Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Malcolm » Sat May 05, 2012 12:20 am

Knotty Veneer wrote:You may be right. It could be illness or perhaps they were doing a practice like nyung nas which limits food and drink intake. If foul play is ruled out- it still leaves the question why were they in the cave in the first place? And why did those who supported them by providing food, water etc. for the three months they were there not have more sense. Why did they feel they could not inform the community? Something was not right. Did the assistants not recognise the danger the couple were in? It's all very murky and unpleasant.



Perhaps they contracted Hanta virus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hantavirus
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 11942
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 12:27 am

Retreat in cave is practiced for spiritual purpose.
A habitable cave is quite a find.
Those providing food or drink to those on retreat especially in cave retreat are usually told to do such in as a no contact fashion as possible.

These two may not have been up to the task or he may just have died...really we don't know.

A couple in a cave....seems highly unusual to me....but I would guess very very rarely it may have been done.

Were they hardened tibetans living in tibets harsh plateau who could take such a grueling thing as a strict fast without assistance...I'd guess not.
Soft westerners such as I am, who might care to think I could do such a thing but really cannot.


Any report of threat of infectious agent would have been reported and big news as well in this small berg.
Nothing infers that. Plague and such things are native to these areas and would have to be checked for and reported if any suspicion was present.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby LunaRoja » Sat May 05, 2012 12:28 am

According to this account their water supply ran low and they were too weak to replenish it....

http://www.scribd.com/doc/91072639/Stat ... LC-by-Vens

It does look like illness was the culprit compounded by them running low on water. I wonder how accurate the news report was of them having water.
User avatar
LunaRoja
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:40 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 12:39 am

Sorry

That conflicts with the earlier news report linked that states water was found in the cave and it was being tested for contamination.

Since the second link is from a religious person source seemingly affiliated with the two(and possibly in part responsible by some consideration) ..sorry I take the first to be true.
They have no dog in the fight(no reason to misrepresent) and are apparently just reporting what the sheriffs told them.

You either have water or do not. You do not die from dehydration from having low supplies of water.
You run out...then you die.

IN the second story it took six hours to effect rescue. YOu also do not die from dehydration in six hours....three days.
To weak to hike out....who called for rescue, and why not earlier if supplies were running out?
ONe of two people dies and you then call for help....
Sorry I don't buy it.

Check the story...she called for help when finding him dead.... it took six hours to effect rescue not call for help.
Last edited by ronnewmexico on Sat May 05, 2012 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby LunaRoja » Sat May 05, 2012 12:50 am

Hmmmm I wonder why the DMU site is promoting the other story! There needs to be an official investigation of all this.
User avatar
LunaRoja
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:40 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby gad rgyangs » Sat May 05, 2012 12:57 am

maybe thats one of the many reasons why its supposed to be a solitary retreat: if you go bonkers, you dont end up stabbing the other person multiple times!
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
User avatar
gad rgyangs
 
Posts: 776
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 1:04 am

IF there was any question in the eyes of the law this cause of death would be reported as suspicious and most likely either be subject to a criminal investigation and/or grand jury. Certainly the local DA would make that determination after talking to those involved and most importantly the sheriffs.
All of which would be reported.

A death by dehydration is simply not subject to a criminal investigation of this sort. in this area.
Autopsy cause of death circumstance sure, beyond that no.

Both were dehydrated probably. Cause seems evident....they were not drinking the water they had.
Any trauma as if one was stopping the other from drinking would be evident as would any sort of tramatic asphyxia auto or other erotic....it would be investigated as a homicide or certainly a suspicious death.

Could it have been as the second story represents..no.
She apparently called for help finding him dying or dead.
Not before.

The stabbing part seems before they were seemingly sent away to do their retreat by their own selves.
I guess this teacher is faulted and that is valid as discussion...but again this has little to do with that.
They seem to have been pretty much off on their own.




There problem is with the second story not the facts as reported in the first.
The first makes sense....the second no.
You cannot in investigate peoples making questionable statements on twitter or the internet, from third party sources not named.
Last edited by ronnewmexico on Sat May 05, 2012 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat May 05, 2012 1:05 am

Whatever the cause of his death, I assume authorities will do their job.

I hope you fellows out there who are postponing the choice of a good teacher remember what seems to be the lesson we should learn through this sad episode.
Choosing teachers wisely is very important. Sometimes our life is fairly stable and as we are in possession of our cognitive abilities we imagine that we could never take a very wrong turn in life, trusting in people we shouldn't and so on and so forth. But truth be told, we never know how our circumstances will change. What seems ridicule to us now may be our future and we are failing to see it. Under dire circumstances we never know what will happen.We can lose family, wealth and health and be tantalized by people with false promises. I've seen balanced and well adjusted people ending in the streets, nearly insane, because of twists of fate. People generally think they will never lose their minds, unless a mental illness strikes them down. A very hard life can also fragilize people to the point of believing creeps and doing all sorts of craziness. But as it takes two to dance the tango, our reaction to a hard life will play a major role in determining how things will go.

It's now that we can still make good decisions that we must chose a good teacher and a healthy sangha.Tomorrow we may not be able to do such things. Then, who can tell what will happen? Give a starving person a rotten potato and she'll eat it as if it was the most exquisite food. Bad teachers are the rotten potatoes of the desperate. Even if you have your pantry filled to the top, a burglar can come at night and next thing you know you'll be starving, begging for a rotten potato.
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2798
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Tilopa » Sat May 05, 2012 1:10 am

Knotty Veneer wrote:
Tilopa wrote: Something weird like this was bound to happen sooner or later.

Well, aspiring yogis dying in caves was probably not unknown in Tibet either.

There's nothing weird about dying in a cave - I wouldn't mind going that way myself - but 'Lama' Christie imploding and leading others into a world of spiritual and psychological confusion? That was a predictable outcome for which Michael Roach bears full responsibility.
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Tilopa » Sat May 05, 2012 1:14 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:Choosing teachers wisely is very important.

This is the crux of the problem. Up to a point GMR was a good teacher of Sutra but he was never a qualified Tantric master.
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat May 05, 2012 1:17 am

Yes, that's what it seems.
But right now I wouldn't trust him to teach me how to pin a nail...
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2798
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 1:20 am

Well I take a different thing from this.

First never fast without hydrating :woohoo: . If you are a soft westerner that is.... as I am.

Second....investigate all proposed teachers thoroughly taking as much perhaps as seven years or more to see all aspects of the teacher before committing....never rush this thing.
If a teacher is not found the preliminaries are for us and enough for us.
Only a great ego says we need more.
Preliminaries and such more common approaches to spirituality may be of equal value to us in our progression and not require a special personal guru.

When we are ready we will find a teacher easily...till then don't sweat it at all.
Forcing it causes problems.
Enough simple things are present to keep me quite busy for many lifetimes, and still be progressing. Maybe you all are different I suspect not but maybe.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Nemo » Sat May 05, 2012 2:16 am

They looked young and pretty healthy. I found I could lose ten pounds or more of water wearing body armour in the heat and I could still hump it. There must be more to this. In April it usually doesn't go over 85. I think he died of crazy. Since the only evidence we have of violence is her stabbing him repeatedly and given her position of high authority and delusional writing I am highly suspicious. Did she convince him to do something stupid? Why did she call after he was dead?

Any good Lama teaches you how to deal with crazy. It hits just about everyone on retreat. I was a bit perverse and used other people's melt downs as my main source of entertainment/distraction. I would see a cat sometimes walking around when I was meditating. I remember symbols and dreams crashing into reality. One can't really tell the difference some days. A good Lama is like a good Sergeant. They ingrain the habits of how to deal with events without you even noticing. Solo retreat is the way to go. I do suspect I'll die in the bush somewhere on this planet. Hopefully with much less drama. Better than dying at work or in some hospital.
User avatar
Nemo
 
Posts: 632
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Josef » Sat May 05, 2012 3:04 am

Nemo wrote: In April it usually doesn't go over 85.

We have had temperatures up to 105 F in AZ this April.
Josef
 
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 3:40 am

Researching this I found one story referencing about mid nineties in this general vicinity on this date. However this was not at a elevation of 7000 if what is stated in that twitter statement is at all true, but at around 4200. So it would be significantly cooler at that elevation probably mid eighties, if they were at 7000 feet or so. And keep in mind they were in a cave, small but a cave not running or doing such things.

I am very familiar with this type area as where I live is a very close approximation to that. I live at 7200 feet in a arid area with scrub type forest for the most part.
Not Arizona but I visit relatives in Arizona in the desert quite often staying there many weekends, so it is familiar to me these areas.

The only rational explanation is again that they were fasting and not hydrating properly. They would attribute the effects of dehydration to fasting. It gives a particular form of conscious presentation which cloaks pain and other sensations, making one feel sort of high like on a drug for a while.
So one wouldn't notice one was dehydrating and dying till it was to late. And if they were would she...admit such a thing...I'd guess humans being as humans are being responsible and all in this...never. Just conjecture of course but it is quite plausible. This would explain why there was no call for help earlier.
This is why the link on fasting by buddhists states it must be supervised to endeavor. I have fasted many times and for lengths of time but never would I endeavor that in a wilderness situation....it would be like being high in the wilderness...very dangerous, and stupid.
If she was implicated in any fashion the death would be suspicious and be reported as under investigation.
Maybe it is but the facts as reported do not state that.

One hiker killed another on a trail in new mexico when lost in the desert not so long ago, delusional by the heat and dehydration, so it is also not uncommon for such things to happen. I don't doubt the sheriff would check into this possibility as it is not unheard of.
But as of present nothing points to that.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby LunaRoja » Sat May 05, 2012 4:18 am

I'm not so convinced the news story is the authority here. I've seen plenty of news stories that were inaccurate. Plus if this was an eyewitness account by someone that helped during the rescue, how much time did they have to examine the cave? Maybe they just saw the sleeping bags and some water containers.

I also live here in the desert North of Tucson. Even when the weather is cool here you can dehydrate quickly due to how dry the climate is. I had a friend visit from Alaska during the winter and she remarked on how much water she needed to drink here compared to home. I drink a minimum of 2 liters a day and that's just hanging around without a lot of exertion.

Living outdoors at 7000 feet even during cool weather requires a certain fluid intake. The sun is especially strong at that elevation.

On another note I had a friend do a retreat under the supervision of HH Chetsang Rinpoche and he said he was not even allowed to bring his shoe laces into the retreat in case he tried to harm himself. There is also a story in the bio of Nagpa Yeshe Dorje in which he used a knife to cut into his leg while he was on retreat, which he thought was a piece of meat if I remember correctly. More care should have been given to these two after Christie related the story about the knife. To banish them under those circumstances appears to be grossly negligent. An experienced retreat master may have been more skilled at dealing with this situation. People should not be playing with large knives during retreat.
User avatar
LunaRoja
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:40 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 5:13 am

We are simply not in a position to judge this teacher on the basis of this sole issue.
The teacher if the stories are true appears faulted. That may be debated and probably well protected as point, quite easily. Certainly I would not adhere to what appears to be this teachers opinion on things.
But this singular death...we simply have not a clue as to what actually happened, nor the exact circumstances.

As to the news story it is seemingly evolved from most likely solely the sheriffs statements, the female sheriff noted by name in the article.
I also have a similar newspaper in our area. This is how things are done. They do not make things up..... generally they have not reason to.
The sheriff tells them what happened they report it. They want some local color they add in the rescuers statements or observations.

The twitter article...doesnt even mention by name the source.

Critique away the teacher, probably a lot of solid ground for such there. This incident.....no. Not enough ground there to work with.
People die some young people and for occasionally no real reason. Circumstances may contribute to a reason but really studied no real reason.
I paint a probably story how it could have happened. Conjecture of course....we do not really know and will never know.

This is a internal issue of their sangha. Faulted or not this is the context. It appears these two were sent away from the formal retreat setting following some domestic disputes probably including a knife of some sort.
So can we hold their teacher responsible...maybe maybe not. we do not know really. Members of that sangha could probably say. But who there would not have a agenda linked to that sangha and thusly could be trusted in what they say.....maybe some could be found maybe not.
The twitter source linked just doesn't make sense, so at least that I discount.

Maybe something else will surface making sense. Till then we are left with the local newspaper and what they say happened by verifiable source, the sheriffs department.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat May 05, 2012 9:37 am

As an aside, regarding the dehydration issue, in this part of the world desert people drink strong sweet black tea instead of water. For three reasons: 1. The water is boiled (and flavoured) so even if it is rancid it becomes safe and drinkable 2. The minerals, tannin, etc... in tea set up a mineral ratio in the body that makes it absorb the water (to balance the ratio) rather than expel it. If an environment is really dry and you drink water constantly to moisten your throat and mouth (even sips of water) it leads to increased urination which leads to increased dehydration (and mineral leaching). 3. The sugar in the tea acts as a source of energy (when it's really hot you normally don't feel like eating much).
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 9514
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Knotty Veneer » Sat May 05, 2012 12:30 pm

A pretty damning article on Diamond Mountain and the death of Ian Thorson over at Elephant Journal:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/ ... n-arizona/
Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it - Mark Twain.
Knotty Veneer
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:50 pm

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby MJH » Sat May 05, 2012 12:52 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:A pretty damning article on Diamond Mountain and the death of Ian Thorson over at Elephant Journal:
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/ ... n-arizona/

Wow! That's a very eye-opening article.
OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA
KTL Buddhist videos
User avatar
MJH
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:01 pm
Location: Norway

PreviousNext

Return to Tibetan Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 18 guests

>