Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby swampflower » Sat May 05, 2012 4:08 pm

What a sad sad affair for all sentient beings.
How was it possible for this group to become so misguided?
This is not Buddhism as I have come to understand.
Perhaps good may arise from this through the guidance of proper lineage teachers.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat May 05, 2012 7:58 pm

During the days of historic china probably in excess of a hundred thousand were killed by various revolutions related to humans who really or for political purpose considered themselves to be the future buddha.

Really corruptions are found in all religions past present and will be in the future. It is in the nature of religion as edifice usually...the need to establish or maintain a order for the most part....poliitics and money usually.

This is of a different sort but the corruptions are not unusual..all religions have them.

That was quite a long article I disagree in part. At what point do people take responsibility for your own choices of guru and all the rest.
Someone stabbed this guy and it is considered justifiable as he was doing other aggressions...sorry that is not appropriate, ever. If you stab someone reported to law...you go to jail a court decides.
Something was going on here but this article speaks to one opinion on what was going on and does seems in part to fly in the face of reason.

Probably this teacher is grossly faulted.... but at what point in time does it make sense to blame not the teacher but the student if they blindly follow.

When they do leave we then hold this teacher again as cause as they must recognize and diagnose mental illness......a spiritual teacher is not a psychiatrist.
Someone was a attendant to this person and if there were issues of safety or derangement many apparently knew of their status in the cave not just the teacher.
If this person was obviously deranged why not blame all of them all who knew him...for no action.

No this though quite in depth this also has holes of logic in it.
A young guy I had acquaintance with some years back died stone cold dead of a full cardiac arrest following a jog. Not overweight in good shape in his early thirties, not a particularly strenuous jog not found was any real special cause.
Full arrest he died.
Everyone of his age who had acquaintance with him were beside themselves with explorations on why he died how he died and all sorts of things.
They were seeing themselves in him,his death. They wanted a full autopsy a complete investigation of all sorts and manner to examine this thing....

End result a normal autopsy was done...he died of a full cardia arrest following a jog....it happens. Rare but it happens.

Point being if anything untoward did happen a police investigation would be happening. Finding fault in a teacher is way way differing than stating which seems to be being done a teacher actually caused a death with as stated or framed would have him chargeable under manslaughter statute.

These two were seemingly told to leave following some domestic disputes. Was that handled appropriately probably not, but we really don't know all the specifics.
Was this guy overtly insane as this latest article suggests....seems not..they lived for three months or so OK and many others knew of their thing and what they were doing....no one called in the sheriffs or medical help prior to the death.
He died of dehydration in a cave in the desert of arizona....it happens.... you don't have to be overtly insane to have that happens. Rational people die from that very many in the southwest every year.

A tragedy sure.
This teacher faulted he probably was caused this....don't think so...silly really to propose that. Silly in that it doesn't fit the facts we know to be true.
The teacher told him...go live in a cave stay there at my direction...sure..manslaughter.
That did not happen.
They were told to leave and apparently decided to go to this cave off institutional property.
Phone they had food they had water they had and apparently by earlier link..attendent they had.
Those are not actions of conditions insane peoples function in.
Stupid perhaps....insane...doesn't fit.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Nemo » Sat May 05, 2012 9:19 pm

Having dealt with a few domestics I look at evidence not hearsay. Lama Christie stabbed Thorson at least three times under a psychotic delusion. Even though he needed stitches no one reported it. She made multiple divergent stories about the assault. Now they all say he was a bad guy. She had a position of authority in a cult. Who would dare question her. Now he is dead while under her care. I think a lengthy investigation is in order. Firstly the charges that he was violent need to be addressed. This could be character assassination or hearsay. Does anyone have some pics of some bruises?
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun May 06, 2012 12:45 am

In a law enforcement venue regardless of other particulars the victim of a assault of such a nature, a knife wound of any sort..... the perpetrator would be arrested and the courts left to hash it out with the assistance of the DA.
Most all states are the same in this excepting perhaps now a few such as florida which have special new laws on self protection being no fault.

Something is wrong there regardless of cause at the very least a legally framed investigation should have been made.
That I would hold a teacher responsible for if it was in his presence or with his/her knowledge. Absolutely 100% there is really no excuse for not bringing a sheriff into that. It would technically be felon assault, assault with a knife usually is. Even a small one, it may kill. Not reporting it in itself could possibly constitute a form of conceal of evidence to a felony, depending upon context.
Not reporting a obvious felony allows or enables the perp to conceal the evidence. So one is implicated in that.

The death, who at present knows the facts they seem arbitrary, I could not blame the teacher in that by present knowledge.
If that happened as referenced here, the stabbings... and those in authority knew of it....very much was very wrong.
"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.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby 5heaps » Sun May 06, 2012 6:16 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:It's a very sad and perfectly avoidable situation that comes as the result of crazy people doing crazy things under the guise of Dharma practice. The worst part about this, I fear, is that somehow they believe they are actually practicing Dharma instead of fast traveling down insanity lane.
I can only wish that people open their eyes and step out of their fantasies, learning how to recognize a proper Dharma teacher and a Sangha conducive to Dharma practice.

theres not really anyone in the group that could be called clinically insane
thats pretty amazing for a 200 person core group of dharma practitioners

perhaps a misunderstanding of dharma, but this is a scholastic assertion which needs to be approached in that manner

kirtu wrote: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!

what are you reading?? in the thing you quoted i didnt see GMR speaking at all?
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby udawa » Sun May 06, 2012 12:02 pm

Namdrol wrote:Gdon attacking retreatants and causing them to behave in bizarre ways is not unheard of. For example, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo was attacked by Gyalpo Pehar, for which he resorted to the meditation of Acala.

Likewise, Ngagpa Yeshe Dorje was assigned by Dudjom Rinpoche to do retreat in a cave where several people had died, presumably becuase there was a malevolent gdon that inhabited the place. His attendent was so freaked out, he left after only a few days.

Having myself done a solitary three year retreat, I can report that one's imagination can run away with itself. I can remember having a fantasy, among other fanatasies, that a chainsaw that my dad gave me to cut wood for myself suddenly started and chased me around the cabin. I had a similar fantasy about an axe.

These fantasies were very vivid. I of course understood they were merely fanatasies, but they were powerful. I can remember brooding about what I would do in case of a nuclear emergency, and wondering which way I would go, west to find my parents, or east to find my best friend, etc.

Further, it is very easy for people in retreat to be subject of provocations of various kinds.

Despite the fact that we all generally are not super impressed with the Diamond Mountain scene (but then I am not super impressed with any of the missionary Buddhist organizations in the US, regardless of lineage or affiliation), the meltdown of Macnally and Thorson's retreat and ensuing tragedy should be met with compassion. Further, it must be very difficult for the other people in the retreat as well.

N


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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sun May 06, 2012 2:30 pm

5heaps wrote:theres not really anyone in the group that could be called clinically insane
thats pretty amazing for a 200 person core group of dharma practitioners

How do you know? Have you examined the group? By any chance are you a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist to be so sure about that?
I wouldn't be surprised to find out there are people in that group going insane. If you read carefully, I said travelling down insanity lane. I don't know if they got to the end of it. But "Lama Christie" doesn't seem mentally healthy at all. I'm not convinced she is not suffering from a mild form of psychosis.

perhaps a misunderstanding of dharma, but this is a scholastic assertion which needs to be approached in that manner

You think a misunderstanding of Dharma is all that is going on over there? For goodness sake, don't be ridiculous. A misunderstanding about Dharma is what we see when we debate it from different perspectives and someone lacks information, for instance.
A man has died and such fact seems to be closely related to the whole ideology and environment cultivated by MR in Diamond Mountain. I'd say that's more than "perhaps a misunderstanding of dharma".

what are you reading?? in the thing you quoted i didnt see GMR speaking at all?

Let me just try to understand you. By any chance are you trying to defend MR?
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby kirtu » Sun May 06, 2012 3:20 pm

5heaps wrote:
kirtu wrote: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!

what are you reading??


In the post I clearly quoted what I was reading so this shouldn't have been a question:

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


I was referring to this ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

However I just checked that link again and now that blog post has been somewhat modified with the author spinning their knowledge at the time of writing of the detailed facts around the situation.

Specifically, the beginning paragraphs of the original blog post found here (this was the original link) are unreadable:

Lama Christie practices the art of Spiritual Partnership. It's a Buddhist practice of seeing your partner as a holy enlightened being. She and Geshe Michael Roach posted lots of free audio teachings of their lectures on this topic, and I listened to each of these talks dozens of times.

A few years ago, Lama Christie fell in love with she & Geshe's attendant, Stanford grad Ian Thorson. I remember a moment of concern in 2009 when post-break-up Geshe Michael hit the clubs.


This stuff is unreadable. It is unimaginable that Roach and his group developed along these lines. This is the reason it is unreadable. This group is really no different that some clips from YouTube where people have created their self-styled form of what they imagine tantra to be. It's unreadablely offensive.

Lama Christie? He recognized her as a lama? I suppose since he apparently thought that she really was VY in the flesh, so perhaps an emanation as opposed to perceiving her as VY? Perceiving her as VY is correct but that doesn't mean that she is literally VY or a being with any fruition of wisdom and qualities at all. Spiritual partnership - again with them they took the principles behind this off the rails. Then - she fell in love with the attendant? Roach hitting NY clubs with one or more models in tow? It is unimaginably offensive to read that a person styling himself as a monk is going this (Buddhist teachers at clubs isn't - I could rattle off a few - but they aren't monks).

Anyway, I find all the essays, blogs, etc. surrounding this to be unreadable because so many violations are being enumerated as having taken place.

in the thing you quoted i didnt see GMR speaking at all?


He doesn't have to speak - I haven't read anything from Roach on this at all. It's his recorded behavior and the complete degeneration and failure of the original intention of their retreat/university project.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Sun May 06, 2012 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 06, 2012 3:33 pm

You should read the open letter (statement of legal inculpability) from Roach and (apparently from) the DM administration. Pontius Pilate couldn't have washed his hands as squeaky clean as Roach has (is trying to).
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby kirtu » Sun May 06, 2012 3:50 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:You should read the open letter (statement of legal inculpability) from Roach and (apparently from) the DM administration. Pontius Pilate couldn't have washed his hands as squeaky clean as Roach has (is trying to).
:namaste:


People entering retreat have some seven years of TB'ist study behind them, we're not a cult, cabins and facilities have been approved, people aren't isolated, etc.

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?

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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 06, 2012 4:22 pm

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.
This is true but, unfortunately, nobody currently has the copyright on the terms "Buddhism" and "Buddhist" so it is impossible (apart from denouncing them, which the Dalai Lama did, obviously to no avail) to actually do anything to people like this. Now, maybe, back in the "good ole days" in Tibet they would have just had Roach poisoned or exiled him, but nowdays... The beauty of Democracy!
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby kirtu » Sun May 06, 2012 4:24 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:You should read the open letter (statement of legal inculpability) from Roach and (apparently from) the DM administration.


From Michael Roach's Open Letter

A very good practice to do when someone that we love dies is the following. Every day in the evening, write down in a journal one single memory of them that we have which is beautiful, especially something that might reveal that they were an angel in disguise, meant to help us while we knew them in this world.

In Ian’s case, this is not difficult. For me, I remember one incident when another student came to me and said that he had heard a divine being singing off in the desert behind some trees. He was extremely thrilled that his practice was finally paying off, and ran to meet the Being. And then he found Ian in a small tent, singing to the gods.


So it is apparently common for people at this encampment to rely on experiences in order to gauge spiritual accomplishment and to support direct supernatural/magical interpretation.

Qualities, qualities, qualities,
stabilize, stabilize, stabilize,
.... anyone can have a real vision of a deity or a similar experience and then next week (or even the same day) violate the five precepts or actively fail to act for the benefit of beings.

Kirt
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby kirtu » Sun May 06, 2012 4:27 pm

gregkavarnos 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.
This is true but, unfortunately, nobody currently has the copyright on the terms "Buddhism" and "Buddhist" so it is impossible (apart from denouncing them, which the Dalai Lama did, obviously to no avail) to actually do anything to people like this.


It is amazing to me that HHDL's censure of him wasn't effective. Lama Zopa was even more pointed.

Roach's group and activities from the establishment of DM need to be considered the same as the various Maitreya cults.

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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Knotty Veneer » Sun May 06, 2012 4:33 pm

kirtu wrote: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?

Kirt


I think it's clear now that Roach has been very far away from orthodox Buddhist teaching for quite a while now. He may still trade on his work with the Asian Classics Institute back in the '80s when he was saving and scanning texts but more recently he's been publishing on Patanjali and on Jesus and teaching on the Bhagavad Gita. He's probably been a lot a more visible in yoga circles from what I can see on the internet in the last few years than in Buddhist ones. I think most Buddhist groups whether Tibetan or otherwise have been giving him and McNally the cold shoulder since the Dalai Lama's censure. Yoga groups tend to be more freeform and less worried about lineage (and are , dare I say, more flaky) and so more accepting of the nonsense Roach/McNally have been peddling.

As regards the 3-year retreat, I imagine it does not follow any kind of traditional Tibetan curriculum. Heaven knows what mixum-gatherum of stuff they're doing. It's probably pointless to suggest that an experienced lama come and oversee it because what they are probably doing would be unrecognizable to anyone in the mainstream traditions.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby heart » Sun May 06, 2012 4:38 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:As regards the 3-year retreat, I imagine it does not follow any kind of traditional Tibetan curriculum. Heaven knows what mixum-gatherum of stuff they're doing. It's probably pointless to suggest that an experienced lama come and oversee it because what they are probably doing would be unrecognizable to anyone in the mainstream traditions.


Indeed, not only living as couples in retreat but also changing partners, according to McNally's letter. I would say it was nothing like a traditional three-year retreat.

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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Paul » Sun May 06, 2012 4:45 pm

heart wrote:
Knotty Veneer wrote:As regards the 3-year retreat, I imagine it does not follow any kind of traditional Tibetan curriculum. Heaven knows what mixum-gatherum of stuff they're doing. It's probably pointless to suggest that an experienced lama come and oversee it because what they are probably doing would be unrecognizable to anyone in the mainstream traditions.


Indeed, not only living as couples in retreat but also changing partners, according to McNally's letter. I would say it was nothing like a traditional three-year retreat.

/magnus


Indeed. Sounds far more fun.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby Knotty Veneer » Sun May 06, 2012 4:52 pm

Paul wrote:
heart wrote:Indeed, not only living as couples in retreat but also changing partners, according to McNally's letter. I would say it was nothing like a traditional three-year retreat.

/magnus


Indeed. Sounds far more fun.


Funny Paul but perhaps, given the situation, maybe not in the best of taste?
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby AlexanderS » Sun May 06, 2012 5:40 pm

Maybe it would be best not to engage in too much speculation until the case has been properly investigated and the cause of death determined.
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby 5heaps » Sun May 06, 2012 8:07 pm

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

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

is engaging in generation stage practice the activity of a cult?
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Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Postby heart » Sun May 06, 2012 8:38 pm

Paul wrote:
heart wrote:
Knotty Veneer wrote:As regards the 3-year retreat, I imagine it does not follow any kind of traditional Tibetan curriculum. Heaven knows what mixum-gatherum of stuff they're doing. It's probably pointless to suggest that an experienced lama come and oversee it because what they are probably doing would be unrecognizable to anyone in the mainstream traditions.


Indeed, not only living as couples in retreat but also changing partners, according to McNally's letter. I would say it was nothing like a traditional three-year retreat.

/magnus


Indeed. Sounds far more fun.


Seriously, it sounds a lot more messy. :smile:

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