“See the Future”: futures and options

Can Geshe Michael Roach see the future?

Geshe Michael said this week:

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

If that’s true, perhaps he would have known “exactly what steps to take” to prevent the near collapse of his company, the failure of his secret marriage, and the tragedy at Diamond Mountain. And perhaps, he could have traded stocks, futures and options rather than spending “twelve hours a day at this stupid place [Andin International].” Continue reading

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? Continue reading

Ideas and Invention: Failed Pitch 2.0

Why does Geshe Michael Roach teach the method that couldn’t get him a TED talk?

Update: In November 2015, Geshe Michael spoke not at TED which he had auditioned for a few years earlier, but at TEDx in the small city of Graz, Austria. As locally and independently organized events, TEDx talks don’t have the selectivity and prestige of TED talks. The following article, which was published before his appearance at TEDx, discusses his failed attempt to get selected for TED.

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Having failed at pitching to Oprah in 2010 for a talk show, Geshe Michael Roach made a pitch to speak at the popular TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference which goes by the slogan “Ideas worth spreading.” He stated in his pitch video:

… After some years, I thought I would like to do some kind of project to help Tibetan refugees, and I didn’t know how to raise the money, and then I asked my lamas and they taught me some special principles of karma which I could use to apply in business to help the refugees, so I did start a business which is now earning $250 million in sales a year. I’ve been using that money for 25 years to help the refugees, and I would like to help other NGOs and other charitable organizations to learn these principles that I used to raise money for their projects.

Given that Geshe Michael failed to get selected to speak at TED, it’s questionable whether those “special principles of karma” actually helped make millions for Andin International Inc. — where he was first hired as “an errand boy” by the two Israeli entrepreneurs who founded the company.

It is not clear how Geshe Michael, with degrees from Princeton and Sera Mey, managed to fail when there have been so many TED speakers including at least five Buddhists: Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard was invited to speak in 2008, Buddhist author Robert Thurman — who had reminded Geshe Michael to follow monastic rulesspoke in 2007, Buddhist master Ogyen Trinley Dorje spoke in 2010, Zen teacher Joan Halifax spoke in 2011, and meditation teacher Andy Puddicombe spoke in 2012.

According to the pitch, it was Geshe Michael who came up with the idea of helping Tibetan refugees, but at other times he gave different and contradictory accounts:
– It was his root lama who asked him to help the Tibetans and insisted on the diamond business(!) and he reluctantly agreed to go to work at Andin in 1981.
– It was multiple lamas who requested him to start a diamond business after he had passed the geshe exam in 1995, and he reluctantly complied.
– It was his idea and he willingly and deliberately chose to work at Andin, not necessarily to help the Tibetans, but to be near diamonds and be reminded of the spiritual experience of seeing emptiness (“that’s the only reason that I did it” and “for no other reason”).

It is not clear which version is true or somewhat true, and which invented.

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Editor’s note: Geshe Michael’s TED pitch was uploaded to his Youtube channel at least 3 years ago, but was removed probably in the past year. Some of his other videos have also disappeared after his statements were challenged on this blog. If his claims were true, why was it necessary to remove the videos? But as Geshe Michael said back in 1994: "Once it’s on the Internet, how can you stop it?" Some of our readers had the foresight to save the videos and have made them available in accordance with fair dealing and fair use principles. Continue reading