Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Adamantine » Fri May 04, 2012 11:07 am

Sad.

Knotty Veneer wrote:Well, having read Michael Roach's statement linked to from the buddhism.about.com site I am not sure how much can be led directly at his door for this tragedy. *snip* Christie McNally does not appear to me to be the kind of person who could lead a 3 year retreat (or be indeed called "Lama").


Clearly then, it all can lead directly to his door. It is totally due to him that Christie McNally acquired the title "Lama", when he revealed he was in his own supposedly solitary retreat along with her for three years, at which point he started referring to her as Vajrayogini herself. He treated her as his own Lama, and they revealed their own bizarre neo-tantra "spiritual partnership" teachings to the world. He ignored the warnings of his own Gurus, and what seems appalling here is that supposedly he was Christie's Guru, yet it seems evident she stopped treating him as such absolutely in her reaction to the advice to leave the retreat grounds (and probably long before, as how could she have left him for Ian in the first place if she had pure perception of him as the perfect Guru / spiritual partner?). The totally weird perspective that he had to try to appeal to other "precious teachers" of hers to reach out to her after she went off the grid, rather than her listening to him, who she used to refer to as her perfect Guru.. just shatters all pretension that there was ever anything even remotely real in their whole act. (Likewise, when did she stop being "vajrayogini in person" to GMR? Clearly, he no longer maintains that view. He condemns weapons and violence here and now on DM campus but don't we all remember the accounts of him starting to slice his finger off with a phurba saying he thought it was his Guru, Christie's request-- as a teaching example on the same campus? Isn't this all just a natural extension of those days?) I don't see how their students can keep believing in the charade and especially their misguided view of emptiness amidst all the glaring evidence that nobody at the top is even remotely acting according to their own self-imposed "logic" anymore. This is a terrible tragedy, --but if someone died in the midst of an authentic retreat guided by a true master and according to true tantric principles-- this should be considered an optimal context to die in. A blessing. But this seems far from it, for so many reasons.
That is what is tragic. That there are still over 30 people in the desert, trying to continue their retreats, in the midst of this total chaos and incompetent guidance? Let us all pray that these people, along with their entire mandala, find authentic teachers with authentic lineage, and develop the great fortune to embark on proper retreats in this very lifetime.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby gad rgyangs » Fri May 04, 2012 1:42 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:this shit is getting to be Jim Jones tier. I actually had Christie pegged as the saner of the two of them. guess not.


Aw, come on. It's not Jim Jones or anything like it. Jim Jones convinced his 900 followers to commit suicide and murdered those who wouldn't. Roach and McNally are clearly deluded about their understanding of Dharma and what it takes to practice in the high desert but they are not psychotic mass murderers. This is a tragedy of human vanity and stupidity.


i hope you're right, but this circus hasn't played out yet. i mean, who could have forseen this current tragic/farcical development? the best case scenario is that people at DM just start drifting away from the scene, but a lot of them have heavy emotional investments in the Roachman and his gargantuan ego.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Knotty Veneer » Fri May 04, 2012 1:49 pm

Adamantine wrote:Sad.

Knotty Veneer wrote:Well, having read Michael Roach's statement linked to from the buddhism.about.com site I am not sure how much can be led directly at his door for this tragedy. *snip* Christie McNally does not appear to me to be the kind of person who could lead a 3 year retreat (or be indeed called "Lama").


Clearly then, it all can lead directly to his door. It is totally due to him that Christie McNally acquired the title "Lama"...


Let me clarify. I don't think Roach bears criminal responsibility for what happened to Ian Thorson. Based on the statement he made it sounds as if Diamond Mountain acted reasonably when things between McNally and Thorson began to get out of control in the retreat. I am sure there will be a police investigation which will verify exactly what went on and if Roach is guilty of neglience or an active role in Ian Thorson's death he'll have to answer for that but from what evidence is available at the moment it doesn't seem so.

You are right however that Roach bears significant moral responsibility for what happened. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've met a couple of female retreat leaders and they were very different personalities from what I can guage of Christie McNally. Both were older with more life experience, 10+ years of retreat behind them, practical and common-sense attitudes - basically pretty smart and tough cookies. McNally comes across as gentle, well-meaning, spacey little yoga chick with a tendency to make bad relationship choices. That she became a teacher and is purely down to Roach. She is clearly more vulnerable than those around her realized. If she escapes jail for her part in this, she really should seek professional counselling.

As for Roach, he should get out of the guru business, learn some humility, invite a respected teacher to take over the retreat (and segregate the sexes too) and maybe do some real retreat himself. It's the best thing he could for the folks remaining at Diamond Mountain who must be having a really tough time.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Tilopa » Fri May 04, 2012 2:00 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:.... i mean, who could have forseen this current tragic/farcical development?


Anyone who knows anything about Vajrayana Buddhism.

Something weird like this was bound to happen sooner or later.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Knotty Veneer » Fri May 04, 2012 2:21 pm

Tilopa wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:.... i mean, who could have forseen this current tragic/farcical development?


Anyone who knows anything about Vajrayana Buddhism.

Something weird like this was bound to happen sooner or later.


Well, aspiring yogis dying in caves was probably not unknown in Tibet either. While I think the people in and around DIamond Mountain should have taken heed long ago when the Dalai Lama censured Roach, they are probably not all crazies and dharmatose groupies. I imagine many are going thru a lot. Discovering your guru has feet of clay is not a pleasant experience.

But as gad rgyangs suggests it would probably better for them to cut their losses now and go elsewhere. As somebody else pointed out, Garchen Rinpoche - one of the finest yogis alive - lives in Arizona. Why would you waste your time with Roach (even if he were straight up) when Garchen Rinpoche is nearby?
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby LunaRoja » Fri May 04, 2012 2:52 pm

Reading Michael Roach's letter is almost like reading a legal brief. My guess is he has already retained some high powered lawyers. There is elaborate detail outlining the fact that he didn't know where they were when the left retreat. However in her letter she states people were searching for their camp with flashlights. There were also people leaving them food and water. I find it hard to believe he didn't know where they were.

Also how does she post a 32 page letter on the internet when she is living in a remote cave with a cell phone?

Very sad situation I hope there is a thorough investigation into the whole affair.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Paul » Fri May 04, 2012 3:08 pm

LunaRoja wrote:Reading Michael Roach's letter is almost like reading a legal brief.


I agree. I read Christie's letter and it seems really crazy, to be honest.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Knotty Veneer » Fri May 04, 2012 3:17 pm

LunaRoja wrote:Reading Michael Roach's letter is almost like reading a legal brief. My guess is he has already retained some high powered lawyers. There is elaborate detail outlining the fact that he didn't know where they were when the left retreat. However in her letter she states people were searching for their camp with flashlights. There were also people leaving them food and water. I find it hard to believe he didn't know where they were.

Also how does she post a 32 page letter on the internet when she is living in a remote cave with a cell phone?

Very sad situation I hope there is a thorough investigation into the whole affair.


I think McNally's letter was written while she was still in the retreat - so before she went to the cave. However, what she is doing sending messages to the outside world while in retreat at all is contrary to any practice I have ever come across for 3-year retreats. Indeed, there is a bizarre photo of her, on one of the Diamond Mountain sites I was surfing where she is teaching non-retreatants from the boundary of the retreat whilst blindfolded so she couldn't see them. I'd love to get the opinion of a traditional retreat master on that!

No doubt Diamond Mountain would be wise to get some lawyers - as would McNally herself.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 04, 2012 4:26 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Tilopa wrote:
gad rgyangs wrote:.... i mean, who could have forseen this current tragic/farcical development?


Anyone who knows anything about Vajrayana Buddhism.

Something weird like this was bound to happen sooner or later.


Well, aspiring yogis dying in caves was probably not unknown in Tibet either. While I think the people in and around DIamond Mountain should have taken heed long ago when the Dalai Lama censured Roach, they are probably not all crazies and dharmatose groupies. I imagine many are going thru a lot. Discovering your guru has feet of clay is not a pleasant experience.

But as gad rgyangs suggests it would probably better for them to cut their losses now and go elsewhere. As somebody else pointed out, Garchen Rinpoche - one of the finest yogis alive - lives in Arizona. Why would you waste your time with Roach (even if he were straight up) when Garchen Rinpoche is nearby?


There is a lot of student codependence with dysfunctional gurus in general.

To be a true Guru, one must be more or less fully integrated.

To be a proper Dharma teacher, one must be 80% integrated.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri May 04, 2012 4:36 pm

Namdrol wrote:There is a lot of student codependence with dysfunctional gurus in general.

To be a true Guru, one must be more or less fully integrated.

To be a proper Dharma teacher, one must be 80% integrated.
What do you mean by "integrated"??? :shrug:
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Fri May 04, 2012 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby heart » Fri May 04, 2012 4:52 pm

Funny thing, according to the local newspaper there was water and food in the cave. How do you die of dehydration when there is water?

/magnus
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri May 04, 2012 4:55 pm

You don't drink it? :shrug:
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 04, 2012 4:58 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Namdrol wrote:There is a lot of student codependence with dysfunctional gurus in general.

To be a true Guru, one must be more or less fully integrated.

To be a proper Dharma teacher, one must be 80% integrated.
What do you mean by "integrated"??? :shrug:


View and meditation integrated into conduct.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 04, 2012 4:59 pm

heart wrote:Funny thing, according to the local newspaper there was water and food in the cave. How do you die of dehydration when there is water?

/magnus



It sounds like what he actually died of was exposure. Anyway, we will know soon when they release the autopsy report. Poor guy.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby deepbluehum » Fri May 04, 2012 5:02 pm

There are lineages where no one has died during retreat in 1000 years, which means ever. This should serve as a cautionary tale to anyone: follow only unbroken lineages. Sure there are realized beings who can contact the dharmakaya directly. You will know them if their body, speech and mind accord with the long established Holy Dharma. Avoid of all dharma innovators, and keep in mind that any exotic method like a deity or bindu, etc., is not an innovation but a heuristic, a condensation of the 84,000 dharma doors, and in no way contradicts even the Dhammacakra Sutta. Those who teach Paticcasamupada teach Dharma. Any method should be a method to realize that, and nothing else. As another word of caution: the dharmaphalas and dakinis are very real. As Western practioners with lineage gain in their realization, they will be aided by these all powerful beings as those forces swarm the land. Western dharma innovators should be on notice that the serious repercussions associated with samaya violations have been unleashed. I pray for their swift rebirth in the human realm.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby deepbluehum » Fri May 04, 2012 5:05 pm

Paul wrote:
LunaRoja wrote:Reading Michael Roach's letter is almost like reading a legal brief.


I agree. I read Christie's letter and it seems really crazy, to be honest.


They were overrun by devils without the aid of the dharmaphalas, and even the dharmaphalas saw fit to slay the man. This is how it happens, you implode like this.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby LunaRoja » Fri May 04, 2012 5:07 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:
I think McNally's letter was written while she was still in the retreat - so before she went to the cave. However, what she is doing sending messages to the outside world while in retreat at all is contrary to any practice I have ever come across for 3-year retreats. Indeed, there is a bizarre photo of her, on one of the Diamond Mountain sites I was surfing where she is teaching non-retreatants from the boundary of the retreat whilst blindfolded so she couldn't see them. I'd love to get the opinion of a traditional retreat master on that!

No doubt Diamond Mountain would be wise to get some lawyers - as would McNally herself.


According to Michael Roach she posted the letter on April 19th ...3 days before Thorsen died. Very strange!
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Knotty Veneer » Fri May 04, 2012 5:29 pm

LunaRoja wrote:
Knotty Veneer wrote:
I think McNally's letter was written while she was still in the retreat - so before she went to the cave. However, what she is doing sending messages to the outside world while in retreat at all is contrary to any practice I have ever come across for 3-year retreats. Indeed, there is a bizarre photo of her, on one of the Diamond Mountain sites I was surfing where she is teaching non-retreatants from the boundary of the retreat whilst blindfolded so she couldn't see them. I'd love to get the opinion of a traditional retreat master on that!

No doubt Diamond Mountain would be wise to get some lawyers - as would McNally herself.


According to Michael Roach she posted the letter on April 19th ...3 days before Thorsen died. Very strange!


You may indeed be correct. See the comments at the bottom of this blog page:

http://www.michellemyhre.com/2012/04/se ... pened.html

Especially a comment from a guy called Jerry Kelly who claims to own an adjacent ranch to the retreat site. I won't quote it here because it makes some pretty serious allegations (which he should be making to the police).
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri May 04, 2012 5:45 pm

Well that's wierd, the first time I clicked on the link I got a lovely glowing account of how lovely and holy the two lovely retreatants were and except for a lovely altercation regarding a lovely knife everything else was just holy and errrrr... lovely!

But the next time I clicked on the link (to read the comments that I had overlooked) it took me to a completely different article, something about a Garuda... Go figure!
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby kirtu » Fri May 04, 2012 5:57 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:You may indeed be correct. See the comments at the bottom of this blog page:

http://www.michellemyhre.com/2012/04/se ... pened.html


That thing is unreadable and I'm only on the second paragraph. How could Roach have gone so completely off the rails? And leading other people in this complete nonsense! What complete morons!

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