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Editor’s note: More than two decades ago, the Dalai Lama advised:

What is in the best interest of the Buddhadharma is much more important than anything concerning an individual guru. Therefore, if it is necessary to criticize a guru to save the Buddhadharma or to benefit several hundred of their disciples, do not hesitate.
… It is essential to distinguish between two things: the person and their action. We criticize the action, not the person… Speaking out against the action does not mean that we hate the person… Thus, we may criticize a teacher’s abusive actions or negative qualities while we respect them as a person at the same time… Motivation is the key: speaking out of hatred or desire for revenge is wrong. However, if we know that by not speaking out, their bad behavior will continue and will harm the Buddhadharma, and we still remain silent, that is wrong.”

We call on knowledgeable members of the sangha to help Geshe Michael Roach and the teachers at his Diamond Cutter Institute abandon their mistaken views which they are spreading around the world to “almost 25,000 people” a year.

This blog aims to empower readers with reliable information on Geshe Michael and challenge his questionable claims and teachings. We started this blog in 2012 and took inspiration from the now defunct diamond-cutter.org, a website created by Anthony Simmons to challenge Geshe Michael’s teaching and conduct. Mr. Simmons was the director of FPMT's Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India, and he wrote all the articles for that site which was archived and can still be retrieved by the Wayback Machine. We have reproduced some articles from the site on this blog.

We’d like to invite readers — especially his students and supporters — to comment and provide corrections, criticisms, feedback, and additional information in order to help us correct errors and minimize confirmation bias. We can not guarantee the blog content to be 100% accurate, but we can assure readers that it is more factual than many of Geshe Michael’s statements about his own life.

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However, faith in one’s guru does not mean blind faith. It does not mean believing “My guru is perfect,” even though your guru is not perfect. It is not pretending that your guru’s defects are qualities. It is not rationalizing every foible of the guru into a superhuman virtue. After all, most gurus will have defects. You need to recognize them for what they are.” – Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, a personal tutor to the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

If students sincerely point out the faults of the guru and explain any contradictory behavior, this will, in fact, help the guru to correct that behavior and adjust any wrong actions.” – The Dalai Lama

Should the guru manifest un-dharmic qualities or give teachings contradicting dharma, the instruction on seeing the spiritual master as perfect must give way to reason and dharma wisdom.” – The Dalai Lama

If the spiritual master is following a wrong path, which is contrary to mainline teachings, the student should be able to take a stand and not blindly follow that path.” – The Dalai Lama

Therefore, as students, you should first watch and investigate thoroughly. Do not consider someone as a teacher or guru until you have certain confidence in the person’s integrity. This is very important. Then, second, even after that, if some unhealthy things happen, you have the liberty to reject them. Students should make sure that they don’t spoil the guru. This is very important.” – The Dalai Lama

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About Diamond-Cutter.org

Diamond-Cutter.org has been created due to growing public concern about the behavior and teachings of Geshe Michael Roach.

This web site now averages over 600 unique visits per day, and over 98% of emails sent to us are supportive.

Please read this site with an open mind. It is intended to be informative and factual.

About the parties involved in  this web site

  • This web site is not affiliated with any Buddhist organization, lama or group. It is owned, funded and maintained by individuals on a purely voluntary basis.
  • The domain name Diamond-Cutter.org is registered to Gary Friedman as a public service. Articles and information on this site have been contributed by individuals, most of whom wish to remain anonymous due to their association with other Buddhist organisations. All materials are edited and approved by Gary Friedman. Gary Friedman has been an active student if Tibetan Buddhism for since 1990 and has undertaken extensive retreat and study.
  • Diamond-Cutter.org is hosted and maintained free of cost by Strategy Internet Solutions as a public service.
  • All those involved in contributing to this site are practicing Buddhists in the Tibetan tradition.
  • Some contributors to this site have completed the majority of Geshe Michael Roach’s ACI courses and attended a number of Geshe Michael Roach’s teachings on various occasions.

The reason for creating this web site

  • To present a factual account of the behavior of Geshe Michael Roach and his teachings, and allow the individual to make an informed choice as to whether he is a legitimate Buddhist teacher or not.
  • To clarify misconceptions about Buddhism that Geshe Michael Roach’s behavior may bring about, and prevent confusion as to what is legitimate Buddhist practice and behavior, and what is not.

We freely admit that Geshe Michael Roach has instigated some wonderful projects, such as ACIP and wish him all happiness both ultimate and temporal.

A Note to Geshe Michael Roach Students

We understand that it is always upsetting to hear perceived criticism of ones Lama. Please read the facts presented here carefully, and check them with other students to ascertain their correctness.

If you read carefully, you will find no criticism of Geshe Michael Roach on this site. The site merely presents possibilities and facts. It is up to the reader to to interpret these facts and possibilities.

Please understand that just because one may have faith in a teacher does not mean that they are necessarily suitable to be labeled as a “Qualified Mahayana Lama”.

It is correct to understand, as Geshe Michael Roach teaches, that “Lama” is merely ones projection, however the reality is that Geshe Michael Roach (or anyone else) may or may not be a suitable base to label “qualified Lama”.

No Lama is beyond investigation

As one wise person wrote in the forum of this web site:

“…the Taliban Mullahs are Lamas. Their followers consider them such. Can we simply support their violent regime because they are considered Lamas by their followers? There IS such a thing as conventional reality which we must live in, and recognise its functionality. Just because someone is labeled a Lama by some does not mean they are a suitable basis for that label.”

No Lama is beyond investigation, especially those who present a controversial and unconventional aspect, as does Geshe Michael Roach. Please understand that while you may have only been exposed to Geshe Michael Roach’s close mandala of students, there is considerable concern in the wider Buddhist community about his behavior and teachings.

The intention of this site is to open avenues for discussion, so that people can decide about Geshe Michael Roach themselves, based on their own investigation and wisdom.

“When teachers break the precepts, behaving in ways that are clearly damaging to themselves and others, students must face the situation, even though this can be challenging, criticize openly, that’s the only way.” — His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Read more advice from His Holiness the Dalai Lama on this subject

Our Promise

If anyone can prove beyond doubt that any of the information on this web site is fabricated or incorrect, we will immediately print an apology and remove that particular information.

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Disclaimer: We work hard to provide reliable content on this blog, but can NOT guarantee the information is 100% accurate. Readers are advised to do their own fact checking.

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10 comments

  1. Tony

    I’ve not admitted to this publicly before, however it was I that wrote and published the entire original diamondcutter.org website, and made public the letters from His Holiness office (which they forwarded to me by the Private Office for that purpose).

    It was a labour of love, or duty, as I saw roach as a danger to humanity. When the site was first discovered by Roaches students, they guessed I was the author and I was threatened and bullied. I wonder how many of those students still feel the same way.
    After some years, I was tired of managing the site, and it had done it’s job. There were many articles online about Roach and his behaviour, and the site was already archived elsewhere. Roach then approached me with an offer to pay money (well into the thousands of dollars) to take the site down. After a lot of thought I took the offer and the cash was donated to a good cause.

    I have done a lot of things in my life to try, in my own way, to spread the dharma and help people in that way, but one of the best things I have done was to help expose roach to the world for what he is.

    Thanks to everyone who helped me in this mission.
    Tony

    • mrf

      Thanks for your work, Tony. I did not know much about Tibetan Buddhism, and could have been deceived by his Sera Mey and Princeton credentials.

    • tenpel

      Thank you Tony for your work and transparency.

      After two abusive teachers I followed, the next Buddhist teacher I wanted to follow was ‘Geshe Michael Roach’. Happily I met Alex Berzin in Berlin who told me about Roach’s controversial background. At that time I didn’t like to hear those things about Michael Roach and felt Alex wants to destroy my next hope for a genuine Buddhist teacher. At the end – after I investigated all details* – I have to admit Alex saved my spiritual life by his kind hint, and your website played an important part in this investigation. If I had entrusted myself to Roach (I always think) I’ve committed suicide at the end when I had realized that he has also gone astray as my two former teachers did, because you cannot entrust yourself three times whole heartedly to misleading teachers without being spiritually totally destroyed and being an utter mess. Happily I found a better path within indo-Tibetan Buddhism.

      * What opened my eyes was when Roach said in this interview** that he doesn’t care what his teacher says and even if Vajrayogini would tell him to disrobe he would see this as an interpretative meaning. Based on his very own statement and my experiences with two abusive teachers, I realised that Roach has created an own inner world with no touch to reality or any basis to be corrected, exactly as my former teachers did. He is beyond any criticism, he is above all Buddhist authorities. (I think these are all signs of a narcissistic personality disorder …)

      ** http://info-buddhism.com/Geshe-Michael-Magazine-Interview.pdf

    • Amy Camacho

      Hi, Tony. I am working on a television story regarding Michael Roach and the Diamond Mountain controversy and found this interview extremely informative. If you still have the audio recording of this interview and are interested in speaking more on this subject please email me at amy.camacho@liontv.us

      Thank you!

    • justanotherlifetraveler

      Thank you for the resources provided. Very useful.

      As I’ve understood, the author of this website and diamond-cutter.org want to remain anonymous. What is the link between Mr. Yoram Cohen, owner of diamond-cutter.org, as here: http://whois.domaintools.com/diamond-cutter.org, former chief of the Israeli Security Agency and a person who would support this website for the two reasons you presented?
      If you can not share public, you can try private.

      Thank you!
      Blessings,
      Teodor.

      • mrf

        Dear Teodor, as Tony Simmons mentioned above, the ownership of the site was transferred to a supporter of Geshe Michael, apparently named Yoram Cohen. It’s a safe assumption that Yoram Cohen the Shin Bet chief is not a gullible man.

  2. Satyameva Jayate (@SAYAMEVA)

    I am a Buddhist from India. Michael Roach is as much of a Buddhist Lama as I am a blue eyed blond. Even my wife who is gullible to a significant degree could not understand how any rational human being can fall this kind of nonsense. Buddhism like Hinduism is more a way of life than a religion, and Michael Roach and his “followers” could not even begin to understand the abstractive and profound nature of the belief system. Karma (which is phonetically pronounced Curr-Maa and NOT Car-Maa as most westerners pronounced) will give him his due. He may become very rich because there are so many gullible folks out there, but he will not reap any joy from it; that will be the anchor that will weigh him down until he drowns in his guile.

  3. Steve Bruzgulis

    I just stumbled on this website. I was involved with Khen Rinpoche’s Mahayana Sutra and Tantra Center back at its inception in the late 1970’s and spent many hours with Michael Roach when he first became an acolyte of Khen Rinpoche (Geshe Lobsang Tharchin) I was a computer geek at the beginning of the personal computer revolution and worked with Michael on the beginnings of what was to become the Asian Classics Input Project (ACIP). I regarded him as a brilliant individual, who wanted to do great things for Buddhist teachings and had the motivation to follow through. There was, however, a certain rigidity in his personality and a need for adulation that I found off-putting and eventually caused a parting of our ways. I remained through the years, an occasional attendee of Khen Rinpoche’s group in Howell, New Jersey. I lived in Washington, DC. Michael developed his own following in Howell and I sensed a certain bifurcation within MSTC. I ended up spending most of my time with Art Engle, another long time student of Khen Rinpoche. A scholar on the order of a Robert Thurman.

    Later I met and had occasional conversations with Christy McNally when she first came on the scene. From onset she impressed me as being an intelligent and charming woman with a decided spiritual charisma.

    It is so sad and disheartening to see how these individuals ended up, especially Christy, who I think would have had a stunning spiritual career had she steered clear of Michael’s influence. Now they both seem like pathetic side shows to me.

    I guess this site has its purpose. Hopefully it will be read by the rising tide of gullible youth inexorably drawn to father figures they were denied of as children.

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