Grisly Death At A Mysterious Buddhist Desert Retreat

Southwestern chic and cults are both very hot right now. The New York Times on a strange Buddhist sect which blends years of silence, the pursuit of riches, and perhaps ritual stabbings:

Bowie, AZ— The rescuers had rappelled from a helicopter to a cave 7,000 feet up in a rugged desert mountain. Inside, they found a jug with about an inch of browned water. They found a woman, Christie McNally, thirsty and delirious. And they found her husband, Ian Thorson, dead, apparently from exposure and dehydration.

The puzzle only deepened when the authorities realized that the couple had been expelled from a nearby Buddhist retreat in which dozens of adherents, living in rustic conditions, had pledged to meditate silently for three years, three months and three days. Their spiritual leader was a charismatic Princeton-educated monk whom some have accused of running the retreat as a cult.

The monk who ran the retreat, Michael Roach, had previously run a diamond business worth tens of millions of dollars and was now promoting Buddhist principles as a path to financial prosperity, raising eyebrows from more traditional Buddhists. [Former adherents] spoke of bizarre initiation ceremonies at Diamond Mountain. Sid Johnson, a former volunteer who also served on its board of directors, said his involved “kissing and genital touching.”…

Read More: New York Times

6 Comments on "Grisly Death At A Mysterious Buddhist Desert Retreat"

  1. JohnFrancisBittrich | Jun 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

    Buddhist principles as a path to financial prosperity. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

    • Jin The Ninja | Jun 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

      anytime the two are ‘marketed’ together, or a buddhist retreat costs 1000s of dollars (even traditional ones)  they are simply not buddhist in ideology- profit is not part of the 8foldpath or the 3 jewels…maybe the ‘rules of aquisition’, but thats an entirely different notion altogether.

    • mannyfurious | Jun 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

      How could you not know that thousands of years of monks begging for rice and gruel was just a front for a bunch of lazy millionaires?

  2. just cal me harry | Jun 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm |



  4. Of COURSE this dude is an obvious shyster, but in pointing finger at him do not also be unaware that Buddhism itself is a world-denying belief system which is part and parcel with other patriarchal systems of belief (including the scientific materialist belief system) which fear, and hate, and seek to control nature and their own natures, and escape from nature and their OWN being!

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