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Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 7:53 am
by Knotty Veneer
I don't know if anyone else has seen this or posted on it. It's very tragic. The long retreats need proper supervision.

http://buddhism.about.com/b/2012/05/02/ ... rizona.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:22 pm
by Mr. G
Let's not consider this a common situation considering Michael Roach and Co. are involved.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:40 pm
by mindyourmind
Mr. G wrote:Let's not consider this a common situation considering Michael Roach and Co. are involved.

That's a bit harsh.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:46 pm
by Malcolm
Pretty sad situation.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:48 pm
by Mr. G
mindyourmind wrote:
Mr. G wrote:Let's not consider this a common situation considering Michael Roach and Co. are involved.

That's a bit harsh.
I don't mean to sound crass, but Roach's group is not your traditional or standard Tibetan Buddhist organization. But yes, it is quite sad.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 1:32 pm
by Knotty Veneer
Mr. G wrote: I don't mean to sound crass, but Roach's group is not your traditional or standard Tibetan Buddhist organization. But yes, it is quite sad.
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. They do seem to have acted reasonably in the bizarre events that seem to have led up to the death of Ian Thorson. Having said that though, this was not by any means a conventional 3 year retreat as would be recognized by nearly any other mainstream Tibetan Buddhist organization, I think. And, based only on the videos I have seen of her on the internet, 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"). I have met several Western leaders (including two women) of successful 3 year retreats and they all give off a much more grounded and altogether less flaky vibe than she does. But maybe without knowing her personally that judgement is unfair. I think perhaps too Michael Roach might do well to consider whether he has the skills to run a 3 year retreat on his own.

I will be remembering all concerned in my prayers as I'm sure everyone else is too.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 1:49 pm
by Dechen Norbu
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.
It's disturbing to realize how people can destroy their lives due to very poor choices that, if correctly made, could have helped them being so much happier.
It's very saddening.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 4:59 pm
by conebeckham
I saw this yesterday when looking at that blog linked to the Ole thread...

This is very sad and unfortunate. But, frankly, didn't we see some sort of trainwreck coming with regard to these folks?

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 5:27 pm
by Knotty Veneer
conebeckham wrote:This is very sad and unfortunate. But, frankly, didn't we see some sort of trainwreck coming with regard to these folks?
I have not really followed the story with Michael Roach and Christie McNally in recent years. I remember when Roach came on the scene first being excited that at last there were now Westerners with a full traditional academic training and not just ones like Ole who claimed some supernatural authority for their role. But then he went off on this self-indulgent sidetrack and brought this girl along with him into lala land. I thought it a pity - at the time - but I never thought that his group was likely to see a tragedy like this. The weird posting she made from retreat (how does that work?) shows she was in a very strange state of mind - I hope she recovers. It does prove that the Mara of Spiritual Pride (dga' brod bdud) is very real and very vicious.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 5:47 pm
by Josef
I just hope this is enough to persuade others to stay away from this group.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 8:02 pm
by Karma Dorje
Ancillary to this very sad situation, why is it that crazy seems to gravitate to Arizona? It's not such a long time since the James Ray sweat lodge debacle.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 8:37 pm
by kirtu
They didn't know how to live in the desert but perhaps thought they did, they may have wanted to get through a retreat period and thought they could, they apparently didn't know how to gauge their hydration. Being in the southern desert, even in a place they might have thought was safe, is immediately life challenging for anyone, including people who grew up there and know how to live there, - anyone without adequate shelter and resources. It takes some planning and then you always have to plan for the worst case, which can still happen irrespective of planning.

If he died as a result of environmental factors then this is just the Christopher McCandless story revisited.

Kirt

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 8:40 pm
by heart
What darkness and craziness, all very sad.

/magnus

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 8:44 pm
by Josef
Karma Dorje wrote:Ancillary to this very sad situation, why is it that crazy seems to gravitate to Arizona? It's not such a long time since the James Ray sweat lodge debacle.
It's an odd phenomena.
I live in AZ and it is a beautiful and dare I say powerful place.
It's my feeling that people are drawn to the natural beauty and power but do not know how to deal with it properly leading to tragic outcomes such as this, the sweat lodge thing, and the AZ political landscape.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 8:51 pm
by DGA
It's WAY cheaper than California. So it's easier to try things like Arcosanti, which contributes to the alternative lifestyle vibe over time.

Because of Sedona and the pop-culture buildup around Native American spirituality... well, AZ is mixed up in that. If you're inspired to wander around with "feathers and bells and a book of Indian lore," what better place than the home of the Navajo & Hopi nations?

Tucson is a good place to get coffee, even though it's also a good place to get your car stolen.

And Arizona's pretty on the whole. Food's better in New Mexico.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Thu May 03, 2012 9:18 pm
by Paul
I get a horrible feeling this may have been at least partly caused by this group's weird view of emptiness - that if you imagine hard enough and have good enough karma & devotion you can change the things you experience to something else that you want/need. This whole group has been a tragedy for a long time.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Fri May 04, 2012 12:25 am
by LunaRoja
Karma Dorje wrote:Ancillary to this very sad situation, why is it that crazy seems to gravitate to Arizona? It's not such a long time since the James Ray sweat lodge debacle.
Garchen Rinpoche has a great center in AZ and many people have done long term retreats there successfully. It is the difference of have highly skilled Gurus on-site guiding those on retreat.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Fri May 04, 2012 12:41 am
by gad rgyangs
this shit is getting to be Jim Jones tier. I actually had Christie pegged as the saner of the two of them. guess not.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Fri May 04, 2012 8:24 am
by Knotty Veneer
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.

Re: Death at Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat in Arizona

Posted: Fri May 04, 2012 8:28 am
by Grigoris
Knotty Veneer wrote:This is a tragedy of human vanity and stupidity.
:good: