45am

      In Australia recently a man was charged with manslaughter because his mother died in the house of dehydration when he failed to call the police.He believed his religion would save her….A lawyer friend that has followed this a bit believes it is an open question whether Christie and a few others at the least should have been charged with manslaughter….I sort of don't think so but believe me if my honey was found dead in a cave with signs of battering and I didn't call the Po until it was too late to save her i would have been arrested…

anonymous Feb 23, 2013 9:01pm

As always, I read Playboy for the articles:

[Sid Johnson's] concerns came to a head in 2005 during a secret initiation into the practice of the bull-headed tantric deity Yamantaka, whose name translates as "destroyer of death". As part of a four-day ritual, all the initiates had to meet privately with Geshe Michael and Lama Christie, as their students called them, in a yurt for their final empowerment, which would help them conquer death. Johnson was nervous when he entered the room wearing a blindfold and heard Roach ask him to lie down on their bed. When he did so, McNally started to massage his chakras, starting with his head and ending at his penis. "I'm not sure who undid my pants, but it was part of the blessing," says Johnson. When they were done, he sat up–still wearing the blindfold–and felt McNally's lips pressing against his. They kissed. "There is a part of the initiation when your lama offers you a consort, and the way Geshe Michael teaches it, the things that happen in the metaphysical world also have to happen in the real one," says Johnson. Afterward, he says, they all giggled like children at a summer camp, as though they were breaking taboos and no one else would know. Ten minutes later Johnson left and they asked Johnson's wife to come in alone. Altogether, almost 20 students had private initiations with the couple that night.

anonymous Feb 23, 2013 6:50pm

I carry no brief for Michael Roach. That said, it's not like he's the first guru to go off the rails or get derided for allegedly founding a cult. There are a number of solid substance comments upthread that, if proved so, suggest at the very least Mr. Roach might want to make some revisions in how he approaches his work.

I recall one comment that cited Chogyam Trungpa as an impeccable source of correct practice. That got me thinking. Some of the negative comments on Roach have less substance.

So I went and did a little thought experiment. In several of these, everywhere one of these said "Geshe Michael," I substituted "Trungpa Rinpoche," and everywhere one of them said "Diamond Mountain" I substituted "Vajradhatu." And sure enough I was transported 32 year and about one thousand miles in my magical wayback machine to Boulder, Colo., circa 1981.

A lot of the things Roach is accused of here and now, Trungpa was accused of there and then. Certainly Trungpa never had a death in the desert, but he did (allegedly) cause a poet and said poet's girlfriend to be stripped naked in front of a drunken crowd, and he was (allegedly) surrounded by gun-toting guards, he was (again allegedly) a pretty severe alcoholic, and he did die (allegedly of cirrhosis) before his 50th birthday. As far as I know though, his orthodoxy was never questioned by those Tibetans who question such things.

The first three of those items were rumors that were current all over Boulder back then. The fourth may be a matter of public record in Vermont.

I'm not saying all this to bash Trumka. His silly school where any poet who ever crashed in a faculty member's house was listed him or herself as faculty, has achieved what looks like from my distance a pretty respectable reputation. I think Vajradhatu is pretty well respected these days, too.

In the end I think Trungpa and his organization(s) had some problems and were a work in progress. they've turned out pretty well, maybe because in the end, in spite of numerous allegations of misbehavior he did not stray as far as it might have looked at the time from Vajrayana orthodoxy.

I think Roach and his organization(s) also have some problems and are works in progress. What will they be in 20 years or after Roach is gone? I think it depends on what is and isn't wrong,and how well the things that are wrong get dealt with.

One final thought. Roach seems pretty proud of mastering the material for a geshe designation in like five years, when normally it takes 20. A designation like geshe isn't just mastering the material, which a bright enough person almost always can do faster than average. The 20 years really is about absorbing the culture so that (at least hopefully) the teacher knows enough deep in his or her bones where to go and where not to go.

    anonymous Feb 23, 2013 10:04pm


    anonymous Feb 24, 2013 8:12am

    my smart friend sent me this on banal evil 'Once [ideologies’] claim to total validity is taken literally they become the nuclei of logical systems in which, as in the systems of paranoiacs, everything follows comprehensibly and even compulsorily once the first premise is accepted. The insanity of such systems lies not only in their first premise but in the very logicality with which they are constructed. The curious logicality of all isms, their simpleminded trust in the salvation value of stubborn devotion without regard for specific, varying factors, already harbors the first germs of totalitarian contempt for reality and factuality."

    anonymous Feb 26, 2013 5:46pm

    The faculty of Naropa Institute/University is/was nothing like you describe. I actually studied at the Naropa Institute. What you say about Trungpa's school is total b.s.

      anonymous Feb 27, 2013 5:42pm

      Tsk, tsk, Jane. No need to get nasty. I agree I should not have described the school as "silly." And I should have been clear the specific comment was limited to the poetry school, where at the time the faculty listing did go as described in my post. My post was about not rushing to judgment, as many people in Boulder did about Trungpa in the early '80's, when in fact, in the end, Naropa, Vajradhatu and other Trungpa projects have turned out pretty well.

anonymous Feb 22, 2013 6:33pm

Carney's last interaction with Roach:

When it was my turn I stood in front of his throne and introduced myself. I tried to phrase a question about how he was dealing with Thorson's death. "It was a very sad event," he said, "but why are people not interested in my teaching? One person dies in the desert and suddenly everyone pays attention. People should be talking about all the good works that I've done instead."

    anonymous Feb 23, 2013 1:44pm

    Spoken like a true arya bodhisattva.

    anonymous Feb 25, 2013 4:08pm

    The sad thing is, he still has followers, and they think this is a perfectly reasonable thing for him to say.

      anonymous Mar 11, 2013 11:12pm

      He would have said probably much the same; no matter who followed Christie to death.

anonymous Feb 22, 2013 4:29pm

From the Playboy article:

Robert Thurman, a professor of religious studies at Columbia University, met with Roach and McNally shortly after Roach published his open letter. He was concerned that Roach had broken his vows and that his continuing as a monk could damage the reputation of the larger Tibetan Buddhist community. "I told him, 'You can't be a monk and have a girlfriend; you have clearly given up your vow,'" Thurman says. "To which he responded that he had never had genital contact with a human female. So I turned to her and asked if she was human or not. She said right away, 'He said it. I didn't.' There was a pregnant pause, and then she said, 'But can't he do whatever he wants, since he has directly realized emptiness?'" On the phone I can hear Thurman consider his words and sigh. "It seemed like they had already descended into psychosis."

anonymous Jan 23, 2013 1:54pm

[…] source of article: […]

anonymous Dec 23, 2012 5:50am

Any news on sweet Lama Christy? Is she still in New York?

anonymous Dec 12, 2012 1:32pm

Scott Carney's article will be in the March issue of Playboy. He said it will also be on his website.

    anonymous Feb 20, 2013 7:25am

    it wont be on my website until 6 moths from now, unfortunately. My contract doesn't allow me to publish electronically until then.

      anonymous Feb 20, 2013 11:10am

      Well, can you at least give us the gist?

        anonymous Feb 22, 2013 3:34pm

        The article is quite lengthy and has many edges to it, but the title gives the reader a pretty good sense of what it's about – "Death and Madness at Diamond Mountain." It's a very good article, but it is also very sad.

      anonymous Feb 20, 2013 8:36pm

      Good article but I thought Scott dropped the ball a bit on the big issue.If the DM people would have hiked straight up the hill they could have carried the 100 pound Ian down and to medical care by 9am.This did not happen because of failure of leadership.Friggin Roach should of dragged his command ass back to DM after the Goddess whacked out.,,,,,,Another reason Ian is dead is no one wanted to interrupt the holy retreat by sounding the alarm.The EMt said to a friend he was still warm when he checked for vital signs.
      I loved the ending Scott where you confronted Roach and he says " Hey look at all the good stuff I do rather than this one dead random dude"
      Again Cochise county didn't push hard on anyone.If I had stabbed my wife,people thought I was crazy and then I call the cops conveniently just after he dies I would be in the crowbar motel.

        anonymous Feb 22, 2013 3:49pm

        I agree, the end of Scott's story was very powerful, and it just makes me feel incredibly sad. In some ways, GMR reminds me of an idealistic little boy, and he just doesn't "get it." Like, something's missing.

        I still don't believe there was any malice on anyone at DM, including GMR,'s part, but something went way off the rails. It's like Paul Hackett, who Scott quoted in his article, said – if you don't do these practices properly, or if you start mixing in other traditions, it will literally make you go crazy. And it sounds like that may have been what happened at DM. And really, I felt that was the main point of Scott's article. So with that in mind, I don't think he dropped the ball. He struck the right tone, and he clearly did his research.

          anonymous Jun 4, 2013 9:22am

          MR used to say the same thing, Sky: That the mixing together of different systems is dangerous. He tried to 'improve upon'/'modernize' the Tathagata's flawless presentations; yet woke up to "Demon Mountain" instead (from 'his side', people,) for all of his efforts
          . Moral: The Buddhadharma doesn't need improvement: 'Improvement' rather, is what the Buddha intended for the students of his beautiful system directed at nirvana/maha samyak sambodhi-mind.

anonymous Nov 20, 2012 11:22am

anonymous Nov 17, 2012 1:44pm

The Psychology Today article, posted a week ago by best stay low, is in a more readable format here:|A30752569… Get the fully-illustrated PDF version by clicking Download. You may need to manually add a .pdf extension to the file (from WrapPDF to WrapPDF.pdf)

The article quoted Christie's "A Shift in the Matrix", but omitted her capitalization of a key word: The place that had been my home for nine years, the place I founded and poured all my heart and soul into, the place I had dreamed into existence after becoming a different kind of Being [capitalized], was suddenly and without warning being ripped away from me.

anonymous Nov 14, 2012 6:14pm

Newest reason I hate Diamond Mountain…
So for years the DM people have been told not to feed the animals…they still do and the Javelina get used to people and come over here and i have to shoot them and feel like an asshole.Now knowing how Arizona Fish and Game work (if they get complaints they trap the animal then kill it) they repeatedly called them over a bear they have lured to the the area by not talking care with the trash and feeding the bear too.Gil has been warning them for a year and a half not to feed the animals and if he comes out he will trap and kill the animal.They called back,knowing these facts two days ago and the trap was set last night.If the bear is dead it is on them if it hasn't taken the bait yet maybe they can stop this.

    anonymous Nov 18, 2012 9:40am

    The bear has been captured and removed from the mountain.

      anonymous Nov 18, 2012 11:36am

      The javelina are harmless to us, harmless to domestic animals, harmless to livestock and native to the area. They wander in, they hang out, they take off somewhere else. C'mon, Jerry, why do you "have to shoot them"? Build a little fence around the garden, mesh in the compost. I have laughed my head off watching the herd raid the DMU compost, or eat up all the leftover rotting Halloween pumpkins. They were very thorough. I like them around. If Fish-and-Game needs to rear their federal head they can always feel free to come up and trap out the feral and dangerous kitchen mice…

        anonymous Nov 18, 2012 8:56pm

        The bear will most likely die,the only reason it didn't get it on the spot was the timing worked out…Best, when you pay a few 500 dollar vet bills after your dogs get in it with your pig pets tell me again how you would deal with it

          anonymous Nov 18, 2012 9:08pm

          In Cochise County you can be fined 2500 dollars for feeding wild life.Between you guys,the hill billy poachers (check out the poached deer kill 200 yards from the gate) and the drought we will son be animal free.

            anonymous Nov 19, 2012 7:22am

            Sorry to hear about the bear and the javelinas.

            A few times a month DMers do rituals where they offer food to the spirits. They take it outside their cabins when they are done, whatever beings want to partake. The animals are probably learning their schedule since it is based on various moon cycles. Perhaps this practice should be banned in the interest of protecting life and obeying the laws. Making an offering with one's mind is just at powerful as setting out a bunch of fruit, meat, and cookies.

            We are nearly animal free over here. It can happen.

            Three years ago we had a herd of more than 15 deer that grazed around here. One day they entirely circled my house grazing while I snapped photos from every window. Now I occasionally I see one or two.
            We had bobcats that I saw sometimes. Not any more.

            A pack of javelina used to regularly clean up orange rinds after the birds finish eating. They had a cripple in their pack for years so they were very comfortable living around here. Now they all seem to be gone.

            Even the coyotes are few and far between. I used to hear them howl at night. Now it is a special event to hear them.

            What is up with that?

              anonymous Nov 19, 2012 8:55am

              Idiot hunters….drought..the border fence may be stopping migration patterns

                anonymous Nov 19, 2012 10:17am

                I have never in all my travels been to an established back road homestead that did not have dogs and cats. It's impossible. They arrive from wherever. And chase and kill the native critters. The javelina are pretty shy. They don't pick fights. They eat prickly pear (of which there is no shortage in the area). I have been to a retreat center that for awhile there had way more cats than staff (Vajrapani) and another, many years back (Iron Knot Ranch just into New Mexico near Three-way) that had lots of dogs but no cats. GMR insisted upon a policy of 'no pets'. I gotta concur. I was outta town when Animal Control came in from Tucson to Bowie and shot a hundred and fifty chihuahuas.
                Musta been a reason….

              anonymous Nov 19, 2012 1:00pm

              I forgot this one…early on I was weed eating at the house I rented out to Ritesh and friends. My dog Riggs was wandering around in the back yard and came upon a shrine filled with high end NY City chocolate…..he ate it all and the little guy died of Kidney failure 3 long days later

        anonymous Nov 19, 2012 12:57pm
        12 Gauge Fiocchi 2-3/4" 4.8 Gram Rubber Slug 740 fps 25 Round Box
        This is what I use to put your pets on the run…Next time try it with the Bear…You Know you guys live at Bear Springs Ranch …right…not Murdered Bear Springs Ranch

          anonymous Nov 19, 2012 2:13pm

          glad it's a shot gun and not a 30-30 or a .308. scare 'em off, good enuf. really. no need to kill. i watched Fish and Game over in Catron County N.M. shoot a bear that had gotten on to a friend's roof (owned private property) that a jerk neighbor had called in about, while he was screaming at them not to do it, that the bear was only hungry and was harming nothing. It was really sad.Now, I'd prefer not to swear here, Jerry, but Fish and Game are assholes.

          Cut to the chase: Any ranger tries to give me a twenty five hundred dollar fine for "feeding the animals" will find himself fed to an animal. We are what has encroached upon everything else's habitat on this whole planet.

      anonymous Nov 19, 2012 10:05am

      Smokey that is a lie…..the bear is dead….screw you people…..The idea that someone higher up in the cult or you wrote that knowing the bear is dead just shows the kind of people you have become under the influence of sociopath Michael Roach. Your board was told the bear( that is the only one in the area) would be killed and after it was trapped a bullet would blast it's brains out…jesus…..When a cult member on the road was told the only bear in the area is death she replied "what a relief" The Apaches believe this stuff comes back at you 5 fold…..

        anonymous Nov 19, 2012 10:35am

        Jerry-I know the bear was trapped in a cage inside dm and what happened to it afterward. Nothing I wrote indicates otherwise. It is a sad affair. No one I know witnessed the poor-things' execution, so I left that fact open to anyone's own conclusion-drawing power.
        Ekan-the retreatants were instructed months ago not to make offerings out of doors, but the garbage reclaim and food drop-offs are all done out in the open country. My guess is that this bear was probably a refugee displaced from last year's fire.

          anonymous Nov 19, 2012 10:56am

          You guys were told the bear would die if Gil came back but you still did it because it committed the horrible crime of being on a retreat cabins porch…In you comment you wrote "the bear was captured and removed from the mountain' leaving the impression that it was released to live a happy life which you knew wasn't the case. Imagine spending the last hour of your life in a cage ,then feeling a a white hot slug go through it's brain pan.

      anonymous Nov 19, 2012 1:05pm

      You do remember when this bear first came into the area don't you…in the spring right after Ian died.IHeranged from The Marble Quarry to the Marvelously sucessful 3 year Retreat For Peace grounds….sort of strange don't you think? looks like you guys may have killed Ian again!

        anonymous Nov 19, 2012 1:32pm

        There was a bear that showed up during the DM Vajrayogini 10-day retreat about 2008 or 2009. Several of the retreaters had experience with it. It ripped open one tent and stole the offerings from her alter. Another woman came out of her tent, saw it, puffed herself up and started shouting mantras. It went away. I assumed it was the same bear. Did they kill that one too.
        I am very very sad to hear about this.
        Smokey how could you even chose that name? Smokey represents survival. I assumed the bear was relocated from what you wrote. Nice cover up.

        Also, Jerry, we don't have any dogs back here. There are 6 of us spread out on probably 100 acres or more. Over the hill and near the road a guy has a couple dogs. It is quiet back here. Very rare to see a dog out here. (one old fat cat that can hardly walk)

          anonymous Nov 20, 2012 9:44am

          I remember that retreat incident.

          anonymous Nov 20, 2012 10:39am

          I am a 'survivor'. And it wasn't a "cover-up", Ekan, It was reporting just what I know to be the fact to the matter. How could I say that 'the bear was destroyed' when I haven't been given that information yet? No doubt Jerry is better-informed as to the likelihood of what the protocols are that the dept. of fish-and-game follow… Still, your low-grade animosity toward almost any reporting that you find imperfections with says more about you than it does the rest that are commenting here. One might think you suffered from something more traumatic and expensive at DM than spiritual charlatanism-for all your high-handedness, and rushing to accuse me of covering-up… Your conspiracy-riddled imperiousness won't bring Ian back. And besides, everyone of late on this forum is only preaching to the choir, as MR's supporters seem mostly absent from counter-arguing the poison-penning/opining found here.

            anonymous Nov 20, 2012 2:26pm

            F&G told you guys that if they trapped the bear it would die.When the F&G guy shot the bear in the Pecans 5 years ago it was a shock.I still see him falling out of the tree and the sound he made…he was calling his mother…..The one you guys just did in was a beautiful bear…he will like the offerings you put out in his new home in the spirit world.
            Again….Everyone knows you don't call them or the dog catcher/killer in our county…it just ends badly

              anonymous Nov 20, 2012 4:17pm

              Hey smokey, "conspiracy-riddled imperiousness"…"poison-penning".."preaching to the choir"…oh, man, you got a burr up your tail there, boy. Now, me n Jer can go tooth n claw, no problem. As for you: if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen (yurt). I fully imagine this forum may have no further impact at all. Yes, Ian is dead. GMR and LC point the finger at somewhere else, neither has yet to look in the mirror, at least publicly. So what exactly would you suggest? I've split. You think it's over? You might be wrong. Maybe you don't know A and D. Wait and see. And pray.

                anonymous Nov 20, 2012 7:17pm

                best…..some new facts are about to be part of the record…something concerned observers learned this weekend and relayed to blew my mind….after absorbing this we can't figure out why charges were not filed and why the retreat wasn't ended right then….the retreaters really have some explaining to do to…well I can not speak about this at this time..
                back to the bear killings this is the second bear DM had removed and both times they were told the bear would be killed..The name Bear Springs Ranch might have been a clue that bears would be living with you. please stop killing them !

                  anonymous Nov 21, 2012 8:06am

                  I'm currently outta the loop. on the road. What do I know? Jerry, do you mean to say that it was someone at DMU that called Fish n Game??? Were they outta their minds?So much for "cherishing all sentient beings". Technically you can't even step on a kissing bug (nasty bite). Once at the ramada in front of the kitchen yurt someone accidently stepped on one of those big black beetles (totally harmless) that he did not see, but only squashed it so it was writhing on the ground with its guts hanging out, then, when I pointed it out he wouldn't, (he said "couldn't) (out of compassion?) finish the job and put it out of its misery. I did.

                  In the larger realm of Organized Buddhism, worldwide, GMR is small change. Wooden nickel. The few people that I have met in life that to me did convey in their being "enlightenment"
                  1) never mentioned it in any way
                  2) took responsibility for their actions without making an issue out of it
                  3) could acknowledge and absorb multiple points of view
                  4) did not ever chatter aimlessly and endlessly about "dharma"

                  GMR gets zero for four in my book.

                    anonymous Nov 21, 2012 9:27am

                    Yes DM officials called And were told the bear would die if they trapped it………everyone around this nest of greenhorns is really pissed about this…buy some bear resistant cans out of all that blood diamond money Roach..

                    anonymous Nov 21, 2012 10:06am

                    the only "officials" there are Rob, Scott, Nicole and Chukyi. Who was the fool?

                    anonymous Nov 21, 2012 11:24am

                    It wasn't just one of them…there were multiple contacts…

    anonymous Nov 20, 2012 9:51am

    Where my family has a place on the Mogollon Rim there are bears every summer — now more so because of the lack of snow this last winter. People, keep the garbage inside and arrange for garbage to be placed outside for pick-up during daylight hours only — bears are nocturnal. It's so simple that it borders on the pathetic.

      anonymous Jan 30, 2013 9:03am

      Kevin this letter from a respected naturalist was sent to DM and has gone around the area "Hey Diamond Mountain people, I would like to ask you what kind of karma you think you are creating by approving the killing of a wild bear? Your land was its land long before you moved in. Why do you think it was named Bear Spring Ranch? Your members leaving "offerings" of food upon the land has resulted in wildlife interacting with people which is always detrimental to wildlife and completely irresponsible. I want you to know there are many people very upset by the killing of this bear.
      If the bear was disturbing your toilets, then your toilets were not built "bear-proof" and certainly should be because you are living in bear country.
      If your people can not even learn to co-exist with wildlife how do you possibly think any of you can co-exist with fellow human beings? Where is your compassion? How UN-Buddhist of you! What a SHAMEFUL act you have committed.
      I ask you again: What kind of karma are you creating by killing the native wildlife? Especially a bear for which the Apache people hold great reverence for. How very terrible…"

      Also it was confirmed to me this is the second bear killed at DM.

        anonymous Feb 1, 2013 11:43am

        Very sad. Don't feed the critters- basic living in the wilderness 101 really.

        anonymous Feb 6, 2013 8:22pm

        Thanks for the letter Jerry, I assume it was sent with his/her signature. I agree with their statement. The offering of food was something that always disturbed me. I saw no point in feeding the elemental beings if it was harmful to the critters of the area.

          anonymous Feb 8, 2013 7:59pm

          Strange stuff happening around here.A hiker reported a dead body 2 weeks ago and they still have not found it.Then a guy that has been lurking in the area slit his own throat in some type of ritual suicide….made me wonder if there is a DM connection. Sort of a strange way to kill yourself and just off DM property. Plus someone put a large caliber bullet home through my metal building a few nights ago.

        anonymous Jan 26, 2014 3:05pm

        Hey Zirconia they of course picked a windy day to blade their reserve parking (lot for the Goundhog day shindig) sending a dust cloud our way…typical
        note on the lady (Karen) that wrote the above letter.Her brains were bashed in and she was left for dead by Narcos 10 miles to the South of the retreat.The Kruz gang etc. heads North toward DM from the point of the attack.They use the trails DM created on the retreat border and on up into BLM land..

anonymous Nov 14, 2012 1:55am

From Robert Thurman:

A lot of people, after seeking a bit, have some experience, and sometimes will believe they’re enlightened. One has to be careful about that. Especially Americans, who are very external stimulus oriented. When they have some type of deep inner experience, often they think that was the ultimate experience. Of course Ram Dass, who used to be a psychedelic guy, knows very well about that and how every time you have a big blast-out experience you think that’s the ultimate-everything, and of course it isn’t, although you can get hints. The key however, is not to take those hint experiences to be the ultimate experience. There always needs to be a balance. For example, when you find something, by having some experience, you always want to keep looking because there could be more to it. When Milarepa was asked how he meditated, he said he used to meditate this way or that way, but that he no longer knew when he was meditating or when he wasn’t. What that meant was he was meditating all the time, and in way, he was never meditating.

anonymous Nov 13, 2012 9:04am

In a study that he calls “Monks Versus Punks,” Dutton has carried out psychological tests of Buddhist monks and compared them to psychopaths. Like psychopaths, monks are often calm and decisive in the face of stress; free of anxiety, even in the face of death; and able to read others’ expressions accurately.

The big difference, Dutton said, is that monks are motivated by compassion for others, whereas psychopaths seek only their own pleasure. But maybe this difference is not so great (and this is my point, not Dutton’s). After all, many modern gurus–notably Chogyam Trungpa, who helped bring Tibetan Buddhism to the west decades ago—act like narcissistic monsters. That’s one reason why I’m so down on Buddhism."… I don't know anything about Chogyam Trungpa but think the Geshe next door is playing on his team too.

    anonymous Nov 16, 2012 3:21pm

    re: Trungpa. Naw, it's a different page. Trungpa, as the song goes, liked lots of "older whisky, younger women", where he overlaps with GMR is "more money". I have never heard of Roach getting slurring, sloppy drunk (as I have seen Trungpa) or being into jailbait,16 years old for Trungpa, 17 at a stretch, (girls born in '53, quickies in '70, names known but [like orgasms? tantra?] withheld. Trungpa's bad behavior (in my face) kept me away from Tibetan Buddhism for twenty-five years.

anonymous Nov 11, 2012 6:55am…. 5 more Monks die and thousands protest yet Roach still goes to China to teach his dreck.Soon it may not be safe for DM followers to vist according to a concerned friend of a member that thinks it is time to pick a side.

    anonymous Nov 11, 2012 7:26am
    Have fire extinguishers on the ready Roach backers.
    Don't be surprised if a visiting Tibetan student lights himself on fire at a Roach talk or at DM

    anonymous Nov 13, 2012 10:47am

    "Visit" where? I think there is a travel ban extended throughout Tibet right now…

      anonymous Nov 13, 2012 2:39pm

      Tibetans and Tibet supporters from all over the world will gather this week in the Tibetan exile headquarters of Dharamshala to “explore ways to press the Chinese government to end its repressive policies” in Tibet.

      Around two hundred members of Tibetan Support Groups from 43 countries will attend the Special International Tibet Support Groups Meeting from November 16 to 18.

      The meeting is being convened by the Core Group for Tibetan Cause-India and facilitated by the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration.

anonymous Nov 10, 2012 12:49pm

The Deceptive Reality of Geshe Michael Roach

In a talk at his alma mater, Roach told fellow Princetonians that he had not known what the internet was when he emerged from retreat:

I went into three year retreat … and then when I came out, I asked the people taking care of me … "I came out of retreat, I don't have a penny". You've to give up all your money when you come into retreat, so I came out of retreat with nothing. And then I said, "Can you at least get me to Tucson, and I'll work it out from there." "No, no, Geshe-la, we've been collecting money for you, here's some money, you'll be OK for a couple of months, don't worry". Then I said, "OK, can I have a laptop? And she said, "OK, we'll get you a laptop." So she got me a laptop … and looking at it, I'm like, "I thought she was a pretty generous person" and then I looked at the laptop and said, "This is weird, I guess she's really hard up for money, she couldn't find anybody to help". She said, "What's wrong?" and I said, "Frankly, it's a cheap laptop." And she said, "What's wrong with it?" I said, "It doesn't even have a floppy disk drive. Where do you put the floppy disk?" She's like, "Geshe-la, they don't make those anymore." And I'm like, "How do you get a file from one place to another? What do you do if you can't send a floppy disk in the mail, in an envelope?" She's like, "Geshe-la, I've got to tell you about this thing called the internet." And I'm like, "What's internet?" And she said, "Well, it's a new way to send stuff to people, like you would just send a file across the internet … "Gosh, it must cost a fortune" … "How many days does it take to get there?" "No, Geshe-la, you don't understand, it's free … you can send a message to anybody in the world for free, instanteneously" … We would say the seeds of being in a deep retreat created the internet for me, OK? We'd say that the intention with which we started a thousand days of practice, you know, we were trying to do something good for the world, we were trying to help the world, so then the result of that is that I come out and there's this thing called the internet.

It's a cute story except for the fact that the internet had already been available to Roach and millions of people, years before the supposed ripening of "the seeds of being in a deep retreat". Roach would have been well aware of email and the internet when entering retreat in 3/2000:

1) Netscape web browser was launched in 1994.
2) Hotmail was launched in 1996; Yahoo Mail in 1997.
3) was registered on 08-Mar-1996.
4) The website for his Asian Classics Input Project, was registered on 10-Sep-1997 , on 24-Dec-1997,*/http://diamondmt… on 16-Aug-1999.
5) In the Diamond Cutter, first released in 2/2000, Roach wrote, "The Input Project has trained Tibetan refugees in camps in India to type these endangered books onto computer disks; they are then organized on CD-ROM or the Web."

With many of Roach's stories having turned out to be false/deceptive, could the one about seeing emptiness be true?

    anonymous Nov 14, 2012 11:48pm

    He doesn't mind stretching the truth to achieve his main goal of telling a good story.

      anonymous Nov 15, 2012 10:57am

      What makes a "good story" lies in the hearer's inability to distinguish fact from fiction. In this case, there is no story; just Roach making fools out of his gullible and dreamier audiences. Little wonder then that he's as cynical as he is when he thinks he's alone, and no one can hear him.

    anonymous Nov 16, 2012 6:28pm

    Roach certainly knew about the internet. Follow this link and read a letter from one of his former students which documents his knowledge in 1999. I feel pretty confident that was not his first exposure to the internet.
    This open letter, from a man of principle, paints an interesting picture.

    anonymous Nov 17, 2012 9:57am

    As early as 1994, Roach already knew about the internet and its hyperlinking and sharing/pirating nature:

    "When someone associated with the University of New Mexico took the liberty of posting the CD-ROM data on the Internet, the monks at Sera Mey were overjoyed. "It's very exciting, the idea of nobody owning it now. Once it's on the Internet, how can you stop it?" Roach smiles and shrugs. … Roach is especially excited by the prospect of creating hypertext environments for Buddhist scripture, and points out that Tibetan commentaries already anticipate the nests and links of hypertext. "The greatest piece of Tibetan literature is Jey Tsongkhapa's Lam Rim Chenmo (Greater steps of the path), which is a big piece of plagiarism. It's a long string of quotations taken from many ancient texts. Most Tibetan commentaries are like an onion skin. You start with the newer commentaries and peel your way backward." Wired magazine, issue 2.08 August **1994**

    Did Roach really accuse Tsongkhapa of plagiarism?

    Roach also said at ACI 6 in 1996: "If you made a safe investment in the internet or something two years ago, if there's such a thing, you know."

    anonymous Sep 26, 2015 4:51pm

    i think this is the one of the problematic consequences when someone appears to exaggerate or embellish the truth for the sake of an entertaining story: how do we know if the other narratives haven't also been embellished?

anonymous Nov 10, 2012 7:00am

separated at birth ….Roach and General Petraeus,geeky looking 60 year old Princeton men with a preditorial self destructive sexual need that ruins their over hyped careers .Only one body bag so far.

    anonymous Nov 10, 2012 8:55am

    One was of distinguished service to his profession; the other ruinous. One was deceptive to his wife; the other to his alma mater and the world.

      anonymous Nov 20, 2012 12:19am

      Roach deceived his wife as well

        anonymous Nov 20, 2012 8:34am

        Petreaus covers himself in medals unlike say Eisenhower (a general that really won a war) while Roach wears fancy robes and Armani .

anonymous Nov 8, 2012 9:05pm

is it Safe yet? No not really…300 lbs of week seized from a guy that put up a fight with the ranger 100 yards east of my ranch.He ran North and The other guys went back the way they came..retreat valley bear springs y.. So heads up…they may still be around

    anonymous Nov 8, 2012 9:08pm

    That is 300 pounds of weed….my phone spells in a strange way.

      anonymous Nov 9, 2012 8:02am

      Yikes, Jerry, that's very stressfull. You're in my thoughts, I hope none of this comes any closer to you – or to anyone there.

        anonymous Nov 9, 2012 10:34am

        so far we have all been lucky…luck isn't a plan

          anonymous Nov 9, 2012 12:34pm

          Jerry-did you hook up?

            anonymous Nov 9, 2012 6:38pm

            Ditch weed…hopefully Washington and Colorado will lead us out of the drug war

      anonymous Nov 9, 2012 3:51pm

      Jerry, How would one transport 300# of weed through the desert and that kind of terrain?

        anonymous Nov 9, 2012 6:36pm

        5 guys with 60 each…fueled with meth..the pickup happens by us…most likely Javelina lose it they own you.That's why they are dangerous

anonymous Nov 4, 2012 10:36am

Zirconia, drooling sarcasm and credulity, you have broached the obvious: (You don't mean to tell me that..) "Ian was programmed to take Christie from right under Roach's nose." Oops, Anonymous gives the wrong answer, "Ian was certainly not discouraged from doing that. No sir." Now, sir, this brief and not unruly thought contains more subtle awareness than most of the rest of the forum put together. I am costrained by a vow taken some months ago on a sunny Saturday morning at the Gringo Grill in Bowie, from further assessment of this aspect, however, the premise having been clearly stated, I would like to ensure that none under-emphasize over overlook its importance in this. Proceed from here.

(and, Jer, wait'll you see the Psy. T'day article. You're gonna flip. Please do it here in public.)

    anonymous Nov 4, 2012 10:59am

    Beside every beautiful woman is a Buddhist monk totally bored with what he would have once broken his monks vows for.

    anonymous Nov 4, 2012 1:05pm

    Zirconia asked a question, he didn't make a statement , "Was Ian programmed to take Christie from right under Roach's nose?", suggesting the possibility that Ian maintained more personal agency than that of a spiritual puppy. But, by saying "…Ian was certainly not discouraged…" that's a puppy of a different sort (or different person?). Oh, and by puppy metaphor I don't mean any ill will — we all get our chains yanked at different times.

      anonymous Nov 4, 2012 1:25pm

      yanked chain, collar transforms, tightening noose. just metaphor, no ill will

      anonymous Nov 7, 2012 6:02pm

      That's what I was going for.

    anonymous Nov 4, 2012 2:44pm

    hmm…any vow taken in the Arizona sun doesn't count….I figured when I met Ian at the quarry he was just enjoying the day.Then thinking back to the woman hiking up that way (nobody hikes that way) i was thinking he was fooling around ..Now with this new info could it have been a yogini secret agent in the plot to get her out of Roach's life coming to give him orders?

      anonymous Nov 4, 2012 5:09pm

      ….."Arizona, kick off your disco shoes"…I wuz basking in the shade of the big umbrella that Mody had dragged into place…true vajrayoginis have the power of invisibility…maybe you saw the even more elusive 'yogini-instructor' (nobody hikes that way no kiddin'!). There was that 'used Durango SUV'. That candy-apple red monster known as Beowulf, but you woulda seen it….

        anonymous Nov 4, 2012 6:58pm

        I am ready to turn the reams of Roach papers and books into post consumer products. He said these words had the power to transform and I am about to prove it.

          anonymous Nov 5, 2012 4:43pm

          Wow! Ekan! Hang in there! Origami. Paper airplanes. There's options. (They make great slurry for adobe bricks, lama-dome quality even, but the mixer kept clogging….

              anonymous Nov 6, 2012 3:55pm

              About the Psychology Today article. It doesn't seem to say anything new. I wonder why Ian's first wife and child are not mentioned.
              Also, I wonder why nobody tries to contact the nun, one of the four women on the first retreat with Michael Roach, to ask her what happened during the retreat and what she feels about it now. Maybe if she had spoken out back then, none of this would have happened.

              anonymous Nov 7, 2012 7:13am

              Thanks for posting that, best stay low, doesn't that site have an odd bootleg feel to it, though? I see the writer's name is misspelled as Jeuse Ryde instead of Jesse Hyde, I'm still going to buy a copy of Psychology Today.

              The article is quite good, I thought, very fair and compassionate. He pulled together a lot of the things we had discussed here and wrote about Ian in a generous and empathetic way. For anyone who hasn't read the forum in real time this will give them a sense of how events unfolded.

              Nanda, don't you wonder sometimes why so few people have spoken out? All those people at the initiations, all those people who saw things… There seems to be a culture of secrecy here. I just don't understand it.

                anonymous Nov 7, 2012 7:37am

                By the way, best stay low, I heard from a monk friend that HHDL has requested that the Geshes teaching at Nalanda in the South of France (a Gelug monastery) start to teach Lam Rim from the wonderful Nyingma book 'Words of My Perfect Teacher' by Patrul Rinpoche. Have you read it? It's a lovely book and has a warmth that balances out 'Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand'.

                Both are good, but I think this is an effort to get rid of sectarianism and just teach from good sources. Thought you might be interested since I know you love to read.

                anonymous Nov 7, 2012 10:10am

                There seems to be a problem with the titles and bold section of the article — a formatting compatibility issue perhaps. The textual body and signature at end of piece seem fine.

                  anonymous Nov 7, 2012 10:57am

                  Hi Kevin, It has quite an off the grid look, doesn't it? Doesn't look like an authorized version. It's the misspelling of the author's name that weird. I haven't been able to find the magazine on newsstands yet, have you?

                    anonymous Nov 7, 2012 4:19pm

                    Def doesn't look like an authoritative version. I haven't looked for the mag yet. And, I'll have to check out the above-mentioned text.

                    anonymous Nov 7, 2012 4:23pm

                    The article seems pretty good except for a couple of places where timeline could be mis-construed and the quote from Ekan seems only to be a partial quote in that "wild" is left up to the imagination.

                    anonymous Nov 7, 2012 5:02pm

                    He's a good writer, thoughtful and willing to take on difficult topics.

                    It must be hard to immerse yourself in a completely unfamiliar subject, produce a piece of authoritative writing, then move on to a new subject. We are so close to this, but many of Psychology Today's readers may not even have heard of Michael Roach or Christie before this article. I think he did a great job.

anonymous Nov 4, 2012 7:37am
I was looking for The Psychology today story about the Ian and his bad Lamas and came across this blog. Man ,when I here my liberal friends talk smack about the Mormon fantasy world.anti science,back to the middle ages evil Republican base I have to remind them that ,for example the fine liberal crew at Diamond Mountain believe crazier shit and are most likely Obama voters. What is a poor secular humanist living in the middle of nowhere to do these days?

anonymous Nov 1, 2012 6:11pm

Why not cut all the pseudo-spiritual rhetoric and state the plain truth. This is a cult and Ian's participation in it eventually led to his demise. As a therapist and former cult member, I understand much about cult dynamics and programming that rob individuals of their personal power and ability to think for themselves. In cults, there is always power and control by the leaders over followers. It is sometimes subtle and seldom seen as such by members of the cult. Roach clearly abused his power over others and has many characteristics of a narcissistic personality, which by the way is a common personality trait of cult leaders. It is unfortunate that Christie McNally believed all of Roach's delusional stories that she was the reincarnation of some goddess. Also unfortunate, that Ian had given up his power first to Roach and then to his wife, McNally. This hardly can be called Love in any sense of the word. It is unhealthy and more likely a form of co-dependency. One of the greatest pitfalls of persons on a spiritual search or path is to look for spiritual solutions to problems that are mental-emotional in nature. This kind of blindness caused a whole series of poor choices among all the cult members that led eventually to Ian's death. You cannot place the responsibility on any one person in a cult because of the group think of cult environments. But surely, Roach, as their founder and leader shares in the responsibility for Ian's death. Michael Roach started the organization and like any religious or spiritual leader, he automatically assumes responsibility for the well being of his followers, congregation, flock, whatever terms you want to use. The sad thing is that Roach and many of his followers may never wake up and see the cult they are living in. And they are not likely to accept any responsibility for the death of one of their "inner circle". Such is the nature of denial and delusion.

    anonymous Nov 1, 2012 9:27pm

    Any supporting evidence for your claim that "Ian had given up his power first to Roach and then to his wife, McNally"? Your other statement about the nature of Ian's and Christie's love/relationship seems to be equally speculative, and more importantly, uncalled for.

      anonymous Nov 1, 2012 11:46pm

      Ian's Mom told ABC news that the family had attempted a 'deprogramming' of Ian from Roach's program. This was attempted over 10 years ago.

        anonymous Nov 2, 2012 4:09pm

        Was Ian programmed to take Christie from right under Roach's nose?

          anonymous Nov 2, 2012 11:19pm

          Ian was certainly not discouraged from doing that. No sir.

            anonymous Nov 3, 2012 8:55am

            Anonymous, now we are getting somewhere! Would you care to expound?

      anonymous Nov 2, 2012 9:02am

      John Johnson's post may be painful to read, Zirconia, but all of this has been clearly established. Also, there's a well researched Psychology Today article that may already be out that gets into this in detail.

        anonymous Nov 2, 2012 4:29pm

        Not painful to me, but perhaps to Ian's loved ones who might browse this forum and see Johnson spoke ill of their son/brother/friend without cause. Dead people are not necessarily beyond reproach, but it's unfair/unseeming to pass judgement on a dead man without good reason or proof. Not much "has been clearly established" other than the fact that Roach is a liar.

          anonymous Nov 2, 2012 4:54pm

          He's more kind than most of the other people have been here, including Matthew, at times. You haven't had a problem with that before. Why does this post get under your skin?

            anonymous Nov 2, 2012 5:05pm

            I think you're thinking of Sid Johnson, who has been a cool guy. John Johnson is a new commenter.

              anonymous Nov 2, 2012 10:54pm

              how do you know JJ is "new"? Your credulity seems selective here.

      anonymous Nov 2, 2012 9:27am

      Your arguments are to be forgiven if you had never met these people. If you have, then you are trolling. There's not much middle-ground to assert Christie and Ian's relationship wasn't distasteful and problematic for those aware of the personalities involved…Alcohol and tobacco consumption sky-rocketed at Diamond Mountain in the wake of the split-up and subsequent 'union-of-the-two-as-one' bullshit.

        anonymous Nov 2, 2012 4:41pm

        You're forgiven for being late in joining the forum and providing insider's info that's yet to be corroborated.

          anonymous Nov 2, 2012 6:41pm

          I'll help that along, the corroboration part. And don't forget all the break-ups and partner changes….some just can't keep samaya….it has happenened even during/inside the retreat…

anonymous Oct 27, 2012 2:24pm

So, to sum up, Michael Roach is a deceitful, lecherous, egomaniacal charlatan who has disgraced himself and the “lineage of the Dalai Lamas”, Christie McNally is a deranged yoga girl who doesn’t seem to be in the dispelling untruth business anymore and Ian Thorson is dead.

    anonymous Jan 26, 2013 8:31am

    People doubt me when I tell a few of the stories…this gives the early retreat story…4 woman and one geshe dancing in panty hose….woohoo

      anonymous Jan 26, 2013 7:40pm

      Problem is Jerry, that it is always the same problem… people need to step the fuck up and take responsibility for their words. Writing, no matter how inflammatory, means nothing if people aren't willing to back up their statements. In other words — it would be a great link if the people associated would gain the love and nerve to own up to their statements. Oh, and please don't try to tell me that they feel threatened by the DM mafia, fuck that shit, courage is about not letting the bullies win.

        anonymous Jan 26, 2013 7:54pm

        "In order to protect the ladies concerned, we will not publish their names, apart from that of Christie McNally who now openly in a physical relationship with Geshe Michael Roach."… How is this protecting? Name the names if it is what you're saying.

          anonymous Jan 27, 2013 8:15pm

          kevin it is odd how some people like Ben Brewer who thinks Roach is flat out afraud…Kedran never has said anything publicly,Winston…the wuss list goes on and on ..If they would have spoken up after the first fake retreat a lot of people wouldn't be where they are nowMichael in town here has been great speaking the truth

          Oh…armed smugglers are in the area now….helicopters and law 3 nights in a row

    anonymous Feb 18, 2013 10:06am

    playboy story coming out on the 19th….did he get the rumored Roach dancing in panty hose picture?

anonymous Oct 26, 2012 6:30am

Seven monks have died this month.Michael Roach should stop going on his China tours.His trips are allowed by China to hurt Tibet independence efforts..Next thing you know he will try to get close to Putin controlled criminal gas extraction companies in Russia that murder as part of a efficient business plan….oops to late the DM team is already on it

    anonymous Oct 26, 2012 7:06am

    But there is so much more dumb money in Asia these days. And members of totalitarian societies are used to believing and doing just what they are told to. And since their languages aren't in Arabic letters, they cannot make sense of the Elephant Journal anyway! All-in-all it's a big win for The Roachians.

    anonymous Oct 26, 2012 12:27pm

    ok so the rationale is that he is teaching 'karmic management' and that one not-disagreable aspect of karmic management is 'compassion yoga' and that some of it will rub off on these greedy hoods to the extent that working conditions and ethics improve. …It's a thot….

      anonymous Oct 26, 2012 1:02pm

      Because asana obliterates caste. Right.

        anonymous Oct 26, 2012 1:55pm

        Blessings, ya bum…i said 'just a thot'…haven't worked out a flight plan yet…karmic 'search-and-rescue'…

anonymous Oct 24, 2012 4:01pm

Info on Ken Wilber and his predilection for abusive gurus here;

These are all persons less capable of handling idealizing projections than Roach.

    anonymous Oct 24, 2012 5:16pm

    Now there is a ringing endorsement, Noodlebowl.

anonymous Oct 23, 2012 6:18pm

To Sid and others:

Fact check the casualty reports from Wilber World. . KW has endorsed Andrew Cohen, Genpo Roshi/merzel and Marc Gafni.

And earlier he endorsed Adi Da/Da Free John. Wilber never lived under any guru yet presumed to endorse them to others–and kept picking abusive ones to endorse.

anonymous Oct 23, 2012 3:51pm

If this photo was taken in the spring of 2012 it does prove they were not living in the cave the whole time. Does anyone recognize where it was taken?

    anonymous Oct 23, 2012 4:36pm

    The press got this one wrong. If this photo is from 'Spring 2012' , the couple weren't at DM. (That looks like a beach shack on L.I. behind them.)

      anonymous Oct 23, 2012 7:48pm

      The Medical Examiner's Report: "Circumstances of death. Mr. Thorson, a 38-year-old man, and his wife were camping/living in a cave for the last nine days eating berries. He was having stomach pains and they ran out of water three days prior."

      Sheriff's Report: "One civilian identified as x x. According to the information received, she brought food and water to the two individuals, with the last food drop about three weeks ago."

      The term 'last food drop' implies it was an ongoing process. At the very least, the reports indicate they were in the area at for the month of April.

      If they left for a period of time in March, why did they return?

      Where the photo is displayed on the web, the caption says it was taken in May 2012. We know that didn't happen. Maybe that is why ABC said spring 2012.

      anonymous Oct 25, 2012 10:42am

      Yeah, they took that photo from my flickr stream, but I had taken it from elsewhere on flickr. I can't remember where, but it certainly from spring 2012.

        anonymous Oct 25, 2012 10:43am

        err, i mean, it certainly WASN'T from spring 2012.

anonymous Oct 22, 2012 7:32am

Okay. Thanks anyway.

anonymous Oct 20, 2012 9:29am

Scott's article has been delayed until the spring.

    anonymous Oct 21, 2012 8:48am

    Do you know the reason behind the delay, Ekan?

    anonymous Oct 21, 2012 12:18pm

    hope he reads this and adds the terrible effects of isolation to his rundown of the event.Isolation drives people crazy…crazy people do stupid shit…we all pay…Cochise County costs family PTS costs after it't over and the very real danger someone else will snap..

anonymous Oct 16, 2012 11:53am

Yes, thank you Ekan, very sharp.

    anonymous Oct 21, 2012 1:13pm

    Ekan I think you are right about this.It answered in my mind why she didn't press the Spot SOS or 911 button but used the contact button instead.If the plan was to get the message out and rally the Valley to mobilized,pull together and bring their leader out after which she brings the purge to a vote(with added information on Roach that is unknown to many of the retreaters thrown into the mix) and is reinstated as retreat leader It might have worked except Ian was sicker than she thought and the tatooed guy wasn't up to the job.Add to the mix the facts that the Cochise County rescue guys as firewall just didn't work out and that on their own or with orders from Roach the board decided to keep the retreaters out of the loop and the end result is.hours and hours later Ian died in a completely avoidable tragedy.

      anonymous Oct 21, 2012 6:55pm

      The question has been posed to me, "How was it that the suppliers failed to notice that food and water being left at the designated drop point (wherever it was) was not being picked up and that Christie and Ian might just be in trouble up there? And maybe we should 'risk transgression' and go up and check on them." If this properly sums the state of affairs before Christie called Chandra, then it becomes a very good question.

      Two days after Christie was released on o.r. from the hospital another friend ran into and talked with Chandra in Bowie for a few minutes. He was conspicuously not present at the Monday night 'Special Community Meeting' up at DMU when Rob announced that Ian was dead.

      And. Jer, you are right about Bliss' boyfriend probably knowing a bundle, including the back route into the retreat from Ft. Bowie. Neither is he a DMU player at all. He met her when he was in the employ of an outside contractor, (can you guess which cabin?)

        anonymous Oct 21, 2012 7:50pm

        Per Sheriff's report, "…one civilian identified as xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx. According to the information received, she brought food and water to the two individuals, with the last food drop about three weeks ago." The name is blacked out with a marker and the x's are a guess on how many characters in the name but first name has more than the last.
        Who is this woman? What does this suggest to those who know about the logistics?
        One gallon per person per day of drinking water is what we need. That means they should have been delivering about 50 gallons of water or more for a three week period.

          anonymous Oct 21, 2012 9:13pm

          Realistically, the supply lines were not realistic. "We" don't know if Chandra-and down at Jamyang across from the capground were in contact with the in-the-tsam suppliers or not, or even if they used the same drop points. Chandra, of course, could drive up to the ranger station any time, and hike in the back way, but on the Sunday he was up there with Scott (whom he must have told) just hanging out, waiting, while the helicopters were circling. It's weird. It doesn't add up. Chandra (among other things) yelled at me (in a parkful of 40 or 50 rescue service people) that there were retreaters present and that I should avert my eyes. So I ignored that, but the retreaters were too far away and I couldn't recognize them. Not to beg the question, but what were they doing out of retreat? And who got the out. Search-and-Rescue or Chandra-and-Scott?

            anonymous Oct 21, 2012 9:36pm

            Not many people get to take a helicopter ride while on three-year retreat. The sheriff's report say retreaters hiked up the mountain without any water and were dehydrated. The medics had to give them water before they air lifted them out. We know it wasn't anybody with horse sense. I wonder if someone in retreat also had a cell phone. Or were they expecting the drama to unfold like a script and they could tell something was going wrong.

              anonymous Oct 21, 2012 9:55pm

              The helicopters were going back and forth exactly up the center of the box canyon (Retreat Valley). They must have made 10 or 12 very loud and annoying passes. It was obvious that something was up, not just illegals, who don't often get that kind of service when they dehydrate. So, anyway, Ekan, thanks for clearing that up. Jerry is unfortunately correct, not all of these people have any desert survival sense, but were these retreaters looking for Christie and Ian or just out for some fresh air and senic helicopter viewing? You've got the one question right, but who wrote "the script", the changing and quickly, messily rewritten script? And what, then, was the original draft? There is a confluence. I don't want to point the finger. I want to point two fingers.

                anonymous Oct 22, 2012 5:27pm

                When Kat was told she couldn't have animals on DM (Roach breaking up couples again) i thought at that time that some day they are going to wish Rusty was still around.He would have gone right up that hill. Kat could of loaded both of them on the loyal beast and been back in the valley by 10 am. back

                  anonymous Oct 23, 2012 8:03am

                  The 'no animals' rule was intended to prevent pets (i.e. dogs and cats) and I do know how they accumulate from anywhere/everywhere if you live in the desert. Now 'animals' is a big category, and I do happen to agree that not letting Kat keep her horse there was an error for other reasons, but then again, so was/is the 'no work-keep silent before 10 A.M.' rule, which in the summer I just ignore (by way of being up and moving at 5 A.M.), and am not the only one. There was a palace revolt during final cabin-building frenzy. The rules are arbitrary, you know 'for the greater good of the community' and 'we know best what works here'. Some could improvise "let's let this slide so we can get that done" but the Board were all of the "Geshe sez and that's it" ilk, which may or may not have reflected GMR's intention. One of the things that annoys me in life in when a second person tells me what a third person really meant (i.e. "Lama says…) when that second person, who is explaining the rules to me, is obviously not a fully realized being.

                    anonymous Oct 23, 2012 10:46pm

                    Rusty was a mule.He would have been great on the construction site too. The decision to not allow the equines and the dogs on the newly vacated Winston's. house/ property was a roach trick of some sort.

                    anonymous Oct 24, 2012 7:26am

                    She had a horse, too, on a friend's land out near Cascabel, and it would not have provided much of a problem, plus it could have eaten up all that hay left over from straw-bale construction that is stacked up nice and rotting right there across from your place.

                    Ian is dead. The coroner's report lists natural causes. but, Dr. Watson, police investigations usually uncover only the superficial aspects. Motivation, down in the desire realm; did GMR, after installing them in the Lama Dome, even in jest, ever ask the question, "What if they kill each other" Did he ponder the posssible consequences?

          anonymous Oct 21, 2012 10:32pm

          On closer examination. The civilian identified as xx name is the first block of black…followed by (block of black) between two parenthesis. The name is much shorter than I originally thought. The description or alternate name is the second block of black.

        anonymous Oct 21, 2012 9:44pm

        love that cabin…..all it lacks as Jeb called it on the Beverly Hillbillies is a cement pond… has a bed in it alone that cost more than a certain carpenter/Christian mystic's shack. As a side noe Bliss seems to be safe as now that the illegal trail is gone the men with guns and the drugged out mules that work for them are coming through to the east of us again…. Oh on the food angle the retreaters just shared with them……

          anonymous Oct 22, 2012 7:41am

          ekan; actually, being then still spring, 2 quarts of water each per day would have been enough, but it is still a lot of weight to haul uphill. I kinda gotta go with Jer here, that they were either coming down for meals or just staying secretly with retreaters indoors….By Tibetan standards this is no way a 'legitimate' retreat, but then, again, FPMT has an ongoing 'deep-retreat center' with 5 or 6 long term meditators at the moment, and they do, as the caretaker told me, several pujas every month and have group work projects, so that ain't any more legit than DMU's.

          I didn't know about the big bed, Jer, just the fancy tile floor, and there is even a Buddhist precept that one should not sleep in a 'high bed', thus exhibiting pretensions to royalty (gosh, no)….

          no, Jehne, the retreaters are not especially suffering under harsh conditions ('cept a year and a half ago now when the freeze cracked the pipes and the water was off 'til Nicole, who is awesome, got everything back in running order).

anonymous Oct 15, 2012 6:53pm

anon asked me to elucidate the publicity stunt turned tragedy theory. She said, “I mean, what sort of "publicity" has the "stunt" generated that doesn't reflect badly onto the organization?” Okay, so let’s look at the timeline. The quotes come from the Sheriff’s reports and the autopsy report.

Saturday April 14, 2012 or so – They “were camping/living in a cave for the last nine days.”

Thursday, April 19, 2012 – Lama Christie Teachings Facebook page is created and the Matrix papers are published. It was written sometime during the two months after the expulsion in mid-February but not published until things were looking grim.

Thursday April 19, 2012 Christie and Ian run out of water.

Thursday or Friday: Ian “had gotten upset approx. 2 days prior and hit himself in the head several times.” Christie “spoke about a small verbal dispute she and her husband were involved in and at that time Ian struck himself in the head with some plastic piece. When asked if he passed out at the time she stated no, saying he strikes himself so he would not strike her.”

Friday, April 20, 2012, Christie and Ian eat their last meal of split pea soup. Ian is already complaining of stomach pains.

Saturday April 21, Ian’s skin becomes “flushed and puffy”. Christie “further explained Ian was okay before they went to sleep.”

Sunday April 22, 2012, 0600 hours Christie calls for help.

Between 0800 hours and 1000 hours, Christie says to medics “she could hear a faint heart beat and also of him breathing.”

1145 paramedics repel into the cave and report Ian was deceased. “Ian died of exposure to the elements.”

Christie is in fair condition, “well enough to be “screamer suited out” and didn’t need to be placed on a backboard.”

The officer “briefly spoke with her after she was tended to by medical personnel, she refused transport at the time.”

The report also said, she “was to a point of being hysterical, hugging the body and crying profusely. She made the following remark. “I thought they could bring him back.” Those words have always bothered me.

The officer “briefly spoke with her after she was tended to by medical personnel, she refused transport at the time.”

Friends take Christie to the hospital where she is treated and released.

The timing between the public posting of the Matrix papers on Facebook and this tragedy has always bothered me. They went to the cave for some purpose. They were not prepared to stay there for an extended period of time. Some on the forum have speculated they went there to commit suicide by natural causes. I cannot accept this theory. It is not logical that Christie would end the Matrix papers saying “I love you all very much, do not worry about us, we are still impossibly very happy- more and more joy each day. But do send your prayers to help mend the rift that has happened” if she intended to end her life or the life of Ian.

How did the Matrix papers get published? Christie had a cell phone and I cannot imagine any of her students posting it without specific instructions. Doesn’t it seem logical that Christie would tell someone when to post it?

Jerry in an earlier post said, “Hell they had a beacon, cell phone and lungs…at night you can hear long distances up there.” Jerry even rescued someone calling for help some distance from his own home. Christie often mentioned how sound travels in the retreat valley.

People have focused on their inability to carry water back up to the cave, but both of them scrambling down the hill to the other cave where there was food and water seems better than going to the point of death.

Christie had a cell phone and a SPOT to give GPS coordinates. This just creates more questions.

    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 6:54pm

    “A Shift in the Matrix – Dispelling Darkness by Shining Light into the World.” After giving information about how she and Ian were removed from the retreat she says, “Personally, I started to feel like I had gotten the bad end of a divorce settlement! This land has a long history of being battled over… It felt to the retreatants like a military invasion…However, when you see injustice, you must speak out… Some friends who were concerned about us and new our plan to camp had stowed away some extra water and propane in a place just outside the DM property line, but the board had set up guards there, and so that luxury was now off-limits. Guards! What are they doing?”

    Regarding the divorce, I had no idea that McNally and Roach were married. I assumed the word divorce was metaphorical. I had heard from students close to them say that Roach was giving Diamond Mountain to Christie. Now I take her words at face value that it was part of an unofficial divorce settlement. Roach got his students to buy him a house and Christie took DM.

    How would you feel if you thought someone was reclaiming your divorce settlement, which was just an oral contract? Not just your retreat but taking away basically everything that you had, your reputation, your students, your home, your career, etc. And the person who is being wronged is a goddess. “All this, coming from people who a week ago were happily bowing at my feet. “

    I don't know what their motivations were. I only know some of the facts, but it seems possible they wanted to draw attention to their plight.

      anonymous Oct 15, 2012 8:35pm

      I bet Bliss's boyfriend knows the inside story…He spent much time in the Mine Shaft just before the death.This makes way more sense than the suicide story that relied heavily on CM really believing some of the more Matrixy bs she would speak about…. So does she have a legit clam to DM? Maybe she is the one shopping it? Chuck,. Time to spill some beans or start reading up on the wine business

        anonymous Oct 15, 2012 8:49pm

        Do you have any friends at the county recorders office?

        anonymous Oct 15, 2012 8:49pm

        Something else that still blows me away is can you imagine telling the po po the head wounds on your dead husband were by his own hand and they go "ok". The Laver Dever led Department never wanted another Miricle Valley but screwed up the rescue so bad that Ian would have had a better chance if Rayleen and the Bowie ambulance had driven up to Ken Coopers place (those are his boots on the gate) I think they and the board both are in the sights of Ian's family 's attorneys which explains why they just buried this thing. Everybody move along.

          anonymous Oct 16, 2012 10:44am

          "…can you imagine telling the po po the head wounds on your dead husband were by his own hand and they go 'ok'."

          I bet if the situation were reversed and Christie had the wounds to her head, it would have become a full scale domestic violence investigation. Men do get abused as well. I don't even think the coroner can rule out whether or not such wounds were self-inflicted or caused by someone else. Gun shot wounds it's a little easier. But blows to the head… not so much.

            anonymous Oct 16, 2012 10:55am

            On the face of it Jehne, this sounds fishy. Yet if you knew Ian well, the story of 'self-infliction' isn't far-fetched. (CM is super-duper exasperating.)

              anonymous Oct 16, 2012 12:04pm

              Yes, I have read several accounts of his propensity towards aggression/violence…. even self harm. I am not doubting his wounds were self-inflicted. I just find it odd that the police didn't investigate this further. Her word at the time was hearsay. I think if she had died and had head wounds, he would have been possibly arrested on the spot. But ya, I don't have all the facts and am not a detective with the police department. So I don't know how their line of reasoning went.

              As far as CM being exasperating. Well we both know I am not privy to that. But even if she was a royal irritant, this doesn't justify or excuse his lack of self-control, imo.

                anonymous Oct 16, 2012 12:12pm

                W're all humans, Jehne. Retreat always setsoff what simmers just below. Living like renegades was not on Ian's 'to-do list.' If Ian was behaviorally compromised, maybe he was compromised beforehand, and was not a fit candidate for 3-year retreat.

                  anonymous Oct 16, 2012 2:52pm

                  "If Ian was behaviorally compromised, maybe he was compromised beforehand, and was not a fit candidate for 3-year retreat."

                  I don't know how someone could know Ian's history and still believe he was a good candidate for three year retreat.

                    anonymous Oct 16, 2012 2:58pm


      anonymous Oct 16, 2012 10:24am

      Does anyone know what happened to Ernie – whether he is still a part of either group or whether he left of his own accord or was asked to leave?

        anonymous Oct 16, 2012 10:41am

        He left on his own accord and has been exhorted to keep away from DM.

          anonymous Oct 16, 2012 11:21am

          Poor guy. He seemed to have a lot invested in DM. He wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed but he was a fairly nice guy.

            anonymous Oct 16, 2012 11:34am

            Ian was extremely bright, actually. He commenced to walk along the dubious spiritual road his Lamas encouraged him upon.

              anonymous Oct 16, 2012 11:37am

              You meant Ernie. Got it. (He is/was in over his head being a novice.)

    anonymous Oct 16, 2012 10:19am

    Thank you, Ekan. This timeline shows attention to detail, and is most provocative. Kudos to you.

anonymous Oct 15, 2012 5:42pm So Any of you local detectives with a taste for wine could nose around the festival to see if you can figure out the winery owner that was approached quietly to se if he was interested in the DM property in the future….

anonymous Oct 12, 2012 7:20pm

As anticipated from a question GM asked at Retreat #3 in Prescott. The retreat classes studying Lam Rim 2x a year over the course of 10 years are now moved to Mexico The preperatory lecture classes are still in Glendale/Phx.

anonymous Oct 11, 2012 6:09pm

the one calling himself Michael has accused me (in the Pureland Email) of being too cryptic. no kiddin'
Here is what is up: If Jerry is correct in his assumption that Christie and Ian were not full-time in their cave, then they were secretly staying with certain retreaters (Michael and I know who, with proof, no further comment just now) and that, barring catatonia, these retreaters may well be able to shed light upon their physical state at the time, their spirit, their sense of mission, their emotions.

    anonymous Oct 11, 2012 8:58pm

    They will have to live with that…As I understand things upward of 15 retreaters knew they were still there. I wouldn't want that on me…. You tried to help and the Roach cone of silence tried to squeeze you.

      anonymous Oct 12, 2012 8:27am

      They (Chandra and Scott) tried to run me off of federal property. Scott: "I'm on the Board of Directors and I'm ordering you to leave." Me: "I am a private citizen on Public Land and I'll do what I want." But by that point it was already too late. The full Search-and-Rescue crew was there. It looked like a M.A.S.H. set.

      Everyone was/is requested or required (i'm not sure which) to keep a journal. Notebooks, binders and pens go up the hill every week. I'm sure they will be self-edited in terms of Buddhist sophistry: 'purifying obscurations, subjugating the nagas, blissful accomplishment' that sort of thing. I do imagine that some of the retreaters might be keeping 'two sets of books'. You are suggesting that a third of the retreaters knew of their continued presence, which is probably a fair figure. LC did have her supporters. Others were alarmed (or at least anxiety-ridden) by the prospect of her leadership. Those few that were actively aiding the couple (and if you are right; providing shelter along with food) will have elements of the incident recorded with 'insider' points-of-view. A year and a half to go. Right now: Do Not Disturb.

        anonymous Oct 12, 2012 8:52am

        Ya but they don't have to reveal the contents of their journals, do they? The journal writing is for their eyes only. I am certain the silence will continue long after they exit their cabins.

    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 8:10am

    Does Scott Carney have this info? Will it be revealed in his December article? If Ian was actually staying with retreaters for a while or most of the time after being expelled from DM, why did his health fail so quickly? Was he grossly malnourished for a long period before then? My guess is that he was both emotionally and physically fragile long before ever entering the cave.

    If retreaters housed Ian and Christie after they were expelled, weren't they violating the rules of DM? Why have they not been sanctioned like Ian and Christie were? Interesting how all this has been silenced and we are just now hearing about this six months after the fact.

    I think full disclosure is in order. Will it come from you? Or Scott?

      anonymous Oct 12, 2012 9:38am

      That was my thought as well in terms of Ian's health.

        anonymous Oct 12, 2012 10:13am

        Jehne and Kevin,…..Haven't spoken with Scott Carney. Christie and Ian were in great physical shape for yoga, but that is not necessarily to be in great shape for, or to be prepared for desert survival. The police report noted the remenants of their diet. Yes, retreaters were breaking the rules. GMR was furious with Chandra down at Jamyang for not telling him his part earlier in the month when they were in Phoenix. It is not a 'wall of silence', rather an 'intersecting lattice-work'. 'Full disclosure' is constrained by delusory subjectivity, mine included. GMR wanted them gone. He immobilised them and, himself, hit the high road. Then Christie shot her foot off. GMR jumped in and tossed them out. Christie made her wildcat decision, svadhina, and Ian went along with it……that's data, not answers

          anonymous Oct 13, 2012 8:10am

          Jehne…the reason why the retreaters who knew of Ian and Christie's continued presence were not 'sanctioned' is because there were just too many involved. It, sanctioning them, would have gutted and disabled the entire retreat, which DMU of course did/does not want. Perhaps the hardest thing to do in Buddhism is to rid your mind of cognitive rattle. The second hardest is to be able to see through the other person's eyes, the factors that generate his/her/their point-of-view. See it from DMU's side. 'Let's get this retreat back on course." You, and I, may well question the larger mechanism. The organism, comprised of a variety of different personalities, seeks its continued existance and well-being, just like you…and rattlesnakes may coil up and rattle, but will not strike unless you step on them

      anonymous Oct 13, 2012 10:40am

      Jehne-You must keep it in mind that Christie was recognized as a lama, and had granted various 'initiations' to most if not all of the retreatants. In their own minds, the retreatants were merely protecting their vows in assisting her and Ian. There is nothing any of them can be 'sanctioned' for in their proper observance of 'guru-yoga.' Besides, any purge in the ranks on the heels of this disaster would have only served to compound the bad publicity and decimate the morale of those left in this experiment.

        anonymous Oct 13, 2012 12:00pm

        "Experiment" has always bothered me when used by people in charge of a group such as Roach.Expendable components are used in experiments

          anonymous Oct 14, 2012 8:19am

          Corvid-I'm not one "in charge of a group…". The Federal Government of the United States is referred to as an "experiment" by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin both. (A laboratory isn't the sole venue for every 'experiment.') Trying something that has never been attempted on a scale such as this is certainly 'experimental.' There was nothing sinister in the use of the term, I promise!

        anonymous Oct 13, 2012 1:27pm

        anon – were you once part of 'this experiment'?

        anonymous Oct 13, 2012 2:08pm

        "There is nothing any of them can be 'sanctioned' for in their proper observance of 'guru-yoga."

        "GMR was furious with Chandra down at Jamyang for not telling him his part earlier in the month when they were in Phoenix."

        Guru Yoga seems to be an excuse to look the other way when it suits GMR. It's a shame people sincerely looking for answers had to get caught up in DM high school drama.

        anonymous Oct 13, 2012 3:59pm

        Blind obedience? Where would they draw the line? Sounds pretty unhealthy and dysfunctional to me. Not to mention a poor excuse to be absolved of any responsibility for one's choices and actions. In this case it sounds like the blind leading the blind. This is a good example of the danger inherent in cults. People decide to stop thinking for themselves. They give away their power to someone else. Then later claim–once things go wrong–that they were just following orders. Pathetic.

        The retreaters aren't responsible… they were following their lama's direction.

        The lama is not responsible… she was brainwashed by Roach.

        Who is responsible then? Do we just keep moving up the latter until there is no one higher up to place blame upon?

        This just really gets to me. If you want to act like a sheep with no free will of your own, move to North Korea. We live in America. How can one willingly give up their right to think for him/herself and the freedom to make decisions? This is an enviable privilege protected by our Bill of Rights. What a waste. I'm sure there are plenty of North Koreans who would give their right kidneys for this luxury you don't cherish or respect.

          anonymous Oct 13, 2012 6:00pm

          Ian was free to follow his heart even if it cost him his life, so, that begs the question: 'What is the point of this forum, then?' I mean, if we are 'a nation of laws' and no laws are being broken…Was Ian, and is Christie, any less (or more,) fanatical than the stream of Tibetan Nuns and Monks who are self-immolating? Where is the line to be drawn?
          If Ian was actually where he wanted to be, is this the prima facie evidence that he was acting like a herd animal (sheep)? We cannot have it both ways. There's the threat that a terminal sort of ambiguity will constantly pervade the issues that this forum is attempting to rectify/correct/improve upon. Matthew has already taken to task this 'libertarian argument'; but short of religious courts, we are free to succumb to delusion within the context of a 'free' society. 'Caveat emptor' shouldn't be relinquished under the best of conditions.

            anonymous Oct 13, 2012 6:16pm

            But the anon comment I was responding to claimed that the retreatants were just obeying the guru-yoga code of ethics. As to give an explanation/excuse for why they housed Ian and Christie on DM property after their formal/legal expulsion. I'm not claiming that anyone was forced to do anything. Or to not do anything–including Ian. I'm asserting that, following this line of reasoning, they willingly gave their power and responsibility away. And I find this willingness to be frightening.

              anonymous Oct 13, 2012 7:42pm

              Jehne. You find this avoidance/transference psychology throughout the cultural fabric. Government, business, parental and intimate relationships…This is an extreme case of the same under a religious guise. The utter ambiguity in parts of the narrative confounds our reason, I agree with you there.

                anonymous Oct 13, 2012 8:37pm

                It is found throughout the culture… true. This doesn't make it right.

              anonymous Oct 13, 2012 8:04pm

              Or maybe some of the retreatants thought like this: even though the DMU Boards says one thing, I have decided to do something else and I will provide shelter and food to Christie and Ian. And perhaps others thought this way: even though my guru, Lama Christie, has asked me for shelter I have decided not to follow my guru but to follow the board's recommendation.

              And other retreatants might not have cared much one way or the other. Jehne, you have no idea who gave away their authority and who defied authority. It's not knowable except by those who made the decisions they made.

                anonymous Oct 13, 2012 8:34pm

                I know. I was just wondering why two people were kicked off the land for violating the "rules" while others were allowed to stay. That was my initial inquiry. It seems a bit unfair.

                  anonymous Oct 13, 2012 9:22pm

                  Lama Christie and Ian disobeyed the rules about violence and weapons. What rules did the retreatants disobey?

                    anonymous Oct 13, 2012 9:35pm

                    Hiding/boarding people who were breaking the law by remaining on private property. Violating the rules of the retreat. Failing to disclose this fact/information to the board and or MR. If they didn't think they were violating any rules, then why the secrecy and sneaking around? Why the silence now?

                    anonymous Oct 13, 2012 11:25pm

                    Now who is the 'concern troll'? You are beating a dead horse. No laws were broken. No codified DM prohibition preventing anyone from assisting Ian and Christie was tabled by the board. Christie was groomed to be seen as a lama by those groomed to see her as a lama. A nice, little tautological exercise in delusional thinking, but assisting the pair was neither illegal, nor in violation of any standing DM policy. You can find dozens of instances in teachings at DM that "go against the grain." Anyone assisting Ian and Christie could give their page, chapter, and verse explanation of 'world-view' to justify the proposition that their approach to the dilemma was merely another leap of faith in the practice of 'guru-yoga'…

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 8:23am

                    Concern troll??? Take a walk and get some fresh air. You have been spending too much time online if you are starting to see a person who has no personal interest in DM's success or failure as being a concern troll. Not a troll. Just an inquiring mind.

                    But thank you for the inside scoop. No formal rules were broken. Just a blurring of ethics. This really sounds more like a cult as the days go by and more information surfaces.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 9:28am

                    I more or less thought that the 'cult' here was already a well-established opinion. You opine nothing revelatory in your summation, but if you still require more 'proof,' please stay-tuned to this channel.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:13am

                    Blow it out your you-know-what! Then take that walk so you can gain some perspective.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:50am

                    For someone who claims to possess "just an inquiring mind" and as one with "no interest in DM's success or failure," you do betray a hostile sort of attachment to your own relatively uninformed pov…(Looks like I struck a nerve though.) Sounds to me like you are projecting your own need for some "fresh air"?

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:37am

                    Coming from anon. At least I have the courage and integrity to post as a real person using my real name. You know what they say about anonymous posters don't you? And you have no excuse. You aren't Deep Throat. And this forum isn't some major scandal. You are the one in need of a reality check and a spine.

                    I am no more hostile than you. I just chose to phrase my comments in common language rather than some pop psychology jargon–like you did… projecting, attachment to your point of view, little tautological exercise in delusional thinking, opine nothing revelatory in your summation… I'm wondering when the term codependent will surface. Your arrogant insults are just as hostile as me telling you to blow it out your you-know-what. Your comments hold no compassion or kindness. They are barbed.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:58am

                    How do you know I am not 'Deep Throat', indeed? Why didn't the original "Deep Throat' use his real name? You have the luxury of being 'so above-it-all', Jehne, and if it's congratulations you want for having no skin in the game, well, congrats and praises to all the non-participants of the DM organization!

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 12:31pm

                    "How do you know I am not 'Deep Throat', indeed?"

                    Because I operate in reality. You should try it.

                    " Why didn't the original "Deep Throat' use his real name?"

                    Because he had access to information that could change events on a global scale and destroy the lives of many including his own. Please don't tell me you think this Diamond Mountain scandal mirrors Watergate. Oh dear.

                    Anonymous posters online, on small forums such as this, are not hot-shot important people with powerful careers and lives to protect… justifying concealment of their identities. No, they are wussies, afraid to own up to who they are and what they stand for. What are the real life repercussions for you to man-up and post under your real identity? Are you going to lose your job? Your friends? Your followers? You are acting cowardly.

                    People with more "skin in the game" than you have spoken out here and elsewhere. It is what people with the courage of their convictions do. It is honorable. It is the right thing to do.

                    Even if you are Michael Roach, you have no excuse to hide behind that anon moniker. It's pathetic. I have no respect for you.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 12:49pm

                    Deep Throat was YOUR allusion, not mine. Turning tables like that is just 'high-school.' And I have no followers. Friends I am fortunate to know-'anon' is merely retaining my privacy. I'm not looking for personal recognition here and corroboration of my view from people I have never met (such as you isn't anything I covet, let alone need. (Blog away, though, Jehne!) I have my own reasons for making my private thoughts public, and since lying is a big no-no, I want some cover for my narrative. (Lao Tse believes in a 'good cover.' ) This cloak of anonymity saves me from spending even MORE time reliving this draining, on-going saga. But one thing I know is: I'm not concealing my identity with the purpose of muddying others minds, or the obfuscating of consensual (conventional) realities.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:56am

                    Your "perspective"s are all but conjectural, are they not? (Yawn.)

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:34am

                    There's probably a lot that goes on inside the retreat that doesn't end up here. For example, a monastery typically has a disciplinarian who is responsible for interpreting and enforcing rules. There is probably some similar practice at DMU. At minimum, there are certain expectations about behavior and ethics that in the vows that the retreatants have taken, which are different than the public behavioral rules for DMU.

                    Jehne you write as if, when an infraction occurs (say, one retreatant takes something from the temple and uses it personally), somehow people here on EJ would know about it, would know how the issue was resolved, etc. That seems unlikely.

                    GMR meets with the retreatants regularly, probably the retreat master does also. Maybe they've had discussions with retreatants about who-did-what. Typically, in Buddhist circles, there are methods of "atonement" (it's a really bad word but I an't think of another now–it doesn't capture the sense of what we're doing, but whatever…). The methods might include prostrations, making special offering rituals, etc.

                    The monastic community inside the retreat has a regular, every two-week, confessing practice to disclose what they done right/wrong with respect to their vows. I'm pretty sure that at DMU they actually do it old-school: instead of just saying the ritual, they disclose and discuss the actual transgressions they've done.

                    Understanding this kind of conflict–when one is told by two different teachers to behave in opposing ways–is part of the curriculum at DMU (and in some of the ACI courses). GMR has taught for years that, as one advances in one's practice, one will encounter situations where one receives contradictory advice from teachers. Or one will have to choose between opposing courses of action. So, at minimum, students have had some exposure to methods to work through these situations.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:21am

                    mi mthum dpe if you knew what the "Old School'"monks have been saying and doing about DM from their monasteries in Tibet and India you would be stepping back from the Yoga fusion cult…fast. Some of the retreaters have looked at Roach as a bomb about to go off for a long time but "in for a penny in for a pound as the saying goes." so they just cross their fingers and do their practice….same with the view of the angel angel going in …..look know how that worked out.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:23am

                    sorry typing from phone……same with the view of the angel(Lama Christie) going in….look how that worked out

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:58am

                    mi mthun dpe,

                    Thanks for explaining all that to me. I appreciate it.

                    anonymous Oct 13, 2012 9:49pm

                    Christie McNally is not a Lama.

                    anonymous Oct 13, 2012 11:10pm

                    You are SUCH a tool.

                anonymous Oct 13, 2012 11:26pm

                The board( please don't believe the bs that they didn't or couldn't know where the cave was in say 5 minutes) and the retreaters that knew on that morning something was up and didn't sprint up that hill from the ranch house will have to live with that in this life and the next. All the retreaters and Dm backers will carry Ians fate with them.Also the real possibility of additional deaths is cause to end this experament.

                  anonymous Oct 14, 2012 6:35am

                  Perhaps some were silent participants in what they thought was an orchestrated publicity stunt designed to draw attention the great unfairness that was coming down. A publicity stunt that went terribly wrong.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 8:01am

                    (You actually 'like' your own posts, huh?) There is nothing short of scandal that such a "PR stunt" could precipitate. Perhaps you might flesh-out your conspiracy theory in full? I mean, what sort of "publicity" has the "stunt" generated that doesn't reflect badly onto the organization, and cause distress within the ranks of the retreatants, their friends, and the family members minds? Ekan, you can suggest any number of "perhaps" but without reasons (your "perhaps" scenario makes no sense, btw) you are simply fumbling in the dark…"An orchestrated publicity stunt" is barely short of raving; but it is a specious accusation. Next time you give flight to the speculative, please try to tease a little reasoning out of your fabulous imagination first. It might keep you from going off half-cocked.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 9:01am

                    I have heard a version of the organized resistance movement theory by nearly half of the retreatants too. Some were trying to protect their Lama and keep her running the retreat.The choice was a tough one as Roach wanted her gone…she was selling to many books and every time he saw that yoga for two book cover he just went crazy ….green monster

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 9:53am

                    Corvid- Are you in the retreat? You imply that you have (or have had) "heard" from "nearly half of the retreatants." I must call into question this narrative, if only because my inside source has revealed that most of the retreatants were quite fed-up with her capricious and domineering leadership style, and were already suspicious that she was a taco-shy of a combination-plate for months prior. (Ian succumbed due to this wife's/lama's poor judgement.) If she had active assistance from the 'inside,' I suspect it was from a smaller coterie; rather than a "half of" a retreat involved in an orchestration of an "organized resistance." This handful of 'collaborators' were probably more concerned by Ian's appearance, which led them to decide to see to it that he did not starve to death any sooner than he did.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:17am

                    So, Christie is responsible for Ian's health problems and deterioration? If she asked him to eat more, he wouldn't have starved? In the same way that a mother is responsible if her kids are malnourished? Creepy. That sounds like a real healthy marriage to me. Yikes. Come to Mama your lama.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:07am

                    And this bit of editorializing is supposed to enlighten, Jehne? (We know how you feel already…)

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 12:04pm

                    How do I feel? I can't tell how you feel because for all I know you have five separate personas here. I guess you put on your invisible cloak when it suits you.

                    You call my post editorializing. I call yours parroting.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 12:55pm

                    I was only being kind by doing so.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:29am

                    I must agree with anon's question, Corvid how did you talk to half the retreatants?

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:31am

                    Kevin ,I have a friend in Tucson as close to the inside as you can be that told me if there was a vote of who should lead DM "none of the above" would have won from the retreat precinct…her words….. The only way Roach is still in control is he dangles the "big money from Asia" carrot in front of some good but confused people.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:29am

                    anon ,this came from two friends of people in the retreat and a guy that ocassionally makes a delivery up there now and then.15 was the number I heard so not quite half but when you add in the trail builders who had to know and most likely shared the info with the board member that knew you wonder how anyone got around to meditating in peace.
                    The cave rescue as part of a PR effort to regain control by Christie that then went wrong is possible

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 4:24pm

                    The cave rescue as PR seems rather far-fetched The more likely scenario is the simpler one: they made a mistake. Ian and Lama Christie both got ill; they made bad misjudgments about what they needed to survive, and Christie called for help too late. As I recall, this is what Scott (the writer) more or less concluded when he was posting here a while back.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 5:42pm

                    There is the possibility that "GMR can't tell us what to do" played into their decision. I feel it is found all over her "A Shift in the Matrix".

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:47am

                    Anon = Roach Worshipper

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 12:01pm

                    This place has become a self-referential and negative feedback-loop of suspicious minds, stilted imaginations and gainsayers continually spouting theories without having set foot onto the ground. The post just above couldn't highlight this any more clearly.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 12:04pm

                    The fact that specious reasonings aren't vetted any better than they are, and any questioning of antagonisms are seen as 'Roach-approval' proves what a pity-party Jehne and Ekan have turned this forum into.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 1:06pm

                    Ya, we had the power to turn this into a pity party. That is hilarious. I had no such ambition or ability to do anything of the sort. Maybe you are late to the party, because you are clearly wrong on how things unfolded here.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 1:19pm

                    "late to the party"? Moi? (Still trying to find a bearing? I know how confused you must feel. I really do.)

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 12:48pm

                    I don't see anon in that way…She has given information from people loyal to Roach from inside the retreat.This didn't happen by accident.
                    if Roach is removed i think many of his backers on the forum (past and present) really deep down would be relieved

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 1:07pm

                    So you know that anon is a she? And even know her real identity? Interesting.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 1:19pm

                    define "loyal."

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 5:26pm

                    Loyal …half are following the best of the bad choices left that allows them to continue the retreat..The hardcore like David knew maybe half these people were not ready for this but hey it's Ayn Rand meets the Buddha up there so better luck in the next life…

            anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:12am

            It doesn't "beg the question" it "raises the question". Common mistake.

            I can't speak for everyone but I would like this forum to be a resource for people thinking of or currently studying with GMR or other DM teachers to learn that many of GMR's claims aren't true and much of what he teaches isn't TB and that many no longer consider him a part of the lineage of HHDL.

              anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:23am

              Perhaps create a website/forum for that purpose. I'm sure you can find a host for free or cheap. I think it would be inappropriate to limit the discussion to the topics you mentioned, as that was not the purpose of this article. It was an open letter–left open to any and all related topics and issues that would evolve from it.

                anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:44am

                I wasn't trying to limit the discussion. If you look at another thread, I believe we are engaged in a discussion that to some is far afield of what I just stated. I was responding to this:

                "Ian was free to follow his heart even if it cost him his life, so, that begs the question: 'What is the point of this forum, then?'"

                  anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:54am

                  I agree with discussing this: "Ian was free to follow his heart even if it cost him his life." But you suggested this: "I can't speak for everyone but I would like this forum to be a resource for people thinking of or currently studying with GMR or other DM teachers to learn that many of GMR's claims aren't true and much of what he teaches isn't TB and that many no longer consider him a part of the lineage of HHDL." that is what I was responding to.

                  I did see the threads that pertain to those topics. Why not just continue in that direction? Let it happen organically… as it has been the last months. I was just concerned that if you limited the discussions to only the technical stuff… differences in practices and beliefs between DM, Roach, and TB, that the rest of the stuff would get buried. That isn't your motive, is it?

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:03am

                    Someone asked the question 'What is the point of this forum, then?'" on this thread and I answered him on this thread.

                    I don't know what "the rest of this stuff means" or why you think I would want it buried.

                    Numerous times someone (typically someone sympathetic to DM) would ask why this forum needs to exists. I've answered this question a few times now. It doesn't mean I want to limit discussion of anything on this forum nor do I want anything buried.

                    It seems you're operating on assumptions about me and I don't know where you got them or even exactly what they are.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:50am

                    Jehne – Anon is trying to confuse you by arguing the minutia and parsing the argument to the reduction to the ridiculous. The main point is that Roach and McNally have been exposed as frauds (Roach claiming he realized Emptiness and that Christie McNally is Vajrayogini and a Lama) both of these super beings could not foresee and prevent Ian’s death. Go back and read the posts and read the laundry list of lies Roach has pulled on even his own Lama’s.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 12:22pm

                    No I am not trying to 'confuse.' Nvrthlss your point that GMC are exposed as frauds is true. I'm adding details and alternative narratives to the purely speculative natures of those who have nothing but 2nd and 3rd hand sources for their conjectures. My posts here are to nip fatuousness in the bud and to clarify otherwise specious and fabulous trippings. Peace to all.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 12:51pm

                    anon you most likely are hearing from one side in the split.Good to have you on!

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 1:22pm

                    Which side is that?

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 6:15pm

                    Jehne, the retreat was Christi's baby and all the efforts to bring her back under Roach control have failed.She is putting together a speaking tour that will bring her views and the path that formed them to students that are now at least looking at Roach. She might play hardball…

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 6:24pm

                    Thanks Corvid.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 7:11pm

                    Is Christie is reaching out?

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 2:08am

                    Well, that was an entertaining read.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 8:38am

                    wow wow and i think DM is scary…speaking of which my planned Halloween display will have a Roach theme

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 8:58am

                    Wasn't that one of the strangest things you have read in a while? Do you think that person is being serious or poking fan at the whole CM drama?

                    Please take pictures of the Halloween display. I'd love to see it.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 8:46am

                    That sounds crazier than "A Shift in the Matrix." Is is a joke?

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 9:27am

                    That, I believe, is full blown schizophrenia. Also you'll notice the person's screen name is falan dafa, another name for falan gong.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 9:52am

                    Sounds right. Sad.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 10:14am

                    This is biting satire/a send-up/a killing joke.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 11:43am

                    It was very poorly written, not clever at all. Satire? Yes. Biting? Hardly nibbling.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 12:29pm

                    You clearly aren't familiar with the principal figures in this unfolding story, is all. If you think the writing is bad, why, go and listen to Christie on youtube. It's part of a piece, is all.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 12:55pm

                    It's badly written regardless of the characters or subject matter.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 1:10pm

                    My guess is this is written by someone whose first language is not English. The reference to fulong gong makes me guess Chinese. I think this person believes they have written an account of their experience and I doubt they are capable of writing a satire.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 2:09pm

                    That's my guess as well. I'm not ruling out the schizophrenic part either.

                    I think anon wants us to think it is Christie or someone from her camp that wrote it.

                    Let's remind everyone how unhinged CM is.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 2:14pm

                    I agree mental illness may play a part.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 1:11pm

                    Well then do it. You have been on the defense in every post. Instead of simply refuting our speculations, be proactive. Tell us the facts. Give us the inside information you claim to be privy to. Quit whining and get on with it.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 1:21pm

                    You are a bully.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 2:27pm

                    I prefer to consider myself to be a non-doormat. If feeling cornered leads you to the assumption that I am a bully, so be it.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 9:27am

                    Less "cornered," more 'steam-rolled.'

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 11:38am

                    You feel like a victim? Take a look at how you attempt to intimidate others with language. Is this not verbal bullying? Be honest, now. Your careful constructs are weapons of debate, no? And calling someone a tool, telling Ekan she rates her own posts, and claiming I have been disparaged here are not forms of bullying? You are clueless, my dear.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 12:08pm

                    Not at all, Jehne. You have a nice day.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 1:26pm

                    I have read the posts. And I am aware that MR and CM have been mostly discredited. It does seem like anon has entered the forum late in the game in hopes to "…confuse [us] by arguing the minutia and parsing the argument to the reduction to the ridiculous."

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 9:28am

                    Examples, Jehne?

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 11:52am

                    Well, you came out of nowhere… late in the game. Unless you have been lurking or posting under another moniker as well. You came off like gangbusters after corvid and best stay low posted information regarding Ian and Christie being boarded by several–up to 15–of the remaining retreatants during their exile from DM. You acted defensively–refuting their claims using intimidating psychological and Buddhist jargon to detract from the discussion, knowing corvid and many others would become lost in the fog you erected. While at the same time never providing any concrete evidence to refute their claims nor offering any information of you own. Your little dance was pretty obvious to all those that witnessed it.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 12:22pm

                    You "came out of nowhere." I've never not been here. "Concrete evidence" of what? The facts speak for themselves…I didn't refute any claims-I was asking how Corvid came upon his theory, and then added my two-cents worth. Big diff. (And Ekan did 'like' her own post.) I am friends with both Corvid and BSL…they aren't off-put (you are,) by my posts-so, who is being 'defensive' again? Surely these posters can can speak to me for themselves here, whenever they feel this is appropriate, 'Mom.'

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 12:57pm

                    no problem here…from being up in the cave area it seemed to me they hadn't spent much time there…made me think (well it was a DMers idea) that it was suicide pact then Christie chickened out…. but the idea of a attention getting rescue with Ian ending up not making it sort of fits too.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 1:02pm

                    Well, you have always been here. That was the other side of the coin that I offered, wasn't it?

                    Ya you are an insider at DM. You have real world contact with Jerry and BSL. Great. Now we are getting somewhere. So why the anon moniker again?

                    Oh, and do you 'like' your posts? I don't. PS-You are quite skilled at the ad hominem attacks. "Mom" Too funny.

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 4:57pm

                    I'm happy to provide you with some humor, from time to time. (You are still clueless, or no?) Just click the 'rating' tab at the top of this forum…

                    anonymous Oct 15, 2012 5:22pm

                    Who cares about the ratings? It's meaningless. It's subjective and arbitrary. The same person can rate the posts multiple times if so inclined.

                    Humor is badly needed. Here and everywhere. But maybe not at my expense, haha.

              anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:38am

              I second that.

              anonymous Oct 14, 2012 1:01pm

              Ben, by process of elimination, just acquire for yourself the Lam rim chemmo, by Je Tsongkhapa. Everything Michael Roach teaches that isn't directly teased from this text can be summarily shit-canned. (Insofar as corroborating what TB 'really is'-from a more general Gelukba perspective, you understand.)

          anonymous Oct 14, 2012 11:49am

          Aren't you the (disparaged) subject of one of the most popular posts on this thread, Jehne? You may not be aware of just how exasperating your talking from both sides of your mouth can be. You want "responsibility" taken by someone for Ian's death and in the same breath you trumpet the Bill of Rights, the first of which includes that 'Congress shall make no laws abridging the free exercise of religion.' (Are you a ninny, a concern-troll, a gadfly, or merely being obtuse?)

            anonymous Oct 14, 2012 1:21pm

            I have no clue what you are talking about. Disparaged subject of one of the most popular posts on this thread? Do you mean my misuse of the term a priori? That is the only embarrassing gaffe I can think of. Haha.

            Responsibility for Ian's death? Are you sure you know what I have been trumpeting? I always claimed that Ian was mostly responsible for his own death. This is consistent with me believing in personal responsibility… free speech etc. etc. I think you are confused.

              anonymous Oct 15, 2012 1:56am

              '"Jehne you have managed to do what not even Aguse could do…" (20 thumbs-up! You are the winner!) The most tagged post in the forum.

                anonymous Oct 15, 2012 2:12pm

                Was that your handiwork? Wimp. Do you think my skin is so thin that the opinion of a few anon posters makes me lose my voice? Disparaged? Wow it must not take much to insult you.

                  anonymous Oct 16, 2012 4:34am

                  It was not. Just was noticing that you are your own biggest pr flak.

                    anonymous Oct 16, 2012 4:38am

                    Yours is the "voice" of both selective memory and exasperation. And you have wimpy musical taste.

                    anonymous Oct 16, 2012 8:16am

                    Ladies, let's be nice here. anon, are you a PRACTICING buddhist? Have you received teachings on how to treat others? Nobody wants to read these insults.

                    anonymous Oct 16, 2012 9:19am

                    I'll try to behave. She is a Buddhist? Really? Not good role modelling at all. Must not be a Lama.

                    anonymous Oct 16, 2012 9:13am

                    I see you have been reading my blog. You think The Smiths are wimpy? R.E.M. not alpha enough? Are you a Metallica fan? Kid Rock? What are some examples of non-wimpy musical tastes?

                    anonymous Oct 16, 2012 9:19am

                    Off topic.

                    anonymous Oct 16, 2012 9:38am

                    Was just responding to her comment about my music tastes. Sorry.

anonymous Oct 9, 2012 10:45pm

As somebody who admires your intent, I'm asking you to take a step back. I'm asking as a person of genuine concern for you and your happiness. Whether or not a person agrees or disagrees with your point, I don't think any rational person would argue; you have done a service by forcing people to look at, and re-evaluate in many cases, their view of Michael Roach and Diamond Mountain and American Buddhism in general.

But for how much longer will your obsession with Michael Roach continue? How much more of your life are you willing to invest int this man?

You mention throughout your writings about your "lost time" spent as a student, but Matthew, can't you see? It hasn't stopped. You haven't stopped.

Michael Roach, no matter how it's painted, good, bad or indifferent, still owns you. You may not be his student anymore, but at what point can you really, truly walk away from him and find the peace you deserve. Because I would suggest that until you can put this down, walk away and move on with your life, you're in the power of somebody else.

Please Matthew, there is so much good in you. Answer these questions, if only to yourself.

How long have you been on this pilgrimage? How many months did you spend preparing and interviewing and questioning people before you wrote the first word? And how long did the writing take? How about the attempts to interview people who wouldn't talk to you?

And now… how much of each day is spent talking about it? How much time spent reading posts like this or responding or defending yourself or whatever. How much time each day do you spend invested in this. Invested in Michael Roach?

How much of your time dedicated to follow ups, and email and social networks – all to do in one shape or another with… Michael Roach. My friend, where is the balance?

Matthew, a person in support of your cause would say that you have done a Yeoman's job indeed of shedding a light in the dark. You got people talking. You invoked change you don't even know about. When does the cost to benefit ratio kick in? As you yourself have said, you have done the leg work and now the main stream media can do it's job.

Don't you deserve a break? Aren't you at least a little tired? Isn't your soul just a little weary of the entire Michael Roach thing? Have you not yet tired of him playing such a dominate role in your life? Wouldn't it be nice to wake up one morning and not have to think about him, or hear his name or write about him? Will you ever be able to live without him?

I'm not arguing in favor or against Michael Roach, or Christie McNally or Brian Smith or Winston McCulloch… I'm arguing for Matthew Remski. Where did he go? When does HE find peace. After what appears now to be more than two decades of your life, when does the Michael Roach chapter of Matthew Remski's life end?

Your writings, in their volume, length and masterful vocabulary scream like the projectile vomiting of a bulimic trying desperately to purge themselves of some pain or abuse.

I get it. We get it. But is it stopping the pain? Is it truly bringing you joy? Matthew, how can we help you find happiness?

As a person who cares for you I would encourage you to start looking for a finish line. Without something to determine when you've accomplished your goals, it scares me to think you might spend the rest of your life on this – and needlessly I might ad.

I ask these following questions with sincerity and with no measure of sarcasm. I point that out because I'm not talking to you face to face and don't want you to misinterpret my meaning or intention.

What will it take, in the end, for Matthew Remski to find his peace? Is there a goal in mind? Would Michael Roach disrobing do it? Would his official Buddhist excommunication do it? If Brian Smith were to disrobe… if one or both of them were to greet you personally and apologize, would that do it? Because Matthew, if you can't define and end goal, if you can't put into words what it will take to bring some finality to this, then it has to be asked… what was the point?

Matthew we both know – death is certain, and the time of death is uncertain. Do you really want your last thoughts, your last words, your last actions to somehow be connected to Michael Roach? What a sad paradox that would be.

Please let me know what I can do to help ease your pain.

Much love my friend. For what you've done and for the hope that one day soon you will really, once and for all, take your life back for yourself.

Om bolo sat guru bhagavan ki!

    anonymous Oct 10, 2012 5:27am


      anonymous Oct 10, 2012 8:46am

      I was thinking what the Diamond Mountain Theme song should be and a friend suggested this Tom Waits piece (What's He Building in there" The guy noted the retreatants are all over the place in the focus of the now diluted retreat.(The ranger saw some talking on the road last week) White Tara…Catholic Mystic meets the Roach metaphysical stew…trail building….North Korean style salute to the Great Leader in the form of a Geshe Roachscrap book????? Just what is he building in there?

      anonymous Oct 10, 2012 5:32pm


    anonymous Oct 10, 2012 8:29am

    "I'm not arguing in favor or against Michael Roach, or Christie McNally or Brian Smith or Winston McCulloch"
    A Roach in Sheep clothing? Mathew doesn't comment my friend.I don't think you have to worry to much about his mental state unlike the gang in the quote above.Winston could have stopped this whole mess but showed himself by just running away…sad

    anonymous Oct 10, 2012 12:41pm

    Tony Bittick-Some jobs are dirty and some jobs are joyful. Matthew seems (to me, anyway) to have taken a "step back"-after disgorging himself of a tremendous burden no man could be expected to stomach alone. Yet alone he was when he commenced this thread, and I salute his courage in placing his name at the head of the mast. What Matthew has intended (Matthew, correct me if I'm mistaken,) is to try and begin some healing of psyches by providing a forum where individuals can come together; to share their experiences, qualms, and opinions-within an assembly of our peers-that has enabled some participants herein to begin to regather their own self-respect back, while simultaneously issuing-out some warnings to 'the uninitiated.' Matthew Remski tables an opportunity for many and all to shed themselves of the cognitive dissonance Michael Roach's/Christie McNally's pedagogy/lineage breeds within the otherwise able and serious-minded among us. There's little harm in airing the facts to matters-albeit to people's egos-as those egos emotional, educational, and fiduciary allegiances are returned over to the refiner's alembic (living hells) for the benefit of their own 'cognitive realignments.' And for all that you or I know, Matthew may have crossed his "finish line" already. I hope he has, for it was a terrible gauntlet he dared to broach in the first place. May the Buddha-dharma flourish to the furthest reaches of space-time, and without impediment.

      anonymous Oct 10, 2012 1:12pm

      Don't be a paranoiac. (I'm not 'that Michael'! ) Besides, guile makes me more nauseous than watching 10 minutes of the Kardashians does.

        anonymous Oct 10, 2012 5:21pm

        Michael, I was replying to Mr. Bittick, not you.

          anonymous Oct 10, 2012 6:18pm

          ming med clue, I am replying to Michael, not you. Who built the one who once said 'Klaatu barada niktu'? When consulting the oracle, may one substitute red twizzlers for yarrow stalks?

          'Every time that Wheel turns 'round…'

            anonymous Oct 11, 2012 7:14am

            Not sure. My Rihannsu is a little rusty.

              anonymous Oct 11, 2012 10:22am

              Ah, well. A linguistic boondoggle. And I suppose only one person knows the answer to that second question, doesn't she?

              "Small Wheel turns by the fire and rod…."

                anonymous Oct 18, 2012 1:48pm

                Big wheel turns by the grace of god – it's my favorite song and I couldn't resist the comment.
                BTW you guys rock!

    anonymous Oct 10, 2012 5:52pm

    Remski seems to have moved on… from what I can tell. He hasn't even been posting here. What makes you think he has been reading the comments? I'm not under the impression that he is trapped in some kind of Roach quicksand.

    Your essay seems a bit insincere and presumptuous.

    anonymous Oct 10, 2012 6:02pm

    Tony Bittick we both know – death is certain, and the time of death is uncertain. Do you really want your last thoughts, your last words, your last actions to somehow be connected to Roach and McNally who have even been denounced by the office of the Dalai Lama. Please go to… What a sad paradox that would be. Please let us know what I can do to help ease your pain.

anonymous Oct 9, 2012 1:53pm

mi mthun dpe: I don't see how we can discuss whether GMR's teachings accord with Tibetan Buddhism without going into some detail about what we each think Tibetan Buddhism actually teaches

Ben: Ok. Perhaps we should focus on whether GMR is being deceptive when he tells people you can change the color of your partner's eyes by using his methods.

    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 4:21pm

    "….into some detail…..what….Tibetan Buddhism actually teaches" GMR's take, ACI 4, an excellent summary, is being excellently taught right now, nb., at DMU, and televised, too. Sorry, I don't have the site.

      anonymous Oct 9, 2012 7:33pm

      here: it is at &lt ;>

        anonymous Oct 9, 2012 7:35pm

        oops, &lt ;>

        anonymous Oct 9, 2012 9:14pm

        "The current three-year retreat will end in April of 2014, at which time DM will begin a transition to operation as a center for group and individual retreats available to anyone. We hope to begin new programs like getaway weekends for single moms, where we take care of Your child while You have a relaxing sort of 'spa' experience."

        Ya right, chasing rattlesnakes out of a yurt. Sounds real relaxing. Oh and no air conditioning in 110 degree heat. And what are those pesky gnats that leave giant welts on your back called? Oh, hungry. Haha. They probably will put the kids to work building more yurts.

          anonymous Oct 11, 2012 8:32pm

          nah, the new crop of short term retreaters to whom the facilities will be made available will stay in the 30+ cabins that have been built. Bugs are bugs. Cutter's repellant works fine. A couple months back I came upon a fat 6 foot rattlesnake under some brush. It coiled up and rattled at me. I sat down about 5 feet from it and began chanting a Padmavati (snake goddess) mantra. No problem. City folk: please enjoy all of your conveniences. Meanwhile the 'harsh conditions' at DMU are overrated, no different from any of the thousands of clusters of trailers or scattered cabins throughout the desert on dirt roads, from the Mojave to Utah. Some of us prefer it that way.

            anonymous Oct 11, 2012 8:53pm

            Best,you seem to be cool with Roach claiming he and Christie were on separate paths for 4 or 5 years yet he ran for Sedona and left the Kali Priestess in charge. Turned out to be a great choice by Roach right? Now you are comfortable with him being in charge of more people. The present group of highly train ed retreaters (right) are not really even in a retreat any more….I think that is a good thing.
            Oh a rattlesnake bite can cost up to 200k. Cochise county gets stuck with the bill most likely with the crew up there.

              anonymous Oct 12, 2012 8:14am

              Sedona? I live in Sedona and never even heard of Roach until Ian's death was written about in The New York Times. What was he doing in Sedona? Do you mean Prescott?

                anonymous Oct 12, 2012 10:26am

                Well he moved into the area…Sedona is a confused state of mind more than a zipcode

                  anonymous Oct 12, 2012 10:35am

                  Sedona is insular. We'd know it if a Roach crawled into town, haha. That was wicked. Sorry.

                  But, it cannot be mistaken for any other city. I am certain you've been here, right? It looks and feels nothing like Prescott. I'm sure that is the city you are referring to. That is where he has conducted several retreats.

            anonymous Oct 12, 2012 8:22am

            "A couple months back I came upon a fat 6 foot rattlesnake under some brush. It coiled up and rattled at me. I sat down about 5 feet from it and began chanting a Padmavati (snake goddess) mantra. No problem."

            Will this be taught to all retreatants before they come? Will DM take responsibility if it doesn't work and they get bit? Will they pay for the medical bills? How will they compensate if a life is lost?

            Do those cabins have air conditioning?

            Tell me about the 'spa' experience. What will this include? Or are single moms so desperate to get away from raising their kids that any retreat will do? Even one with life-draining heat and rattlesnakes? Do you think some well-to-do mom will think the set-up is worthy of being called spa-like?

              anonymous Oct 12, 2012 10:41am

              I think a retreat center under a new leader would be a good use of the property.Roach is damaged goods.Sometimes it takes you a while to throw bad cheese away if you paid to much for it to begin with.
              If you go to this event and ask the right person the right question you might find DM is or was quietly being shopped.That or someone was pretending to want to sell to get inside info on possible Grape growing potential for the property without paying a expert for his time.

                anonymous Oct 12, 2012 10:54am

                Interesting bit of info there Jerry. You are the sleuth!

                Love this: "Sometimes it takes you a while to throw bad cheese away if you paid too much for it to begin with." Haha. And true. Concorde/sunk cost fallacy.

              anonymous Oct 12, 2012 10:49am

              oh, both Jerry n Jehne…, hey, I'm not comfortable with it.Kook at all these posts of mine. When you land at DMU you sign a full disclaimer and I'm totally sympathetic.If it were my spread, I would, too. Every new person gets 'Naga 1-the Rattlesnake' And, if you like, I can teach the snake mantra for back-up. Jerry, we know how 'highly trained' may be interpreted, but, hey, David is amongst them, and if it comes to his ears, there is one. May I declare him to be reliable, knowledgeable, efficient and trustworthy. The spa is at this stage but a projection. It will have to be an indoor operation, I conjecture, on account of water evaporates fast. I've heard Sedona, Cottonwood and Camp Verde. Quite a range!

                anonymous Oct 12, 2012 10:56am

                Oh, so they are thinking about building/creating a spa retreat elsewhere–outside of DM?

                  anonymous Oct 12, 2012 11:27am

                  on the land, Jehne, 1100 acres, plenty of spots for a nice spa facility, an artificial waterfall might be nice, tiled in, too. Jer, Im not at all sure of the time-line. Did GMR and Christie have buddhalogical differences before they split up? arguments about dependent origination? When Christie was placed in charge of the retreat we wondered whatever and kept on building, no big changes. Varous minor grumbling. Her Kali-aspect stayed low and let it all proceed. Jehne, no, she and Ian were not in some prior state of malnourishment, quite the opposite. They got what they ordered, everybody up there eating well, eating exactly what they want. Having done a couple months, elsewhere, I'm all about it; crunchy potato chips, lots of 'em. Some order a bale of kale.

                    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 11:45am

                    Just…Roach has been trying to blame the dead guy from the beginning and now the crazy ex has been added to the "why things went wrong" list unlucky for him many commenters were "there" and he will have a hard time pulling it off…..Razors edge indeed….

                    Christie it is now time to step up.

                    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 1:29pm


                    Christie, it is way past time to step up. Get on it!

                    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 11:52am

                    Ian just looked real gaunt in some of the pics I have see. If he was vegan, he could have been anemic, protein deficient, or had a B12 deficiency. I wasn't implying that DM limited his food supply. I think it was self-induced, if anything.

                    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 12:16pm

                    Ian WAS gaunt. Then again, Roach was pretty sucked-up at the end of their cohabitation. Maybe Christie likes the 'etiolated look' so fashionable in fashion magazines.

                    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 12:52pm

                    One of the funniest things I have read in a while.

                    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 1:57pm

                    It wasn't intended to be. Ian was skin and bones in late February. He appeared very happy under her thumb.

                    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 2:18pm

                    "…happy under her thumb. "

                    Sort of like how the Russians were happy under Stalin?

                    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 2:22pm

                    Ian smiled more than the average Soviet.

                    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 3:29pm

                    I should clarify my comment. I do not think it was funny that Ian was gaunt or in poor health. Not funny. What made me laugh was this: "Roach was pretty sucked-up at the end of their cohabitation." The term "sucked-up" was a humorous way of describing sunken cheeks.

                    anonymous Oct 12, 2012 4:22pm

                    my error, jehne. Spa at DMU. The three cities have all been named as the 'secret location' of the new residence of GMR. Add Prescott, I suppose…somewhere up off the Black Canyon Highway…

                    anonymous Oct 13, 2012 10:31pm

                    OK. Thanks for clarifying this.

              anonymous Oct 12, 2012 11:22am

              Roach will write this idea off as easily as he wrote-off Christie as "The Angel of Diamond." No worries!

    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 7:21pm

    I just saw the movie "The Master" today. As part of the students program, the woman says to the acolyte, "What color are my eyes?" Then she says, "imagine them as blue." They turn blue. Later she says, "Imagine them as black" and they turn black. I could not help thinking about this forum. Another cult. Another day.

anonymous Oct 9, 2012 1:52pm

This discussion is too important to be buried. Ben, mi mthun dpe, please keep talking, we're following you:

Ben: What about promoting the idea that if you don't like the color of your partner's eyes you can change their color by planting karmic seeds to do so?

anon: someone who seeks to change another person's eye-color is either mad-or some stupendous variety of asshole-but probably just mad.

Ben: So is the person promoting such an idea also either mad or an asshole?

anon: what do you think, Ben?

Ben: First, I think EJ auto deletes comments with profanity, so I am going change a word you used.

If you're asking me what I think your answer to my question is, I am afraid I don't have enough history of your comments to make an informed decision. Your answer to my question makes me believe that your would be yes, but there have been some on here who, IMO, go to great pains not to criticize GMR or what he does. I am currently reading "Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts" by Carol Travis and Elliot Aronson. So far, it's a really good book. One thing it says, which is something I've said, is that when people invest a lot to be part of a group, they will ignore evidence that the group is misguided or harmful. I think that is very evident with people at DM. There are times when questions like mine are completely ignored by some posting on here. I think it is because the answer is obvious and uncomfortable.

If you're asking me if I think GMR is mad or a jerk, I can't say. I think his karmic management doesn't work but whether he really believes it or uses it as a hook to get people into his group, I can't say. In the first cases, I would say he is deluded. In the second case, I suppose you could say he was a jerk but if he believes getting people in his group will help him in the long run, maybe calling him a jerk isn't appropriate.

One thing I believe about him, he does have a lot of knowledge about TB, but apart from that, he isn't anything special. You can learn things from him but he is just like a lot of other "wise men" and "gurus" you will find, complete with their own selfish motivations and delusions.

mi mthun dpe: I think it's better if your question is rephrased so it addresses the principle (or the core issue). Otherwise it's too easy to be dismissive of the respondent's answer–and then it might end up being a conversation that favors rhetorical style. Second, the question might be somewhat badly phrased, in that it implicitly assumes a kind of causation that doesn't really exist. Readers might interpret the question–and therefore the answer–with respect to the word "change" ("change s.o's eye color") as equivalent to "bring into being a different eye color", which is how, in English, we usually interpret a work like "change": some force has acted upon an object and "changed" it into some other kind of object or has "changed" an attribute of the object. But I don't think that's what GMR means or what Prof Berzin means when they talk about karma and karmic results. It's more like karmic seeds ripen and bring something into your experience.

So I think the question we're interested in goes something like this: Is there any experience that one can have that is NOT karmically produced?

The answer each of us might give could vary depending on the school of Buddhism to which we adhere (for the Nikaya Buddhists, for example, the answer is a very clear "Yes".) And it also has implications for what we think Enlightenment is, what we think the Pure Lands are, and so on. And it has a bearing on the ontological question: what does it mean for something to exist–in some TB dialectic schools, the meaning of "to exist" is "to be knowable/to be perceived". So then the question is about the extent to which karmic fruits determine one's capacity to know/to perceive.

Ben: No, that is exactly what I don't want to do. I don't want to muddle what GMR claims with the subtleties of emptiness and the different outlooks of the various schools. I think it is a dodge.

It doesn't matter what you think he means, what matters is what people without the TB background you possess will think he means. Those are the people to whom he is talking.

GMR says, "You don't like the color of you partners eyes? You go and plant the right karmic seeds, come back and they will be the color you wanted."

In fact he lists a lot of things you can change about your partner and he makes it sound relatively easy.

The subtleties of emptiness and karma are things I am greatly interested in learning about and discussing. But the "core issue" in my opinion, is whether what GMR teaches accords with TB. Whether he s being deceptive when he makes these claims about the malleability of experience. I think he is either being deceptive or is deluded.

    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 2:10pm

    "Ben, mi mthun dpe, please keep talking, we're following you."

    Oh look, it's a circle jerk.

      anonymous Oct 9, 2012 3:48pm

      Feeling a little envious icecream social? Try contributing to the discussion.

      By the way, what is an icecream social? Is that from the 30's?

      anonymous Oct 9, 2012 5:05pm

      I honestly don't know what you mean ICS. can you clarify?

        anonymous Oct 9, 2012 6:18pm

        It's a koan for the modern man.

          anonymous Oct 12, 2012 1:43pm

          …or a venue where particular trolls choose to congregate?

            anonymous Oct 12, 2012 3:39pm

            It's figurative/slang meaning is, three or more peeps sitting in a circle stroking each others' egos or whatever else needs stroking. In this case, I think he was referring to their egos?

anonymous Oct 8, 2012 9:40am The Roach cult I.T. Patrol is constantly fighting to turn the Turd on the hill into a magic castle.
Jim Dey is my guess …fighting the good fight to make the death of Ian and the bust up with Christie a non story.It is a new low for the Roach gang. Please fight back on the talk page.

anonymous Oct 8, 2012 9:01am

Roach newest promotional video in Taiwan…it's puzzling that he keeps teaching about how to make relationships work when obviously his never did work…

    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 9:35am

    "How can we make all of our relationships successful?" HaHaHa

    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 1:30pm

    He is really repulsive.

anonymous Oct 4, 2012 8:35am

Something I received that may be of interest regarding the former vajrayogini. It may be part of the force behind best stay low's comment from 4 weeks ago. "Last week in the Jamyang House Ven. Lobsang Chukyi said, and I quote, having heard her say it, "We only teach Geshe Michael's lineage here."

subject: a note from geshe michael roach

August 27, 2012

Dear Friends:

I have been contacted recently by a number of individuals and organizations who say that they have been approached by Lama Christie McNally with offers of special teachings and practices, and requests for funding these activities. I have been asked whether I endorse these, and whether they are connected with any of the organizations or projects with which I am involved.

As many of you are aware, Christie’s and my viewpoints and goals have developed in different directions over the past four or five years. I have not been asked to endorse any of her current activities, and I don’t feel that I can do so at this time.

At the same time, I do believe that each individual and group has complete freedom to pursue and support any spiritual path that they wish; in our tradition, this should be done after carefully examining whether it is beneficial to people and brings them happiness. And of course we all continue to pray for Lama Christie’s own success, healing, and peace of mind.

Please feel free to share this communication with anyone else whom you think may be concerned about this issue.

I would also like to take this chance to thank you all for your tireless and devoted work to share the wisdom of the Diamond Cutter, in programs attended by many thousands of people around the world in recent years. I hope that you will all set your minds to finding new ways of satisfying the demand for these programs, which continues to grow greater every week, and which I believe will take the good effort of all of our lives to fill.

With kind regards,

Geshe Michael Roach

    anonymous Oct 4, 2012 9:49pm

    And this is an email that I got today from [email protected] titled: Asian Classics Institute 20th birthday present. (I was at Diamond Mountain in 2006 for a while. I think they are digging into their historical databases looking for support. I will write back indicating my lack of support.)

    Dear friends and fellow students of DMU,

    Next year will be the 20th anniversary of ACI, and we want to make something special to thank Geshe Michael for everything he has done for us and for the vision he is trying to create for the world. So we are planning to put a book together with thank-you’s, memories, photos, poems, drawings, prayers, updates on our lives, etc. from students and friends. Of all the things he has done or taught, what is particularly meaningful to you? How has his work benefitted you and the world?

    Everyone will get up to a full page (8 ½” x 11” or so) to fill with whatever they like. Or you can send a video or song, and we’ll put it in a DVD for him. If you want to participate, either email us your text, photos, or a reproduction of your page, or if it’s something bigger, let us know and we can set you up with an online dropbox. We want to wind it up by the end of November to be ready by Christmas, so start planning!

    Thanks for your help and we hope to hear from you soon!

    With love from Jigme and Bonnie Baptist

    anonymous Oct 4, 2012 11:35pm

    I wonder what these "current activities" of McNally's are that Roach is talking about.

    anonymous Oct 5, 2012 11:15am

    So, this means she isn't a Lama? Or she is a Lama? Or she was never a Lama, but only called a Lama for publicity reasons? Or her Lama-ness is in the eye of the beholder? Or…
    (Does this strike anyone else as completely asinine?)

    anonymous Oct 5, 2012 3:27pm

    Translation: I have nothing to do with LC, but she can do whatever she wants and I wish her good luck. In the past 4 or 5 years that we went our ways I've become super popular and thousands of people went to see me, thanks. 🙂

    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 2:47pm

    Christie McNally will try to exploit her fake Lama title for all it’s worth! – Christie McNally is quickly finding out that without Roach’s “Drawing Power” her Dharma Talks are about as exciting as old soggy bread and I predict that when the time is right she will go running back to Roach. Christie McNally is just as slippery and snake oil as Roach and should be ashamed to call herself a Lama.

      anonymous Oct 8, 2012 5:14pm

      She"s in NYC…it's about to get interesting……

        anonymous Oct 8, 2012 5:41pm

        I want front row seats!

        anonymous Oct 9, 2012 12:58am

        It sounds like you have some inside information. Can you tell us more?

          anonymous Oct 10, 2012 11:20am

          yeah, she must be bristling after that letter from Roach. Ouch!

anonymous Oct 2, 2012 2:11pm

2o minute clip of an excellent upcoming documentary "When the Iron Bird Flies: Tibetan Buddhism in the West"

Please take the time to enjoy it.

    anonymous Oct 2, 2012 7:56pm

    What…? No Roach clip?

      anonymous Oct 3, 2012 1:00am

      Thought it would be nice to display a relatively positive peace about Western Buddhists who have benefited from their interaction with Tibetan masters. It does deal with some issued like patriarchy but is by and large a focus on the positives.

anonymous Sep 28, 2012 5:05pm

Scott Carney has an interesting piece in the current Oct issue of Details. It's titled 'Death on the path to Enlightenment: Inside the rise of India Syndrome.'

You can see why he became interesting in writing about Diamond Mountain. I believe Scott's article about Ian and Christie will be in December's Playboy.

    anonymous Sep 28, 2012 5:42pm

    I read the 'details'. He is real straight. There is much he does not understand. He is not the right one for the job. Remski has covered the terrain with a wide view and a sharp focus, the both. Carney has not the breadth of comprehension to suss out the intricacies of the issues involved. Too bad.

      anonymous Sep 29, 2012 4:08am

      I think it is good to have both "outsiders" and "insiders" writing about these issues. Keep in mind that while most of us posting here have some level of knowledge of Eastern traditions, the wider public don't. So they might appreciate to hear from someone coming from a Western background with the same questions and doubts they have.

      I think the more perspectives are covered, the better.

        anonymous Oct 2, 2012 4:41pm

        Much agreed Khedrup. I spoke with Scott and he had a good perspective, a lot of experience in India and Nepal as a tour guide. I think the Playboy article will be very interesting.

    anonymous Sep 29, 2012 8:43am

    Well done Scott!

      anonymous Sep 30, 2012 6:15pm

      And people have the nerve to tell people worried about the retreaters they should mind their own business and leave it to the professionals….jeez

      "On the eighth day of the retreat, she'd written in flowery, well-constructed cursive, "Contemplating my own death is the key." Then, a few paragraphs later, "I'm scared that I will have this realization and go crazy." One of the last things Emily wrote, in the same steady hand, was "I am a Bodhisattva"—an enlightened being. She believed she was well along the road to transcendence."

      Read More

        anonymous Oct 4, 2012 1:41pm

        Accidentally deleted.
        I remember reading that some of the Apache were taken in the late 1800's to places like Washington D.C. and they went mad. I could never understand it until I read this article. The difference between the quiet deserts of the american southwest and the east were too great for them.

    anonymous Oct 1, 2012 4:03pm

    "People are mixing and matching religious systems like Legos." Hackett says. "It's no surprise that people go insane." Khen Rinpoche spoke out time and time again against mixing religious systems. Years ago, Michael Roach decided to neglect his lama's warnings. People new to Roach's system must be made aware of his dismissive attitude towards this advice given by a former abbot of a prestigious Tibetan-Buddhist college. In any event, Mr. Roach is now reaping his harvest in ripenings found in these threads and media exposes. (The upside is that Mr. Roach 'knows where this is coming from.')
    All of these kinds of anecdotes are part of a profound 'cautionary-tale' for all sincere practitioners to take deeply into their own hearts and minds.

anonymous Sep 26, 2012 1:22am

Hey there folks, get your tickets for the new round of Diamond Cutter courses in the pearls of Southeast Asia- Kuala Lumpur and Singapore :
From the PR: "If you’ve tried many different methods and none of them really works, maybe it’s time to try a new way that ALWAYS works…"

Did you know that Michael Roach still claims to have founded Andin Int'l with a 50,000 dollar loan and 3 staff?
Started Andin Diamond Business, from a US$50,000 loan &
3 staff to US$200 million sales & 10,000 employees worldwide, and sold to Warren Buffet in 2009.

Is it just me or did it used to be over 250 million?

The poor folks in Singapore and Malaysia are being mislead with this blatantly false advertising (proven so by Zirconia's research into Andin and Roach)

Apparently us skeptics are behind the times, because look at who's using these principles:

Some of the executives and divisions of corporations and organizations worldwide using Diamond Cutter Principles…
Xerox Corporation
Goldman Sachs, Hong Kong
Kaplan Thaler Advertising
The Young Presidents Organization (SG & Manila)
DuPont Corporation
Herbal Life Corporation (Taipei & Hong Kong)
ABC Television
The Shanghai Stock Exchange
Nautica Jeans Co.
Canadian Bank of Imperial Commerce
Bumble & Bumble Division of Estee Lauder
Microsoft Corporation
Anica Beauty Chain
Audible Books Division of Amazon Books

    anonymous Sep 26, 2012 4:12am

    herbal Life? God help me if the Roachistas start sellin vitamins and especially weight loss products door to door I might just snap.

    anonymous Sep 27, 2012 1:39am

    $250 million is what his Diamond Cutter webpage says:
    You are so right Khedrup,
    "Michael Roach is one of the founders of Andin International Diamond Corporation, which grew from a small startup to annual sales of $250 million."

    anonymous Sep 27, 2012 2:49pm

    His PR in Taiwan says exactly the same BS…

      anonymous Sep 27, 2012 3:28pm

      hey, was he hourly or salaried?

anonymous Sep 25, 2012 11:00am

Looks like Marut is going his own way

    anonymous Sep 27, 2012 2:52am

    Below is the current ACI lineup on the ACI Phoenix website.

    ACI Center – Cape Ann, Massachussetts – Lama Marut
    ACI Center – Reno, Nevada – Lama Marut
    ACI Center – Los Angeles – Lama Marut

    ACI Center – Davis, California
    ACI Center – Lake Tahoe
    ACI Center – San Diego, California

    ACI Center – New York City – Michael Roach
    ACI Center – Phoenix – Michael Roach

    With Cape Ann, Reno and L.A announcing, "we are ultimately a Lama Marut center, not an ACI center," the dynamics have shifted a lot. Davis, Lake Tahoe, and San Diego are very small groups with basically one person teaching and operating out of their homes. Also, some those three centers have strong ties to Marut. It will be interesting to see what happens. It looks like to me Roach will end up with not much more than New York and Phoenix.

    The ACI New York website only has a post office box as an address. All classes, meditations and yoga are conducted at Three Jewels on 4th Avenue in New York. So, I guess one way to make your organization look bigger is to give it two names and list them both on your website. Legally they might be two things but they appear to be the same thing and are run by the same people.

      anonymous Sep 27, 2012 7:21am

      Actually, I think ACI San Diego is basically Jim Dey. I don't think he would consider himself a Lama Marut student although he may have taken classes from him. I haven't spoken to him in a while though so maybe things have changed.

        anonymous Sep 27, 2012 1:54pm

        Jim Dey is, to some extent, in Christie's camp. He is (in my humble opinion) one of the good guys. A clear and cheerful mind.

      anonymous Sep 27, 2012 4:07pm

      I grew up in Massachusetts and I am not familiar with CAPE ANN is this Cape Cod??? Where is Cape Ann?

        anonymous Sep 27, 2012 5:28pm

        Cape Ann is a rocky cape in northeastern Massachusetts on the Atlantic Ocean. The cape is located approximately 30 miles northeast of Boston and forms the northern edge of Massachusetts Bay. Cape Ann includes the city of Gloucester, and the towns of Essex, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport. It also includes the easternmost part of Beverly.

        anonymous Sep 28, 2012 7:01am

        Cape Ann is the North Shore of Boston …Gloucester-Manchester-Rockport. It is considered the "other Cape".

    anonymous Sep 27, 2012 2:15pm

    Marut distancing himself from Roach yet retaining the title of Lama “bestowed” on him from Roach!- Marut wants none of the Roach baggage except that so called Lama title so people will bow and he still gets to sit on his throne! – What a low life narcissist – This makes Marut even slimier than Roach a feat seldom surpassed!

      anonymous Sep 27, 2012 3:19pm

      My recollection is that Marut was fully ordained during Course 16 (fall of 2009) and never came back. According to the registrar, he didn't complete Course 16 because he didn't attend the Kali initiation and never attended another day of tantra at DM. He sent one or another student for the remaining courses so he could get the course material and pass it on to his students.

      Marut was called Lama Brian when I first met him and that was long before his novice ordination. I saw him defend the 'lama' title on facebook by saying it was a title he did not give to himself.

      If someone called me by a title I didn't like, I would say, "Please call me Ekan." It is an easy fix.

        anonymous Sep 27, 2012 5:44pm

        The quality he shares with Michael Roach seems to be his pugnaciousness.

        anonymous Sep 27, 2012 5:57pm

        My remembrance in the Tucson community is of people referring to him as Lama Marut before that time (
        I say this because I was gone from Tucson before fall 2009). His arrogance was never attractive to me.

          anonymous Sep 27, 2012 6:38pm

          Roach gave him the name Marut in 2004 with his novice ordination. It means something like big wind.

            anonymous Sep 27, 2012 6:51pm

            That makes sense.

            anonymous Sep 27, 2012 7:09pm

            oops. he was ordained in Feb. 2005.
            We actually know more about Marut's ordination dates than we do Michael Roach's.

            anonymous Sep 28, 2012 10:22am

            The Marut (always plural/collective) are the Lords of the Winds. Hindu/Vedic, they emerged way back.

              anonymous Sep 28, 2012 2:57pm

              Therefore Marut = Wind Bag? – “Ladies and Gentleman I give you Lama Wind Bag parroting the teachings he stole from Roach and McNally even using the same vocal intonations and facial expressions like his Master” – Wondrous indeed!

                anonymous Sep 28, 2012 5:25pm

                now, I've never had the pleasure of meeting Lama Marut and was just trying to supply some sanskrit data here. Your sarcasm is yours. The Marut are not 'wind-bags', amigo, they are gale-force.

        anonymous Sep 28, 2012 10:37am

        Christie's Kali Puja was, so I am told, the catalyst that flipped everything. I was on the land but had no desire to attend and did not. Bhadrakali is, indeed, a proper Vajrayana yidam/practice, but the puja was purely Christie's fantasy. Myself, Kali puja (Hindu) in Calcutta, back in '81, 6 1/2 million people on the street, Kalighat packed to the max, flowered floats set afire flipped into the Hoogly (Ganges) River, firecrackers and M-80's nonstop…..Christie needs to slow down, stop being so self-referential, and look around…….for that matter so does GMR.

      anonymous Sep 27, 2012 6:17pm

      What does the word "Lama" actually mean?

      anonymous Sep 28, 2012 7:04am

      And I hear that some in the Sangha are also kissing his feet! They should re-name the center "Vortex of Delusion".

        anonymous Sep 28, 2012 10:42am

        The first time I was introduced to Geshe Michael I stood up and shook his hand. He had no problem with that and gave me a sincere smile, but Mercedes had rattle-snake rattles in her eyes because I didn't prostrate.

          anonymous Sep 28, 2012 11:18am

          MR and LC stopped prostrating towards the teaching throne themselves ages ago!

    anonymous Oct 4, 2012 1:14pm

    These people are really shameless.

      anonymous Sep 27, 2012 6:51am

      Yes, I agree. Nothing like calculated shapeshifting. Just like politics!

anonymous Sep 24, 2012 11:05pm

Medicine Buddha
White Umbrella Deity
Lion Faced Dakini
Extensive Tara Puja
Extensive Puja to Kalarupa and Yamataka with fire puja

Backers of Michael Roach and Michael Roach himself might ask themselves why a guy that isn't religious and lives 8000 miles from Tibet knows what the above are? You just might be on the wrong team……

anonymous Sep 23, 2012 10:25am

Note to DM… are crazy to be still in the Roach grip

anonymous Sep 23, 2012 10:22am

I feel deep empathy and sorrow for those most touched by this sad event: the families of Thorson and McNally, obviously, but also their students and the other retreatants. While I'd hoped that the revelation of this sad affair would prompt some deep questioning and structural changes within the community, it seems that the "true believers" have closed ranks and moved on, with little changed. Caveat emptor.

Poep Sa Frank Jude Boccio

anonymous Sep 21, 2012 1:02pm

As the protector Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

Strange fruit, indeed.

    anonymous Sep 21, 2012 7:05pm

    That phrase goes through my head every time some Roach supporter says something cruel, impersonates someone or comes from a place of anger. Thank you for posting

      anonymous Sep 22, 2012 7:30pm

      You're very welcome, Ekan, and I thank you for your great courage, openheartedness and devotion to truth.

    anonymous Sep 22, 2012 2:43pm

    As the protector Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."

    Strange fruit, indeed.

anonymous Sep 18, 2012 5:59pm

What's going to happen when this discussion runs it's course? Will you miss the other contributors here? Do you feel an odd kinship with them, even if you have no clue what most of them look like or what their real names are? I have to admit, that I have kind of grown fond of you guys, even though I'm sort of the resident pain in the butt. Just thought I'd share that.

    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 6:12pm

    Hahaha, I spent a good part of today walking in the forest and thinking (partially about this very topic). My contributions to this forum are pretty much at an end, yet I keep coming back to see if anyone has posted. I do feel some sort of kinship and it has been great to hear from all of the people here. I kind of feel like my summer fling is ending.

      anonymous Sep 18, 2012 6:27pm

      Awe. That's sweet.

        anonymous Sep 19, 2012 5:36pm

        It's been deeply engaging to hear what everyone has to say, I've always liked everyone here. Everyone. Even though I've gone back to my other life, this has become one of the things I like to check in on. It's is still the most logical place to check for news until those investigative pieces come out and I'm intrigued by what was taught at DM. I have to tell you, though, no matter what happens with the forum – I think this story is far from over.

    anonymous Sep 19, 2012 5:11am

    Silly typo, its*.

    anonymous Sep 20, 2012 6:43am

    I'll miss everyone here. I've learned a lot through this forum– I feel gratitude toward the people here. I'm already not here as much as I was in the beginning, but like Karen said, it is a good place to find out if any new info is out.

    There is a kinship here, I think. There are many people I've gotten to know a bit here that I'd like to know in person.

anonymous Sep 18, 2012 9:52am

I'm beginning a new thread because the other one is getting too long.

Dpe, would you please expand on this thought? Particularly the 'eight difficult points'?

"I think we're discusssing, or right on the verge of discussing, what are called the "eight difficult points", identified by Gyaltsab Je. The third one is called "acceptance of external phenomena". It's difficult because we are, almost, saying that external phenomena don't exist. They exist only as an appearance, which doesn't seem like too much existence at all. And it sure does seem like "appearance" is the same as "100% mentally fabricated"–but, in this school, that's not how it's seen. To deny external phenomena is to make a huge, big mistake. But to accept them the way they appear is to make another gbig mistake."

    anonymous Sep 19, 2012 6:57am

    I'll try to discuss the notion of external phenoma in more detail. I don't know enough about the eight dififcult points to discuss it in any way that would be really helpful, but I'll elucidate what I can.

    anonymous Sep 19, 2012 12:46pm

    I'll take a stab at this. (Pardon the pun!) Dependent arising phenomena appear to ordinary consciousness as autonomous, self-existent, not merely imputed objects of knowledge. ("External phenomena.") Kedrup Je is reminding us of two things: One, appearances are deceptive, and two, 'get used to it.' Also, there would be no reason to deny the existence of dependently arisen external phenomena just because their mode of appearance to ordinary cognition is entirely false. (Prasangika says in fact that 'external phenomena' do exist.)

      anonymous Sep 19, 2012 8:52pm

      That's a good summary. A couple things: Some Prasangikas do not say say that external phenomena exist, although Je Tsong Khapa does say that phenomena exist. His critics, including Ju Mipham, Gorampa and HH Mikyo Dorje, will say, on the one hand that Prasangikas shouldn't make any assertions. Further, that, having determined that phenomena do not have any existence in the ultimate sense, it seems absurd to posit any flavor at all of existence on the relative level. Right now, my understanding is this: the Gelugpas say that relative phenomena are illusion-like; Kagyus say they are illusions. And Sakyas and Nyingmas I think. So that's one reason why "it's a difficult point".

      (Karen, in particular, you might note that Prasangika is a not at all a system where there is general agreement on the way things are: there are heated polemics between Gelugpas and the other traditions; Sakya in particular. And within Gelugpa there are at least four different flavors of Prasangika, based on the yig-cha/textbooks from different monasteries. )

        anonymous Sep 20, 2012 6:37am

        Thank you brass monkey and mi mthun dpe.

        anonymous Sep 20, 2012 7:12am

        mi thun dpe
        I assume this is still your stance:
        "GMR exaggerates and is inconsistent with his story of his life but I think his presentation of emptiness is consistent with Prasangika Madhyamika (a specific and very important school of Buddhist philosophy). Is that a reasoned conclusion? Apparently not: to Kalarupa (if I understand correctly), I am now a "Roach defender"–the reasons I may have for supporting Roach aren't worth exploring."

        You have stated, despite of Roach's propensity towards 'exageration' that his presentation on emptiness is consistent with the highest schools views. I was a student of Michael Roach for a very long time. I have never heard him make a presentation that contained much of the information you have presented here. Can you tell me when and where he presented this information. I suspect much of your information comes from sources other than Michael Roach.

        Also during this discussion, I have not seen any prasangika reference to instant karma and karmic management. Michael Roach says karma and emptiness work together and are inseparable. ACI Course 5 talks about what karma's will ripen in this lifetime and it is very limited, like actions done towards ones parents. Scriptures say that most karma will ripen in our next life or in lifetimes after that. There was no reference to instant karma. I am curious how do you reconcile this in your mind in order to continue supporting his views?

          anonymous Sep 20, 2012 11:59am

          >I have not seen any prasangika reference to instant karma and karmic management.

          I know what GMR means by karmic management, but I've never heard him teach or encountered ACI/DMU teachings on instant karma. Do you have a link or a reference? What do you mean by "instant karma?

            anonymous Sep 20, 2012 12:40pm

            Do you believe a person can change the color of their partner's eyes by planting the right karmic seeds?

            And do you have any book recommendations for people who want to learn more about the Eight Difficult Points?

              anonymous Sep 20, 2012 2:19pm

              Thanks, mi mthun dpe (for the post way above) I would like to to read more. I'll have to track down the yig-cha, I hope they're in English.

              anonymous Sep 20, 2012 6:11pm

              Ben, Check out J. Cabezon's 'A Dose of Emptiness' SUNY Press.

            anonymous Sep 20, 2012 2:41pm

            Here is one example from the Diamond Cutter Institute webpage.

            "achieve success in every aspect of their lives: to reach financial prosperity and a successful and satisfying career; to become full of energy; to enjoy warm and lasting personal relationships; to become a calm and more focused person; and to help change our family, our community, and our country."

            "If we receive careful training on how to plant and nurture the right seeds, then we have the power to make any dream we want come true in our life, right now."

            Sounds pretty instant!

              anonymous Sep 20, 2012 2:45pm

              Is that how you have understood that phrase–it happens right away? That is, you're sick or poor and then an instant later you're rich and healthy and the cause of that transformation is, say, a good deed that you did the instant before.

              Because I don't think that's what he teaches. Ever. I think rather than copy on a website, it would be nicer to see it in readings or in teachings. I can find plenty of examples where he teaches the opposite–that seeds take time, for example.

                anonymous Sep 20, 2012 3:41pm

                Actually he used the term RIGHT NOW rather than RIGHT AWAY. What do you think right now means? He is not saying next lifetime.

                Roach may misrepresent his teachings on his website to attract people to his teachings. Are you saying then that he does not deliver? Bait and switch?

                I don't mean instant like instant soup, so I don't interpret the schtick to mean from sick and poor to healthy and rich in an instant. Maybe instant is a bad word. I imagine he teaches it is a gradual process with miracles happening along the way. "You can get anything you want."

                  anonymous Sep 20, 2012 5:02pm

                  >"I imagine he teaches it is a gradual process with miracles happening along the way"

                  Well, you were his student: is that what he teaches–a gradual process?

                  I've read the Diamond Cutter, Karmic Management and I've studied the ACI Karma course: How Karma Works. I haven't encountered the idea of "instant karma" in those three sources–and that's several hundred pages of material and twenty hours of audio. (He decries the notion of instant karma, as I recall…..)

                  Maybe I missed it though

                    anonymous Sep 20, 2012 5:24pm

                    Yes he absolutely taught you can have anything you want. You can get the lover you want. You can get the job you want. I need money, so I am going to give money away is a classic mode of thinking and acting for his students. They expect the pay off.

                    I took about a $15,000 pay cut the last year of my career so that I could go back to work for a former employer who would give me medical benefits for life. I paid for Lama Marut and his wife's dinner one night and dedicated it to getting more money. The next day I got a call from my boss saying they were going to give me a few more thousand dollars than they first quoted to me. Marut and I celebrated the results of my karma.

                    Yes, Michael Roach teaches instant karma and his students believe it. When things work out well, his students chalk it up to their good karma from recent actions.

                    Gyltse who is in retreat says she never gives anyone incense because the act of giving incense results in getting more incense and she does not like incense. I could go on and on with other examples.

                    Yes, Michael Roach teaches instant karma. The Spiritual Partners talks and the Yoga Sutra talks were filled with these type of teachings. Most of what he taught at Diamond Mountain is on a shelf and I don't have access to a lot of it right now. I am certain I could come up with many other examples and may do so after having more time to think about it.

                    anonymous Sep 20, 2012 5:39pm

                    so there's two issues, if I understand you correctly:
                    1. the result of generosity is that you get what you want (except for Gyeltse, apparently)
                    2. you can get results in this life

                    And both these are wrong. Is that what you're saying?

                    anonymous Sep 20, 2012 6:36pm

                    You are totally misunderstanding what I am saying. I was only supplying examples to substantiate my claims as you requested. I will repeat the issue from my post up above. I am curious how you are able to support Roach when you admit that he can't keep his personal stories straight, but you do support him in his view of emptiness, which I assume includes karma.

                    "Also during this discussion, I have not seen any prasangika reference to instant karma and karmic management. Michael Roach says karma and emptiness work together and are inseparable. ACI Course 5 talks about what karma's will ripen in this lifetime and it is very limited, like actions done towards ones parents. Scriptures say that most karma will ripen in our next life or in lifetimes after that. There was no reference to instant karma. I am curious how do you reconcile this in your mind in order to continue supporting his views?"

                    How are you able to do this without a great deal of cognitive dissonance? Or do you have cognitive dissonance?

                    anonymous Sep 20, 2012 10:00pm


                    I don't think you have supplied examples: here's how I understand the circle we're in:
                    1. you start the conversation with the quote above–asking about prasangika references to instant karma and karmic management
                    2. I say: I know what GMR means by karmic management but I've never heard the term "instant karma"
                    3. you quote the DCI webpage
                    4. I reference the sources I use: two of his books and one of his classes
                    5. you quote conversations you had with other students
                    6. you reference "instant karma" again, without telling me what you mean by it.

                    Now you're asking me about the uncomfortable cognitive squirmy feelings I may or may not have when I think about the fact that it's GMR who teaches this stuff.

                    We're way off track: I think the questions you have are these:
                    1. Is it Buddhist orthodoxy to believe that "you can have whatever you want"?
                    2. If so, is it possible to have the stuff I want in this life?
                    3. Is everything that happens to me karmic results, is none of it karmic results, or is it mixed–some is and some isn't? (that is, what's the Buddhist answer to this)

                    So far, I'm saying that the stuff he teaches, which is publicly available and easy for anyone here to examine, is inline with respect to karma and emptiness. Your examples are not of his teaching but of student conversations, and his business website copy, etc. There's hours and hours and hundreds of pages of content–if he teaches "instant karma" it should be in his teachings; I haven't seen it but maybe it's there.

                    As an aside,regarding what his students may have said to you: I've had a conversation like this at almost every Western Dharma center I've been to: "I got her elate because of some (weird, karmicly caused) incident". "Here's the (karmic) story about how I met my teacher". That social aspect of identifying karmic causes of stuff is common. Mandala magazine occassionally publishes stories and letters from Lama Zopa Rinpoche's students about how they chanted a certain sutra, did a certain practice, etc and then obstacles disappeared, conditions changed and so on.

                    If you're going to indict some of GMR's students for thinking and talking as if karmic results were actually true, you will need a big brush for the many students of other Tibetan Buddhist teachers, who think and talk exactly the same way.

                    anonymous Sep 20, 2012 11:03pm

                    GMR stated that you can change the color of your partner's eyes if you didn't like the original color, by planting the right karmic seeds. Do you believe this is in keeping with traditional prasangika teachings? Do you believe it is true?

                    anonymous Sep 20, 2012 11:35pm

                    mi mthun dpe,
                    The fact remains that "Right Now" is there in black and white on the website. So that at least is the message that they are selling to get people in the door, even if the course material is more nuanced.
                    The fact that they use this "hook" to get people in the door, IMO, indicates:
                    a)They understand that accumulated causes require the right conditions to ripen and that this means that it can take a very long time. (Only Buddhas have a complete understanding about when a particular cause will ripen or what cause was accumulated in the past for a particular phenomena to arise). THough they understand this, the sales hook is aimed at getting people in the door by pandering to their hopes and dreams of a better life (disingenuous)
                    b)Karma and emptiness are misunderstood and the students who made the website are simply reflecting what they have heard from MR or CM, or at least what they understood from the teachings.

                    I would love to go further into this discussion but I have to admit that I am a little wary because my grasp on emptiness, more subtle dependent arising etc. is tenuous as it is and I am often translating these topics for people during teachings. If I get confused it would make it harder to do my job, and I have to admit that at least the way MR presents things seems to be a little bit different – even if just from the POV of presentation rather actual substance. But it is close enough that it is very hard to separate out from traditional teachings.

                    anonymous Sep 21, 2012 3:16pm

                    I will supply an example below, but I think what is at stake here is the worldview of emptiness. Within the emptiness teachings and worldview Michael Roach espouses, if you take on the secret teachings and hold a tantric worldview then you are responsible for whether you see someone (i.e., Michael Roach) as a holy being or a teacher who is doing something wrong. This worldview, while claiming to be "higher" and more spiritually developed, also absolves a teacher such as Michael Roach from any accountability in his actions. So I wonder, mmd, whether you are holding this worldview and thus seeing anyone who might question MR's actions as having lousy karma rather than valid perspectives.

                    Example of Geshe Michael talking about "instant karma"
                    Page 82
                    Quiet Retreat Teachings April 2003

                    "And there’s a phenomenon which occurs that I like to call the boomerang accelerator. We all have bad karma. We have countless lifetimes of bad karma in our minds. We have countless mental problems, afflictions, and every time we have a bad thought, every time we think something wrong or do something wrong, it’s like throwing a boomerang. And then the whole suffering of our life is boomerangs hitting us on the other side of the head that we threw earlier. The closer you get to this force field of a true lama, the closer your samaya, the closer the bond between you and the teacher, the boomerangs speed up until they are becoming almost like a karmic mirror for you. They are reflecting back to you, exactly, all of your own weaknesses and faults. And because of the miracle of the samaya, the bond, then you can confront your own weaknesses and faults almost instantly reflected from your teacher. It gives you a unique opportunity to destroy the negative parts of your own being. And it’s extremely difficult and painful."

                    anonymous Sep 21, 2012 4:04pm

                    It's a good question–I'm not sure but I think there have been DMU students who have said things like, "xyz behavior doesn't exist from its own side, so if you see my teacher as great or bad then that's just karma." Certainly there are people who think DMU people say that…

                    On the one hand, this is true: there isn't anything you encounter that is other than a projection based on karmic results. But on the other–and this is the crucial point–the thing you encounter is real. So it's NOT like there's a veneer of stuff on top of the real object (say, a teacher) and that veneer might appear to you as bad but "really", underneath, the teacher is "good".

                    There is no "underneath". All that exists is a mere nominal designation, and that designation is determined karmically. So it doesn't surprise me that people have very different views about the same object: to most of us here, I'd wager that HHDL is a high being, a good person, etc. But I imagine that to hundreds of millions of people in China, he is anything but that–he's irrelevant or a splittist or whatever. In general, I think the DMU teaching is that, while every phenomena is, in some sense, transmutable, it is dumb, if you are an ordinary person, to act as if you are not ordinary.

                    GMR has said this again and again: use aspirin, go get a job, see a dentist, do yoga, "load the stapler" in the DCI parlance in order to get the things you need. But the efficacy of those things isn't "in" a mere nominal designation.

                    finally, the quote above seems like standard teachings on gurus: find one, get close to her/him, do what she says, stuff will happen more quickly. Some circumstances will ripen your karma more quickly. And that's something we've discussed: there are high karmic objects that can make karma ripen in this life. Parents were mentioned by several of us. Gurus are extremely high objects so they do make karma ripen fast.

                    That's the whole theory of how tantra works, isn't it? How else could a mass murderer like Milarepa attain enlightenment in one life without some kind of pressure cooker? (so, if "instant karma" means faster karmic ripening based on following a guru, then yes DMU teaches that but so does every tantric lineage.)

          anonymous Sep 21, 2012 3:14am

          >I was a student of Michael Roach for a very long time.
          >I have never heard him make a presentation that contained much of the information you have presented here.
          >Can you tell me when and where he presented this information.

          Here's some of the sources I've relied on:
          -ACI course 5: How Karma Works
          -presentation of spyi chedrak (universals and particulars), four presentations about an hour total, beginning here:
          -ACI course 15 has a presentation of the four tenet schools, including a section on how things exist, and what exists externally, in the thal gyur/Madhyamkia
          -Liberation: he started the second or third Liberation in the Palm teachings at the end of the book, so it's on the emptiness teachings. I don't have a reference handy.
          -Both the pramana ACI classes: 2 and 13 (maybe 4 and 13, can't remember)

          I've also seen sections of the Sacred Translators course, which is on Uma La Jukpa but I can't remember which ones, I haven't studied it that closely. I think the first thing I really saw from him was his presentation of the Heart Sutra, which also includes a teaching on emptiness.

            anonymous Sep 21, 2012 7:20am

            mi mtum working hard to be in the Lama entourage on the next trip to China…sad
            Christies dad told me she thought she could cure disease…in his case a back injury from her secret knowledge.Thiis crap most likely killed Ian.

      anonymous Sep 22, 2012 9:31am

      brass monkey

      I have been bothered by the phrase you used and finally decided to comment on it. These three articles were written by Matthew in response to a tragic event that happened during the three-year retreat at Diamond Mountain: the death of Ian Thorson. We have learned about his stabbing and numerous other sufferings from Christie McNally, police reports and autopsy reports and news reports. Needless to say, this event has changed the lives of many many people, who do not take it lightly.

      To start your comment by saying, "I'll take a stab at it" and then call it a pun* seems disrespectful to a young man who has died and to all who were effected. It makes me curious about how you can claim to know the finer points of prasangika philosophy and yet appear to be so lacking in compassion. There are two wings to the bird of liberation. Wisdom and compassion.

      *pun: a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word

        anonymous Sep 24, 2012 8:19am

        I hear what you're saying, Ekan, you and I see things the same way so often. But to be absolutely fair here, I use that expression all the time. Sometimes I too become deaf to how misplaced it can be. I wonder if that was a writing style issue. Things can sound harsher on the forum than they do in conversation.

        Did something get lost in translation Brass Monkey? Maybe we read you wrong?

anonymous Sep 17, 2012 5:22pm

I'm willing to wager that Mr. Roach tries to claim some divine influence or link himself in some magical way to this:

anonymous Sep 13, 2012 6:53pm

You guys may have already seen this if you have the Dalai Lama as a facebook friend. But if you haven't, I thought it was worth sharing here…

Dalai Lama tells his Facebook friends that religion “is no longer adequate”

"All the world's major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether."

He also stated previously…

"My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."

Here is a companion article that includes a brief discussion about my favorite neuroscientist Sam Harris:

    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 1:27am

    I was fortunate to be able to attend some talks of His Holiness this past spring in the university town of Udine, Italy. His Holiness mentioned that religion itself was not the problem but "religious institutions". Due to the fact that many people no longer affiliated themselves to such institutions, a system of secular ethics that could be followed by everyone was essential for the moral fabric and harmony of society.
    At the same time His Holiness mentioned that while such institutions have problems, they do at the same time make very valuable contributions to the spirituality of human society.
    His Holiness' vision of secular ethics has been expressed in tibetan as gzhan phen (benefit other) but is translated into English as "Universal Responsibility". This is his roadmap of secular ethics and it is a very contemporary application of certain Buddhist concepts in a non-religious context.

      anonymous Sep 17, 2012 8:28am

      Didn't the Devil, seeing Christ's suffering on the cross, feel moved to say, "You know, I think there's something to this… we should organize."

      anonymous Sep 17, 2012 1:02pm

      Even some atheists are arguing for the same thing… humanism.

      anonymous Sep 19, 2012 12:58pm

      The Four 'Noble' Truths are pretty much a secular presentation of addictive rebirth and its complete pacification, in my opinion. And if emptiness is the' fact' of all phenomena, what is particularly 'religious' about that? Nothing.

        anonymous Sep 19, 2012 4:41pm

        "a secular presentation of addictive rebirth" seems a bit oxymoronic.

        Emptiness can be studied without faith. Karma may be studied without faith depending what elements are added (if bad things happen to good people because of what they did in their past lives, then faith is necessary). There are a lot of suggestions/practices which assist someone in assuaging the suffering of life that can be taken/practiced without faith.

          anonymous Sep 19, 2012 5:55pm

          I even know many buddhists who do not believe in rebirth.

            anonymous Sep 19, 2012 6:09pm


              anonymous Sep 19, 2012 10:58pm

              Sure. I don't know any american teachers who really teach reincarnation like it is a fact. It seems to be mostly optional. It is an important part of the dogma of Tibetan Buddhism but that is only one brand of buddhism in America.

              The psychology/buddhism (vipasana) coming out of Spirit Rock in California makes it optional. Here is a newsletter on the subject: Tom Mo…

              The people I know associated with Zen centers in California also think reincarnation cannot be proved but hold a little space for the possibility.

              I also found a study that found a large percentage of Asian Americans don't necessarily believe in reincarnation even though they have alters in their homes.

              If an American Buddhism ever comes about, and the Dalai Lama thinks it is possible some day in the future, it will be very interesting. Tibetan absorbed the Bon religion. Japanese absorbed Shinto. Perhaps American will absorb science and skepticism. Each time it enters a new culture, it changes.

                anonymous Sep 20, 2012 9:32am

                Wow, thanks for sharing this Ekan.

anonymous Sep 13, 2012 10:14am

I brought this into a new thread because the discussion was already half way across the page and getting narrower and narrower. This could go on for a while.

Ben said:
There has been a lot of talk. I believe that GMR view of emptiness is that it is "the lack of anything not coming from you". Which is much broader than other views on emptiness I've heard.

GMR's view allows everything to be controlled by your karma since everything is coming from you. It is solipsistic and very different from what I've heard and read prominent TBs write and speak of emptiness.

mi mthun dpe · 11 minutes ago
It's solipsistic only if you think that "you" have some sort of substantial existence and that things can really "come from" "you" in some sort of substantial way.

But that's not the way things are.

    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 10:17am

    mmd: Which dictionary definition of substantial are you referring to? Please explain.
    1 of considerable importance, size, or worth:
    2 concerning the essentials of something:
    3 real and tangible rather than imaginary:

      anonymous Sep 13, 2012 10:59am

      By substantial existence, I mean a phenomenon that exists, in the usual formulation, "from its own side". That is, it has some kind of power or force that maintains its own "isness"; somehow this substantial object has an existence that is maintained independently of the existence of other phenomena, objects and forces.

      Solipsism may also have a lot of meanings, but I understood Ben's use of the term in this sense: "only my mindstream exists".

        anonymous Sep 13, 2012 1:09pm

        Are you saying this is a typical Michael Roach teaching on emptiness?

          anonymous Sep 13, 2012 1:56pm

          solipcism or no? for the rest of us rummies, who knows. Emptiness is just a word that gets bandied about alot. Lao Tzu said, "Those who speak don't know. Those who know don't speak." GMR, not to belabor the point, appears to have spoken.

          For the rest of us rummies it may not matter, but for those who have chosen to place themselves on a public pedastal as an example of lifelong ongoing purity, they need to expect that the structure and incidents of their lives might be put under a magnifying glass. Which glass may bring forth light or may just start a fire.

          Say the Jain: " Syad vad!"

            anonymous Sep 13, 2012 2:02pm

            >they need to expect that the structure and incidents of their lives might be put under a magnifying glass

            It might be useful if you started another thread to discuss stuff like when his mother died and how long his commute was and whatever else you want to scrutinize. That way, here in the thread started by ekanthomason, we could discuss a bit the teachings on emptiness.

              anonymous Sep 13, 2012 2:39pm

              I would like to apologize for the testiness of my comment above. best stay low, you should discuss whatever you like and explore whatever you like. If it's possible to not sidetrack too much in this thread, that would be great–but please feel free to chime in as you wish, and I'll endeavor to not jump down your throat.

          anonymous Sep 13, 2012 1:59pm

          I'm replying to Ben's assertion that GMR's teaching of emptiness is equivalent to solipsism. It isn't, at least as I understand the word solipsism

            anonymous Sep 13, 2012 2:19pm

            So when GMR claims everything is coming from you, he isn't saying things can "really" come from you?

              anonymous Sep 13, 2012 2:21pm

              what do you mean by "really"?

                anonymous Sep 13, 2012 4:21pm

                I am referring to your use of "really" in this statement:

                "It's solipsistic only if you think that "you" have some sort of substantial existence and that things can really "come from" "you" in some sort of substantial way. "

                Maybe you could tell us what you meant by "really" and how your use of it differs from the typical use of the word.

                I believe that it (the word "really") was overused at DM. If you asked someone if GMR's name was really Michael or if we were really in Arizona, many would hem and haw. I don't know how many times someone told me they didn't "really" exist. I think it contributed to the feeling that things were very unsubstantial and easily manipulated through the manipulation of karma.

                I don't believe this is consistent with prasangika but I am no expert. Herre is a line from Alexander Berzin which I believe contradicts GMR:

                "Let's say I cross the street and I'm hit by a car. Did my karma cause the car to hit me? Well you can't really say that.
                Then you get into a very solipsistic veiw of the universe and everythng is caused by me. I didn't cause the other person to drive the car at that time. Does my karma ripen for me to cross the street at just the time when the other person is going to be driving? Well, no, you can't say that either. Cause that again seems as though I am influencing the other person driving. So you have to say the are many many causes and circumstances that are ripening from the other person's side for them to drive the car at a certain time. And here's another circumstance from my side that I am crossing the street"

                I do not know what Alexander's view of emptiness is but he seems to point out the same problems I had with the DM view.

                  anonymous Sep 13, 2012 11:07pm

                  By "really" I meant substantially: that is, the position that there's a real you, which exists independently of external events, and this "real you" is producing "real mental seeds" which germinate into those "real events". And then you consequently have a karmically-caused experience. Each of those "three spheres"–the doer, the action and the deed–are empty. They exist only nominally.

                  Generally, in a solipsistic view, the "me" is the center of the universe, making everything happen. It posits that there isn't anything real but "me". But there isn't any "me" that can exist in any way except in dependence on other things, including external events. There can't be a subject without an object–and clearly the subject can't bring the object into (substantial) existence, nor vice versa.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 7:44am

                    syad vad

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 9:11am

                    So I believe that in the DM WV, in the example above, the car, the color of the car, how much air is in the tires, what is in the glove compartment, the driver, what he is thinking, what he had for lunch, where his parents live, everything, comes from me.

                    It has to be this way because if there is something not coming from you, you can't control everything and something might get in the way of you harvesting the bounty from the karmic seeds you planted. If there is something not coming from me like the thoughts in my partners head, then, even though I help people with their relationships (the karmic cause of having a perfect partner according to GMR), the thoughts in my partners head (not under the control of my karma) might cause her to fall for a younger guy. GMR makes it clear that there is nothing outside the influence of your karmic control.

                    Am I misrepresenting DM view?

                    Is it consistent with what AB said?

                    Which is more consistent with prasangika?

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 10:14am

                    am I misrepresenting…?

                    Is it consistent…..?

                    Which is…?

                    syad vad! Ben, you are per force sitting in front of a computer. Take a break, go and google it: syad vad.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 2:34pm

                    Saying "syad vad" over and over again is about as useless as saying "form is emptiness and emptiness is form". It ismeaningless without further exposition.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 1:04pm

                    Without getting into Prasangika in this comment (see the next), MR's karma teachings don't accord with general Buddhist Views on Karma.

                    (1) the world system that we live in is a product of the Collective Karma of all the beings who inhabit it.

                    Thus we experience karmic fruits of that collective karma such as viruses and bacteria, good/pleasant and bad weather, etc., whether or not we are 'good' or 'bad' people.

                    The question 'why do good people suffer?' one used to hear a lot in the USA is never raised in Buddhism.

                    (2) Karma is an 'Extremely Hidden Phenomena'. You can't figure out how karma is bearing fruit and working out for yourselves or others. It is too complicated. You can't accumulate 'evidence' and apply 'laws' to it as there are too many variables. Only Buddhas are able to see how an individual's karma has or will ripen. So Karma is not like the manifest phenomena or the Hidden Phenomena (e.g., 'Emptiness' or the date you were born) with which human beings are able to cope with to some degree.

                    (3) That we are living as humans on this planet in the Desire Realm (rather than, e.g., the Animal Realm) is a result of the Throwing Karma that ripened as we were dying. So that's out of our control now; when our Throwing Karma runs out for this life, we will die.

                    (4) Having been born into this realm, we are subject to its laws which involve three General types of Suffering — 1) of Suffering (pain, discomfort, dissatisfaction); 2) of Change (contaminated pleasure – most of our instances of 'pleasure' are merely the temporary reduction of discomfort and incapable of sustaining pleasure so as they fade we're beset by new discomforts — which includes 'partnerships', 'yoga' and 'business success'), and 3) of forced death and rebirth.

                    (5) Nothing we can do as ordinary beings (and even 90% of the time as Aryas*) can halt the constant stream of discomfort, sickness, injury, loss, blame, infamy, old age (if we're lucky) and death. All these unwished for events come to us gratis when we're born with our contaminated body / mind complex (i.e., samsara).

                    Buddhist practice for non-Aryas provides really helpful mental and behavioral training for coping with reality. These trainings help us to slowly accumulate positive mental states and the discipline that is necessary to minimize and eventually transcend the suffering inherent in our limited realm of existence.

                    We have the karma to be born here, so sorry, get used to it. We're going to experience suffering and loss. Usually, in Introduction to Buddhism courses attended by prosperous westerners these facts are met with protests of denial.

                    (6) Well over 50% of the significant events that we experience for good or ill that are possibly attributable to 'individual karma' ripening are karma that we inherited from beings who were designated before we were born on the mind stream we're now occupying.

                    Only a few positive deeds that we do in this life (e.g., taking care of your aged parents or ill teachers) have the ability to ripen positively in this life.

                    However, through study and the practice of Buddhist principals, we can train our habits of thought and behavior to be more in accord with reality. Then we will cause ourselves less misery and be able to cope with the general difficulties of samsara (our body/mind complex). Without training, we race after things that can't satisfy us and aggravate our difficulties by self-generating afflictive emotions.

                    (7) Since our mind streams have existed since 'beginningless time and, thus, an infinite number of beings have been posited upon that mind stream, an infinite amount of karmic seeds have been accumulated in or are accompanying that mind stream. You don't really have a lot of control over which karmic seeds are going to ripen in this life — but there are ways to minimize the impact of negative ripenings and enhance your positive potential. But if you were able to ripen the store of positive karma accumulated from past lives that available for activation in this life, then you would still be left with a huge store of negative karmic seeds and they'll be more likely to ripen … some lamas say that's why Dogyal practitioners have great luck accumulating impressive real estate but later their lives become immoral and crazy.

                    For more detailed and exact information, see the Karma sections in the first volume of the Lam Rim Chen-Mo, Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 3:59pm

                    >MR's karma teachings don't accord with general Buddhist Views on Karma.

                    It would be helpful if you could document this instead of asserting it. It's very difficult to take any teacher's work and summarize it in a couple sentences (e.g HHDL's Twitter version of Buddhism is "my relgion is kindness"–which is true but it's a tad more nuanced and detailed than that.)

                    That said, a good representation of the GMR/DMU teachings on karma might be in the ACI course called, conveniently, "How Karma Works". It's mainly Abhidharmakosha, as seen though a commentary by HHDL 1–but it also includes some explanations of how karmic seeds are planted and how they ripen from both the Mind Only and the Consequence school. I've studies this class, and it seems pretty much in accord with what you say above–except for maybe #6, I've never heard that 50% figure in scripture although it certainly makes sense if we have infinite lives.

                    There's a more detailed presentation he's been giving in the translation of Kedrup Tenpa Dargye's commentary on Je Tsong Khapa's commentary on Uma La Jukpa by Master Chandrakirti–but GMR's teaching on that is some 20 hours of lecture; I've only heard a bit, but he does go into some excruciating fine points on karma, seeds, etc.

                    As you point out, karma and how it works is "deeply hidden". So we need to be somewhat thorough in evaluating someone's teachings for correctness. I don't think we can do it in soundbites though. Fortunately, both Professor Berzin and GMR have a lof of material for us to peruse.

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 12:56pm

                    "It would be helpful if you could document this instead of asserting it."

                    Let's take it one step further and ask for empirical evidence to back up the claims made.

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 12:49pm

                    I mean no personal offense when I say that this… "Well over 50% of the significant events that we experience for good or ill that are possibly attributable to 'individual karma' ripening are karma that we inherited from beings who were designated before we were born on the mind stream we're now occupying."… sounds just as outlandish as anything I have heard Michael Roach say. Just because your statement comes from ancient texts and teachings, and not new age ways of interpreting reality, doesn't make it any more true and valid than his ideas. There is absolutely no empirical evidence to support your claim. It is a religious belief, an article of faith. No scientist would make such a claim. Yet, you make this claim as though it were absolutely true. How do you know this. Wouldn't it be better to say, I believe… these things to be true? I believe them because I was told they were true? But I have no evidence to support my beliefs?

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 1:53pm

                    He explained that he was expounding on the "general Buddhist Views on Karma."

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 2:02pm

                    I know. But, OK. It just sounds outlandish to me. Sorry. I respect that we all have different views. My point was, isn't it all a matter of opinion? If you are not Buddhist, these things sound just as outlandish as anything Roach says. Maybe because you accept these Buddhist beliefs, you are blind to this. I mean no disrespect.

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 2:12pm

                    "Maybe because you accept these Buddhist beliefs"

                    That's a pretty big assumption you are making. If I was discussing what the bible said about original sin, would you assume I am a Christian?

                    "My point was, isn't it all a matter of opinion?"
                    If that was the case then all points of view would be equally valid. My take is, if there isn't evidence for it, it shouldn't be believed. Of course, what counts as evidence might be in dispute.

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 3:01pm

                    I made the assumption based on your defense of and thorough articulation of these beliefs. Unless you are a religious scholar–which you may be–your understanding suggests an intimate relationship with a Buddhist belief system. Could you have such an intense discussion about Judaism?

                    But at the same time, it's like you are using this forum as debate practice, arguing from various positions trying to never appear subjective. I mean, this is how it looks to me. Maybe others don't see it this way. At least with Tenor and Khedrup, we know exactly what they believe. They state their positions clearly. Why all the mystery? What is your motive for refusing to claim ownership of these beliefs? Why are you working so hard to appear objective? It seems inauthentic to me.

                    Empirical evidence.

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 5:49pm

                    "Could you have such an intense discussion about Judaism? "
                    No, but I could about Christianity.

                    I am not using this as debate practice. I try to be objective and maybe that is why it seems I am trying to appear objective.

                    I think I've stated and continue to state my beliefs clearly. Here is one of them, just because a belief system contains things I don't believe in doesn't mean it doesn't contain things I do believe in.

                    I don't know the actual TB position on some things. I know the DM position on a lot of things and based on what I do know about TB, there are differences in the TB and DM presentations especially on karma and emptiness. The thread was started by Ekan to explore whether there are actual difference or if it was a misperception.

                    Here's what I think is going on. Emptiness is a very complicated topic with many subtleties and, because you haven't studied it, you can't see the subtleties involved.

                    Here's something else you should realize, if we are trying to nail down what a particular religion's viewpoint is on one topic or another, discussing whether that viewpoint is true or not isn't pertinent.

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 5:58pm

                    OK. Thanks for your reply. My post seemed a little hostile and I apologize. Thank you for clarifying where you stand. And I agree with this: "…if we are trying to nail down what a particular religion's viewpoint is on one topic or another, discussing whether that viewpoint is true or not isn't pertinent."

                    I have a feeling that you are a much more tolerant and patient person than I. Thanks for responding non-defensively.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 1:05pm

                    In general, I think what Alexander Berzin presents and what GMR presents are compatible. It's a bit difficult to compare because there are different views, within Tibetan Buddhism, of how karma functions. And sometimes teachers will give a specific presentation for a specific audience. The question of "how karmic works" is very closely linked to "how do things come into being/how do they exist", so one's understanding of the latter may influence the understanding of the former. Or how the teacher presents it.

                    Nonetheless, here's a nice quote from Mr Berzin–it's good because he's talking about a circumstance is the canonical DMU example–a person yelling at you.


                    "[the ripening of karmic tendencies] has to do, here, with, for instance, meeting this person and not meeting that person. It also involves the way that people act toward us. We have to be quite careful how we say that, in order to be more precise. Our karma is not causing the other person to yell at us – they yell at us as a result of the tendencies that they have to yell at people. But our own karma is responsible for experiencing other people yelling at us."

                    So he seems to be saying that karmic ripening is not the cause of the person yelling, but it is the cause of my experiencing that person yelling. And that seems very compatible with GMR's frequent explanation of the yelling boss.

                    Both Berzin's and GMR's explanation of how karmic seeds lead to an experience of a person who yells at you are the "short version"–at least as I understand it. It's like, "if I have a couple minutes, here's how it works". Mr. Berzin has a couple long essays on his site, which detail the "mechanism of karma" in the different schools (but not the Prasangika, interestingly–he says it's the most complicated). And I think GMR also has much more detailed presentations of how the mind actually exists, how seeds are planted, etc in the teachings on An Overview of the Middle Way, written by Kedrup Tenpa Dargye. But that's around 40 hours of lecture (still ongoing)–so neither Professor Berzin nor GMR think this is an easy-to-understand topic.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 2:23pm

                    "Our karma is not causing the other person to yell at us – they yell at us as a result of the tendencies that they have to yell at people."

                    I think we can also say that AB's position would be that your partner going after a younger man or cheating on you or being cranky all the time is a result of the tendencies that they (your partner) has.

                    This seems very different from GMRs view that your karma and only your karma is the reason for the existence of these traits and in fact everything.

                    "Both Berzin's and GMR's explanation of how karmic seeds lead to an experience of a person who yells at you are the "short version"–at least as I understand it."

                    It seems that Berzin's view talks about how your experience of something comes about via karma and other factors. GMR's view recognizes nothing outside of your experience. karma isn't a filter you see things through it is the mechanism by which things come into being. You karma will create the partner with no bad qualities not simply the experience of a partner with no bad qualities. Outside of your perception there is no thing. It is for this reason that I (and others) consider it solipsistic.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 4:29pm

                    >GMR's view recognizes nothing outside of your experience

                    Yes, but it's subtle: everything that presents itself to your senses or mental consciousness is part of your aggregates. There's no "you" and no "other" that you can speak of, except as an abstraction. Imagining some thing that is "outside" or "wholly other" than your aggregates is like, classically, sky flowers

                    But just because there's no meaningful "not-you" (where not you means completely independent) does NOT mean that everything is "you" and it comes from "you". Rather, "you" is just another imputation. "You" doesn't have any power to bring anything into (substantial) being. The whole notion that one thing can cause another (substantially) is mistaken, according to the Protector Nagarjuna.

                    So that's why it's not solipsism, in the common sense of the word; solipsism says that the self is the only existing reality and everything else depends on that self. But from the Buddhist pov, there can never be any entity that is not-dependent

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 4:44pm

                    You seem to be saying that GMR's claim that "everything comes form you" is not solipsism because the "you" he speaks of is not substantial. The "you" he speaks of is substantial enough to have everything dependent on it and nothing else.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 5:06pm

                    External events come from me, but in mutually interdependent arising. There are not degrees of substantiaity–objects are either independent, unitary and permanent or they aren't. Objects can't be "a little bit independent" of other objects.

                    If you have a dream tonight that you and I are speaking, then from the point of view of the dream, dream-you and dream-me are different entities. From the point of view of "reality" , dream-you and dream-me are both the play of your mindstream and therefore are the same stuff, not different. From the point of view of external objects, you are part of the basis from which they arise–they can't exist without you. But from your point of view, you also exist in dependence on those objects. The "you" that exists as the cause of all external phenomena isn't real. There's no such "you" .

                    GMR doesn't teach that there's a you, a tso-wo, that brings the world into existence substantially. But he also doesn't teach that there's a world brought into existence 100% apart from you, by some forces that are wholly other than you.

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 10:22am

                    I'm sorry but when GMR teaches that everything you want, financial security, good health, a perfect partner, can be brought about by planting the right karmic seeds, he is making the case without the subtleties you suggest. According to him, all you have to do is change your behavior and what you want will manifest at some later date and everything is mutable. You don't like the color of your partner's eyes? You can chnge that. You don't like the conflict in the Middle East? You can change that all by yourself! You can live in a world where people never lie.

                    It sounds really nice but it isn't true and I have not heard HHDL or AB say such things. If that is what TB says, then TB is wrong. that was my first conclusion until other students at DM (who had studied TB outdside of DM) told me they agreed with my conclusions and gave me recordings of AB which echoed the problems I had with GMR's claims.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 1:15pm

                    Prasangika (Consequentialist) tenets explicitly reject the Mind Only assertions (adopted by Middle Way Autonomy-Yogic Practitioner school) that presumably form the basis for MR's Karmic Management.

                    Prasangika rejects the Mind Only view that every external phenomenon you experience is not actually 'external' because it is produced by the same exact 'karmic seed' in your continuum that produced your awareness of that seemingly external phenomena.

                    Their illustration is correct — at one moment in time, an individual's exact perception of the external world is unique — but doesn't prove this Mind Only assertion.

                    Prasangika explicitly refutes the assertion of no external phenomena.

                    All Middle Way Autonomy tenet holders, including Yogacara, must accept that there are no 'truly existent' phenomena in order to retain the designation "Middle Way".

                    However, they assert that when it comes to consciousness that goes from life to life, it is so subtle that it has no further basis of designation; so it is not imputed. Prasangika's reject that. The most subtle consciousness one can postulate still would have a basis of designation, e.g., it's continuum of temporal moments.

                    Since Autonomists use Nagarjuna's terminology of no 'truly existent phenomena', Consequentialists use terminolgy translated as no 'instrinsic (inherent) existence', which they say is what no 'true existence' means.

                    Geluk's study scriptures and treatises of all Four Buddhist systems. As part of the geshe studies curriculum, when they study any tenet system, they 'try them on', contemplating how the world would work if those assertions were valid. Then they vigorously debate the assertions, trying to defend them. Not all Geshe graduates always accept Prasangika tenets. The founding principal of His Holiness' Institute for Dialectical Studies famously held Mind Only views until His Holiness engaged him in a debate. His Holiness always says before Higher Yoga Tantric empowerments that the view required for the practice is Mind Only and above. But he also has said that if one actually makes progress in the meditations, one's view will change. According to His Holiness, one must actually realize non-conceptualize the view indicated by Prasangika in order to enter the Path of Seeing.

                    Furthermore, Geluk lamas often suggest that in addition to trying on Mind Only tenets, they may be helpful when confronting people and events that disturb our minds. Buddhist pracititioners needs to train in overcoming the exaggerated attraction and aversion to the Eight Worldy Concern (Pleasure / Pain, Gain / Loss, Praise / Blame, Fame / Infamy).

                    One way is to think that the events or personalities that seem to be triggering those afflicted emotional reactions in me now are only presenting themselves to me now because of the virtuous and non-virtuous actions of the beings who were posited on the mind stream that I now appear to be designated upon. This is beneficial mental exercise for diminishing greed, hostility and fear.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 2:29pm

                    Thanks Tenor. This subject is very slippery and I don't know if an internet forum is the best method with which to discuss them.

                    I've often thought that GMR's view was closer to the Chittamatrans than Prasangika.

                    I've often related this quote from HHDL to DM students:

                    "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."

                    I believe that GMR attributes a mutability to things which the Prasangika do not hold.

                    anonymous Sep 14, 2012 2:34pm

                    "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."

                    I believe that GMR says that the "aggregation of causes and conditions and many factors" are all simply karma and there is nothing outside of karma which is a factor in the arising of things.

                    I have heard a recording of Christie where she has said, "Don't worry about causes and conditions and contributing factors. It all Karma."
                    If I can find the recording, I will cite it.

                    anonymous Sep 15, 2012 7:50pm

                    I believe Christie McNally spoke this in a very early Bok Jinpa class. Probably first year.

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 12:31pm

                    Thanks Ekan. There are few recordings of Christie other than the Bok Jinpa classs to which I've listened and so I am fairly certain it was one of those. Even though I got a lot out of the BJ classes, it was difficult to listen to those recordings. Sometimes people would begin asking question and Christie would eventually say, "No questions." It seemed the only reason was that the questions became either too difficult for her to answer or illustrated inconsistencies in the DM WV.

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 1:32pm

                    I just realized my last post was somewhat confusing. I am pretty sure it was in a Bok Jinpa recording where I heard Christie say that. I haven't listened to many other recordings of Christie.

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 2:53pm

                    Thank you for clarifying. I was confused. I found it. Christie McNally says in Bok Jinpa Course 2, Class 2, 19 minute:

                    "I don't believe in contributing factors. Contributing factors sound like they are separate from the laws of karma in some way. Whereas, it is your karma. The way they phrase contributing factors in some of the texts we have read is a little fishy. You could take it as there is your karma but also there are these contributing factors.

                    'I have the karma to get to Diamond Mountain except for the fact that my car broke down. I did not have the contributing factor quite right and so despite the fact that I had the good karma, I did not get here.'

                    You know that is not true. That could never be true. You did not have the karma to get there and that is why the car broke down. That is the only reason the car broke down and it has nothing to do with the car. It has nothing to do with any parts of the car."

        anonymous Sep 14, 2012 10:24am

        Your use of 'substantial existence' is a far narrower interpretation of that English word than it is generally accorded in Buddhist philosophy. All Schools of Buddhist Philosophy — other than the Middle Way tenet systems — i.e., Great Exposition, Sutra School and Mind Only, hold that there are classes of phenomena that truly exist, 'from their own side' and are not merely labeled on an appropriate basis of designation. Even sub-schools of the Middle Way are too squeamish to go so far, even though they mouth agreement with the Middle Way's fundamental tenet that phenomena do not truly exist.

        For two Buddhist tenet systems — the Great Exposition and Sutra School all phenomena truly exist and certain classes of phenomena are 'Ultimate Truths. They differ on whether or not Functioning things are "Ultimate Truths" (Sutra School) or Permanent phenomena are "Ultimate Truths" (Great Exposition) of phenomena. They recognize that a 'person' is designated on a basis of imputation (the five aggregates of the body/mind complex), so a "person" is not substantially existent. However, along with the Mind Only (which also asserts that Thoroughly Established phenomena, the Mind Only's Ultimate Truth, truly exists), the assert that when you look for something about a person that does truly exist, you find the consciousness that goes from life to life.

          anonymous Sep 14, 2012 11:33am

          >Great Exposition, Sutra School and Mind Only, hold that there are classes of phenomena
          >that truly exist, 'from their own side'

          That's right, that's what those schools teach. Do you think they're correct–that there are phenomena that truly exist?

            anonymous Sep 14, 2012 1:17pm

            I'm clarifying how the word 'substantial' is used in Buddhist philosophy translated into English. Definitions are extremely important in Buddhist philosophy.

        anonymous Sep 14, 2012 10:42am

        I started this yesterday and then life happened and I was unable to participate. I hope you don't mind going back to the beginning and let me work my way through this. May I call you MMD for short?

        "By substantial existence, I mean a phenomenon that exists, in the usual formulation, "from its own side". That is, it has some kind of power or force that maintains its own "isness"; somehow this substantial object has an existence that is maintained independently of the existence of other phenomena, objects and forces."

        Let me try an example to demonstrate what I think you mean. A rose. One looks at the rose and thinks how exquisitely beautiful it is. Beautifulness appears to be bursting from the rose. One is not taking into account that there are forces at the moment that are causing the rose to deteriorate. Perhaps there is no water to put the rose in. Perhaps the temperature is no good. Perhaps there are organisms taking nourishment and destroying it. Time is marching on. Is this correct?

        Michael Roach on the other hand says that we think there is a rose out there and that the rose is coming at you. Think of an arrow drawn from the rose to the eye.
        He further says that the rose is actually coming from you. Picture an arrow reversed and pointing at the rose. "You create every object in your world." "If you have a good teacher, it is because you created them."

        It sounds like what you are saying and what Roach is saying are two completely different things.

          anonymous Sep 15, 2012 12:07pm

          We think the rose exists objectively and independently. That's how we see it. But the roseacquires its identity as a rose through our labelling, through our active conceptual designation. The identity of "rose", the fact of "being a rose" is not in the thing you see. If you examine the rose–the petals, the color, the shape, the smell–you can't find that thing called "being a rose" in any of the elements you examine. And, likewise, if you examine "rose petals"–their shape, color, how they're attached to the stem–you won't find the thing call "being a rose petal" in any of the parts of the rose petal.

          The rose and the rose petals are there, but they don't have any intrinsic existence in any way. If you take away the conceptual designation, the rose goes away also. HHDL says, "it is only through the process of labelling or designation that things are said to exist". So it appears to exist on its own, but it doesn't in any way. The process of taking a bunch of input and conceiving it as "rose" is what it means to be a rose. So, in that sense, the rose does come from you. That's how I understand the DMU teachings.

            anonymous Sep 15, 2012 4:04pm

            Your labeling/imputation alone does not create the rose, so the rose does not come from you. The rose has a conventional existence/reality that Prasangikas do not deny. Prasangikas only reject the notion of an intrinsic/inherent existence of the rose. Here's the context of what the Dalai Lama said:

            Q: If the phenomena that I perceive are projections of my own mind, then why do we all perceive the same phenomena as the same thing? I see a text wrapped in an orange cloth in front of Your Holiness. Why does everyone else see it as that also? Further, I have read that beings of the other five worlds perceive these phenomena as different things, but that they still share a common perception. Why?

            HHDL: According to the explanation of the highest Buddhist philosophical school, Madhyamaka-Prasangika, external phenomena are not mere projections or creations of the mind. External phenomena have a distinct nature, which is different from the mind. The meaning of all phenomena being mere labels or designations is that they exist and acquire their identities by means of our denomination or designation of them. This does not mean that there is no phenomenon apart from the name, imputation, or label, but rather that if we analyze and search objectively for the essence of any phenomenon, it will be unfindable. Phenomena are unable to withstand such analysis; therefore, they do not exist objectively. Yet since they exist, there should be some level of existence; therefore, it is only through our own process of labeling or designation that things are said to exist.

            Since phenomena have no independent, objective reality, there is no status of existence from the side of the object; therefore, we conclude that phenomena exist only nominally, or conventionally. However, when things appear to us, they do not appear as mere designations; rather, they appear to us as if they have some kind of objective reality or inherent existence "out there." Thus, there is a disparity between the way things appear to us and the way they exist. This is why they are said to be illusory.

              anonymous Sep 16, 2012 11:18am

              If you say that my "labelling/imputation alone does not create the rose" then there must be some aspect of the rose that exists independently of my apprehension of the rose. That is, there's my process of nominally designating the composite elements as rose, and then there's also another rose-making process which, in your words, "does not come from [me]"

              Where is this second rose? What is its mode of existence?

                anonymous Sep 16, 2012 11:48am

                If I may jump in here, mi mthun dpe, there is no second rose.

                Our collective karma creates the rose, just as our collective karmic vision creates this entire shimmering dream-like reality. It's similar to a dream, but it's not a dream. How you react to it, emotionally and intellectually, is determined by your karma – which is your mental continuum, your mindstream. Love it, hate it, whatever, it is outside of you. You did not create it, you apprehend it and react, you label it. It did not arise from your mind alone.

                There's the famous analogy of the glass of water, humans perceive it as water, hungry ghosts as puss, Gods perceive it to be nectar. The glass of water is created by the collective karma of all, it exists outside oneself. Like the one rose.

                I heard HH teach on Emptiness at Kalachakra in 2004. He used the 18th stanza of chapter 24 of Narajuna's Fundamental Stanzas on the Middle Way, Examining the Arya Truths. The true meaning of Emptiness ('tombonyeh' in Tibetan), he said, is dependent origination. He said it twice, actually, 'When you hear Emptiness, you can think dependent origination.' I was taking notes and because he said it two different ways I had time to be certain.

                The 18th stanza is:

                That which is a result of dependent relation [origination]
                Is taught as emptiness
                That being designated through dependence,
                That exactly is the middle way.

                The rose comes into being in dependence upon the earth itself, the soil, air, water, roots, environmental conditions, everything that causes it to arise. Without all of those causes together and the interdependent conditions there is no rose.

                Close your eyes, imagine it gone, open your eyes – it's still there. It didn't arise from your mind, it arose from all the many, many causes and conditions that bring us all into being. We can think what we wish, it only changes our perception, our labelling of the rose, not the rose it self.

                  anonymous Sep 16, 2012 11:52am

                  ….not the rose itself.

                  anonymous Oct 6, 2012 10:41am

                  The only roses are 'labeled' roses! Subjectivity and objectivity cannot be isolated, since they also arise dependently. If you think there can be a rose w/o epistemological verification, you are missing the mark wide.

                    anonymous Oct 6, 2012 4:38pm


                    and I like that phrasing : "a rose w/o epistemological verification". It captures the issue with both Karen's Rose and Zirconia's Rose.

                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 4:56am


                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 2:05pm

                    sock puppet

                anonymous Sep 16, 2012 12:03pm

                We're talking about 1 rose. It has a conventional existence/reality independent of your imputation/labeling.

                  anonymous Sep 16, 2012 12:16pm

                  If I understand correctly you're asserting the rose has a conventional identity as "this specific rose" which it acquires independently of my labelling of it as "this specific rose". Is that right?

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 12:46pm

                    No, identity has to do with labeling/imputation, I'm talking about its conventional reality. The rose *interdependently* exists, independently of you calling it rose/rosa/"by any other name"/no name.

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 12:56pm

                    Then let's talk about the thing that exists outside of my nominal designation of it as a rose. In what sense is it a rose?

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 1:10pm

                    Again, I'm talking about its physical existence in conventional reality. In what sense is the Ganges a river? Does it not physically exist without you naming it?

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 1:46pm

                    I think you're talking about the existence of the parts of the rose–the petals, the stem, the color. They all exist as phenomena, and they don't come from my mind But none of them are "rose".

                    So again: you said "the rose interdependently exists, independently of you calling it a rose". That is, my labelling as "rose" can be taken away and there's still a rose remaining. Tell me about this remaining rose.

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 3:31pm

                    So what you're asking is, "Tell me (perforce using words) about the rose (or parts of a rose) that exist without usingthe use of words."

                    Tell me please, what is there prior to the label rose being applied? If I walk out my door right now and see a rose for the first time, did the thing I then label rose come into existence the moment I labelled it? What is/was there without the label?

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 4:48pm

                    The notions of "labeling" , "imputation"and "nominal designation" do not merely mean the use of language to describe stuff. Rather, it's the process of mental cognition or apprehension–the process through which an object appears to the mind. All such objects are nominally designated and that's the only mode of existence they have.

                    The rose doesn't have the slightest quality of "being rose" established in any way from its own side. It's just a collection of stuff–and one piece of that stuff is the mentally imputed designation "rose".

                    So it doesn't "come into existence" when you label it; instead it arises co-dependently on the basis of its parts and a mental imputation. No imputation, no rose.

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 6:24pm

                    Ok. What is/was there before the mental imputation?

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 9:40pm

                    >What is/was there before the mental imputation?

                    Some other mental imputation. That's all there is. It's imputations, all the way down.

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 12:41am

                    So the rose only exists in my mind?

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 7:08am

                    No. The only rose that exists in the mind is Zirconia's Rose which is a rose that exists independently of any mental imputation. That's an impossible mode of being so Zirconia's Rose is 100 percent mentally fabricated.

                    Real roses are there, thorna and all

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 12:00pm

                    I believe that to talk about something before imputation is basically trying to use concepts to discuss the unconceptualized.

                    I understand that for something to exist, the concept of that thing must first exist with its defining characteristics which justify labelling that object as the object. There is an error in saying "labelling that object as the object" because the object in a sense doesn't exist before the label is applied but in another sense it does. I believe this is the rose Zirconia was talking about.

                    I also believe you can mislabel something. If I have limited knowledge about flowers I can label a rose a tulip. It doesn't transform the thing possessing the qualities of a rose into a thing possessing the qualities of a tulip. There is a reality external to my labels which make my labels valid or invalid.

                    I believe at DM, the label was everything. If you had the karma to see a pen as a magic wand which caused things to turn to gold, then that was what it was. There was nothing independent from your label to contradict your labelling. Obviously this doesn't accord with reality. Several people have labelled a thing "unloaded gun" and found out that the their label was wrong. I believe at DM they would say that the gun was unloaded until your karma shifted and it became loaded (at the point when you realized it was a loaded gun). Or they might say that it was MY karma seeing the person mistaking the loaded gun for unloaded. What you perceived dictated what was there and if you didn't perceive it, it didn't exist and it only existed in the way you perceived it.

                    Because of this belief, it is believed that if you just change the karma (which forces the labels to change), you can change the color of your partners eyes or whether or not violence exists in the world or the size of your bank account. As I sadi before, I don't see these claims being made by other TBs.

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 1:32pm

                    "Because of this belief, it is believed that if you just change the karma (which forces the labels to change), you can change the color of your partners eyes or whether or not violence exists in the world or the size of your bank account."

                    I think this is commonly referred to as schizophrenia.

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 10:32pm

                    The Australian guy that drove across country with the Brewers in 2004 or so (Alisister?) to become part of DM believed he didn't need to practice shifting the manual transmission on the uhaul because his Karma would allow him to do it well…he tore up the transmission….

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 10:36pm

                    Oh dear. Not good.

                    anonymous Jan 10, 2015 1:05pm

                    I replied to this the other day but i don't it published and so i'll have another go…

                    As I was reading through this insightful exchange on the contrasts and similarities between Geshe Michael Roach's presentation of karma and emptiness and those of other Tibetan Buddhist teachers i stumbled upon this bizarre statement above by Corvid.

                    I'm an Australian called Alistair who was associated with DM from 2001-2012 and so presumably am the person to whom Corvid is referring. I never drove across the US with the Brewers in 2004 with a u-haul and have certainly never tried to drive a manual without changing gears, much less destroying the transmission as a result! The Brewers moved from Florida, in the east, to DM in 2002 and I was coming from Australia, in the west. Excuse my sarcasm, but it would be quite a challenge to drive a u-haul across the Pacific Ocean. I seem to recall another post, Corvid, where you quoted me as saying that GMR was Jesus, or some nonsense like that.

                    There are very compelling questions to be explored in the aftermath of the conflict at DM and the tragedy of Ian's death such as, expressed more generally, what constitutes the correct view of emptiness and karma; what constitutes a healthy and efficacious spiritual practice; and what constitutes a healthy and proper relationship with a spiritual guide. I'm as interested in a proper exploration of these and other topics as anyone.

                    However, there's no need or excuse for hyperbole, hearsay or just straight out fabrications. I think, Corvid, that you are Jerry who owns the ranch neighbouring DM. I have seen you once over the years – when you are riding an ATV and passed by Kat's place and said a quick hello. Kat told me who you were but as far as I recall we have never been introduced and I’m certain that we haven't ever conversed. Publishing such nonsenses as you have about me only serves to undermine your credibility as a source and question the accuracy of all the other claims that you have made in the comments to Matthew's articles.

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 12:56am

                    Labelling doesn't mean "naming" or "calling" something. In the example of a rose incorrectly called a tulip: that's an invalid perception of a a conventional truth. Conventional truth is false because its mode of appearance is as if it were self-existent: roses look like they exist substantially, but they're not way.

                    But Prasangikas don't deny the mere appearance of the rose–it is there, just not the way we think and perceive it. So if you think the thing that is there, a rose, is really a tulip, then you've made a mistake. But that mistake is not "labelling" in the sense of mental imputation. It's just a mistake for the "people of the world".

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 7:50am

                    Another thing that complicates this matter is that I've taken clsses from GMR students but never GMR himself. I've only attended his talks and listened to recordings of classes of his. What his position is and what are the positions of his students might get jumbled for me.

                    I believe GMR teaches that an invalid perception only occurs when you are under the influence, insane, or experiencing an optical illusion. In all other cses, what you karma forces you to see is what is there. There is nothing "out there" to contradict it. I know I've had a conversations with many of his students about the ability or inability to be wrong. One person maintains that you could only "have been wrong" not "be wrong". If you are driving down the road and believe you see a squirrel go under your car but then you look into the rearview mirror and see it was a leaf. Until you see it was a leaf, it was a squirrel. There is nothing outside your perception to contradict it and everything comes from you. If you never see the leaf, then you just ran over a squirrel.

                    You seem to be saying that there is a conventional reality that not only has illusory qualities (something echoed at DM) but also can contradict what we believe we see and can be used to dispel the illusion we have about what is there.

                    Let me change what I said before. Lets not say that I call a rose a tulip but that my karma forces me to see a tulip. This is how it would be stated at DM. Could there be something outside what my karma forces me to see that contradicts what I am forced to see?

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 8:20am

                    And people that believe this stuff can be trusted to make potential life and death decisions for the retreat? scary

                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 10:10am

                    "If one sees a pool of water, only to discover it was a mirage, should one then say 'It was water' that would be very stupid." -Arya Nagarjuna.

                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 11:08am

                    The first assumption, pool of water, is wrong. A mirage is not a pool of water. Calling it water is not a valid perception.
                    If one sees a pool of water , one should say then, 'It was water.'

                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 11:59pm

                    you miss the point Ekan. There was never any water. The insistence that there was water where there was only a mirage is stupid.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 7:37am

                    Of course there is no water where there is a mirage.
                    There is water where there is water.

                    anonymous Sep 16, 2012 9:11pm

                    "What's in a name? That which we call a rose
                    By any other name would smell as sweet."
                    — Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 12:44pm

                    Yes, and that which we call a roach would stink as bad.

                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 1:25pm


                    anonymous Sep 17, 2012 12:36pm

                    "No imputation, no rose."

                    Are you saying it takes a human mind–consciousness–in order for a rose to exist? That it has no independent nature outside of a human/animal mind? Can animals see a rose? Does my cat look at the flower and see what I see? Like if the tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound? Of course it creates sound waves. And, the human/animal receives the sound waves and the brain interprets them. So does a rose, or whatever we call it–the word is arbitrary as it is not intrinsic to the rose; we can ascribe any name to it–exist if there are no human/animal brains? Do physical objects exist independent of human/animal minds? Did Mars exist before we could see it with a telescope? I say yes, of course, because I am a materialist. I believe the ONLY thing that exists is matter. There is no mind without a brain to house it and emerge from. Why not just call your philosophy what it is: idealism? You can put any twist or spin on you like, but isn't that basically what you are attempting to explain and justify here… in this thread? I'm not a philosophy major. So I can't hide my position behind the jargon… like you so carefully do. Why not just use plain English and tell it like it is? You don't think any material objects exist outside the mind.

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 1:17am

                    I don't call myself an idealist because I'm not one. What you and I disagree about is not whether outside objects exist, but how they exist.

                    This may seem as if I'm "hiding my postion behind jargon", but that's not my intent at all. As it turns out, we are discussing a very fine point of Buddhist logic. In part it's difficult because the Buddhist approach is to being with "what can be known" and then goes to existence. And Western philosophy often starts with "what exists" and then it goes to knowledge.

                    And in our case here, we are discussing what the Buddhists call the most subtle of the "what can we know" questions, so even the Buddhists think this is hard.

                    And, for the Buddhists: this conversation is further complicated by the fact that the Tibetan traditions disagree about what each of the schools mean. The Kagyu presentation of Mind-only and Madhyamika is different than the Gelugpa. Sakya and Nyingma are also different.

                    And within the Gelugpa school, there are four different textual explanations of these schools in general and Prasangika in particular. So Alexander Berzin's presentation follows the Jetsun-pa tradition from Sera Jey; GMR follows Tendarma from Sera Me. Jeffrey Hopkins, in his seminal book Emptiness Yoga, is following another tradition. I think Anne Klein is yet another.

                    I think we're discusssing, or right on the verge of discussing, what are called the "eight difficult points", identified by Gyaltsab Je. The third one is called "acceptance of external phenomena". It's difficult because we are, almost, saying that external phenomena don't exist. They exist only as an appearance, which doesn't seem like too much existence at all. And it sure does seem like "appearance" is the same as "100% mentally fabricated"–but, in this school, that's not how it's seen. To deny external phenomena is to make a huge, big mistake. But to accept them the way they appear is to make another gbig mistake.

                    So we'll make mistakes. But we should also be cautious about how to interpret disagreements between say, Prof Hopkins, Prof Berzin and GMR. It might be a true heresy, might be a fine point, might be an emphasis in one tradition that doesn't exist in another. We have to be careful–ultimately we can't rely on what someone says, we have to use logic and our experience in meditation to determine the truth

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 7:48am

                    With all respect, mi mthun dpe, there is remarkable consistency within Buddhism about this. The only major differences that I personally see are between what is taught at DM and mainstream Buddhism.

                    This isn't about you personally or your thinking, I want to make that clear.

                    To get back to the divergence in thinking, stripped of everything else, DM and ACI teach that "everything comes from you." What I have always been taught, year after year is that everything does not come from you.

                    My part comes from me, your part comes from you and we contribute to the vast ocean of collective karma that creates this reality.

                    If everything did come from you, you really could create your perfect reality, you could manage your karma – no need to struggle, no wives would ever leave, no one would get sick, empires would never crumble, no financial problems, no illness… Just doesn't happen that way.

                    Interdependence is the reason why. Everything comes from everyone, from everywhere, in every realm. It is poured together, all interdependent with everyone and everything else.

                    Nirvana and Samsara are also poured into this 'everything', like water poured into water. And it all changes constantly, it's not permanent but shifting, in dependance upon every other being in every other realm. What you think about it, how you perceive it, only changes it relative to your contribution.

                    I'm sure you've heard the analogy of the vast net (like a fishing net) in which we imagine all conscious beings as knots in the net, or like jewels where the knots would be. We are connected to each other and to all other beings no matter how distant. This is Buddha's vast, glittering net of interconnectedness. If you change yourself you contribute to this interdependence but it does not come from you or me. The Buddhists I've talked to all seem to agree on this teaching.

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 10:44am

                    "Interdependence is the reason why. Everything comes from everyone, from everywhere, in every realm. It is poured together, all interdependent with everyone and everything else."

                    "If you change yourself you contribute to this interdependence but it does not come from you or me."

                    This makes perfect sense to me.

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 12:26pm

                    That's good to hear, Jehne, because you're not coming to this preloaded for Buddhist thinking. I know you'll think about it and look at it from a different perspective.

                    I think ideas should feel right, they should have a common sense basis. Otherwise, as HH and my teachers say – ask more questions and if it doesn't fit, throw it out.

                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 10:25am

                    Karen, your premise is somewhat dubious… Since the name of the Buddhist game is nirvana/enlightenment, a practitioner would have nothing to gain by trying to arrest conditioned phenomena into a static form of existence ('happily ever after…')-outside of mental illness. The fact is, since there are no 'Pure Lands' out there from their side, it is incumbent upon the practitioner to 'own their projections' in order to begin to achieve the cessation of these projections suffering nature. (Nirvana)

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 7:58am

                    If there are some books you would suggest, please do.

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 9:06am

                    Finding books on Tibetan Buddhism that are as helpful as teachers has been a problem since the Tibetans walked out of Tibet.

                    I'd even argue it's the cause of everything we're debating here – that lack of definitive texts in English rather than Tibetan. I have a stack of notes from years of teachings but I'm still looking for the perfect book.

                    This one is very good:
                    How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life
                    by the Dalai Lama, translated by Jeffrey Hopkins. ISBN-10: 0743453360. ISBN-13: 978-0743453363

                    Available on Amazon:

                    It's not a beginner's book, unfortunately.

                    Ben, you'll probably just refine what you already know. If anyone knows of a good introduction to Buddhism, preferably by HH, I'd love to know of a book I could recommend to people who aren't Buddhists.

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 9:12am

                    Sorry Ben, I was in no way implying that you are a beginner. I get asked quite often for the name of a good introductory book, this seemed like a good time to ask around. If you know of one, that would be great.

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 9:19am

                    I've sent a lot of people "The Art of Happiness" by HHDL. They seem to get a lot out of it. It doesn't really touch on what we are talking about here.

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 10:13am

                    Hi Karen,
                    "The World of Tibetan Buddhism" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an excellent overview of all the essential components of the tradition.

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 10:38am

                    Oh, that's great. Thanks Ben and Khedrup.

                    anonymous Sep 18, 2012 10:46am


                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 5:00am

                    Material objects do NOT exist "outside the mind." If this were not so, a rose could exist independent of mind-yet none do.

                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 9:39am

                    Very funny!

                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 10:15am

                    why "very funny" Ekan?

                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 11:10am

                    Because it made me laugh.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 12:03am

                    circular logic is unworthy of you.

                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 10:28am

                    Insisting that there is an objective reality is a big mistake too.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 12:18am

                    What about promoting the idea that if you don't like the color of your partner's eyes you can change their color by planting karmic seeds to do so?

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 12:40am

                    someone who seeks to change another person's eye-color is either mad-or some stupendous variety of asshole-but probably just mad.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 1:02am

                    So is the person promoting such an idea also either mad or an asshole?

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 8:00am

                    what do you think, Ben?

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 8:47am

                    First, I think EJ auto deletes comments with profanity, so I am going change a word you used.

                    If you're asking me what I think your answer to my question is, I am afraid I don't have enough history of your comments to make an informed decision. Your answer to my question makes me believe that your would be yes, but there have been some on here who, IMO, go to great pains not to criticize GMR or what he does. I am currently reading "Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts" by Carol Travis and Elliot Aronson. So far, it's a really good book. One thing it says, which is something I've said, is that when people invest a lot to be part of a group, they will ignore evidence that the group is misguided or harmful. I think that is very evident with people at DM. There are times when questions like mine are completely ignored by some posting on here. I think it is because the answer is obvious and uncomfortable.

                    If you're asking me if I think GMR is mad or a jerk, I can't say. I think his karmic management doesn't work but whether he really believes it or uses it as a hook to get people into his group, I can't say. In the first cases, I would say he is deluded. In the second case, I suppose you could say he was a jerk but if he believes getting people in his group will help him in the long run, maybe calling him a jerk isn't appropriate.

                    One thing I believe about him, he does have a lot of knowledge about TB, but apart from that, he isn't anything special. You can learn things from him but he is just like a lot of other "wise men" and "gurus" you will find, complete with their own selfish motivations and delusions.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 9:38am

                    I think it's better if your question is rephrased so it addresses the principle (or the core issue). Otherwise it's too easy to be dismissive of the respondent's answer–and then it might end up being a conversation that favors rhetorical style. Second, the question might be somewhat badly phrased, in that it implicitly assumes a kind of causation that doesn't really exist. Readers might interpret the question–and therefore the answer–with respect to the word "change" ("change s.o's eye color") as equivalent to "bring into being a different eye color", which is how, in English, we usually interpret a work like "change": some force has acted upon an object and "changed" it into some other kind of object or has "changed" an attribute of the object. But I don't think that's what GMR means or what Prof Berzin means when they talk about karma and karmic results. It's more like karmic seeds ripen and bring something into your experience.

                    So I think the question we're interested in goes something like this: Is there any experience that one can have that is NOT karmically produced?

                    The answer each of us might give could vary depending on the school of Buddhism to which we adhere (for the Nikaya Buddhists, for example, the answer is a very clear "Yes".) And it also has implications for what we think Enlightenment is, what we think the Pure Lands are, and so on. And it has a bearing on the ontological question: what does it mean for something to exist–in some TB dialectic schools, the meaning of "to exist" is "to be knowable/to be perceived". So then the question is about the extent to which karmic fruits determine one's capacity to know/to perceive.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 10:22am

                    No, that is exactly what I don't want to do. I don't want to muddle what GMR claims with the subtleties of emptiness and the different outlooks of the various schools. I think it is a dodge.

                    It doesn't matter what you think he means, what matters is what people without the TB background you possess will think he means. Those are the people to whom he is talking.

                    GMR says, "You don't like the color of you partners eyes? You go and plant the right karmic seeds, come back and they will be the color you wanted."

                    In fact he lists a lot of things you can change about your partner and he makes it sound relatively easy.

                    The subtleties of emptiness and karma are things I am greatly interested in learning about and discussing. But the "core issue" in my opinion, is whether what GMR teaches accords with TB. Whether he s being deceptive when he makes these claims about the malleability of experience. I think he is either being deceptive or is deluded.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 10:35am

                    I don't see how we can discuss whether GMR's teachings accord with Tibetan Buddhism without going into some detail about what we each think Tibetan Buddhism actually teaches

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 11:31am

                    Ok. Perhaps we should focus on whether GMR is being deceptive when he tells people you can change the color of your partner's eyes by using his methods.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 2:00pm

                    "It doesn't matter what you think he means, what matters is what people without the TB background you possess will think he means. Those are the people to whom he is talking."


                    anonymous Oct 8, 2012 4:58am

                    No. No it does not exist w/o naming or labeling.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 2:06pm

                    Get a grip!

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 5:39pm

                    Prove otherwise, Grandma! Your distaste for Roach is obvious and perhaps even necessary-but that doesn't mean that objects aren't merely imputed by mind. MR and LZ and HHDL and all the rest of the Gelugpa agree upon THAT much.( You should crack a book on tenets, maybe.)

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 6:07pm

                    You're making the assertion. You prove it, buddy-boy.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 9:22pm

                    If objects aren't merely labeled, then they must have some independent mode of existence. The Buddha taught existing things are dependently arisen. If things existed w/o imputation, why isn't this observed? Nothing exists independent of mind. Ask Milarepa. Or Nagarjuna. But don't let this inconvenient truth get in the way of your kicks. (Such as they are.)

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 9:56pm

                    It sounds like you're asking why we don't observe things we don't observe or only observe things we have abserved. It really doesn't make sense. If you believe there was at one time a universe without life, and the right causes and conditions came together for life to begin. And through the process of evolution, creatures of sufficient complexity came about which possessed what we call minds, then through implication and necsessity there were things which existed independently of minds and without imputation. Neither we (nor or minds) can be the cause of things on which our and our minds existence depends.

                    anonymous Oct 9, 2012 10:36pm

                    This is what the Theravadin Buddhists believe–that there are natural forces (physical, vegetal, and two others, I think.) that interact with the karmic force. The interaction of these five forces produces the phenomenal world. So, in this view, external objects have their own mode of subsistence. This is Karen's view, more or less. And Zirconia's I think.

                    Or we can take karma out of the equation entirely, which, on rereading your post, may in fact be your position. Then we'd say, as you do above, that mind is actually physical or it's some kind of emergent property. This latter view is Jehne's position, I believe.

                    But none of the Prasangika Buddhists here–regardless of their views on GMR–believe either of the two positions above.

                    anonymous Oct 10, 2012 4:04pm

                    It sounds like you believe that, to be considered a Prasangika you most necessarily have a belief which excludes the possibility of mind being an emergent property. I don't know if that is correct. Can you elucidate?

                    anonymous Oct 10, 2012 10:09pm

                    There are numerous mental factors involved in the prasangika parsing of reality. One factor of mind is that it is primordially unproduced. The unproduced does not arise ("emerge,") so your instinct is fine there.

                    anonymous Oct 11, 2012 11:27am

                    Forgive me if I am being dense. I think perhaps the term "primordially unproduced" is what is giving me problems. Are eternal mindstreams without beginning are a necessary component of Prasangika?

                    anonymous Oct 11, 2012 12:17pm

                    Why, yes it is. Absolutely.

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 10:38am

                    I wish more people would chime in and verify that emergent consciousness and Prasangika are at odds. No offense, but one anonymous poster can be mistaken. Let me also say that if you know me, feel free to contact me on FB or in person if you want to discuss this further.

                    It makes sense that if everything relies on consciousness to exist then consciousness must at least exist before eveything else or, as you state, be beginingless. I am wondering whether there are good reasons to be believe consciousness is beginningless or whether this belief arises out of necessity due to the belief that all things rely on consciousness for their existence. Let me say that I found the "proof" found in the ACI course about future lives is severely lacking but maybe I overlooked something.

                    I'd also like to say that I can see the wisdom in saying that things arise dependently on the external along with the internal. I believe that the concept of the thing is necessary for the thing to exist. I don't believe that a things needs to be labelled in order to exist but must be able to be labelled. I believe this removes the need for begininingless consciousness. I have heard AB talk about this same idea. I don't need to see the tree in the forest for the tree to exist but the concept of tree needs to exist as well as an object that satisfies the requirements of that concept (which I believe to be subjective). This last part is something AB says is incorrect but so far I haven't heard him go into the details of why (not that concepts are subjective but that an object needs to possess certain characteristics in order to be validly labelled). I may be misunderstanding AB and was hoping to listen to this again before posting but I am having trouble finding the audio clip. I also really wish I had a better term or more exact terms than "exist" to use. I believe we are conceptual creatures and need the concepts to talk about, think about, work with "things" but that this need doesn't carry over into "actual existence" or something like that. 🙂

                    There is a very strong possibility that the way I think of things is contained in one of the other schools. Unfortunately the courses I've taken at DM only touch upon these different schools. I think a deeper knowledge of the "lower schools" would have been a extremely beneificial thing for me and all the Dm students to whom I've talked. I can see that time and ego may have made spedning more time on the "lower schools" problematic.

                    I really wish there were people I could talk to about these things or video/audio or a book (listed in order of usefulness for my particular style of learning).

                    anonymous Oct 14, 2012 8:45pm

                    "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" is often mistaken for a Zen koan, but the question was more or less raised/addressed by George Berkeley, an 18th century philosopher. I won't have time to write down my argument on perception/emptiness/"Prasangika's rose" until the end of the month, but you might find this interesting:

                    "Berkeley's example is referred to by William Fossett twenty years later in a consideration of the emergence of meaning: 'Tease apart the threads [of the natural world] and the pattern vanishes. The design is in how the cloth-maker arranges the threads: this way and that, as fashion dictates. […] To say something is meaningful is to say that that is how we arrange it so; how we comprehend it to be, and what is comprehended by you or I may not be by a cat, for example. If a tree falls in a park and there is no-one to hand, it is silent and invisible and nameless. And if we were to vanish, there would be no tree at all; any meaning would vanish along with us. Other than what the cats make of it all, of course.'"

                    A different answer: "The definition of sound, simplified, is a hearable noise. The tree will make a sound, even if nobody heard it. The definition states that sound is a hearable noise. So the tree could have been heard, though nobody was around to do so."

                  anonymous Sep 17, 2012 1:24pm


                anonymous Sep 17, 2012 1:16pm

                Did you read the above post. it refutes everything you are claiming to be true about the nature of reality. Do you disagree with what the Dalai Lama said?

              anonymous Sep 17, 2012 1:14pm

              Excellent post!

      anonymous Sep 14, 2012 9:52am

      Generally, #2 is the meaning of the "substantial" is the English used in Buddhism philosophy for:

      (1) "substantial cause" versus "contributing causes"; and

      (2)the type of Self that all* Buddhist philosophers reject as non-existent: a 'substantially existent (in the sense of being) self-sufficient self'.

      * Apparently, once upon a time a small number of early Buddhists held that "Selflessness" only entailed a rejection of a permanent, partless (unitary), autonomous (independent), i.e., Atman-type soul/Self.

anonymous Sep 13, 2012 8:25am

swing low sweet chariot

Lama Yeshe once said, "You Americans are too gullible. You need to check out your guru more closely." He also said, "Don't take vows you can't keep."

Someone cried recently in the DMU temple for all that has been lost.

I posted this earlier. It got deleted. Let's try again: "They" (from many of their points of view) are trying to whitewash Ian. His girlfriend just BC was a high school wrestler. The first time he tried to take a slap at her, she had him down in a headlock in three seconds. Is this gossip, thread, or history?

    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 8:38am

    BC – before Christie? Did her name start with an N?
    Who do you mean by they?
    Whitewash Ian, meaning turn him into a saint?
    What about the tradition of not speaking ill of the dead?

      anonymous Sep 13, 2012 8:52am

      yes, "They" is all wishing to respect the departed, various motivations….please include me…..however the dirt and soil of this earth cannot supplant the dirty linen that GMR left on the Spin cycle

    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 8:58am

    " Is this gossip, thread, or history"

    It depend on the truth of it– is she personally coming forward with any information? is anyone who saw this occur willing to speak out?

    Personally, I try not to speak ill of the dead out of respect for their families. I think it has been made clear what kind of issues Ian might have faced in his lifetime. Please remember, his family might be reading this.

anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:38pm

"a priori"

    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:00pm

    I made a typo and don't have the ability to correct it, as now you posted under my comment and the edit feature is disabled. And you poke fun at this typo, saying, "'came a posterior' sounds like something that happens in a porn movie." But you yourself, right after that, made a very similar typo. Did I immediately attack you and make fun of you in an attempt to make you look careless and dumb–like you did to me? No, I did not. I don't need to resort to such tactics–ad hominem attacks–to win an argument. Hilarious. This kind of stuff makes it hard to take what you say seriously. Your methods of debate are a little unscrupulous.

      anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:16pm

      I apologize. I didn't do that to make you look dumb. I don't correct spelling mistakes but in this case I had to to set up the porn movie joke which I thought was funny (I assume I am not alone in this opinion).

      I do think you have a misunderstanding about a priori. You made another mistake using it on another thread. If misusing a term means your dumb then I think most of us our pretty stupid. It doesn't though.

      And I don't think you think my methods of debate are unscrupulous. You know differently. But you are correctly pointing out that I pointed out a minor flaw in your comment. I can only reiterate that my intention was not to discredit you.

        anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:37pm

        Do you really think people got the porn joke? I don't think most people would have.

        But I accept your apology. Maybe I will stay away from using the terms a priori and a posteriori until I understand these terms better. Clearly I need a refresher course in philosophy 101. It has been a long time since I studied these concepts in college and they aren't a part of my everyday discourse.

          anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:41pm

          I appreciate you accepting my apology.

anonymous Sep 10, 2012 4:16pm

Something new from Michael Roach regarding the retreat:

    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 4:39pm

    Well if the big brain gets out of this trap at least we got the caretakers better quarters! Wait till the next two stories come out…….

      anonymous Sep 10, 2012 6:44pm

      I showed the press release to a guy in town.He said bragging about his Asia stuff is sort of like Jerry Lewis bragging about how the French loved him after his carrerr arc stated it's decline

        anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:23pm

        I love the people in Bowie. They are such a slice of Americana that is disappearing. There is something free about their way of thinking! I was very impressed that first summer back in 2004.

    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 6:48pm

    "It made me deeply proud of each of them, and you should be too. It is one thing to put a man on the moon; but this retreat is itself a cultural and spiritual achievement of the modern world, which I feel is almost unprecedented."

    Please tell me this is early Alzheimer's setting in and not a typical example of Michael Roach's way of thinking. This is absurd, grandiose, and delusional, to say the least.

      anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:22pm

      "This is absurd, grandiose, and delusional, to say the least."

      I would agree.

      Also, how many times did he mention how many people come to his talks?

      Wow.Just wow.

        anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:43pm

        I know. And even posting the pics to prove it, haha.

          anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:50pm

          I thought the same thing….you have to post the picture to prove it?

          wow. just wow.

            anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:55pm

            This letter of his has really cemented by opinion of him. He is like a child full of magical thinking and in need of constant ego stroking. Unreal. There's no humility there. Can you even fathom the Dalai Lama speaking this way? I can't.

              anonymous Sep 10, 2012 9:00pm

              I totally agree.

                anonymous Sep 11, 2012 12:56am

                I've also never heard His Holiness the Dalai Lama mention how many people come to his talks. True, authentic greatness needs no advertisement.

      anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:25pm

      Jehne, I am so glad you are not falling for it. Yes, this is typical and I used to soak it up like dry toast.

        anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:47pm

        I saw one of his talks on YouTube where he was talking about parallel universes. And he kept saying to the audience that each of them existed in a parallel universe… all of us do, and he knows this for a fact. A fact? What? Scientists don't know this for a fact. The camera then panned to the audience and they were lapping it up. Couldn't believe my eyes.

      anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:35pm

      "almost unprecedented."


        anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:48pm

        More miraculous and wondrous than man landing of the moon! What???

          anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:52pm

          My thoughts exactly.

          wow. just wow…

      anonymous Sep 10, 2012 8:18pm

      It is very typical of his thinking I must agree. He is a straight up status seeker, that has always been my opinion of him. It is part of the sales pitch, the aura, that you come into a room that really has a lot of heavy hitters in their fields sitting together. It is a big ego stroke for everyone. imo.

      anonymous Sep 10, 2012 9:49pm

      "It is one thing to put a man on the moon; but this retreat is itself a cultural and spiritual achievement of the modern world"

      That was a good comparison, as both are bogus.

        anonymous Sep 10, 2012 10:38pm

        Oh brother!

          anonymous Sep 11, 2012 7:15am

          Ah, well. Somehow I thought retreat meant no communication with anyone whatsoever at all period. What do I know? Live n learn.

            anonymous Sep 11, 2012 10:09am

            The "Oh brother" comment was about the man on the moon statement, not about Roach. I agree with the posts above. Roach's letter is absurd, grandiose, and delusional. I am not a follower of Roach.

    anonymous Sep 11, 2012 11:19am

    This letter is directed at financial supporters or potential financial supporters of the retreat.

    I agree that MR's way of speaking (and thinking) about things is grandiose, and that moon comment was just bizarre, but come on… but he's trying to solicit funds- why wouldn't he show people and tell people how many students attend his events? I think it's perfectly sane to put an organization in it's best light– even if exaggerated– in order to solicit money. Most non-profit and for-profit companies also do this all the time; it's really not unusual.

    More than half of this letter is about other people, not MR. While I do think it's somewhat self-congratulating, it is expected for this type of letter. I'm not a follower of MR, but to jump on this particular letter for ego-stroking is not accepting the reality that they need money and the way to get money (do improve conditions) donations is to be self-promotional. Maybe it's not how a typical monk act, I don't know, but it's certainly the way a typical businessman would behave.

    I was rather glad to hear publicly of some of the changes that are taking place– changes this very forum has been calling for:
    shorter retreats
    better working conditions for caretakers
    the option for those in retreat now to periodically come out of silence and commune with one another
    a resident dining facility
    new gardens for self-sustainability
    the board working more closely with the retreatants; retreatants having more say in day-to-day functionality of the retreat
    MR personally going to AZ
    and more.

    Let's try not to be hypocritical here, huh? The witch-hunt seem to be in full effect.

      anonymous Sep 11, 2012 12:05pm

      The thing is, it is not a business and shouldn't be treated as such. It is a religion. Or am I missing something here? Fundraising is fine. But to tell your supporters/backers that their dollars are being wisely spent because the retreat is akin to putting humans on the moon is a lie. He's telling a tall tale. Does he think that the 30+ people in retreat are going to bring peace to the world? Is this the bill of goods he's selling? If he hadn't made the moon comment, I would mostly agree with you, cloverleaf, that he is simply giving an update and report for the families and sponsors. But then he has to talk about his big audience seminars and posts pics. What purpose did this serve other than to show everyone how his cult is spreading past the borders of Diamond Mountain? When the retreat is over and world peace has not arrived, will the sponsors get their money back?

        anonymous Sep 11, 2012 2:28pm

        Report: Chinese police raid Tibetan monastery, take away 5 monks, beat others
        And he goes to China…….
        By Associated Press, Published: September 4

        BEIJING — A U.S. broadcaster says hundreds of Chinese police raided a Tibetan monastery in northwestern China near where two Tibetans set themselves on fire in June to protest what activists say is Beijing’s heavy-handed rule.

        Radio Free Asia said Wednesday that security forces took away five monks during Saturday’s raid at the Zilkar monastery in Yushu prefecture in Qinghai province.

        The broadcaster cites an India-based Tibetan with sources in the region as saying that at least three of the monks were seized for providing foreign media agencies with details about the June self-immolation protests by a herder and a migrant carpenter.

        A woman surnamed Zhang who answered the phone at the local government office said she had not heard about the incident.

        Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

        anonymous Sep 11, 2012 7:28pm

        "The thing is, it is not a business and shouldn't be treated as such. It is a religion. Or am I missing something here?"

        "Oh. Who's being naive, Kay? "

          anonymous Sep 11, 2012 11:32pm

          What does that mean?

            anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:44am

            It's a line from the Godfather and I am using it to call you naive if you think there is a difference between religion and business.

            I will admit that there is supposed to be but I don't see it in any religion of size – The Catholic Church, Scientology, TM, EST, Sai Baba, TB before being pushed out of Tibet, even after being pushed out. Like many on here have specualted, it was $ not merit that got GMR his Geshe degree. Doesn;t matter if it is true. No one is shocked by the possibility.

            I knew a preacher who used to say he would take the collection plate after service and throw the money up in the air. God could take what he wanted and what fell to the floor the preacher kept. Watch broadcasts from "prosperity churches". "Just send us a seed ($) and god will turn it into a bounty." I'm sure a lot don't start out that way but most eventually end up that way if they last.

            When Paul (who was Saul) went to convince Peter and James to allow Gentiles into the Christian religion, he didn't use logic, reason, or calls for compassion. He brought chests full of donations from the Gentiles to them.

            GMR is just doing what they all do. I'm sure he believes he has good reasons. They all believe they have good reasons.

              anonymous Sep 12, 2012 4:15am

              Sounds like we might as well close down this forum now and while we're at it, let's just finish the race to the bottom of morality as fast as we can.

                anonymous Sep 12, 2012 9:30am

                Maybe we should stop judging GMR as if he were a saint and judge him instead as what he is, the leader of a religious group.

                Think of how dfferently all this would have been if the wise leaders of TB hadn't have given him that geshe degree. I suppose they had their reasons.

            anonymous Sep 12, 2012 4:30am

            Jehne, maybe you're getting a taste of the success of MR "Mind Training" — His Holiness didn't personally reply to MR's request for approval ('I'm an Arya, She's a Goddess') nor sign the HHDL Office letters blasting MR that were posted on the internet in 2006, so that proves the Dalai Lama supports MR.

            MR is an Arya, so you're in no position to judge him, but if you do analyze his behavior critically, then you'll lose all your good karmic merit and are engaged in a witch hunt. Actually, you shouldn't analyze and judge any situations or people's actions, but especially not your holy lama. MR is your holy lama; isn't he? You've listened to his on-line videos – he is a lama and he was teaching.

            If some little voice in your head is going, "But …", remember the cruelest immoralities are just SOP for humanity so you're just one of those nasty-minded persons who wastes time criticizing their betters.

            No Buddhist teachers or monks behave with more morality, wisdom or compassion than MR because MR says they don't and his students will tell you the same.

              anonymous Sep 12, 2012 8:07am

              "maybe you're getting a taste of the success of MR "Mind Training""

              I have never had any MR 'mind training", so if you are referring to me you are mistaken.

        anonymous Sep 11, 2012 9:19pm

        "The thing is, it is not a business and shouldn't be treated as such. It is a religion. Or am I missing something here? "
        I never said it was a business. It's not. It's a non-profit. They still have to raise funds. And they usually hire businessman-types to do it.

        "Fundraising is fine. But to tell your supporters/backers that their dollars are being wisely spent because the retreat is akin to putting humans on the moon is a lie. He's telling a tall tale. "
        So what? I think priests are full of it when they say "this is the body and blood of Christ" but I cannot stop them from saying it, nor would I want to. It's his belief, or so he consistently says. Is he exaggerating or ego-stroking with this comparison? Yep, I think so. Do people do that every single day to raise money? Or simply by being human? Certainly. I also think this statement is just too far-fetched for anyone to literally buy it. Apples and oranges. Holding some degree of personal accountability is necessary when donating money anywhere. This is not a new concept.

        "Does he think that the 30+ people in retreat are going to bring peace to the world? Is this the bill of goods he's selling?"
        Yep, I think so. Or if he doesn't, it doesn't matter in this case. He's speaking for DM and that is their stated goal so of course that's the position the non-profit takes.

        "But then he has to talk about his big audience seminars and posts pics. What purpose did this serve other than to show everyone how his cult is spreading past the borders of Diamond Mountain? "
        Well, I have not spoken to him, but that does seem to be the point. If I were to donate money to DM, I would want to be reassured about the number of students attending, wouldn't you? Especially now. I think there is a very valid rational thought behind this point.

        "When the retreat is over and world peace has not arrived, will the sponsors get their money back? "
        Of course not. I don't get my money back when starving children still go hungry, and yet I donate every quarter still the same. Giving money to a cause is never assured. You aren't buying a service. Like you said in the first place, it's not a business.

        This thread just seems so downright mean to me. It just seems like everyone is justifying their own bias here, taking situations that would be considered 'normal' from anyone else and vilifying MR for it. It's just not right. It's certainly not Buddhist behavior. Seems like ego-stroking for the "I-hate-Roach" crowd. I understand the outrage, but if we here are purporting to be 'better' than he is– more honest, not trying to manipulate others– then we have to actually ACT more responsibly or it turns into some sort of childish name-calling and stops being founded in fact, just emotion. We lose the point of all of these articles when we allow our emotions to so cloud judgement that anything MR says or does is seen as more 'proof' of his vileness. We give up our own credibility when we act this way.

          anonymous Sep 11, 2012 11:23pm

          The real question is why any westerner would follow him after all his lies have been exposed.I can see how he draws crowds in Asia.The pet Lama of China doesn't go unnoticed on the edges of the empire. Shameful

            anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:46am

            "The real question is why any westerner would follow him after all his lies have been exposed."

            How many people still consider themselves Catholic?

          anonymous Sep 11, 2012 11:29pm

          I'm not sure exactly how to respond to this. Clearly you are emotionally invested in Roach and Diamond Mountain. These words of yours were not written by someone with an objective perspective. When I first started posting here, I kept an open mind. I even played Devil's advocate and was not quick to make up my mind about Roach and what he was about. But after all this time, I have come to that same conclusion that many others here have. Roach is up to no good. He has abused his position of power. His actions and words are hurting other people. He is a leader responsible for teaching and guiding others. But his teachings are harmful. They are full of lies and metaphysical inaccuracies. I don't think there is much left to discuss. I think the mystery has been solved. Roach is unfit to be the caretaker of people's hopes and dreams.

            anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:21am

            Jehne, I respect your process and your conclusions, but the fact that you have decided a certain way doesn't mean that people who disagree with you are not objective or are deciding based on some emotional investment. It just means they've drawn a different conclusion than you.

              anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:35am

              Anyone who defends Roach has an emotional investment. Think about it.

                anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:52am

                Yes, but it's trivially true: It's equally the case that people who criticize have an emotional investment. I think we're discussing, in this little sidetrack here, whether 1. people can make a somewhat objective decision about GMR in spite of their emotional inclination towards or against. And, 2. whether you or I can sit with the idea that someone else's opinion may oppose ours, without you or I concluding that their mere opposing position is prima facie evidence of some faulty decision-making process. (or insanity or delusion)

                  anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:12am

                  But it's not just somebody. It is cloverleaf who has been here from the beginning of this discussion. It doesn't seem like he is just a fence sitter as I once was. He seems emotionally invested in Roach and Diamond Mountain. And I'd wager a bet that you are as well mi. Because despite how articulate and objective you want to come across, you still appear to be batting for Team Roach.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 8:27am


                    I'm not on Team Roach. I am not now nor have I ever been a supporter– financially or otherwise– of MR or DM. But I'm also not on any 'Team' here– this is not a fantasy teen vampire movie; it's real life and death.

                    At the same time, I'm not going to just sit back and watch the hunt. If you want this forum to have any credibility, like I do, then you won't jump on the Crucify Roach team either. It's one thing to believe he is wrong and potentially causing harm, it's another to vilify him and use his every (mundane) action to support that view. Personally, I don't give him that much credit.

                    I have been here since the beginning of Remski's articles. I have watched this board go through stages, ebbs, and flows. And I'm telling you that this particular thread is just an ego trip for the anti-Roachers that lowers the integrity of any of the actual, verifiable problems found at DM and with MR. If we all really want to help people, calling MR names isn't going to do it.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 9:21am

                    There are a couple people on here who have convinced themselves that GMR is an evil man and everyone needs to be warned about him. The are filled with religous zeal and self righteousness and if you don't think as they do then you must be a "Roachhead" or under his "mind-control".

                    I know people who didn't have enough money to build their retreat cabin and GMR gave them the money. When the story about Ian broke, friends close to GMR were worried that funding for the retreat would dry up. It seems like GMR is taking steps to prevent that from happening.

                    I said it before and I'll say it again, I don't know if GMR's motivations are altrustic or greedy and self serving. I've come to the conclusion that his philosophies are wrong and many of his statements are false. Whether he believes his statements or whether he is actively deceiving people, I can't say. I don't need to say. I can point out the things that are incorrect and allow the other person to make up their own mind.

                    With all the problems I have with GMR and what he has done, the attitudes of some of the people on here almost make me want to defend him.

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 8:22am

                    Ben, as usual, I appreciate your voice here.

                    This part:
                    "I know people who didn't have enough money to build their retreat cabin and GMR gave them the money."

                    Are you saying MR gave them money from his own pocket? Any thoughts?

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 9:03am

                    I am trying to remember exactly what the person said but can't. It wasn't that GMR gave them money, I realized that after I posted. It was something like GMR helped us get the money or something.

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 9:28am

                    Ok, Thanks for the info.

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 9:38am

                    There was all kinds of fund-raising. Christie too raised some money and gave to others before she gave to her own probably because she knew there would be the big auction-type high-pressure event on our graduation night that would cover her own cabin.

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 10:11am

                    Thanks for that info, Ekan.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 11:41am

                    I disagree, as I was the one that go the ball rolling.

                    Roach doesn't need you, mi mthun dpe, or anyone else defend him here. He is a highly intelligent adult who is quite capable of doing so on his own. He is not a child or someone being persecuted for his gender, race, sexual orientation, or some other characteristic for which he has no control over. He is being scrutinized and criticized for teaching and perpetuating a dangerous belief system, which is built upon blatant lies and inaccuracies.

                    This forum has, and still is, serving a very good purpose. It’s helped Ekan and others who devoted their time, energy, and resources to Roach to get their feelings of frustration and anger out into the open…to discuss their disappointments, loss, and betrayal with other grieving people–a place to come to terms with the deception and go through a grieving process. I think they are on their way. I find it sad that you are continuing to be a barrier to this for NO good reason. As you stated, you are not tied to Roach in any way. So why all the effort in being the voice of reason and objectivity here? Let these people here heal. If Roach needs to squash the so called rumors and stop the witch hunt, let him hire an attorney to do his bidding. You’re defending someone who could care less that you are here typing away a sweet, thoughtful defense of the indefensible. You've taken on a thankless job. Roach won't be sending you a thank you card, believe me.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:04pm

                    So now you are the one who decides what this forum is about?

                    I would like this forum to be a place where people studying or thinking of studying with GMR can come and get an objective viewpoint.

                    When I was at DM, I stumbled across diamond (I believe it was called). It was anti-roach and it helped me keep my skeptics eye open for fallacies. I was thankful for it but it had a major shortoming in that it didn't appear objective. It appeared anti-Roach. Because of that, it could be easily discounted by many. I heard people say that it was someone who had a grudge against Roach. I heard people say it was someone trying to extort money from Roach. When it went away people said the person finally gave up trying to get money from Roach.

                    The things is, you don't need to go to extremes and try and paint everything Roach does as vile. The truth is enough. Karmic management doesn't work and the breakups of so many couples at DM including GMR/LC prove it. His TB isn't TB and he has been ostracized from the TB community and censured by HHDL. His biographical facts are inconsistent.

                    When you go to the extreme you look like someone who has their own agenda and not someone who wants the truth to get out.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:33pm

                    "So now you are the one who decides what this forum is about?"

                    Gosh no, please. I'm talking about the discussion on this particular thread. I made that initial comment about his grandiose and delusional comment… "It made me deeply proud of each of them, and you should be too. It is one thing to put a man on the moon; but this retreat is itself a cultural and spiritual achievement of the modern world, which I feel is almost unprecedented." The comments posted after that were determined to be unfair and irrational by you, cloverleaf, and mi mthun dpe. You are replying to a comment that was in response to cloverleaf–not anything you had said.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:07pm

                    I agree the moon comment was grandiose although it doesn't top the charts on the GMR grandiose scale. I think my tempered reaction to it is caused by my experiences with other religions and seeing the claims they make to gather adherents and donations.

                    Although there was a time I veiwed GMR as something different (potentially), more and more I am seeing him as just another religious leader with his own personal agenda.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:54pm

                    I posted something and it never showed up? why would that happen?

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 2:10pm

                    I posted a link twice and both posts have not shown up….my first one did and then it was gone. However, my post above showed up….but, I didn't have the link in there. I feel I am being edited……not to be paranoid…….but why wouldn't my posts with this link not show up?

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 2:48pm

                    Please try again.

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 8:36am


                    In no way am I a 'barrier' for the process of healing. I've helped many people heal throughout all of this. I welcome people who need to heal to post here and I want it to be a safe place for them to do so.

                    I didn't call out a newbie who was 'healing'. I called you out– an outsider, Athiest, who doesn't have any stakes in this. I actually (naively) believed you would understand my point here– after all, I did the exact same thing when this board was trying to vilify you personally for having a more scientific view. I thought that maybe I had helped you to feel 'safe' around here, but maybe that's not correct. I thought that you would at least logically understand the need to fact-based accusations and the need for this forum to refrain from libel in order to be credible and actually be a safe place to talk.

                    I haven't done one single action or post for the benefit of MR. I believe my calls for human decency benefits those people you reference above to keep this forum civil and fact-based. I believe it helps us all to not only call MR out when he does something bizarre (like the moon comment), but to also point out the positive (like all the changes at DM). I'm not doing this for a pat on the back– I don't want or need recognition (as evidenced by my posting under a pseudonym).

                    I'm here on this forum and arguing for basic decency because I believe it's the right thing to do.

                  anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:39am

                  It is not "equally the case" that Roach's critics are emotionally invested. That assumption would reduce this entire inquiry to nothing but an emotional display. Granted, there are emotions involved with some posters, yet other posts are concerned with timelines, hagiographical accounts, personal anecdotes, Roach's own words, etc. There are plenty of first-hand testimonies, reasoned surmise, and anecdotal accounts in the story here to make clear the case that Roach is not all he wishes the world to believe he is. Ian Thorson's death is sufficient cause to parse his program with every forensic tool available. Ian was as close to being a registered sketch-case as ever walked across the cattle-guard onto Diamond Mountain, and Roach knows it.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 6:45am

                    You seem to be saying that a priori, GMR's "defenders" are emotionally invested, while GMR's critics are not. I don't see why that would be the case. Nor the evidence for the belief, since GMR's defenders are rather scarce around here, in spite of the cozy welcome mat.

                    Scrutiny is good. The critique, in this subthread, was simple: the scrutiny and forensic inquiry with respect to GMR's recent letter is excessive in that it seems to not recognize the character of the letter nor to allow for the possibility that GMR and DMU are making changes to DMU/the retreat and so on.

                    Whether the letter is completely different or not from other Buddhist teachers could be established in about 30 seconds using the Googles: it turns out that there are photos of crowds and crowd counts on the websites of some very well-known Tibetan Buddhist lamas, including the heads of lineages. Less easy to find (might take a few minutes) are Tibetan namthars (hagiographies), which detail the good works of the subject: so many books written, so many stupas built, so many laypeople educated, etc. It's not unheard of to speak this way about one's organization. I think the scrutiny here, for this letter, is a case of "believing is seeing". Should he not write a summary to his followers of the organization's activities?

                    Finally: I don't understand the reference to Ian's mental state. The better practice is the age-old one: de mortuis nil nisi bonum. In this at least, both Corvid and GMR are in agreement

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 10:50am

                    And for similar reasons do they both speak well of the dead Ian. They want to appear to be kind. But their motivations are different. Corvid speaks well of the dead because Ian is being expunged from the DM official history; and MR does so because he cannot afford the negative publicity that follows from the facts of Ian's past (and well-known by Roach) history of partner abuse.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:14pm

                    Hey i just liked the guy….

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 11:58am

                    "You seem to be saying that a priori, GMR's "defenders" are emotionally invested, while GMR's critics are not."

                    Are you saying that we are claiming that those who follow Roach are emotionally invested before they even met Roach—they came to the program with a priori emotional ties? This is NOT what anyone is suggesting at all. That’s crazy talking. We think the emotional involvement, investment, commitment etc. came a posterior—after they met Roach and adopted his belief system. Emotional connections/attachments develop through meaningful interpersonal interactions, over time—not through the reading of his book or Wikipedia entry, or watching his talks on YouTube—at least not in the case of persons without certifiable mental illnesses.

                    The rest of your post is all spin.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:29pm

                    I'm replying to Kalarupa's original statement: "anyone who defends Roach has an emotional investment."

                    It doesn't say "followers of GMR", "students at DMU" or any other qualification. It seems to suggest that anyone who supports GMR–for any reason–does so for emotional causes primarily. That is, it can never be the case that one might support GMR out of reason.

                    Let me give an example: I might be someone who concludes: GMR exaggerates and is inconsistent with his story of his life but I think his presentation of emptiness is consistent with Prasangika Madhyamika (a specific and very important school of Buddhist philosophy). Is that a reasoned conclusion? Apparently not: to Kalarupa (if I understand correctly), I am now a "Roach defender"–the reasons I may have for supporting Roach aren't worth exploring.

                    It reeks of the Santo Officio

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 6:34pm

                    This might be off topic (and confused), but I disagree with this:

                    "his presentation of emptiness is consistent with Prasangika Madhyamika (a specific and very important school of Buddhist philosophy). "

                    It could be you were just using that as an example and do not truly believe it.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 7:03pm

                    Thus I have heard…

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 7:56am

                    It's an example, but I do believe it is the case. There's been very little discussion on this board of what he actually teaches (or perhaps I've missed it)–=there's been more talk about the date his mother died than about whether his teachings are consistent with, say, the Protector Nagarjuna.

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 8:09am

                    What do you mean Protector Nagarjuna? Protector is a new adjective for me in relation to Nagarjuna.

                    Are you a Dorje Shugden practitioner? That was the first thing that came to mind with that phrase. A quick google search found a connection between the two.

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 9:46am

                    Protector is a common honorific used for Nagarjuna. It has nothing to do with Dorje Shugden (nor do I)

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 12:00pm

                    mgon po klu sgrub is the typical Tibetan rendition of (according to the Illuminator dictionary) the Sanskrit Nagarjunanatha. This is translated often into English as "The Guardian Nagarjuna" or "The Protector Nagarjuna".
                    The names of the great Pandits are often ornamented with such titles, you often here of "The Gloriious Chandrakirti" or "Son of the Conquerors Shantideva" and so on.

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 9:08am

                    There has been a lot of talk. I believe that GMR view of emptiness is that it is "the lack of anything not coming from you". Which is much broader than other views on emptiness I've heard.

                    GMR's view allows everything to be controlled by your karma since everything is coming from you. It is solipsistic and very different from what I've heard and read prominent TBs write and speak of emptiness.

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 10:01am

                    It's solipsistic only if you think that "you" have some sort of substantial existence and that things can really "come from" "you" in some sort of substantial way.

                    But that's not the way things are.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 8:10pm

                    The mere fact that you think his presentation of emptiness is consistent with Prasangika Madhyamika does not imply that you have an emotional investment, or whatever, but if you SUPPORT him merely because of that, regardless of any misconduct on his part, I would find that curious indeed.

                    anonymous Sep 13, 2012 10:19am

                    Yup, that would be crazy. In general, Buddhists are supposed to emulate the good qualities of other people, not merely emulate them. HHDL is a sublime being but that doesn't mean I want to be bald.

                    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:37pm

                    I really don't think you know what a priori means. And it's a posteriori not "a posterior".

                    "came a posterior" sounds like something that happens in a porn movie.

                    What mimthun dpe seems to be saying is that, to some on this forum, if the comment is in defense of Roach, it is being made by someone who is emotionally invested and can be discounted. The assessment of people making a comment in defense of Roach s being made a prior without any knowledge of whether the person actually is emotionally tied to Roach.

                    I'll tell you, I have a thing about defending someone who is being attacked without good evidence and reason backing up the attack. I have a tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt especially when nothing is risked by doing so. I have a problem with a potetentially useful forum being turned into a spin center which can then be easily discounted.

                    Maybe you haven't read through all the forums on this subject. A typically strategy by GMR defenders to someone who has made a number of arguments against Roach or DM is to find the weakest arrgument, poke holes in it, and discount the person who made it (and all the other arguments this person has made) because the person is obviously biased against Roach. Coincidentally this is also now happening to people who defend Roach on this forum.

                    Stick with what you can back up with facts and reason and it makes the case against GMR stronger, not weaker.

                  anonymous Sep 12, 2012 8:34am

                  A friend in Tucson reports that her girlfriend who's running partner is part of the retreat views him as a virtual hostage….half way through this stupid experiment he now is trying to separate himself from Roachism. Bad things happen to good people in this world as yesterdays events showed us.This guy is now starting a faction in the retreat that isn't loyal to Roach or Christie..He is doing his own retreat….tough sledding

                anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:08am

                I agree Kalarupa.

                anonymous Sep 12, 2012 8:04am


                I'm emotionally invested in the ideas of freedom of religion and free speech. Yep, I'm invested in those. I have an emotional investment in those calling for honesty to be honest with themselves. And I don't like the witch hunt, no matter whom it is directed towards. That's what I'm talking about in this entire thread. Read my posts better.

            anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:52am

            "He has abused his position of power. His actions and words are hurting other people. He is a leader responsible for teaching and guiding others. But his teachings are harmful. They are full of lies and metaphysical inaccuracies."

            Shall we list how many religious leaders to whom this description could be applied?

              anonymous Sep 12, 2012 2:04am

              And I think that those religious leaders fall under just as heavy scrutiny. Look at all the press the "Pope Papers" situation has been getting (at least here in Europe, not sure about North America). In fact the good thing about the mass media (there are many pitfalls) is that it makes it harder for people with power to engage in bad behaviour.
              In fact the reality that many religious leaders could be described in this way makes the scrutiny of MR even more important.

      anonymous Sep 11, 2012 1:10pm

      The Witch Hunt is in effect because Michal Roach is a 100% fraud! – I can’t believe after all the posts on Elephant Journal, Diamond Cutter what have you that this is not apparent unless you are a secret Roach Cheerleader. I am shocked that even Ian Thorson’s death has not made you take the Roach Wool from your eyes.

        anonymous Sep 11, 2012 4:43pm

        Witch Hunts, as history shows us, should generally be filed under "Not Good": lots of innocent folk also get burned. There's a moderator on one of the Buddhist fora who has said, much like you, that anyone who follows GMR must be deluded or insane. Or stupid, as I recall. Now, this might well be the case, but it's more likely that reality is somewhat nuanced. It's certainly doesn't make for an inviting place to spend time. Often when we start castigating people for what they think rather than what they do, we've crossed a line.

          anonymous Sep 11, 2012 5:25pm

          This is not a witch hunt. Mostly this forum is examining facts. Nobody is going to get burned at the stake. However, if Roach is dispensing dharma mixed with 10% poison as someone suggested on this forum, everyone has a right to know that and then make their own choices. If he was giving a little lavender to a friend to calm their nerves, nobody would care but his toxic brew does not pass gelug muster.

          anonymous Sep 11, 2012 9:27pm

          Exactly, mi mthun dpe.

          anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:39am

          and then there are those who preach one thing and practice another. that's a kind of line.

        anonymous Sep 12, 2012 10:26am

        No, Cloverleaf is right.

        Part of the reason I left this forum for awhile is because some of the comments on here have been pretty hateful and lacking compassion. Even though there is truth to it, the way some on here have gone about ripping everything little thing apart makes me not even want to listen to what's being said – even though I agree that there are HUGE problems with what he's teaching and the way he presents himself/those teachings.

        MR is still a human being. He deserves compassion, not hate. And those who are studying with him need to see the problems, but being an insulting d-bag is counterproductive.

        I thought this forum is here to show others the problems with MR and his teachings. But when those very people are insulted, it makes it that much harder to see the truth you are trying to show them. Let's not lose sight of the fact that helping others is the point.

        Everyone needs to check their motivation – are you here to rip MR apart because you get some sick, twisted delight out of it, or because you want to help others? And if it's the former, I'm not coming back again. It's no better than hanging out on a gossip site.

          anonymous Sep 12, 2012 11:59am

          Sky, this forum is also for friends and family of people with connections to Roach.It has allowed many to realize the path their people are on can lead to trouble.I'm not sure how long you have been with the group,but as i remember it was from the Yoga movement and you most likely didn't know the history the Roach backers fought tooth and nail to erase.They succeeded and "the new Roach' was allowed to continue his teachings with no memory of the damage he has done to his students left on the internet..Even Stanford grads signed up and died………..You and the other "have it both ways' members would be really interested to hear the messages some of us have gotten from monks in India…old men that have honored us with something amazing….. there really is no middle ground in this fight..Roach should be ousted by you insiders.

            anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:25pm

            I don't expect you have read every single post that I've written on this forum, but I was never "part of the group" or a "member" of the DM sangha, although I was pretty friendly with some who became a part of it, including a few that are in retreat. I attended the yoga teachings. I never studied at DM. So I don't understand why you keep throwing words around like "you insiders" and "Roach backers." Please stop lumping everyone who has ever attended teachings by MR and/or CM into this category. Things aren't so black and white.

            What happened with Ian is tragic. And those who have been hurt by MR – it's tragic. I'm not arguing any of that. And yes, everyone here is for different reasons, but the main purpose is to find healing and truth, isn't it?

            Spewing vitriol and hate isn't helping anyone. I'm just asking that people stay on point and try to check their motivation. Just because something tragic has happened doesn't mean that we need to lose all sense of decency. The truth might hurt, but we don't have to be d-bags about how we tell that truth.

              anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:15pm

              "D-bags…spewing vitriol and hate"…..looks like you are the one calling names and it sounds like you are a insider of sorts.Why not answer a few questions. Did you know the first retreat was a fraud?Have you ever told people interested in DM that secret ceremonies with blood drawing,goddess worship and sword dancing was part of the deal?if you didn't know about the first retreat it was because Roach backers ,some posing as "the voice of reason" slowly wore down the Diamond-Cutter guy until he faded away.Do you know what these backers then did? The answer is they painted him as a extortionist. Roach backers are playing hardball.I know people with information and informed opinion who are afraid to speak out because they could be effected economically.I have heard a guy that owns a place they rent out for teachings has been told to remember which side his bread is buttered on and tradesmen told they would never work on another project if they didn't back Roach or at least engage in the type of relativism you four practice daily on here

                anonymous Sep 12, 2012 1:46pm

                I didn't mean to call anyone a d-bag. I was trying to say that we shouldn't act like d-bags. So besides that, what about my post was "vitriol" or "hate?" Also, you're totally off base calling me an "insider" just because I was a student of the yoga teachings. I'll say it again: I NEVER studied at DM. And yes, I did consider them my teachers at one point, but because of all the stuff that has gone down the last few years – culminating with the tragic passing of Ian – I have made the decision not to study further in this lineage.

                As for your questions:

                "Did you know the first retreat was a fraud?"
                -No. I didn't know anything about Buddhism or MR when that retreat was going on. I was a kid living in NYC, dealing with the aftermath of 9/11. I turned to Buddhism and yoga as a means to deal with that trauma (among other things). I came across MR's teachings while attending a class at OM Yoga in NYC.

                Only recently have I learned what Buddhist retreat is about. So it's only through these more recent teachings that I can see that the first retreat wasn't done according to Buddhist tradition. But to be honest, I don't know much detail about that first retreat outside of what I have read on this forum and when MR/CM would make reference to it during their talks.

                "Have you ever told people interested in DM that secret ceremonies with blood drawing,goddess worship and sword dancing was part of the deal?"
                I didn't learn that this was going on until reading about it on this forum. And this made me go, "what is going on at DM?" I had some long talks with people about this. It was what made me start asking about what the retreatants were doing and what kinds of practices were going on. In fact, this is part of what led me to take a long hard look at the legitimacy of the teachings, as this does not seem to be in accordance with either the Buddhist or Hindu traditions.

                Also, I have read And, you know, all that information is still available on the web. So the "Roach backers" need to scrub harder.

                You say that "Roach backers" are making threats against people. I have never witnessed this, but if I had, you can damn well bet I wouldn't stay mum about it. And if people are being threatened, they need to go to the authorities. No one should be extorted or felt that they're livelihood is in danger.

                  anonymous Sep 12, 2012 2:33pm

                  not a police matter it's a " biting the hand that feeds" matter…always a touch deal. When Roach brags about the 9 new Lamas traveling with him it is an economic carrot…stay with me and no more waitress gigs or selling overpriced camping gear at the Summit Hut

            anonymous Sep 13, 2012 8:42am

            "You and the other "have it both ways' members would be really interested to hear the messages some of us have gotten from monks in India…old men that have honored us with something amazing.."

            I'd like to hear, Corvid. Can you post these? .

              anonymous Sep 14, 2012 9:52pm

              No but I share the story with people that I believe this information will help in person….more will be coming later from was quite cool

    anonymous Sep 12, 2012 12:23pm

    It pains me to see this discussion descend into hurling insults. Can we please try to get back on track?

    "It is one thing to put a man on the moon; but this retreat is itself a cultural and spiritual achievement of the modern world, which I feel is almost unprecedented."

    As Kevin and I have stated, this is typical Roach preaching. How so?

    As you may have noticed in Roach's biography, he had the best, greatest, important and ultimate of experiences and teachers. His method seems to be, establish a common ground. Then tell them something wonderful and amazing.

    By donating money, you can be part of something as great as putting a man on the moon.

    By supporting our trips to China, you can have a part in preventing the next world war or cold war. (2008)

    Jesus disciples supported him during his last days, you can feel good about supporting me too…not that I am comparing myself to Jesus. (Phoenix 2012)

    You are one in a million literally. You have the karma to be hearing these things that I am telling you about. You are so special.

    I realize those were not his exact words, but it is the sentiment I want to draw attention to. He appeals to a persons goodness, tells them how special they are, and together we can accomplish this fantasic deed. "You can be part of it even if it is just a few rupees or good thoughts". I think this is part of what Jehne was bringing to our attention. This is the pattern.

anonymous Sep 10, 2012 2:06am

Are all of the angry new commenters here because Best Stay Low has decided to give up some information?

    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 5:00am

    There was the Tucson Weekly piece last week too. It seems to be that every time there is big information uncovered or there is a new release in the media that we experience something like this. Aguse showed up right after I made a post about the former abbot telling Michael Roach he should take his robes off if he had a wife and if he still had vows he should cut his hair. I see a pattern here.

      anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:14am

      Waal, that Tucson Weekly article……Brannan knows a great deal (far more than I)……Vedova would like to think he knows a great deal….neither are spokespersons for DMU….neither am I…..and I have departed….Ekan, I agree with the 'pattern' part….part of the pattern is to put the parts together….the decision to ship out Ian and Christie came after a full night of discussion, but it was Roach who made it. The Board rubber stamped, that's all…..months later when Ruisinger told us Ian was dead (special meeting Monday night after helicopter fiasco Sunday) his speech was calm but he was shaking like a leaf….two days later, when he told us Ian's body had been found on Federal land, not DMU's land he was all nice and chesire cat again…..Rob was worried about 'personal liability' (oh, how Buddhist!) The real question is what was Roach's 'real' motivation for the decision he made. The answer, if there ever is one, will be quite complex….I am coming to the point-of-view that the 'stabbing' which took place a full year earlier was just used by Roach as a handy excuse…..which has now rebounded……….

        anonymous Sep 10, 2012 1:50pm

        Best stay low thought I'd tell you the rangers at the Fort thought you showed great restraint when the tatted up Lama was screaming every swear word in the book and threatening violence on rescue Sunday..Happy Trails…..I think you have a big dose of the spirit of this place I have loved so much I would overlook the Roachster creep show. You and the other traveling students of eastern religion,green building volunteers,musicians,dancers.natural foods growers and community volunteers…good people under bad management….the trust funders on the Board can all go fish!

          anonymous Sep 10, 2012 6:48pm

          Thanks, Jer. I'm outta Dodge until Dodge gets a new sheriff. I pray for the good, wise and determined people on retreat. As far as 'management' goes, GMR needs to distinguish between loyalty and morality. What goes around comes around.

        anonymous Sep 13, 2012 1:32am

        I appreciate your telling us of some of what has been happening at DM. Thank you. And I agree, his motivation for the ousting is a question I am sure I will ponder — no matter what anyone says.

anonymous Sep 9, 2012 3:22pm

This place has turned into a gossip zone. Beam me up Scotty, there's no intelligent life 'round here.

    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 4:22pm

    et you keep on carrying Roach's water while he undermines the people of Tibet.No wonder i saw those Tibetan prayer flags blowing off the top of the montain next to DM…you people are hurting Tibet via these teachings in China

      anonymous Sep 9, 2012 4:58pm

      Perfect example. Yes, I'm still lurking.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:38pm

        One dead, many psychically scarred, some in denial refuse to recognize it. Individuals with names and faces are responsible, at many levels. You want gossip? Here's gossip: CM has gone from bloodletting to jetsetting, Kathmandu, New York City.

    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 2:04am

    Then add something of substance.

anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:40am

Some time in late June, someone tried to shut down the forum using the name Osel Torres. For those who don't know Osel Hita Torres is a young man who was recognized as a tulku. I sent him a message on Facebook and this morning I got his reply. The correspondence is below:

Hi Osel,
Did you post on Elephant Journal trying to censer a forum discussion about the misbehavior of Geshe Michael Roach or is this an imposter?
"Osel Torres · 9 hours ago
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"

"25 minutes agoOsel Hita
Hello Ekan, sorry not me. Don´t read anything there. First time i heard. Thanks for the heads up.

This is a desperate act by desperate individuals. What kind of moral training have these individuals had? Machiavellian?

    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:54am

    This misattribution was pointed out here months ago.

      anonymous Sep 10, 2012 12:39am

      Not as a reply from Osel Torres.

    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 12:05pm

    Thanks for pursuing this and now it can be confirmed unequivocally that someone impersonated Osel Hita, a particularly disturbing deception. Although it confirms what most of us suspected it is excellent to have solid proof.

anonymous Sep 8, 2012 1:52pm

Here is hoping this and other stories like it starts cutting down the the local Yoga school breed supply of free range Lemmings

    anonymous Sep 8, 2012 2:48pm

    Who were the caretakers that supplied the food? Why haven't they come forward?

      anonymous Sep 8, 2012 2:53pm

      do you mean come forward here on EJ? Or contacting reporters and media?

        anonymous Sep 8, 2012 3:20pm

        Anywhere, I suppose. Or have they and we just don't know about it? Are they feeling guilty, embarrassed, protective? Why aren't they filling in the blanks?

        anonymous Sep 8, 2012 6:54pm

        mi mthun dpe hangs in there defending the indefensible.Chuck and the retreaters that were part of the resupply (although they were not in that cave long) can't be given too much grief because they were just following orders plus they keep the place going and know where the bodies are buried (figure of speech I hope)

          anonymous Sep 8, 2012 7:14pm

          in the comments seems on the mark…..As a Buddhist, I read your cover story on the death at Diamond Mountain with interest. As others have already pointed out, the cover photo of the Buddha is extremely offensive to Buddhists, of which there are many in Tucson. I am surprised and disappointed at the insensitivity and lack of cultural awareness by a publication that I enjoy reading each week.

          Michael Roach's defiance of even the Buddha's most fundamental rules for monks in order to satisfy his own selfish desires and motives is the very antithesis of Buddhism. It has earned him the censure of the Buddhist community at large, including his own former teachers and the Dalai Lama. Michael Roach no more represents Buddhism than Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church represent Christianity, and that cannot be over-emphasized.

      anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:00am

      to answer reah deem: 2 from the jamyang house were supplying them secretly. They did not show up at the community meeting when, months ago, Rob announced that Ian was dead. They took off and are out and gone. MR and everyone else close knows who they are. Two of us in the campground, independently figured out with a little bit of Perry Mason work that there were two others inside the tsam (the retreat proper) who were also involved. They are both still on retreat, and for myself I must leave them in peace with their on thoughts…..

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:22am

        this was where the Board and that Deputy Dog dropped the ball.They should have called an emergency meeting in the valley and those two people along with Kat,Will and some of the more fit retreaters that also knew the location could have had Ian down by 10 am

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 12:52pm

          jer, we know each other and I've posted under my real name before. I'n one of the other ones who has hiked it all. The call was to Ven. C. who was trying for damage control and didn't want any of us in the campground to know what had happened. Three or four of us could have quartered the backside of that mountain, kept in sight of each other and totally done it. Unfortunately for Ian, hindsight is cheap and 'what if? doesn't matter. Equally unfortunate, Scott can't hear anything but himself.

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:52pm

            Very true but some of the retreaters knew exactly where the cave was.They should have been part of this.Can you imagine knowing you held the key but know one "bothered you"

              anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:48pm

              Is that what led to the delay? They didn't know where the cave was? How do you know that he wasn't dead before she made the distress call? Or that arriving a few hours earlier would have saved him? Still, I see your point corvid, silence kills. And in this case, literally.

                anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:53pm

                The sheriff's report says they had her check his vital signs. They were very weak. Then murphy's law of helicopters took over and the rescue was delayed.

                  anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:09pm

                  Why does corvid say they could have been up there by 10:00 A.M. then? The call was made at 9:00 A.M. right? Is is true that had the people who new exactly where the cave was, had been alerted, that Ian could have been found at 10:00 A.M. rather than 3:00 P.M.?

                    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:59pm

                    Sondra-An hour and a half, tops.

                    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:04pm

                    What? Oh dear. This is dreadful news to me. The silence of the retreat should have been broken.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:02pm

        Thank you for your honesty best stay low.

    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 4:59am

    Thanks for the link. Someone on this forum recently criticized Ekan for parsing MR's autobio's word-by-word. The necessity for doing so is exemplified by one of the nastiest slanders against Geluk monastics to issue from MR's mouth. A lie so outrageous that his devotees swallow it whole, lick their lips and refuge to believe it's vile poison. Only by documenting all [well, that's probably impossible] of his little and small lies can some people ever see his character. Below is that lie that desecrates all the wonderful men and women who live their lives in purity, restraining their sense doors so they can study the path to preserve and spread Buddha's teachings and practice profound meditation:

    "Many people ask us about our relationship, because I'm a monk. … We have a tradition that, after you've been trained for enough years, a monk should have a relationship with a special lady. …" Aaaagh! Lies, Lies, Lies. Slanderous Defamation.

      anonymous Sep 9, 2012 6:07am

      The article continues with an interview of one of the current caretakers:

      "When I asked about the controversies surrounding Roach, and now possibly Diamond Mountain, Vedova said they weren't issues to him. When I asked specifically about Roach being married to McNally, he explained that such relationships are not uncommon for Tibetan monks, who have had female spiritual partnerships going back 600 years.

      "But it was never discussed. It was secret, but was going on all along," Vedova said."

      Mr. Vedova you are repeating Lies, More Lies, & Damn Lies about the Buddha's Vinaya Sangha.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:40am

        Chuck Vedova-Your knowledge of geluk history is utterly contained within MR's self-serving cat-box. Please reach out to an AUTHENTIC master for an accurate and truthful history of the order. (Preferably one who hasn't broken his Lama's heart as MR has broken Khen Rinpoche's.)

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:09pm

          You mean a fundamentalist? Why not just call it what it is?

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:29pm

            No. I mean an honest teacher. (And like baseball, 95% of the Dharma are the 'fundamentals.')

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:07pm

        Relax. Take a breather. It's not the end of the world. Fundamentalism is no more righteous than the reformed ways. Live and let live. You can't tow that boat up the mountain, this is nor a Werner Herzog movie.

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:36pm

          Chuck is the hapless product of a programmatic rewrite of the geluk tradition. It doesn't have to be that way. I hope he chooses to inform himself, because he's defending the indefensible in regurgitating Roach's revisionism. Not a hanging matter, no, but surely you don't brook realized practitioners misleading naive people, do you?

      anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:24am

      In fact what MR has done through such irresponsible comments is made it just that much harder for those of us Westerners who try to be proper monastics in Tibetan Buddhism. There are no islands in the digital world. For example, one can see from the comments to the article that the Thai Theravada Buddhist community is aware of MR. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have had to reassure Asian Theravada Bhikkhus that yes indeed many lineages of Tibetan Buddhism uphold the Vinaya and the monks are actually celibate.
      MR makes a mockery of the robes and myself and many others would withdraw from this debate if he would just simply take them off.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 10:29am

        "MR makes a mockery of the robes and myself and many others would withdraw from this debate if he would just simply take them off." Amen and amen and amen, Khedrup.

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:08am

          This made me very sad when I read it. I am so sorry to have supported Michael Roach all of those years. He has caused so much damage that has hurt so many people in so many ways.

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:59am

            Ekan, it is a painful process to come out of all of this, I can only imagine. But be kind to yourself and remember that intention is an extremely important factor when it comes to karma. And in fact, you were misled by someone who took advantage of those good intentions.
            The unfortunate truth is that there are many other teachers who engage in similar manipulations, and even more students who follow them. Spiritual seekers these days must be especially vigilant.

              anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:17pm

              Who made you karmic judge and juror? Geez! Self-righteous! Talk about ego.

                anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:26pm

                Troll alert. Unless I'm missing something, bondi. What exactly was Khedrup judging that hasn't been very clearly established here?

                  anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:12pm

                  Hold on now cowboy! Don't go accusing people of trolling lest you scare aware contributors. People are skittish enough. Be kind now. Everyone is allowed to have an opinion. Even those whose opinions you don't like. Censorship is hostile to a free society. You aren't advocating totalitarianism are you?

                    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 2:33am

                    I'm cool with people dissing me if they need to. I wasn't playing karmic judge and juror, merely pointing out that people with good intentions sometimes make bad judgements, and the weight of guilt should be tempered by remembering their positive intentions.

                anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:35pm

                BIB – there are buddhist teachings on karma. Khedrup was reminding me of the teaching in order to comfort me. It was an act of compassion and it was taken that way by me. Thank you Khedrup for your kind words.

                I believe you are a Michael Roach supporter and you are aware of that teaching. You are trying to create havoc on this forum and using multiple personalities to do so. Putting the question right back to you, who made you the judge?

                  anonymous Sep 10, 2012 2:34am

                  Thanks Spin and Ekan you are too kind to me!

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:11pm

          Oh gosh, PLEASE MR take off the robes.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 12:38pm

        A general issue that Theravada monastics may sometimes have with Tibetan Buddhism is the entire Mahayana, and , in particular, the Vajrayana. From their point of view (sometimes), the Mahayana scriptures aren't canonical. And the Vajrayana is heretical. Much as you might see GMR's teachings as a perversion of orthodox TB, so might they see what we do in a similar vein. I suspect that orthodox Theravada monks are probably taught to dismiss Tibetan Buddhism as heresy, and that's about the extent of their education.

        I think it works the other way too: I had an amusing conversation with a Theravada monastic who told me how common it was for Tibetan Buddhist practitioners to say, more or less, "you're Hinayana, you only care about yourself." One of the interesting currents in our world is that the many flavors of Buddhism are interacting with each other in ways they haven't done since, perhaps, all 18 schools were still extant, so some of these divisions will be less divisive, one hopes. So the conversations you've had with your cousin monastics are probably due to lack of education and familiarity. Certainly His Holiness has made many strong efforts to bring together the larger Buddhist community by emphasizing commonalities.

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 12:51pm

          Very much so, and many Theravadan bhikkhus can be found at His Holiness' teachings. I lived in Thailand for two years so I have a pretty good idea of the Theravada view of things. Due to the efforts of HHHDL many bhikkhus are recognizing that the Tibetans hold an important (Mulasarvastivada) monastic lineage (one of those 18 schools you mentioned.
          Also these days fortunately due to pan-Buddhism there is a lot of interaction which also gives TB practitioners a deeper appreciation of Theravada. Indeed, Geshe Tashi Tsering in England at FPMT's Jamyang Centre, for example, often quotes Theravada Suttas in his teaching texts (see his book on the 4 Nobtle Truths).
          My comments were related to a comment written by the abbot of a Thai monastery in the Tucson weekly articles comments section. While Theravada monks might disagree with the Mahayana canon, in my experience they can respect Tibetan monks as long as they are holding the Vinaya- this has been said to me by several senior teachers in that tradition.
          MR has done great disservice and damage to this dialogue- due to his fame and travels through the world, his bizarre views about "monks and special ladies" will have a deep impact. And more misconceptions will be perpetuated. The potential consequences of his words should be considered before he opens his mouth and the words get spread over the internet, doing damage to the image of Tibetan Buddhism.

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 12:55pm

          mi mthun dpe, I made the mistake you point out in your second paragraph myself, in defining Hinayana, here in this forum. Fortunately, someone called me on it. Ultimately, we are all in this together, and as Buddhists we are all one family.

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:18pm

            And the non-Buddhists, well they can go straight to hell.

              anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:49pm

              Did it sound that way? It definitely wasn't meant that way.

                anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:27pm

                I think there is one troll here, writing under different names.

                  anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:57pm

                  Is it you?

                    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:01pm

                    Of course not. Can't you tell I'm the real deal by my user name?

                    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:28pm

                    Who is it?

                    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 6:38am

                    This is easy, gossip girl, you steal my username, I'll borrow yours.

                    Once again someone arrives to defend GMR by being aggressive, hate-filled and venomous. Is this what GMR taught you?

                    Do you really think you're going to convince anyone of anything by being insulting and aggressive? This is a familiar pattern to readers of this forum. After someone as extreme as aguse do you think you're going to make any impact?

                    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:35am

                    Is it really only one troll doing all of this? Why won't he/she identify himself if he/she is so confident?

                    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:30am

                    The comment below, using my name, is not me. Beware… gossip girl uses other people's usernames.

                    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 7:32am

                    …the comment above.

                anonymous Sep 10, 2012 2:37am

                No it didn't. It seems to me some people are just trying to make it uncomfortable to post on the forum. We have seen all different types of strategies, the best is just to keep on with the conversation. I am open to hearing the point-of-view of people from DM, indeed I am interested in hearing it, but in the context of a discussion and one-liners designed to intimidate.

                  anonymous Sep 10, 2012 2:46am

                  should read "but not in the context.." have to check more carefully before posting!

    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:20am

    Though it's problably been commented on many times in these three forums, the following excerpt from MR's white-wash of any responsibility for Ian Thorson's untimely death is remarkable for its blind callousness:

    "Some of us felt that Lama Christie, by mentioning the abuse publicly at the only talk which I attended, was making a conscious or unconscious cry for help," Roach continued.

    When was someone with a few emotional or relationship problems ever 'helped' by people kicking them out of their homes, firing them from the jobs, and destroying their careers and dreams?

      anonymous Sep 9, 2012 6:41am

      Tenor that Roachism was so self serving and such an obvious ploy to get Christie to point the finger at Ian …a good guy that was close to emerging as his own person when this occurred. chuck has been in Roach's corner since the forum battles with a real Buddhist named Namrol (?) when people were trying to put up warning flags about Roach 8 years ago….Roach survived and Ian died…..

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:01am

        As one of those people, I think I remember Namdrol.

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:21pm

          Oh, so now you're above it all? Hindsight. Nice.

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:28pm

            Sorry, but can you clarify your comment if you're seeking a response as its meaning is not clear to me?

              anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:48pm

              Were you not a follower of Roach once?

                anonymous Sep 10, 2012 5:51am

                No, exactly the opposite. He gave a weekend teaching on Morality/Vinaya in the Spring of 1998 accompanied by Christie and Ora (who seemed like the most competent and interesting of the two) that I attended. At that time, he appeared to me in the form of a blazing egomaniac who included in his kit bag Evangelical preacher tricks along with the captivating teachings of the precious Dharma (the lure for his hook) mixed in with shocking distortions of Tibetan Buddhism for his self-aggrandizing ministry. Since then I've done my best — when the opportunities arise — to try to expose his fraud and immorality to my Dharma friends who'd gotten hooked and to the DMers whom I've encountered in the New Millennium.

                  anonymous Sep 10, 2012 9:30am

                  OK. Thanks for clearing that up.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:05am

        I'm not sure about your interpretation of MR's "cry for help" comment. I think it is evidence that MR wanted to hurt CM as much, or more, than he wanted to hurt Ian. He recognized her crying for help, and in response he engineered the destruction of her life.

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:21am

          Tenor-It was a "cry for help." That was the observation of many in attendance at her bloody discourse. The coinage of the phrase wasn't Roach's alone. He's being honest in this instance. The last thing Roach was looking for was to "hurt" Christie. (He was already finished doing that at the moment he granted the two his 'blessing' upon their announced marriage.) He was waiting in the wings to clean up the predicted collapse. What he did not factor into this equation was his own broken samaya, nor the 'law-of-unintended consequences' his own non-restored samaya still entails.

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 6:54pm

            Maybe you can answer the question:

            When was someone with a few emotional or relationship problems ever 'helped' by people kicking them out of their homes, firing them from the jobs, and destroying their careers and dreams?

      anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:21am

      Christie McNally stabbed her husband three times-and glossed the episode as an example of Kali activity. (Disregard the 'Shift In The Matrix' account, as that was a story made-up in the cave-nothing in it jibed with what was said at the 'stabbing teaching.') The pair had to go: The caretaking staff was not prepared to sit on their hands waiting for the other 'divine-play' shoe to drop. One long-time student submitted a letter to Roach and the president of the board requesting a psych eval for the both; but short of frog-marching them into a court-ordered hospital stay, Roach's idea instead was to have them safely escorted with airline tickets, cash, hotel accommodations and cell-phones to someplace of their own choosing where their honeymoon antics wouldn't disrupt the retreat. The erstwhile novices that had 'ordained' under the two of Roach and McNally naturally had their allegiances torn in opposing directions, and were coerced into hiding and supplying the pair-instead of following the script Roach wrote. ('Garbage-in, garbage-out,' as computer programmers like to say.)

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 4:31pm

        more Roach slanted view…there were more than two people helping them….You guys sure count on people to forget the facts…

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:10pm

          More than two. Hmm. Do tell.

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:16pm

            For instance, we know about the two boys. The Sheriff's report refers to a female. Who was that? Hmm.

              anonymous Sep 9, 2012 6:29pm

              Who cares? Any accomplices were accessory only after-the-fact of these "two boys" acquiescence of Christie's back-end run onto BLM land. Christie was the one 'Lama' on DM land and the 'retreat leader' of 30+ students. No laws were broken. I wouldn't beat on any of the others who were buffaloed into maintaining silence. It is a silent retreat after all, and no one anticipated quite these levels of melodrama and across-the-board ineptitude. (I'm not privileged with any 'insider information' like Corvid might be.)

                anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:33pm

                Makes you think about a group taking part in such a difficult endeavor.I used to free dive and noticed people tended to get in trouble when to many were in the group.They are still going down so why can't I? in this case ever the most experienced retreaters spent more time building that meditating that i know personally.

                  anonymous Sep 9, 2012 10:16pm

                  Well Corvid, the cabins are built, so why not give them some small credit as meditators? These friends of yours up there are reevaluating their motivation for this retreat in an immediate, consistent, and visceral manner. There's opportunity for both greatness and tragedy in a 'free dive' like this one. Ian's death and the utter stupidity surrounding the event might be a profound sort of meditation object for our deeper friends up there. I believe you support them and all of your harum-scarum is just your idea of serious fun.

                    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:21pm

                    no I think they should end it before some of the weaker,less experienced (there are many) do damage to themselves or others.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 4:39pm

        Dey????sounds like a long time Roach defender hiding behind a new name….must be tough seeing that real religious people think you are a cultist….Garbage in garbage out? you really wrote this about Ian and Christie? It seems all your study hasn't helped you much.On the Diamond-Cutter forum etc. you were just as classless.

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:24pm

          Is outing people appropriate here? gossip girl would say yes, it is. But you don't want to care away the contributors.

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 10:21pm

            Um, is this because contributors are people, still? (Your Freudian-slip is peeking out!) Oh, you.

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:18pm

            Sondra……..he called Ian and Christie garbage……

              anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:29pm

              I thought Kalarupa was talking about the 'program' of hiding Ian and Christie.

            anonymous Sep 10, 2012 12:12am

            *scare, not care ^

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:00pm

        If they were as psychologically fragile and volatile as you say, then it was even important not to send an impersonal command that they are to be evicted from their house, job, career and fantasy life all in one go.

        I ask you, when was someone with serious emotional, mental or relationship problems ever 'helped' by people kicking them out of their homes, firing them from the jobs, and destroying their careers and dreams?

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 10:29pm

          Well, maybe if such types weren't groomed for spiritual leadership roles in the first place, then none of this would've happened.

            anonymous Sep 10, 2012 5:55am

            No doubt, but having created the monster, Dr. Frankenstein bears full responsibility for its destructive power.

      anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:43am

      It shouldn't be forgotten that the pair was not immediately kicked out. An attempt was made to find out what happened and see what needed to be done. Christie and Ian refused to respond. Christie states this in her "A Shift in the Matrix". What was the board to do, ignore what Christie said at GRT? And then if more violence occurred, what would we be saying then? They didn't and don't have the power to force any of the retreatants to do anything except leave the property.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 4:45pm

        Ben heads back to the warm safe familiar barn…. The board is a shame,. Roach runs the show. "The Board" were new to DM and did just about everything wrong while Cult Leader Roach hung out in Sedona..He left all the retreaters in the grip of a crazy person in your view and that was just good game theory? .It still isn't safe up there man.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 4:47pm

        sorry Ben some of that was aimed at Monster Magnet but you still are letting the fiction of a independent board be put out there.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:46pm

        Ben, you write, "Christie and Ian refused to respond. Christie states this in her "A Shift in the Matrix".

        Her letter is relatively obscure, and maybe I'm too thick-headed, but just reading it again, I can't see that she says anything like that. Would you please point out the quote for me?

        If MR and the Board did not personally spend a lot of time with Christie and, to a lesser degree, Ian, listening to their positions while patiently informing them of the legitimate concerns of the community, they should have had representatives who loved Christie and in whom she had trust conduct such talks on their behalf. It sounds to me from what I've read that MR had the Board issue demands that effectively destroyed CM's life in one fell swoop along with a paltry, non-negotiable payout.

        My question is do you know of anyone with serious emotional, mental or relationship problems who has ever been 'helped' by people issuing a non-negotiable edict that kicks them out of their homes, fires them from the jobs, and destroys their careers and dreams?

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:54pm

          Ben, thought I'd pressed down to the end of the letter, but somehow didn't get to the post script. I'm digesting it now.

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:19pm

            If you stopped before "Exiled" in "A Shift in the Matrix" you didn't read on what I based my comment. As to your question,

            "My question is do you know of anyone with serious emotional, mental or relationship problems who has ever been 'helped' by people issuing a non-negotiable edict that kicks them out of their homes, fires them from the jobs, and destroys their careers and dreams?"

            I've had a drug addict stay at my home in an attempt to get clean and when they slipped back into their old ways, I had to ask them to leave. It was decision I wrestled with for a while and I asked the opinion of many friends before I kicked them out. It was the person's mother who told me that if there was any sign of drug use, make them leave, for my protection. I've had a couple staying at my house engage in a minor incident of abuse. Luckily for me, the abuser left and the abused didn't leave with them. Had the abused left with the abuser, there was nothing I could do to stop them short of calling the police.

            Like I said before, it is hard to help somone who doesn't think they have a problem. Read "A Shift in the Matrix" in it's entirety. What I get out of that is that Christie didn't feel there was a problem and she didn't trust the people reaching out to her even though the two people sent to talk with her were "friends and dear students and our caretakers". Maybe she had good reason not to trust them. Maybe she was deluded from seclusion and "magical thinking" I can't say. IMO, the board/GMR had two realistic options, the police could have been called or the couple forced to leave. To have them continue the retreat without some assurance that they would do further harm to each other would have been both morally and legally negligent. A case could be made that the police should have been involved while the couple was still in the retreat cabin. I can understand why DM was hesitant to do that. It seems eventually they did call the police.

            If someone wants to put the "DM faithful" or "Roachhead" label on me, then they don't know me and must not be reading my comments here. I try to give an honest opinion based on what I know. If I see fault I write about it. I don't believe that Ian and Christie should have been allowed to do the retreat together without serious preventative measures and contingency plans. I don't think that Christie should have been retreat director (or whatever her title was) nor do I believe that she was qualified to be a "Lama". I don't believe the GMR's teachings are faithful to TB nor do they accurately present the "inner workings of reality". As far as what actions were taken after the GRT where Christie talked about the violence, I can see no great fault on the part of the Board/GMR. Granted, had GMR/Board known what was to come, I'm fairly certain they would have done something differently.

              anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:43pm

              Thanks for sharing that. No one should be called a Roachhead, even his devotees. It's dehumanizing. People are drowning in group think here. Two different ones, btw. And It is easy for them to simply assign a label to you so they can justify dismissing your comment, as it doesn't mirror their beliefs.

              As they say, don't let the turkey's get you down.

              anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:16pm

              Ben sorry for painting you are being close to the Roach faction.This spiritual Ponzi scheme ended with one death so far.The knife incident was months in the past.If Roach was really concerned about the retreaters he and the board would have dealt with it when the medical person treated Ian. Nope… it was all a cover-up to keep the show going Again, the board lied about the trail.The trail allowed Ian to get back where the trouble happened.With no trail no support would have been possible.and Ian and Christie would be ok. Keeping this thing going is just bad form..

                anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:36pm

                Why should sane and intelligent people be forced to abandon their dream, Corvid? Because someone else might not have a great time? You have never been on a family vacation, I guess. The retreat valley is tight enough to spit three times across, and they are a chummy bunch up there who have known each other for years now. Let some space be for the unexpected goodness to show. The lotus rising from the muck stuff?

                  anonymous Sep 10, 2012 1:35pm

                  P D When and if they finish this thing they will be viewed as damaged goods.Why not fire Roach,build better quarters for the caretakers and start shorter retreats under the guidance of some of the best non board members and senior retreaters like Kat. a skilled artist,green builder and student. People would come…oh get rid of the Kali knife stuff too…and the Karma seeds that grow like magic.

                    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 2:17pm

                    Who owns DM? Roach? The Board? Without Roach do you think people will want to go to Bowie when they can go elsewhere for retreat, somewhere less rugged? How do think it could work? Where would the money to build better facilities come from? Thanks corvid.

        anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:36pm


        CM writes that she "received letters from the Diamond Mountain board, asking us to please describe in detail the incident with the knife."

        She indicates that someone unidentified held her power of attorney during the retreat and that the Board should have contacted that person rather than breaking her retreat.

        Nevertheless, she claims that she did send responses to her friends on the Board whom she loved. Have we ever heard about those replies? Since she gives her account (not quite believable and, perhaps, not consistent with her Retreat teaching account) of the incident with the knife in the "Matrix teaching", she may, or may not, have done so in her written replies to her friends on the Board.

        In the next paragraph, she discusses the content of her replies to her Board friends:

        "In this letter I tried to address certain issues that the board was upset about. The first thing I addressed was that I was in fact telling the truth about what happened during the last three-year retreat, and that I would continue to tell the truth if I saw it would be of benefit to people."

        Ah-Hah. The implications of this suggestion have us all wanting to listen to the MP3's of her controversial retreat teaching and led to speculation that she said something about MR's conduct in that retreat which he might find embarrassing.

        Some people who have examined MR's duplicitous conduct over the decades suspect this may be the motive for MR getting the Board to summarily exile CM and Ian.

        Then she writes some fact and drivel about tantra – and perhaps makes an allusion to the high cave where she and Ian were dwelling ("We are holding hands in the sky now, can you see us?") and concludes:

        "So that is what I wrote to these friends and students of mine who were on the board. Then I told all of them that I loved them, and that the individual board member I always received letters from could continue to write me with any questions they had."

        So basically, Ben, I guess my first Reply was correct. You wrote that "Christie and Ian refused to respond" to the Board's (apparently written) 'attempt to find out what happened'. However, if CM's "Matrix teaching" has any veracity, then actually CM did respond to DM Board members. Maybe not the response they hoped for, but she leaves the door open for further communication.

        On what basis do you believe that the Board's 'attempt' to communicate with Christie and Ian also included trying to 'see what needed to be done" – which sounds like an overture to negotiate a mutually satisfactory resolution?

        Once MR and the Board decided to expel CM and Ian, that meant they intended to force them out of the Retreat. Given that determination, they had no obstacles to sending their representatives to CM/Ian's door and insisting on personally meeting with them to discuss the situation. There was no excuse for them to rely on written eviction.

        If MR and the Board had been fair-minded and motivated by sincere desires to 'help', they would have made certain that people both they and CM trusted were sent as emissaries and counselors. Once personal talks were established, they would have been open to further negotiation of the eviction terms.

        Instead, they cruelly treated CM and Ian as enemy interlopers.

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:00pm

          How was the person who was given power of attorney suppose to answer questions about what went on during the retreat?

          "CM did respond to DM Board members. Maybe not the response they hoped for, but she leaves the door open for further communication."

          In "A Shift in the Matrix" Christie states that in her letter she wrote to the board members "and tried to explain to them what they were doing wrong (sic)".

          She also writes the Ian and her decided not to respond to DM's "legal letter" nor would they comply with any "legal demands". It is my understanding that the first part of "A Shift in the Matrix" was her attempt at explaining the violence she mentioned in the GRT. As you write, it is "not quite believable and, perhaps, not consistent with her Retreat teaching account."

          An incident of violence occured on DM property and the people involved were going to be alone for months. The story they gave about "Divine Play" and "fooling around" with a samurai sword did not and should not have satified anyone investigating the incident.

          There is a long list of things for which you will be asked to leave DM property. Violence is one of them. Both Ian and Christie knew this and before the retreat started, Ian was asked to leave DM because of an incidence of violence. You want something for which to fault them? Why was Ian still allowed into the retreat?

          You write
          "In the next paragraph, she discusses the content of her replies to her Board friends:

          "In this letter I tried to address certain issues that the board was upset about. The first thing I addressed was that I was in fact telling the truth about what happened during the last three-year retreat, and that I would continue to tell the truth if I saw it would be of benefit to people."

          Ah-Hah. The implications of this suggestion have us all wanting to listen to the MP3's of her controversial retreat teaching and led to speculation that she said something about MR's conduct in that retreat which he might find embarrassing."

          Ah-hah nothing. Yes, it "led to speculation". Others have wrote on here that the MP3s of that teaching is the smoking gun. I wrote about the possibility that something was said which would be embarrasing to GMR if it is was released but I also acknowledge that there are many more possibilities to explain why it wasn't released. People who were at those teachings have told me that they didn't understand why Christie was talking about such things to that particular audience. In her "a Shift in the Matrix" Christie writes about why she taught" tantra to a public audience" and why she would "talk about such highly person things." You want to jump to the conclusion that is most damning to Roach and supports your theories, that's your option. I am not going to assume what was said simply because it fits the narrative I have.

          GMR/the board found out about violence on DM property and took action. They reached out for clarification (something they didn't have to do), and were rebuffed. The decided to follow the DM rules. Here is a recording in which GMR talks about the decision. It is from about 1:50 to the end.

          By the way, just before that, he also talks about male teachers wanting sex from their female students. That should be red meat for some of the carnivores on here.

            anonymous Sep 10, 2012 6:45am

            "How was the person who was given power of attorney suppose to answer questions about what went on during the retreat?"

            Presumably that person (her father?) would contact MR or the Board and ascertain their concerns and their proposed 'legal' fixes. That person, whom CM trusted, would then give CM a realistic appraisal of her position vis-a-vis MR/Board and advise her of her options for response.

            Since MR/Board acted without personal communication or compassion and justify their heartless response on legalistic grounds, why wasn't CM entitled to the actual representation DM had created in anticipation of legal problems before the retreat?

            Denying her that representation demonstrates malice: MR/Board did not believe CM she and Ian were mentally competent enough to refrain from felonious, aggravated assaults. How could MR/Board justify abrogating the representational help guaranteed to CM before the retreat began?

            Nonetheless, she claims that she sent letters to more than one member of the Board whom she considered to be her friends.

              anonymous Sep 10, 2012 10:39am

              Your understanding of what a power of attorney is for is very different from my understanding. IMO, this situation would not be resolved with someone holding power of attorney.

              The DM rule is clear, commit violence and you are asked to leave. Should GMR/the board have made an exception in this case? If they did and someone was seriously hurt or killed in the retreat cabin, would you have supported their decision?

              You have a problem with GMR. I understand. I do also. That doesn't mean I criticize everything he does. Protecting DM and themselves had to be a consideration in GMR and the boards decision.

                anonymous Sep 10, 2012 1:39pm

                Roach new Vincent as a boy friend of Christie then son-in-law for maybe 15 years and he didn't call him to say Christie was in trouble…what the hell was with that? He is also a lawyer who doesn't believe the knife story as reported.

                  anonymous Sep 10, 2012 1:41pm

                  Sorry ,Roach knew Christi's Attorney father. I think he would have screwed up Roach regaining control so was left out of the picture.

                  anonymous Sep 10, 2012 1:43pm

                  Vince is Christie's father and Roach's ex father-in-law. Nice try.

              anonymous Sep 10, 2012 1:59pm

              Why didn't Christie call her Dad herself? Or send him a letter/email like she did to her friends?

                anonymous Sep 10, 2012 4:37pm

                Why didn't you or your buddies call him a year earlier when she was dancing around with weapons and drawing blood from 100 followers?

          anonymous Sep 9, 2012 11:05pm

          Still, it's a stretch to believe Christie wouldn't speak about what, or whomever, you believe the board is hiding or protecting in their refusal to release the recordings. If she had cards to play then, why is she still holding them close now?
          I'm guessing that this phantom board-member Christie was in regular contact with is actually Chandra. He was the only regularly attending person at the mailbox. But he wasn't a board member. But this 'Matrix' letter is a whole piece anyway, and can't be trusted. And gossip girl-if people involved came forth with their recollections, then these musings wouldn't be necessary. As long as questions surrounding MR's dodgy metaphysics and the botched logistics of the rescue remain unanswered, then people will kick this can around until the legend is codified, and by then, well, hang the truth. The ones writing here aren't interested in letting the truth swing in the thin desert air…

anonymous Sep 7, 2012 8:58am

just so we don't dwell in hell here….the official title, as you know, is Retreat4Peace….a few months before the retreat started one of the retreaters, a long-time player (who was going to be doing the retreat elsewhere for personal reasons), let down his guard one morning at breakfast and gave a very different motivation: "to promote higher personal rebirth."

higher than what?

    anonymous Sep 7, 2012 9:16am

    Usually a higher rebirth means a birth with more favorable circumstances to practice the dharma: not an animal, not a hell-being, not one of the gods. born in a place where the Dharma is taught, inclined to listen to the Dharma, access to good teachers, healthy, smart, etc.

    Ideally, to be reborn in one of the Buddha realms, like Sukkhavatii, and take instruction directly from a Buddha

      anonymous Sep 7, 2012 9:22am

      Not the proper motivation as I heard it from HHDL, it should not be for oneself but for all sentient beings.

        anonymous Sep 7, 2012 9:25am

        striving for a higher rebirth in one's next life is not discordant with lamrim.

        anonymous Sep 7, 2012 10:57am

        you're right of course. In my own experience, when I look at my motivation, it seems mixed: I like the idea of helping all sentient beings, but usually in the abstract–there are particular people with whom I have issues, so depending on the day, if you were to ask me, "do you want to save her?", I might have to admit, "not really–I'm not actually willing to sacrifice my happiness for hers." In practice, my Buddhist friends and I usually behave this way: the world is full of suffering, yet few of us spend all our waking time trying to correct it. We like the idea in theory but when it comes down to it, we spend a good part of our time and resources on ourselves, on our friends and families. So motivation can be mixed.

        But there's nothing wrong with wanting a higher birth–it is a Buddhist practice. And one could want a higher birth for oneself (which is ok) or for others.

          anonymous Sep 7, 2012 11:24am

          Major fallacy mmt when you write of 'correct'ing suffering. You still subscribe to managing/fixing (samsara) that which is essentially broken. One doesn't abandon the path of the listeners for the bodhisattva path. The listeners path is further edified by the prajnaparamita collection-not diminished by it. If karmic mgmt worked, then samsara might be reversed, but this isn't observed. Cessation is how nirvana is achieved-not by 'managing karma.' If you don't understand this much, please disrobe immediately, as you do not understand anything save what you have suspended your disbelief towards-some purported efficacy in Roach's grandstanding theories of metaphysics.

            anonymous Sep 7, 2012 5:51pm

            I must have written this quite poorly: I'm not saying that the attitude I often have–which can be selfish and unskillful–is what Buddhism teaches. Au contraire, it teaches that we should be more concerned for the happiness of others than for ourselves.

            But I can't maintain that kind of Boddhisattva effort for any length of time. That's what I meant by "motivation can be mixed"–Boddhisattvas have pure motivation; ordinary folk don't. I'm in the latter category.

              anonymous Sep 8, 2012 12:30am

              Thank you for clarifying that.

          anonymous Sep 7, 2012 12:26pm

          Ah, the realms of the Ego…Here is the example people.

            anonymous Sep 7, 2012 3:22pm

            Ya, no kidding. I guess Buddhism has failed, at least in this case.

          anonymous Sep 7, 2012 3:21pm

          I can't believe you admitted to this. This kind of confirms what I had assumed already. SELF is king.

          anonymous Sep 7, 2012 3:40pm

          With this revelation, I hereby declare, that you are NO longer the "sharpest knife in the drawer." And furthermore, you have been deemed unfit to be a spokesperson for Buddhism.

          "All eggs crack." – Fraulein Josephine Woodrey

          anonymous Sep 7, 2012 3:49pm

          I respect it, mi's being honest.

            anonymous Sep 7, 2012 4:02pm

            It's honest all right. And it proves Buddhism is no different than the rest of the lot. Smoke and mirrors.

              anonymous Sep 7, 2012 4:25pm

              Maybe just the GMR lineage. Real Buddhism is different from what I read here.

          anonymous Sep 7, 2012 6:11pm

          Of course your motivation is mixed. And the bodhicitta thing — well we'd all be claiming bodhisattvaness if we did not acknowledge that our actions are not necessarily motivated by seeing others as ourselves. And isn't that part of the problem we are discussing with MR?

      anonymous Sep 7, 2012 9:25am

      wha? ain't diamond mountain one o' them very places?

        anonymous Sep 7, 2012 9:33am

        hey, mi mthun dpe, dwell here:

        "Who is to be liberated, how and from what?" -Abhinavagupta

        spinspinspin: great big DUH. many blessings for 'clearing this lil'point up'.

        anonymous Sep 7, 2012 12:27pm

        best stay Low…I think this sounds like Karmic line cutting……Makes sense as they already are dodging the 20 years of study the real monks do

          anonymous Sep 7, 2012 5:01pm

          hi jer wow, how to unleash a barrel of cactus……n prickly pear concentrate, too

      anonymous Sep 7, 2012 12:23pm

      "higher rebirth means a birth with more favorable circumstances to practice the dharma…born in a place where the Dharma is taught, inclined to listen to the Dharma"

      That would not be a higher rebirth, that would be a rebirth that is headed straight to Hell. Going down, not up.

        anonymous Sep 7, 2012 1:01pm

        I was thinking of the eight leisures and the ten endowments–it's just a list of conducive circumstances for learning and practicing the dharma. Among the conditions: is to be born as a human, so by definition, that kind of birth is not as a hell-being.

        anonymous Sep 7, 2012 2:34pm

        Believe-Where did you come up with this definition of 'Hell'?

          anonymous Sep 7, 2012 3:26pm

          Hell is a subjective thing, my friend. He thinks it would be hell to have to learn the dharma.

anonymous Sep 7, 2012 12:04am

It seems Geshe Michael is attracting big crowds in Guangzhou, Red China.

    anonymous Sep 7, 2012 12:08am

    I was wondering what the 1914 post would be, and that was it Jake!

      anonymous Sep 7, 2012 11:09pm

      Sorry ekanthomason, what does 1914 refer to?

anonymous Sep 5, 2012 11:17pm

Oh yeah, and all the media attention came just as I was releasing my new record. It was really frustrating to be getting e-mails from a dude who writes for Rolling Stone, but instead of talking music it was all Geshe this and Micheal that. I was careful not to appear that I was using this for promotion, meanwhile GM is laughing about selling more books. So fuck it, I'm plugging my record now, go have a listen at Thank you. That is all.

    anonymous Sep 6, 2012 12:48pm

    Hey! Nice to hear from you. I'm listening to your music as I write (Dirt Rose Up and Who Have You Become?) it's great, Sid. I love your voice. Thank you for the great music and the great, sane post.

    Next time Rolling Stone calls it will be for the cover.

    anonymous Sep 6, 2012 4:30pm

    I love it Sid! Love your voice! Thanks for sharing.

anonymous Sep 5, 2012 11:09pm

Hey everyone, good to see the discussion still going on. I stopped checking in a while back when I realized the incredible pain in my right arm was a repetitive stress injury caused by scrolling up and down this bloody thing. And our dear friend Michael is still zooming around the planet living his fantasy life, preaching his nonsense to whoever he can, and will continue to do so without much disruption from the likes of us. Fo what its' worth,I have begun to write an account of my time at Diamond Mountain not only for my own piece of mind, but because i think someone should document their experience from the inside. I would encourage others to do the same, a few different accounts would be very interesting, and a good resource for whoever decides to do some full blown intensive investigative journalism on one of the most twisted spiritual teachers to have come along in some time, I'm sure it will happen at some point.
I also want to re-iterate that anyone who would like to share their experience has absolutely nothing to fear. I was worried that there would be repercussions in "real life" when my name started appearing in media stories in some rather embarrassing contexts. But there were none. No one gives a shit except those who have an investment in the story one way or the other. And the Russian mafia thing is a joke, another part of the self absorbed fantasy, a gross exaggeration extrapolated from the most mundane of affairs. And you will not burn in Tantric hell, as much as the most devout Muslim man will not be rewarded with 120 virgins in the afterlife, no matter how much he believes.
Anyway, keep talking, but don't let it take up too much of your lives, I hate to think about how much satisfaction all of this notoriety must bring to the megalomaniac who brought us all together. If anyone want to find me, feel free to look me up on Facebook.

    anonymous Sep 6, 2012 4:55am

    Thank you for documenting your experience and you are very correct that more personal accounts should be documented and published. Hopefully, the "sensational" tragedy of death and jealousy will inspire accurate journalistic investigative reports. I was worried you were so frustrated you wouldn't continue to contribute to the unveiling — as I read your second post first. MR's self-promotional 'mystery and intrigue' may lead to more exposure and that may protect some from getting suckered in. For the sake of others and the preservation (as much as possible) of pure teachings, please don't lose patience with this issue completely.

    anonymous Sep 6, 2012 7:10am

    Hi Sid. Just had a look at your facebook. I noticed that you are a fan of Dawkins and Harris. Is this post Roach? Also, will you be publishing your writings on a blog? I would be interested in reading them.

      anonymous Sep 7, 2012 7:21am

      Yes, Dawkins and Harris are recent, the last few years, I would have considered them extreme and ignorant in my DM days. I read them mainly because I was living in a small town full of Christian creationists, which I found baffling. I now look at them in the same way I look at GM and DM. As I have mentioned before, I am probably more drawn to the Integral movement these days, so I don't totally subscribe to the whole material scientific reduction theme of Dawkins and Harris, although I think they are brilliant and even beautiful writers. I found Ken Wilber helped me make the most sense out of why I went down the path I did with Buddhism. A few key ideas like AQAL, spiral dynamics and pre/trans fallacy are something I would recommend to anyone questioning the spiritual path. And the good thing about having gone through the paces with GM is that I don't swallow everything like a did with the Lamas', who could do no wrong. There are parts of the Integral movement that I don't like, for example their constant marketing machine, and there are some very valid critiscisms of Wilber, the whole thing can seem a bit cultish as well, so i'm careful to make sure I'm not just repeating a habit, carefully weighing the ideas over time.
      As for the writing, I'm not sure yet how I will present it, as an e-book perhaps or on a blog on my music site. Not in big hurry, my typing is slow and writing pretty rough!

        anonymous Sep 7, 2012 12:31pm

        I think all you people need to watch more non educational television. True Blood. the Matrix. Oops scratch that one!

          anonymous Sep 7, 2012 3:44pm

          Yes, education wipes the "local color" out of you.

        anonymous Sep 8, 2012 12:33am

        Thanks Sid.

        Just watched a video produced by The Integral Movement:

        I'd be lying if I said it didn't creep me out a little bit. OK a lot! Honestly, it screamed CULT louder than any other article of propaganda that I have ever come across–including the film, "Triumph of the Will." And it is worrisome because the production values are so high. It is mesmerizing, intoxicating, smooth. It pulls you in. I guess that is the point. But it is a lie. The Integral Movement does NOT have the greatest scientists, thinkers, and artists of our time embracing it's ideology. Be careful. I do hope you haven't replaced one convoluted belief system with another.

        Found this article from a jaded Wilberite:

        Does his story, experience, sound similar to Remski's, or even yours as ex-Roach devotees?

        I look forward to interacting with you on facebook. Thanks for reading my blog. Also, I will check out your music.

    anonymous Sep 8, 2012 8:30am

    72 Virgins

    anonymous Oct 2, 2012 3:55pm

    Sid, I haven't dropped in for a long while either. Mostly b/c the forum had helped me regain my confidence to trust my instincts about GMR teachings and I felt it was no longer productive for me to continue reading it.

    But I came back today to read it again b/c I've been curious about any new info — primarily if LC's February teaching was ever revealed in detail & whether LC herself had resurfaced with any response into this mess. Too bad nothing new on this front…

    But I'm grateful for some of the newer info from "best stay low" and the other posters even if they don't answer my LC questions.

    Anyhow, I LOVE, LOVe Love your post above. Especially the part "And you will not burn in Tantric hell, as much as the most devout Muslim man will not be rewarded with 120 virgins in the afterlife, no matter how much he believes…"

    Glad to hear you released a new record, too. A lot of talent there!

anonymous Sep 3, 2012 11:18am

A call for simple truths (part 2)

Geshe Michael often claims that going into business was a post-geshe extra/final exam. In one version, his lamas were very specific: "They said I should start a diamond business."

On his websites and at his talks, Geshe Michael claims that "he helped found Andin International Diamond Corporation". The phrase "helped found" seems to imply a co-founding role, but it's reasonable to assume that he helped Andin in the capacity of an employee, not a co-founder: "At that time I had $7 in my pocket”… According to the "The Diamond Cutter", he started out as an "errand boy".… As for "Andin International Diamond Corporation", a 1997 article in Jewelers' Circular Keystone (JCK)–a well-known trade publication of the jewelry industry–characterized Andin as a gold jewelry manufacturer: "Michael Anthony Jewelers Inc. … has signed a letter of intent to buy Andin International, New York City, which manufactures 14k and 18k gold jewelry. The acquisition of Andin International would create one of the world's largest manufacturers of gold jewelry… Andin’s strength as the largest maker of gold electroform jewelry is a nice complement to his own company’s wide-ranging 14k gold jewelry and watch business. He also noted Andin’s gem and diamond product lines, and its manufacturing plants in the Dominican Republic and Israel"… For a "diamond corporation", it's odd that Andin was not immediately associated with diamonds.

A "diamond corporation" Andin never was. A Google search revealed that "Andin International Diamond Corporation" only exists in Geshe Michael's "The Diamond Cutter", which was first published in 2000.… New York state records indicates that there was only an "Andin International Inc." which filed its registration in February 1981.…. Why was Andin called a "diamond corporation"? The term conjures up a large entity with a hyperfocus on mining and trading of raw diamonds. Andin's main focus was in making fine jewelry.

Andin… was founded by an Israeli married couple, Ofer and Aya Azrielant, whose story is quite inspiring. According to JCK, "After completing her studies in fine arts, literature and film making, Azrielant met her future husband Ofer, also a documentary filmmaker in Israel. During the mid-’70s, the young couple took a calculated risk: they opened a chain of jewelry stores in Israel with no previous experience in either jewelry or retailing. The business prospered. By 1981, they had moved to New York and established Andin International, which grew into one of the largest private label jewelry companies in the United States in less than a decade." The enterprising Azrielants already did well in Israel, without any help from Michael Roach.

    anonymous Sep 3, 2012 11:20am

    According to the synopsis of Geshe Michael's book: "Much of the success of Andin has come from applying the business strategies presented in The Diamond Cutter." http:// It is likely that Andin's success had little to do with strategic applications of "Buddhist principles". A 1999 CNN report, near the time Geshe Michael left Andin, stated: "The Israeli couple has built Andin, their jewelry company, into a nine-figure business by focusing on middle American tastes and mass merchandise. The Azrielants design and manufacture private label jewelry for department stores, like Macy's, and chain shops, including Zales…. Andin aims for 'the very basic middle America that wants a nice piece of jewelry' … The prices are kept basic, too — typically within the $100 to $200 retail range…. Andin's jewelry–featuring small stones and light-weight gold–struck a chord with U.S. department stores."
    A 2005 Haaretz article reiterates Andin's strategy, "The key to its winning formula was the focus on a target audience: the middle class."

    If taking partial credit for Andin's creation ("helped found") and success ("Buddhist principles") was already a stretch of the truth, Geshe Michael didn't shy away from bolder claims of self-aggrandizement. In a 2012 video, Geshe Michael took full credit for creating Andin: "after that I went to New York city and started a diamond business called Andin International Diamond which has reached $250M in annual sales"… He repeated this claim in his pitch for a TED talk: "after some years, I thought I would like to do some kind of project to help Tibetan refugees, and I didn't know how to raise the money, and then I asked my lamas and they taught me some special principles of karma which I could use to apply in business to help the refugees, so **I did start a business which is now earning $250M in sales a year**. I've been using that money for 25 years to help the refugees, and I would like to help other NGOs and other charitable organizations to learn these principles that I used to raise money for their projects."
    In an interview years ago, Geshe Michael already stated, “I started this diamond company in New York. It was the fastest growing company in New York, and I based it only on spiritual principles.”… That was from 2004, one year after coming out of the three-year "Great Retreat".

    It is understandable that Geshe Michael took some literary license to advance his storyline for a book that wasn't officially an autobiography or memoir. But it shocks the conscience that even now the good geshe would continue to perpetuate falsehoods/lies in talks/videos to audiences worldwide. Without any hint of shame, his lying seems so natural and easy. Without any hint of embarrassment, Geshe Michael distorts simple truths about his own life. The good geshe, if he is a seeker/teacher of higher truths, is respectfully called upon to honor simple/small truths.

      anonymous Sep 3, 2012 2:16pm

      Very, very good research, Zirconia! I'm still processing it.

        anonymous Sep 3, 2012 2:30pm

        Yes, thank you Zirconia. After we keep processing all of the available information, we should write a Roach biography based on facts. I feel there is a lot more to uncover first.

      anonymous Sep 3, 2012 3:01pm

      "I've been using that money for 25 years to help the refugees." I was eating breakfast when I read that. Nearly choked.
      1981 + 25 years = 2006. He has made bold claims that he divested himself of everything before he entered retreat in 2000. Why would he claim that he was using money from Andin International to help the refugees in 2006, unless either 1.) he never really divested all of his resources, or 2.) he is being untruthful?

        anonymous Sep 4, 2012 11:12am

        Yes, what money was given, exactly? his salary as an employee? By only speaking of "founding" and "starting up" a multi-million dollar diamond business that Warren Buffett purchased (such a name dropper!), he creates the impression that he is responsible for the company's success and that much of the company's money went to support the monastery or refugees. Did he actually have any say in what was done with Andin's profits? Does anybody know how much money MR contributed over the years? Was it his own money (inheritance or wages) or Andin's money or mafia money or a combination?

        In his biography, in his teachings, on his website, it strikes me that MR really practices what he preaches. Reality is an illusion that can be manipulated or tweaked to whatever you want it to be. This is what he teaches, this is what he does. It's what the Dharma according to Karl Rove might look like…

      anonymous Sep 5, 2012 7:50am

      MR is a liar and he's always been a liar since he started his ministries: he never saw 'Emptiness directly' and he is not the most important person on the planet or in U.S. history.

      To ensure that the Karmic payout for his lies will have the biggest bang for the buck, he lies about the 'good', the 'holy', that which is meant to bring the greatest ultimate benefit for sentient beings.

      MR 'knows' that Buddhism teaches that such 'objects' of -/+ action (karma) greatly enhance the future -/+ karmic result of those actions.

      If he's rationale or sane, he must not actually believe a single word he spouts about Karmic Management.

    anonymous Sep 3, 2012 2:21pm

    Do you know anything about a connection to the Russian mafia? When GMR is asked questions about his involvement in the diamond business and his relationship to the Russian mafia, cameras and all recording devices have to be shut off. GNR speaks Russian.

      anonymous Sep 3, 2012 2:26pm

      I did some superficial searches and was surprised to know that Russia is a very large supplier of diamonds. Roach speaks Russian and so the two go together. It does add to the mystery and intrigue.
      Personally, I have no fear of any mafia because I have never crossed any lines with them.

        anonymous Sep 3, 2012 2:36pm

        When did he learn Russian? At Princeton?

          anonymous Sep 3, 2012 2:57pm

          Sorry I can't answer that. He does have a gift with languages. Christie used to praise him for this ability.
          By the way, Tenor, so glad you are back.

          It is worth noting that many Kalmuks speak Russian because it was forbidden for them to speak their own language for a long while. Roach told me personally that he was looking for a job at Princeton and he was offered a job as driver for Geshe Tharchin and that was how they met. I wonder if they spoke Russian together? Regardless, it may have come in handy at the temple. Geshe Tharchin completed his english studies at Georgetown in 1975.

          anonymous Sep 3, 2012 5:06pm

          In 1970 Geshe Michael was accepted on a full scholarship to Princeton University. He majored in the Department of Religion, and also completed advanced Russian-language studies. He graduated in 1975 with an honors BA in Religion.

            anonymous Sep 8, 2012 4:31pm

            I don`t think Roach speaks good Russian, since I was with him on a meeting where he tried to speak Russian with a guy that said it was too hard to speak Russian with Roach, since it was not good enough.

              anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:47am

              Could you tell us more Svein? This is interesting.

                anonymous Sep 9, 2012 5:22pm

                Yes, more gossip, please.

                  anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:03pm

                  Go ahead and sneer, et lurking, but you're still here, still reading, and this is still where all sides (and journalists) check to see what's happening. If you want to sort the lies out you have to come here.

                    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:29pm

                    You call that last piece journalism? Hogwash. Reissue repackage. Any half-brained idiot with access to a computer, a tank of gas, and a notepad could have written it. When is a real investigative journalist going to show up? It's doubtful the New York Times gives an utter tosh about Michael Roach and his robes or lack thereof. Or when he was married. Journalists are NOT reading this site. Trust me. Because it's all innuendo and recycled gossip. The hardcore facts and testimonials are to be found elsewhere. Christie is the gem to be had. If a journalist can't get the scoop from the horse's mouth, it isn't a story worth reading. It's speculation… gossip.

                    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:32pm

                    Patience, et, you are wrong.

              anonymous Sep 9, 2012 1:28pm

              Not much to tell. It was a DCI conference in Europa 3 years ago were also some Russian people where participating trough Skype; and Roach was trying to speak Russian too them, and then Roach laughed and said something like “he says my Russian is so bad that he would prefer to speak English”.

              For those who don’t know, Russian is a hard language to master, and especially to speak, so it would be truly amazing if Roach could speak good oral Russian.

                anonymous Sep 9, 2012 7:48pm

                Especially if he last studied it nearly 40 years ago in college.

                  anonymous Sep 9, 2012 8:05pm

                  thank you Svein, you must speak and read Russian and English.

                    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 2:43am

                    Svein it would seem knowing a little Russian would be very helpful for a modern Buddhist teacher. Interest in Eastern religions is strong in Russia and the former Soviet states.
                    With languages it is really use it or lose it. At one time MR may have spoken quite well, but with no occasion to practice languages get lost in the back of the brain.

                    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 12:10pm

                    MR just had a big tour in Moscow not too long ago…"new lamas" accompied him.

                    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 12:15pm

                    Are they hot? Do you have any pics? 🙂

                    anonymous Sep 10, 2012 12:31pm

                    Ben, that was funny. but, unfortunately, so true!

anonymous Sep 3, 2012 8:19am

This article is still relevant:
because after all the discussion Geshe Michael Roach's organization is still a cult, although probably a yoga cult not a Buddhist cult. Telling people to have sex for 3 years in little houses in the Arizona desert to reach enlightenment is cult think.

anonymous Sep 2, 2012 10:48pm

Maybe this will help in the search for truth in the Roach biography.

I have 8 books that Khen Rinpoche, Geshe Lobsang Tharchin is responsible for translating into English. Only one of these books lists Michael Roach as helping to translate. The title is "Preparing for Tantra". Inside are the biographies of Khen Rinpoche and Michael Roach. My copy is a second printing published in 1999. Does anyone have a copy of the first printing to compare? Obviously the biography has been updated from the first printing in 1995. It reads as follows:

"MICHAEL PHILIP ROACH (1952 – ) received the Presidential Scholar medallion in 1970, and graduated with honors from Princeton University in 1975.

He studied at the Library of the Government of Tibet, and then for over fifteen years under Geshe Lobsang Tharchin at Rashi Gempel Ling. In 1995, he completed his monastic studies at Sera Mey Monastic Colleage, as the first American to earn the degree of geshe, signifying nearly 20 years of study.

He was employed for sixteen years in the New York diamond industry and has been active in the restoration of Sera Mey, where he was ordained as a buddhist monk in 1983. Geshe Roach is currently director of both ACIP and the Asian Classics Institute, a training school for translators and teachers located in Manhattan."

He became a monk in 1983. He has stated that he was forbidden to wear robes until that day in 1983, when I assume he became a novice monk. One must become a novice before becoming fully-ordained. So, was he ever fully-ordained? When and where? Why doesn't he mention it any where? All of the novice monks and nuns that he and Christie ordained wore their robes and called themselves monks and nuns from the day they took novice vows.

Regarding his work timeline, if he started work in 1981 and worked for 16 years, that would mean he quit in 1996 or 1997 depending on how he counted it.

    anonymous Sep 3, 2012 11:25am

    Hi Ekan, I have two of his books, Preparing for Tantra, translated by Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin with Michael Roach, ISBN 0-918753-11-2 and The Principal Teachings of Buddhism, translated by Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin with Michael Roach, 1998, ISBN 81-85132-18-6.

    The biography from 1998:

    MICHAEL PHILLP ROACH (1952 – ) graduated with honors from Princeton University and received the Presidential Scholar medallion from Richard Nixon at the White House in 1970. He studied at the library of the Government of Tibet under the aispices of the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, and then for ten years under Geshe Tharchin at Rashi Gempil Ling, with additional course work at Sera Mey Monastic College. He is employed in the New York diamond industry and has been active in the restoation of Sera Mey, where he was ordained a Buddhist monk in 1983.

      anonymous Sep 3, 2012 3:59pm

      The major difference I see here is:
      In 1998, Roach claimed to have studied under Geshe Tharchin for 10 years.
      In 1999, Roach claimed to have studied under Geshe Tharchin for 15 years.
      "I lived here (Rashi Gempel Ling) personally with Khen Rinpoche for 25 years, as his student and assistant." he says in his essay biography.

      In the ACI audio tapes, you can hear dogs parking, sirens and all sorts of outside noises as Michael Roach taught the early courses in his apartment in Manhattan, the city where he worked. Those courses were taught in the mid to late 90's. His three-year retreat began in 2000. How could he have lived 'personally with Khen Rinpoche for 25 years' and lived in a NY apartment where he worked 16 hours a day for 16 years?

        anonymous Sep 3, 2012 4:11pm

        16 hours a day…..People that brag how many hours a day they work can't be trusted….usually some sleazy boss trying to shame the hired help.The Greeks had a word for people that did nothing but work….slave

        anonymous Sep 3, 2012 5:36pm

        Also to be noted is that both say he was "employed" in the diamond industry and not the owner or founder of Andin International.

        anonymous Sep 8, 2012 4:35pm

        He claims he took the buss back and forth every day, and he goes into deep details in the DM. So this is not true? He had a apartment in NY?

          anonymous Sep 8, 2012 5:05pm

          God, I hope my life is never picked apart like this. Who cares? Who cares if he had toast or a bagel for breakfast? Who cares if his mother died in 1975 or 1976? Put anybody's life under a microscope and it's gonna show tears, holes, and inconsistencies. You're starting to make me take pity on the man.

            anonymous Sep 8, 2012 5:20pm

            life extension, if you don't lie about everything, teach thousands of people your very own made up religion, and move them out to the desert, your life won't be examined. Take pity on his students instead.

            anonymous Sep 9, 2012 12:09pm

            Being able to be consistent on: whether you are married or not, what year your mother died, how many years you studied under a teacher, whether you founded a company or not, are major markers of a life not microscopic. This accumulation of inconsistencies is carried out in the hope that whatever evidence people need to understand not to listen to this man, his inability to be consistent in telling major elements of his life story is a red flag.

anonymous Sep 1, 2012 11:49pm

I was watching the video that Zirconia posted… and said to myself "That isn't how he described his mother's death." Watch the first 38 seconds of this. Then compare it to
read the section: Studies at the library of Tibetan works and archives at the beginning of the article.

    anonymous Sep 2, 2012 3:58am

    Kevin, Watching the beginning of the first video you've linked, I couldn't help but notice that MR eyes automatically look to his Right and on occasion (e.g., when claiming that his lamas gave him an extra exam, to build a successful company based on karmic seed management – a simply unbelievable story as told) looks Up to the Right.

    If my memory serves, people who are honestly tying to recollect facts regarding the subject of their speech look to their left or Up to their Left. Looking up to the Right is a sign of deceptive speech.

      anonymous Sep 3, 2012 2:09pm

      You have it mixed up.

      Looking to the right–remembered image or sound. Looking to the left–constructed image or sound. Constructed "on the spot." This theory can't determine lies from facts. It tries to interpret spontaneous data verses retrieved data. That is, if this pseudoscience were even valid.

      But if you believe this theory, then Roach was not making his story up on the spot, because he looked to the right, and thus, was reiterating something he had already processed before hand. Still, whether or not it is a lie cannot be ascertained by this theory.

        anonymous Sep 3, 2012 2:41pm

        You are correct!

          anonymous Sep 3, 2012 2:57pm

          Thanks. No hard feelings, I hope.

            anonymous Sep 4, 2012 8:35am

            Not at all! Also, when posting,I had my doubts ("If my memory serves …) but was too lazy to look it up – my bad..

        anonymous Sep 3, 2012 3:07pm

        So does that mean if someone looks left as you view them that is a constructed image? or to their left?

          anonymous Sep 3, 2012 4:21pm

          I think Jehne means that the person looks to their own left. I always heard "left to lie, right to remember".

        anonymous Sep 3, 2012 3:10pm

        In other videos, Roach doesn't seem to have any trouble looking you in the eye and lying to you. He seems to suggest that you invited it upon yourself: "There is no such thing as a person out there, all on his own, who just happens to start lying to you. Nobody can ever lie to you unless you have, unwittingly or uncontrollably, planted an imprint in your mind by telling a lie yourself."

        2012 research: Eye Movements Do Not Reveal Lying: Multiple tests of eye-movement direction and honesty found no correlation between lying and eye direction

        anonymous Sep 3, 2012 4:18pm

        Pseudo science…maybe we can read the bumps on his head or see if he floats when thrown in a pond too?