Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

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Nosta
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Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Nosta »

I am wondering if I will, or not, read this book. Its about a death realted to crazyness and search for Enlightenment. If anyone here already read the book, what do you think about it? I FEEL that the book may attack buddhism is some ways. Well, it may attack silly ideas that people may have, and misinterpretations, but I am wondering if in the book the author also attacks other basic assumptions about Buddha and Buddhism.

Any insights about the book?

Thanks.

Here is the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Death-Diamond-Mou ... 1592408613
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

There is a 22 page thread about this event, although not specifically about that book.

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... eshe+Roach
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

南無阿彌陀佛
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Knotty Veneer »

Nosta wrote:I am wondering if I will, or not, read this book. Its about a death realted to crazyness and search for Enlightenment. If anyone here already read the book, what do you think about it? I FEEL that the book may attack buddhism is some ways. Well, it may attack silly ideas that people may have, and misinterpretations, but I am wondering if in the book the author also attacks other basic assumptions about Buddha and Buddhism.

Any insights about the book?

Thanks.

Here is the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Death-Diamond-Mou ... 1592408613
I haven't read the book yet but am well acqainted with the events that transpired at and led up to what happened at Diamond Mountain. Michael Roach touts a new age hodge-podge of his own invention. His Geshe degree it has been suggested was in return for the donations he made. Even if he did earn it through his own hardwork, he has clearly gone waaaayyy off the rails.

What he teaches is not recognizable by pretty much anyone in the mainstream Tibetan Buddhist traditions as kosher and he stopped being welcome in genuine Buddhist circles when he declared he was enlightened enough to sleep with a woman and still be a monk. I think many of his early students abandoned him on or around then and he began to draw students from the flakier end of the NYC yoga scene.

Perhaps you could quote exactly where you think the author is denigrating Buddhism but, you should bear in mind that much of Roach's teaching is at best twisted to justify his own behavior or comes from some other tradition entirely. But negative views of Buddhism would not be surprising in a book like this for two reasons: one Roach gives Buddhism a bad name and,two, people who are anti-Buddhist jump on things like the death of Ian Thorson to justify their bias.
Last edited by Knotty Veneer on Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Wayfarer »

From all the material on the Amazon page I can't see how it could be construed as 'attacking Buddhism'. It's reporting a story that should be told, and what is written about the book paints it in a good light. It is dissappointing the way Michael Roach's movement has developed but as the other posters say here, he doesn't have a good reputation in Western Buddhist circles and I don't think would be considered representative of Buddhism generally.
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Knotty Veneer »

I see someone has made a dramatization of what happened at Diamond Mountain as a movie.

Clip here:
phpBB [video]


The vimeo website also contains some interviews with people who were around Roach and McNally and provides a bit more context.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Challenge23 »

Nosta wrote:I am wondering if I will, or not, read this book. Its about a death realted to crazyness and search for Enlightenment. If anyone here already read the book, what do you think about it? I FEEL that the book may attack buddhism is some ways. Well, it may attack silly ideas that people may have, and misinterpretations, but I am wondering if in the book the author also attacks other basic assumptions about Buddha and Buddhism.

Any insights about the book?

Thanks.

Here is the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Death-Diamond-Mou ... 1592408613
Actually I just got done reading it and I don't think that the book attacks Buddhism at all.

I especially found the chapter that goes into the potential adverse affects of meditation(yes, there are potential adverse effects though usually they seem to require a whole lot of meditating to crop up) interesting and how it related to the Diamond Mountain affair and his comparison between western and Tibetan practitioners.

If you do decide to read it, I recommend right afterwards reading the first few chapters of "Advice from the Lotus-Born". The reason is that it will really, REALLY bring home how really tragic the situation with Michael Roach is. Basically the first few chapter explain, in really very clear writing, exactly what MR et al did wrong and how to not go wrong in that way. Except for the part with Kali. But frankly, I can't fault Padmasambhava for not anticipating someone using Kali in a three year retreat.
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Ayu »

For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Nosta
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Nosta »

As I said, I just had the feeling that the author could attack buddhism, and thats the reason I asked such thing here. Because if he attacked buddhism, I wouldnt read the book because I have no patient for people who dislike buddhism. But from what I understand after reading all of your useful posts I think I can start read the book. Attacking buddhism is one thing, attacking crazy people following buddhism is other realm.

Once again, you posts were very useful indeed, thank you very much :)
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Ayu »

As far as I understood, there is the hope that Scott Carney didn't attack anybody in this book, but tried to understand the circumstances that lead to this sad story.
But I won't read it.
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Knotty Veneer »

A good review of the book by one of my favorite Buddhist bloggers, Barbara O'Brien:

http://buddhism.about.com/od/beginnerbu ... Carney.htm
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Zettel »

I read the book last week. For the most part it did not contain much new information that couldn't be put together from what was published in in the New York Times and Elephant Journal, except for the detailed backstory of Ian.

The epilogue, where the author discusses feeling as though he may have been psychically under attack by Roach unnerved me however, I must admit. I spent a few days decompressing after finishing it.

The book certainly isn't an attack on Buddhism however. Not reading it out of fear of such an attack would be misguided in my opinion.
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dzogchungpa
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by dzogchungpa »

Interview with the author:
http://www.npr.org/2015/03/29/395849232 ... d-mountain

A little more with the author:

phpBB [video]
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by dreambow »

I haven't read the book yet but would like to in the near future. Scott Carney is a bit of a motor mouth, it would perhaps be better to pause and reflect before the verbal outpouring. As for the film, it seems to have as much lip gloss as any Hollywood movie.
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

For anyone who was wondering how those people were spending their time in retreat...

http://goodmenproject.com/arts/the-supe ... tory-jsnk/

And what they are doing these days....

http://www.gobeyond.org
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Re: Have you read "A death on diamond mountain"?

Post by daelm »

Nosta wrote:I am wondering if I will, or not, read this book. Its about a death realted to crazyness and search for Enlightenment. If anyone here already read the book, what do you think about it? I FEEL that the book may attack buddhism is some ways. Well, it may attack silly ideas that people may have, and misinterpretations, but I am wondering if in the book the author also attacks other basic assumptions about Buddha and Buddhism.

Any insights about the book?

Thanks.

Here is the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Death-Diamond-Mou ... 1592408613

I did read it. I found it impartial on the events that happened, and their causes. I found his gloss on Tibetan history and Vajrayana sometimes inaccurate, and often over simplified. However, no more so than is usual in journalism.

I did get the impression that he was building an axe he intended grinding, but he never took that very far. The anecdote about his own "student" with which he introduced the book may have bearing. So that should be read as a caveat.

However, on the whole, not incredibly defamatory and not offensive. YMMV.
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