A monks vows are included in the Pratimoksha or Individual Liberation vows. These vows stand independent of any other vows or higher ordinations, and also stand independent of motivation. A fully ordained Buddhist Monk (253 vows) has a root vow to never engage in any manner of physical union with another. Breaking this vow renders the ordination nullified.
Geshe Michael Roach has taken the vows of a fully ordained monk. At the same time, Geshe Michael Roach openly admits to performing an otherwise legitimate physical spiritual practice which would break this root vow. Such practices are almost exclusively reserved for laypersons. In fact, it is the accepted tradition that monks disrobe before doing this practice.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama explains
From the Life as a Western Buddhist Nun conference:
” According to our tradition, we are monastics and are celibate, and we practice the Tantrayana simultaneously. But the way of practice is through visualization. For example, we visualize the consort, but we never touch.”
— His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Geshe Michael Roach claims, by his actions in taking a consort and remaining in robes, to have achieved the 8th Bodhisattva Bhumi. If this is indeed the case, then it would be true that he would have the spiritual capability to enter into physical union with another and not break his root vow. It must be stressed however, that the 8th Bodhisattva Bhumi is an incredibly highly attained state, very close to full Buddhahood itself, and thus extremely rare amongst living beings.
Geshe Michael Roach’s Reasons
The reason which Geshe Michael Roach gives for remaining in robes is:
“And I think that if I were crazy and I disrobed, I think that I would lose my vision of Vajra Yogini. You see? It’s the foundation of that experience, and not in any way a problem with that experience. The goal of becoming ordained is to have this experience.”
— Interview of Geshe Michael Roach by T. Monkyi for publication in a Buddhist magazine a few days after Geshe Michael’s Easter 2003 three year retreat teachings.