The Oracle of Phoenix

Why did Geshe Michael Roach ask students for money to buy him a house? Why didn’t “The Karma of Love” get picked up by a real publisher?

Failing to foresee the impending tragedy that would strike Diamond Mountain and create a fallout that still shadows him, Geshe Michael Roach made a rosy prediction for the year 2012:

Recently I was asked by my friends in Singapore to make some predictions for 2012… I think it’s going to be a good year and I’ll tell you why. The Diamond Cutter Institute principles are starting to spread around the world. People aren’t trying to make money, or find a partner, or find health in the old ways…, people are starting to use the principles of the Diamond Cutter Sutra (Chin-kang Ching) and they’re starting to achieve the dreams that they have in their lives by planting seeds…. and this kind of success is going to spread a lot this year. I think there’ll be a lot more peace in the world this year. It’ll be a sunshine year, it’ll be a year of light around the world. I think you’ll see some of the conflicts that have been in the world are going to be resolved this year, so I think we can look forward to a very successful 2012, a happy 2012.

A quick review of world events does not support such optimism: 2012 started out with Chinese “security forces opened fire on Tibetan protesters in western China,” as reported in the New York Times. Months later, the same newspaper would report on the tragedy at Diamond Mountain and the secret marriage of Geshe Michael and Christie McNally. It appears that the Diamond Cutter principles could neither protect his secrets nor result in a successful retreat. The following year, Geshe Michael felt compelled to make more predictions: “I will talk about Diamond Mountain if you want, but in three months nobody will care about what happened there. In a year, everyone will have forgotten about it.”

The oracular pronouncements by Geshe Michael, who grew up and now resides in Phoenix, have turned out to be wrong. Last year, NBC aired on national television a Dateline episode called “Danger on Diamond Mountain.” This year, Scott Carney just released a book titled “A Death on Diamond Mountain,” and also blogged about his almost deadly journey to visit the mountain cave that overlooks the retreat valley. Carney’s new book has been reviewed by NPR and by a former student of Geshe Michael, Matthew Remski who back in 2012 broke the news of the tragedy and disclosed Geshe Michael’s divorce in a series of three articles.

While Carney succeeded in getting his book published by Gotham (an imprint of Penguin/Random House), Geshe Michael resorted to publishing “The Karma of Love” through Diamond Cutter, Csi. It appears that Geshe Michael’s karmic management had failed to get his book picked up by any major publisher. Speaking of success and failure, self-made multi-billionaire Warren Buffett — also known as “the Oracle of Omaha” due to his investment picks and foresight — generated 99% of his wealth after his 50th birthday. In contrast to Mr. Buffett’s long lasting relationships and ever growing wealth, Geshe Michael’s relationship with McNally ended in 2009; the then 57-year-old geshe, who seemed unable to generate income with the Diamond Cutter principles, resorted to writing a letter asking students for help to buy a house so that he could live close to his angelic girlfriend from high school whom he views as his heart lama:

As most of you are aware to some extent, especially if you are familiar with the book of the Garden, I met my Heart Teacher in Phoenix many years ago, and for many years have sought permission to live close by Her and to continue learning from Her personally. It is a great source of joy to me to say that I have now been granted this permission…. I have decided for the first time in my life to have a place of my own, as a commitment to my Lama and my own private spiritual practice in these “golden” years of my life — sort of a final push, I hope, for enlightenment…. After the 3-year retreat [2010-2013] I will be living there and working in Phoenix much of the week….
Lastly I would like to unashamedly ask if any of you would consider helping me to purchase the Rainbow House, with either a gift or a loan…. The price of the house, originally quoted at around $95,000, turns out to be $195,000.

Given that Prince Siddhartha went into homelessness and became a fully enlightened Buddha under a tree, and generations of Tibetan monks and yogis have done retreats in mountain caves, it is not clear why Geshe Michael felt the need for a relatively pricey house, which was paid for by his students:

‘Home’ for me means Rainbow House… This place was bought and paid for by a huge group of my friends and students about 5 years ago, and I would like once more to express my grateful thanks to each of you who contributed. This is the first time in my life that I have had my own home, and it means a lot to me.” – GMR, End-of-Year Message 2014

Geshe Michael filed for divorce at McNally’s urging, and did not join the retreat as had anticipated — again the Oracle of Phoenix failed to foresee events in his life. According to the New York Times, the divorce filing in 2010 shows they “had an old Dodge Durango, $30,000 in credit card debt and little else.” Failing to create a lasting relationship or an enduring wealth, Geshe Michael’s Diamond Cutter principles did not seem to work as well as advertised, if at all.

Update: In 2016, Geshe Michael claimed:

If you meditate, you come out of the closet into a much bigger space, you can see the future. Directly. You can see what the stock market will do. You will know exactly what steps to take in your life. Is meditation boring? No! It’s a very powerful life tool for success.” 1/2016

Author’s note: This article is dedicated in loving memory to the Oracle of Oberhausen “Paul the Octopus” who correctly predicted 8 matches in a row during World Cup 2010, and won this author 20 euros.

Related post: Blatant dishonesty, blind devotion, and breathtaking delusions How did “karmic management” work out for Geshe Michael and his top students?

One comment

  1. Iggy Aztec

    He asked the room to buy him a house claiming, “This is my last best shot to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime.” That struck me as the very last thing an arya would claim.


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