Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:17 pm

http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/budd ... id=3521095

Buddha in the Desert
The death of an ousted Diamond Mountain resident raises questions about cults—and the future of American Buddhism
by Mari Herreras
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Nemo » Fri May 16, 2014 7:16 pm

So it's been about two years. What was the fallout of all this death and drama? Back when Dharma Wheel was in it's investigative journalism phase. I only mention it because a someone in the military mentioned a nut saying he was accosted by a bisexual caucasian Chinese spy named Michael Roche. A very common name up here in French Canada and probably no connection.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby smcj » Fri May 16, 2014 7:58 pm

Spy? :spy:
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby conebeckham » Fri May 16, 2014 8:31 pm

So, the "three year retreat" his students had undertaken was supposed to end last month (April 2014).
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby conebeckham » Fri May 16, 2014 8:41 pm

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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Nemo » Fri May 16, 2014 11:53 pm

Donors from Beijing you say,.....very interesting.

But seriously he looks better. I don't really get how he went to wearing suits and Rolex watches with a "model" on his arm in Russia and is now back in robes. It's clearly been a long two years. Whatever happened to Christie? People going crazy on retreat is not really news. You can still learn from them if you are honest with yourself. To unravel so far that someone dies must have left a scar.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby conebeckham » Fri May 16, 2014 11:55 pm

Their site has PDF's of the newsletters from the retreat...but a few are missing--the ones after the tragedy, for a few months, before they pick up again with one that makes reference to "recent difficult times" but says nothing more.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby smcj » Sat May 17, 2014 12:18 am

People going crazy on retreat is not really news.

From what little I've heard it is almost the norm, at least for westerners. And that's not GMR specific.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat May 17, 2014 4:59 am

smcj wrote:
People going crazy on retreat is not really news.

From what little I've heard it is almost the norm, at least for westerners. And that's not GMR specific.

Lama Christie was not just someone on retreat, she was the retreat leader.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby kirtu » Sat May 17, 2014 5:02 am

smcj wrote:
People going crazy on retreat is not really news.

From what little I've heard it is almost the norm, at least for westerners.


Why would this be the case?

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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby smcj » Sat May 17, 2014 5:21 am

kirtu wrote:
smcj wrote:
People going crazy on retreat is not really news.

From what little I've heard it is almost the norm, at least for westerners.


Why would this be the case?

From what I've heard it usually comes in the guise of personality conflicts between the retreat participants. You get locked up in a small confined space for 3 years with people you don't necessarily know or are compatible with and there can be trouble. Personally I tend to piss a certain kind of person off, even if I'm trying to be polite. Also a lack of privacy over an extended period of time could make me go postal, so I don't think I'm a very good candidate for a group cloistered retreat.

But the Dharma explanation I've heard is that people are purging their negativities, and that the subtle ones come to the surface, resulting in strife.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ngodrup » Sat May 17, 2014 6:06 am

A friend of mine-- a Tibetan Geshe-- asks me;
"Why are western Buddhists so crazy?"
I say, "It's because western Psychologists tell
western Dharma students that if they meditate,
their neuroses will come up."
Geshe-la says: "You don't get crazy, you get sane."
"I know, Geshe-la, but that's what so many are told."
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby smcj » Sat May 17, 2014 6:43 am

ngodrup wrote:A friend of mine-- a Tibetan Geshe-- asks me;
"Why are western Buddhists so crazy?"
I say, "It's because western Psychologists tell
western Dharma students that if they meditate,
their neuroses will come up."
Geshe-la says: "You don't get crazy, you get sane."
"I know, Geshe-la, but that's what so many are told."

Two points to be taken from this:

1. The geshe thinks we're crazy.
2. He doesn't understand why.

That is important for everybody to understand about the dynamic between tibetan teachers and western students. Personally I don't think it's just the power of suggestion that is the problem.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sat May 17, 2014 7:13 am

smcj wrote:
People going crazy on retreat is not really news.

From what little I've heard it is almost the norm, at least for westerners. And that's not GMR specific.


Maybe, but I think we're not talking about the "normal" crazy here, in the form of getting the occasional fit or loosing it for a while. We're talking about full grown psychosis. Which, sadly, also occurs relatively often. But at least in those cases I know of it almost always had to do with people getting either insufficient or even wrong instructions. Plus in one case a woman thought she was so advanced she wouldn't need any instructions at all so she decided to do a three year retreat on her own which went terribly wrong. I only know of one case where somebody had an authentic teacher and went mad anyway.

P.S.: that's my personal impression based on the cases I know of :shrug:
Last edited by ReasonAndRhyme on Sat May 17, 2014 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby smcj » Sat May 17, 2014 7:53 am

ReasonAndRhyme wrote:Maybe, but I think we're not talking about the "normal" crazy here, in the form of getting the occasional fit or loosing it for a while. We're talking about full grown psychosis. Which, sadly, also occurs relatively often. But at least in those cases I know of it almost always had to do with people getting either insufficient or even wrong instructions. Plus in one case a woman thought she was so advanced she wouldn't need any instructions at all so she decided to do a three year retreat on her own which went terribly wrong. I only know of one case where somebody had an authentic teacher and went mad anyway.

There's also the issue-related flip out. Say for instance a woman decides while in retreat that her biological clock is ticking and she must have a baby right now, that sort of thing.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sat May 17, 2014 8:08 am

Honestly I believe such short-term episodes can happen to everybody. The question is, do people have a qualified meditation instructor who manages to get them down to earth again? Or is the meditation instructor himself a nutjob who nourishes people's trips?

I think in most cases self-proclaimed gurus have started their meditation career as honest or good-natured students, who then, after a while, went astray because they misunderstood some of their meditation experiences (makyo/nyams) and took hallucinations for real or misinterpreted some bombastic light shows as proof of their enlightenment. If the teacher takes his makyo for real he will voluntarily or involuntarily transfer his wrong way of dealing with makyo to his students. As soon as the students undergo intense meditation in retreat conditions they take their experiences for real, too, and that's how people develop psychoses.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sat May 17, 2014 8:21 am

I wonder if Michael Roach has had a meditation instructor when he did his own three year retreat? If I remember correctly he is said to have done a three year retreat from which he emerged with a considerably altered personality. Was that under the guidance of a teacher?
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby philji » Sat May 17, 2014 10:03 am

I hope this isn't too off topic but the issue of suggestion affecting our mind set is interesting to me. I remember whilst doing ngondro and in particular doing Vajrasattva Mantras, I went through it pretty steadily, no major issues and actually enjoyed the process. However, some friends of mine had been told that during this " purification" practice all sorts of things could and would come up. One experienced her hair falling out, another got really sick and another experienced strong emotional outbursts, almost out of control .... So what is going on here? Coincedence? Suggestion? Purification? Or just the usual stuff but noticing it more????
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Nemo » Sat May 17, 2014 10:29 am

My experience is that most people go crazy if they are forced to be alone and quiet. I come from a hillbilly background so I didn't get cabin fever like many of those with a more erudite background. Most people have never made friends with themselves. Dharma also attracts the unhinged in the West. It's exotic and very appealing to those who want to feel important.

Why are people still calling her Lama Christie? She never received the proper training to have that title and forcing her into being "Vajrayogini" made her crazy and got a man killed. The most healthy thing you could do is let her be a normal person.
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