California Dreaming: “The Karma Show”

Why did Geshe Michael Roach’s method fail to make his dream come true?

Dreaming of having his own television show, Geshe Michael Roach submitted an online audition video to Oprah Winfrey, the billionaire media mogul who had launched successful television careers for Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. Out of thousands who auditioned for “Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star,” ten people were selected for the televised competition, and Oprah chose 2 winners and awarded each a talk show on the OWN network. It is regrettable that Geshe Michael, who wrote a book on "karmic management", couldn’t manage to pass the audition round. Ironically, in the synopsis below the audition video, he wrote:

Hi my name is Geshe Michael. When I was young, my mom got breast cancer and just before she died she put me into a Tibetan monastery. I stayed there for 20 years and became the first American geshe, or Buddhist Master. Nowadays a lot of people come to me with their problems and dreams and I help them figure out what karma they need to get things they want; I helped two women in New York start a billion dollar ad company, I help friends find partners, and how to fix their health problems and stay young and strong. I have an idea to have a Karma Show where people come and say what they’re looking for in life, and we figure out the karma or good thing they need to do for others, to make their dreams come true!

Many of the above claims have been challenged on this blog; and as demonstrated, Geshe Michael failed to even make his own dream come true. Oprah, in contrast, lives and breathes the American Dream: born into poverty to a housemaid mother in rural Mississippi, she has managed to become a self-made multi-billionaire. The following is a partial transcript of Geshe Michael’s 3-minute video pitch to her:

… And then people would ask me, “How do you use karma? What do you do with karma?” And I’d say, “What do you want to do in your life? What do you need in your life?” So I have two friends, they’re ladies in New York and they were working for a big advertising agency. They said, “We want to become successful, we want to have our own advertising agency.” So I explained to them what we [in the monastery] learned about karma, and there would be a special karma for making a successful ad agency. So they quit their jobs, they started their own ad agency in their own apartment and now they have a couple hundred people working for them, they have a big skyscraper in New York, they make 1.2 billion dollars per year. And other people came to me and they said, “Oh I have a problem with my health. I have cancer or something like that, what’s the karma? How do you fix that with karma?” So I used to help them, and they haven’t had cancer in 10 years. Some other people said, “I’d like to find a nice boy” or “I’d like to find a nice partner” and I taught them the kind of karma that I was trained in the monastery — what kind of karma you need to find a nice boy? And then they use it and they found a beautiful boy and then they asked me to come and do the marriage ceremony for them. So my idea, Oprah, is that we could have a show called “The Karma Show” and I could explain to people, people can come on the show and say: “I have this problem”, or “I’m looking for this kind of thing to happen in my life,” “I feel too stressed,” or “I need to improve my finances,” or “I’d like to find a nice boy or girl.” And then we can sit there on the show, they can explain to me what they’d like in their lives what they’re looking for and then I can explain to them what karma they need to do to get what they want. And then other people can watch it, they can try the same karma to get everything they want: it could be money, it could be a new job, it could be a nice partner, it could be they have some health problems. But I thought it would be cool to have a show called “The Karma Show” and people can come on the show and we help them get whatever they want, whatever they dream of, and this is a real idea, it really works, I’ve done it with a lot of people. I think it’d be a lot of fun so I hope everyone would like this kind of karma show idea.

It is undeniable that Geshe Michael did not get what he wanted, so why is he marketing his failed method to the world?

Let’s stop doing things that don’t work. Let’s focus our time and energy on the one thing that works 100% of the time. In this system, our chance of success is: 100%.” 5/2015

We are recommending that you use the only approach that offers 100% guarantee of working to solve problems and achieve goals — to understand the seeds that will bring the result, and then systematically plant them.” 4/2015

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Editor’s note: We challenge the Diamond Cutter Institute to not delete the above quotes from their Facebook page. Geshe Michael’s organizations frequently remove videos and other content that have been questioned on this blog.

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Related posts:
Blatant dishonesty, blind devotion, and breathtaking delusions How did Geshe Michael’s method work out for him and his top students?
Ideas and Invention: Failed Pitch 2.0 Why did he fail to get a TED talk?
Self-delusion: a proof of concept
Time after time
Karmic management at work: Epic Fail

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2 comments

  1. Joshua Horwitz

    This article has an insulting, twisted logic to it. It undermines what Michael has done to help people because he has his faults. However nonetheless he’s helped many people, listed in the piece and beyond. I am one of the people he’s helped profoundly, yet I can still see he has faults that have gotten in the way of him acheiving many of his goals, some which have even caused harm. It’s in fact quite common that healers have the hardest time healing themselves. Michael might even be a good example of that. I can’t say. I can say, this article is just a negative insulting diatribe, without any compassion or willingness to see the complex situation for what it is.

    • mrf

      Hi Joshua, thank you for your feedback. Geshe Michael’s presentation of karma — that you can get whatever you want and dream of in this lifetime — is not grounded in Buddhism or reality. Despite his claims, his method didn’t help him or his top students. People can genuinely believe the “law of attraction” or even Kumare helped them, whether that has to do with reality or not is another matter. Do your own fact checking, at least examine his proof of concept to see if it’s insulting to intelligence.

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