Tagged: Andin International

Fact Check: Top 10 Success Stories

How successful are Geshe Michael Roach’s top students? What is the #1 lesson to learn at his Sedona College of International Management?

Since 2009 when he founded the Diamond Cutter Institute, Geshe Michael Roach and his top students have traveled the world to teach “the ancient secrets for having everything in business and life.” Focusing on wealth, health, and relationships, Geshe Michael starts in each country with a seminar on how to use principles of karma to plant “oxygen money”, and introduces people to the idea of having money in abundance, readily available like the air we breathe:

This system really works. For us money can become like oxygen… I don’t have to worry about the air, there’s enough air… If I want to breathe, I just {inhale} and the air will come in… When I want money, I just use the Diamond Cutter seed system, and then money comes to me.” 6/2015

In one country after another, he tells the audiences that his seed system can help them achieve financial freedom and much more:

Tonight we’re going to talk about oxygen money… In 15 minutes I will teach you how you can make $250 million business, have a beautiful partner, have energy and save the world…just listen! …Oxygen money, beautiful partner, youth, and inner peace — you don’t need to choose, you can have them all.” 7/2015

He frequently mentions the ease of using four steps in his system to plant karmic seeds for amazing success:

We will teach you four steps for creating any result you would like in your life. You can achieve great corporate success and personal success… It is the technique I used to help build a $250 million company, and you can use it, easily.” 10/2015

Did his four-step method actually “help build a $250 million company”, and will his audiences succeed easily? In 10 cases, we examine how well the method has worked for him and his top students.

Case 1: Could Geshe Michael use his method to solve his own marital and financial problems? When his secret marriage to Christie McNally broke down in 2009 and they had “$30,000 in credit card debt and little else”, he wrote a letter to students and supporters asking for money to buy him a new home: “… 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.” Having failed to make oxygen money to pay for his own house, he now owes people a debt of gratitude:

‘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.” 12/2014

Since he could not even improve his personal finance on his own, did his “karmic management” really help his Jewish bosses build a multi-million dollar company?

Despite his secret marriage ending in divorce and the ex-wife calling him a bitter and “formidable enemy”, Geshe Michael had the chutzpah to write The Karma of Love and give talks titled “Perfect Relationships” and “Relationships Never End”. If his method really works, why did it not save his marriage or prevent “a huge number of break ups” among his most advanced students?

Just like in other countries, he told an audience in Vietnam last year:

People ask me: “Can I use this system in my relationships, in my family or can I use it in my business relationships?” Yeah, you can use the same seeds, same principles. Some people ask me: “I have a bad back or I have some stomach problem. Can I use these seeds to solve my health problems?” Yeah, you can use these seeds for everything.” 6/2015

Besides his failed marriage, it’s obvious that the seed system did not work as claimed: A) On their 2006 trip to India, despite having tried his method and everything that they could think of, Geshe Michael and McNally once again suffered from “Delhi belly”, the gastrointestinal problem that had plagued them in all previous trips: “we were very sick there, and there’s nothing you can do.” B) During their marriage, he tried using his method to get the breakfast that he wanted, but failed and gave up after years of working on that simple goal. C) In 2010, he entered a competition to be a talk show host but failed the audition round. D) He next auditioned to give a TED talk (not TEDx) but again failed to get selected.

Despite such undeniable failures, Geshe Michael and the Diamond Cutter Institute (DCI) market his failed system to unsuspecting audiences around the world. Avoiding Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, he and his “DCI global team” go to many non-English speaking countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America to hold DCI seminars and workshops. Each of 12 DCI levels of training begins with his introductory talk (usually about 30 euros a ticket) and is followed by two days of pricey workshop and retreat. In Germany, tickets start at almost 700 euros for DCI Level 1 and 1300 euros for DCI Level 9, premium tickets that provide personal attention from Geshe Michael cost 3000 euros.

Cases 2 & 3: Ignoring Geshe Michael’s divorce and “the huge number of break-ups that happened constantly” at Diamond Mountain, Nick Lashaw lavished praise on Geshe Michael’s Karma of Love: “A wonderful reference for all of your relationship needs! This book is a brilliant elucidation on the workings of karma and how to apply it to your life!” Lashaw and his wife Erin teach at DCI workshops and seminars in many countries and according to their GoFundMe page, “work so hard to help others realize their dreams”. Without a hint of irony, the well-educated couple stated that they had found “the house of their dreams”, but would “need a little help to come up with the down payment on the house, and thought to humbly ask” for donations. As DCI teachers and coaches, don’t they know what seeds to plant to make themselves well-off? Or has the seed system failed because it is rooted in Geshe Michael’s misinterpretation of how karma works? Continue reading

Karmic management at work

How did $45 millions of crippling debt happen? Why was the company “literally dissolving”?

One year after coming out of his three-year retreat (2000-2003), Geshe Michael Roach began to take credit for starting Andin and bringing it to success: “I started this diamond company in New York. It was the fastest growing company in New York, and I based it only on spiritual principles.” In reality, Andin was a not a diamond company, and its actual founders were none other than Ofer and Aya Azrielant, an immigrant married couple from Israel.

Failing to credit the brilliance of the two Jewish immigrants, Geshe Michael has been marketing Andin’s success as proof that his “karmic management” worked:

I went to New York City and used what I learned [from Tibetan lamas] to start a diamond business. That diamond business has reached $250 million in sales per year and was recently bought by Warren Buffett, who is one of the richest people in the world… So many people have asked me, “What is your secret to business?” and I said, “Well, I used the idea of karmic seeds, how to plant the seeds of karma…”

DCI, 2013

I use it in business, I make money for Tibetan refugees. I started at $7 an hour and now the company does quarter billion dollars a year, okay. How? Just karma, just using the laws of karma, right.

Spiritual Partnership, Course 1, 2005

But we started it on this principle, that if you give a hug purposely and kindly, a hundred hugs will come back. And that company was doubled every year. I think it’s the fastest growing company in the history of Manhattan. I think it’s up to 200 million now. You see, so it works.

Spiritual Partnership, Course 4, 2006

But truth be told, back in February 1997, just two years before Geshe Michael penned the Diamond Cutter, Andin was in dire straits, and Geshe Michael could do little but watched helplessly as Andin continued to flounder for the third straight year:

We started this company fifteen years ago …. and we expanded to two buildings and then we bought our own building downtown and we had nine hundred people working there, and selling like $150 million dollars a year and it was very exciting and very interesting and, and then about three years ago it started to collapse and it started to shrink again and now it’s just like my work day and again today and this week is very interesting. Because here you have hundreds of people who have built their lives around this thing for fifteen years and it’s just literally dissolving in front of their eyes. And we are all standing around and looking at each other and saying, “What did we do for fifteen years?” … And you know, people are thinking, “What am I gonna do now? I mean I worked all my time here, and I don’t know what to do now, and people are scared and upset … The bosses went from fifty thousand to one hundred million and now he owes the bank all this money, like he’ll be under fifty thousand and, and he’s like shell-shocked, his eyes are like glazed all the time now and he’s just walking around like, “What’s going on? What happened” you know. And we’re all just walking around, like “What happened?”

ACI Course 10, February 1997

Continue reading

Andin tale: the reluctant businessman

According to a 2012 talk, Geshe Michael Roach was pressured to start a diamond business to support Tibetan causes:

Then my lama told me, “You have to make a business, and you make some money and this will pay to save Tibetan literature.” And it’s many millions of dollars, so he said, “You go to New York, you start a business, you make like, I don’t know, 10 million dollars.” And I said, “I don’t like New York, I don’t like business.” And so then they asked me, “You have to go”. And I went. I started, I asked them, “What business do you want?” They said, “Diamond business.” And I said, “Diamond is dirty business.” But it has a religious meaning for us. So I started a diamond business. Then I said, “What is the business plan?” They said, “You use this book. This is called ‘Diamond Cutter Sutra.'” It’s the oldest printed book in the world. “You use this book.” And then I started to read the book, it says, “Why is a mountain big?” “Because the mountain is not big.” That’s all. I said, “How am I going to use it for a business plan?” Then they said, “You have to meditate.” So I did and we started a company, 3 people, and now that company is $250 million per year.

From the transcript of a 2006 talk:

We [unclear] try to raise money to Tibetan refugees, I know nothing about business and I hate business, I am not interested in business at all, so we started, we create [unclear] diamond business and I don’t know anything about that, nothing. But we started it on this principle that if you give a hug purposely and kindly a hundred hugs will come back.

By “we”, did Geshe Michael mean he and Tibetan lamas started a diamond business? Or did he mean to suggest that two Jewish immigrants, Ofer and Aya Azrielant, founded Andin to raise money for Tibetan refugees? Both scenarios are not true. As it turned out, helping Tibetan refugees may not have been on Geshe Michael’s mind:

So the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of suffering, [laughs] you know? It’s a very weird thing. And I, I can think of this… I think the most classic example is… I mean when I went to work and I remember I couldn’t get a job and I, I wanted to work in the diamond business, I had to work in the diamond business. I went to thirty different companies, they all threw me out. And then finally I met this guy [Ofer Azrielant, the founder of Andin] and I begged him, “I’ll do anything, I’ll wash the windows, I’ll, I’ll clean the floor, I’ll do anything, just teach me the diamonds.” And so he said okay and he gave me like seven dollars an hour. I remember. And I had to carry things from 33rd street to 47th street and that was my job. And then one day he gave me eight dollars, and then later on he gave me nine dollars, and then he gave me ten dollars, and then he gave me a salary and then I got a position and then it was fifty thousand, and sixty thousand and it kept going, escalating, you know and then finally it reached this point where I’m the vice president and I have to have all these things. You know, at the beginning I didn’t know what to do with the money. I, I just put it in the bank account and I didn’t know what to do with it, you know, I just collected it. And now it seems like I can’t bear, I’m, I’m overspent usually [laughter] and I can’t bear to live without it, you know, and… And, and my mind still wants more, you know your mind wants more. And that’s the nature of all things you can obtain.

ACI Course 8, 1996

It is questionable whether an Arya, someone who has perceived emptiness directly and thus become an entry-level Bodhisattva, would feel so attached to money. Continue reading