Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby kirtu » Sun May 06, 2012 9:20 pm

5heaps wrote:
kirtu wrote:He's inadvertently detailing the extent of their cult. We really can't pull punches on this anymore hoping that the group return to some semblance of the Buddhism mainstream.

People have seven years of serious TB'ist study and can't see that what they are engaged in is rampant nonsense?

what makes you think its a cult?


Because they are focused on their own peculiar interpretations well outside of the boundaries of Buddhist interpretation. Secondly two of their leaders (Roach and McNally) have behaved in a manner well outside of the boundaries and have apparently consistently done so. They seem to be feeding on Roach's syncretic interpretations and half-baked yogic styling. These revelations just seem to go on and on over the years.

do you know that cults purposefully dissuade their members from studying outside material?
absent this type of characteristic, is it still a cult?


Yes it can be.

although i would strongly argue that without an extremely good understanding of emptiness (ie. maybe being on the path of preparation or very close to it) one cannot practice generation/completion stage,


Nonsense - a person needs a minimal level of understanding to begin generation/completion stage. Arguably with the current state of affairs people's understanding may be lower than it used to be in the past, even pre-invasion Tibet. Nonetheless the legitimate teacher's themselves are not at fault. Yesterday a Drikung lineage master gave completely crystal clear instruction on Mahamudra in Maryland that was more than sufficient. You stabilize that instruction and you will definitely attain the bhumi's (of course for many people rich instruction is not the actual problem - the actual problem is putting knowledge, even real insight, into real practice).

"spiritual partnership" is just their translation of their particular emphasis of generation stage.


It appears to be their interpretation of kamamudra - a practice well beyond most people, IMHO (this subject was beaten to death over the past year).

is engaging in generation stage practice the activity of a cult?


Sorry, this seems like a manipulative statement masquerading as a question. Generation stage practice is specifically to develop merit and some wisdom and to cut our addiction to the commonly perceived world as inherently real. This alone can be taken out of context. There can be silly ideas about energy and so forth (the moronic New Age energy interpretations) floating about and some of the DM stuff seems to touch on that. Follow the wrong road on generation stage and you can end up in hell. Some of the attested stuff from the Maitreya cults shows that.

IMV DM is a cult like the Maitreya people, or like a cult that supposedly Drukpa Kunley stopped (the cult advertised 7 days to rainbow body - on day 7 people were tossed into a bottomless pit, at least according to the story). DM is well outside of Buddhist boundaries and have drifted over into syncretic Hindu-Christian sexual lala land.

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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Fa Dao » Mon May 07, 2012 2:40 am

After reading through all of this I am curious...does anybody here actually know any of the people involved or any of the actual events that took place firsthand? This is samsara after all and we are dealing with humans that still have karmic vision, all of us here included...whatever it was that happened perhaps prayers and compassionate intentions would be a better course of action than standing on our collective soapboxes and slamming people and events that none of us have any first hand account of. Just my two cents worth.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Knotty Veneer » Mon May 07, 2012 9:21 am

Fa Dao wrote:After reading through all of this I am curious...does anybody here actually know any of the people involved or any of the actual events that took place firsthand? This is samsara after all and we are dealing with humans that still have karmic vision, all of us here included...whatever it was that happened perhaps prayers and compassionate intentions would be a better course of action than standing on our collective soapboxes and slamming people and events that none of us have any first hand account of. Just my two cents worth.


Yes we should be mindful that many people are suffering here. But I profoundly disagree we need to be quiet about this. I think we need to know more about what's happening here and ask questions about what went on. There are things that still need to be asked of Diamond Mountain, Christie McNally, her "attendants" and the local police.

Where is McNally now? Is she safe? Is she receiving counselling? Is she available to the authorities for questioning if required?
Is anyone asking about the role of the attendants? Who thought it feasible that the couple could survive in a cave at this altitude in the desert and be safe from the elements, snakes and drug smugglers? Why did the attendants feel they could not communicate with Diamond Mountain on this?
How are the remaining retreatants? If McNally could go off the rails, how is everyone else?
As for the local police - is there any sort of investigation going on into this now the autopsy is over? Why did you do nothing when you were informed of Thorson's stabbing?

If something is profoundly wrong at Diamond Mountain, we cannot ignore it and it must pushed into the light of day. Other than a few yoga blogs and DharmaWheel no-one is talking about this.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Adamantine » Mon May 07, 2012 10:31 am

Knotty Veneer wrote: Why did you do nothing when you were informed of Thorson's stabbing?

If something is profoundly wrong at Diamond Mountain, we cannot ignore it and it must pushed into the light of day. .



Well if we put aside all of the Buddhist concerns regarding ideology and veering far outside accepted tradition--- just looking from the POV of authorities there is simply a case of 1. mutual spousal abuse -- which generally authorities can't do too much about especially if neither spouse is pressing charges, and which is probably pretty humdrum normal of a thing for police in any state to deal with at anytime.. spousal abuse is sadly a pretty common phenomenon. 2. Apparently a death from exposure and dehydration due to incompetent outdoor living and/or a secondary illness. . also something that is probably not terribly uncommon in many states that have large swathes of wilderness areas... Neither of these things are much reason for authorities to launch intensive investigations probably...
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Knotty Veneer » Mon May 07, 2012 10:44 am

Adamantine wrote:Well if we put aside all of the Buddhist concerns regarding ideology and veering far outside accepted tradition--- just looking from the POV of authorities there is simply a case of 1. mutual spousal abuse -- which generally authorities can't do too much about especially if neither spouse is pressing charges, and which is probably pretty humdrum normal of a thing for police in any state to deal with at anytime.. spousal abuse is sadly a pretty common phenomenon. 2. Apparently a death from exposure and dehydration due to incompetent outdoor living and/or a secondary illness. . also something that is probably not terribly uncommon in many states that have large swathes of wilderness areas... Neither of these things are much reason for authorities to launch intensive investigations probably...


I take your point but I can't help but feel that the local authorities have not exactly been thorough in their investigations before and after the tragic event. They receive a complaint about a man being stabbed and a few weeks later he ends up dead in the company of the woman who stabbed him. Shouldn't they be a bit more concerned?
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Adamantine » Mon May 07, 2012 11:37 am

Knotty Veneer wrote: They receive a complaint about a man being stabbed and a few weeks later he ends up dead in the company of the woman who stabbed him. Shouldn't they be a bit more concerned?


This is a murky point- - it seems that the actual stabbing occurred anywhere from over a year ago to 6 months ago... but either way, a long time before the death in the cave. What happened a few weeks before (actually, two months before) was the public confession by Christie of this event, in the context of a "teaching". It was apparently only at this point that the board, including Roach, learned of it and then notified authorities and deliberated on how to handle it. What is shocking is that the on-campus physician who treated the wounds and stitched them up did not notify the board, Roach himself, or apparently anyone. This seems rather bizarre and negligent, considering.

What also seems bizarre is that it seems the initial description of the stabbings by Christie in the teaching context, and the later letter published online by Christie a few days before Ian's death have conflicting accounts of what happened. There does seem to be quite a mystery as to what really went down, but I don't really expect the local authorities to do much to unravel it. Call me a cynic, but I generally have a less than positive view of police based on years of personal experience... I hope that this bias can be turned around though. . . I am waiting to be surprised.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Knotty Veneer » Mon May 07, 2012 1:15 pm

Adamantine wrote: What is shocking is that the on-campus physician who treated the wounds and stitched them up did not notify the board, Roach himself, or apparently anyone. This seems rather bizarre and negligent, considering.

What also seems bizarre is that it seems the initial description of the stabbings by Christie in the teaching context, and the later letter published online by Christie a few days before Ian's death have conflicting accounts of what happened. There does seem to be quite a mystery as to what really went down, but I don't really expect the local authorities to do much to unravel it. Call me a cynic, but I generally have a less than positive view of police based on years of personal experience... I hope that this bias can be turned around though. . . I am waiting to be surprised.


As far as I can tell, McNally was given medical treatment and released. The autopsy reported probable cause of death as dehydration. That's it, book closed? Seriously?

The question of the actions of the onsite MD and the people who supported the couple in what was, I think to anyone looking from the outside, a reckless endeavour in the cave needs to be asked. Why did these people not do the right thing? How did they lose their sense of perspective to such a degree that alarms did not go off for them? Someone asked in an earlier post how we know that this is a cult? When people lose their ordinary commonsense and allow group think and "higher laws" (in this case retreat vows) to permit reckless and abusive behaviour to continue I think then, yes, we can clearly say this is cultic behaviour.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Nemo » Mon May 07, 2012 3:13 pm

I think time of death would be even more telling than cause. Did he die before or after she called. Liver temp should have been taken at the scene. Stabbing someone is not accidental. It takes a considerable amount of force to do damage. I've been stabbed and nearly unhurt because of the lack of resolve in the blows or because of someone hitting bone. Three stab wounds needing stitches is pretty psycho by anyone's standards. You have to be filled with murder to go that far. To then lie about it repeatedly should be setting off alarm bells. The local police should be informed and the AMA called on the Doctor who did the work. The fact that she is the second in command of a cult makes investigating this very important. She was doing the same as GMR. Banging one of her students. That never ends well. The megalomania that comes from being a cult leader with magical powers can easily turn to murderous rage when someone sees through your bullshit.

Other than that I don't really care what happens in Diamond Mountain. I don't even think they are Buddhist. But with age comes wisdom. I have learned the hard way that ignoring culty behavior always bites me in the ass. Things always get worse than you ever imagined and you wish you had complained a little louder when the warning signs were there.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Adamantine » Tue May 08, 2012 12:20 am

Nemo wrote:. Three stab wounds needing stitches is pretty psycho by anyone's standards. You have to be filled with murder to go that far. To then lie about it repeatedly should be setting off alarm bells.


Yes, reading Christie's account that they were learning martial arts and playing... is just so bizarre. How could you accidentally stab someone three times? I hope their disciples are not buying into this.

Regardless, what kind of Vajrayana 3-year retreat includes martial arts, and martial arts teachers who encourage weapon-play in it's curriculum? If that is the positive-spin cover up version there is something really wrong here. If only all the money time and resources thrown at this retreat could have been funneled into an authentic group tsam in the US. . .
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby conebeckham » Tue May 08, 2012 12:35 am

The death is sad, as are the "spins" Roach and McNally have put on this event, but the saddest thing is how others are still buying into (and, indeed, " buying") the program and DM as a legit Buddhist organization.
I hope no further tragedies are needed to convince others, but it says something that such a group can be defended, even here.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Mr. G » Tue May 08, 2012 7:01 pm

    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue May 08, 2012 7:05 pm

Mr. G wrote:Off Topic Posts split: Buddhist Emanations in Indian Religions


Good split. ;)
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Josef » Tue May 08, 2012 10:18 pm

conebeckham wrote:The death is sad, as are the "spins" Roach and McNally have put on this event, but the saddest thing is how others are still buying into (and, indeed, " buying") the program and DM as a legit Buddhist organization.
I hope no further tragedies are needed to convince others, but it says something that such a group can be defended, even here.

Well said Cone.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby honestdboy » Wed May 09, 2012 1:00 am

That's such a sad story. I feel sorry for everyone involved. I think it was right to make the couple leave the retreat; I wish they had been forced to leave separately, but they are/were adults, so this may or may not have been possible. Obviously, they didn't want anyone to know where they were, so I don't know what Geshe Roach could have done about the situation. I could imagine a 3-year retreat could turn some good people to turn into crazy people. Didn't the present Kalu Rinpoche say that one of his teachers tried to kill him during a retreat? :meditate:
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed May 09, 2012 1:49 am

You don't know what Michael Roach could have done? How about not being an upright fraud as a Buddhist teacher, poisoning other's minds with his horsecrap version of Dharma? How about having a wholesome behavior that at least met the minimum standards for someone claiming to be a monk and a teacher? That would have been a good start. If there was a moral jail, Roach should be sentenced to life.

conebeckham wrote:The death is sad, as are the "spins" Roach and McNally have put on this event, but the saddest thing is how others are still buying into (and, indeed, " buying") the program and DM as a legit Buddhist organization.
I hope no further tragedies are needed to convince others, but it says something that such a group can be defended, even here.

Seconded, especially after the last post.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Adamantine » Wed May 09, 2012 2:22 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:If there was a moral jail, Roach should be sentenced to life.


I believe in this context it would be called Vajra hell. He may already be experiencing it.

Maybe it is not too late for him and his group to turn things around. One can only hope.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed May 09, 2012 10:57 am

Offensive post removed.
5heaps, another post like that and you get free vacations from this board.
I won't allow you to come here play with sophistry in defense of Roach. Not in face of such a dire situation.
If you don't know how Roach corrupts Dharma, inform yourself. It's public knowledge.
Others don't have the obligation to educate you.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby 5heaps » Wed May 09, 2012 11:15 am

"his horsecrap version of Dharma is public knowledge"? wow, point me in the right direction...

kirtu wrote:Yesterday a Drikung lineage master gave completely crystal clear instruction on Mahamudra in Maryland that was more than sufficient. You stabilize that instruction and you will definitely attain the bhumi's (of course for many people rich instruction is not the actual problem - the actual problem is putting knowledge, even real insight, into real practice).

i find that difficult to believe. emptiness is hard. what could he possibly have said??

Because they are focused on their own peculiar interpretations well outside of the boundaries of Buddhist interpretation.

do you seriously believe that the 100s of people who have studied at DM, many of whom have many other dharma teachers outside of DM, are all following a cult? do you really believe you are in a position to assert that?
for your consideration: just because GMR extremely infrequently attempts to link nonbuddhist religious and meditative traditions with buddhism does not mean hes not 100% in Arya Nagarjuna's worldview.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 09, 2012 11:24 am

5heaps wrote:do you seriously believe that the 100s of people who have studied at DM, many of whom have many other dharma teachers outside of DM, are all following a cult? do you really believe you are in a position to assert that?
I have students that study Buddhist sati meditation with me and simultaneously are members of the Osho cult. What is so difficult to understand about that?
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One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed May 09, 2012 11:35 am

There you go. See, it only takes a little effort.
You don't need me to point you the right direction. You are defending him on purpose and I won't play your game. Just let me warn you that's a game you won't play without risks. DM, Roach's behavior and justifications, his new agish dharma mix and so on are corrupt Dharma or its effects. The end result is this sad episode.
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