The Diamond Cutter at Apache Pass, Part 2: Passage to India

Blindfolded, he spoke eloquently on the nature of emptiness.

When he tells his own story, it runs something like this:

He went to India in search of medicine and eventually took his mother there to be treated by a famous Tibetan doctor, Yeshi Dhonden, who was also personal physician to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. While staying in the same home as the Dalai Lama, his doctor arranged a private meeting with His Holiness. They talked about his university studies and the Dalai Lama approved his plan to study with a lama living not far from Princeton, Khen Rinpoche.

After some years with Khen Rinpoche, and with a degree in religion from Princeton and conversational Tibetan and Sanskrit, Michael Roach went to India to take formal vows and be ordained at Sera Mey Tibetan Monastery.

He soon found the lessons overwhelmed him.

One of his special interests was in rare manuscripts.

With funding from David Packard, Roach established a computer center in the Sera Mey library and began to digitize rare manuscripts. That work took him to China, Mongolia and Tibet and, after the fall of the Soviet Union, to St. Petersburg where he learned Russian so he could locate and translate rare texts that had been brought from China to Russia over 300 years. To date, ACIP has digitized more than 130,000 manuscripts.

Geshe Michael now teaches 10-day programs four times a year in his home state of Arizona, and spends the remainder of his time traveling in search of rare manuscripts or providing lectures.

After 20 years of monastery life, Roach was urged by Khen Rinpoche to enter the business world. He wangled a job at Andin International Diamond Corporation, buying and selling precious stones. He commuted for 2 hours each day from the New Jersey monastery to the 47th Street diamond shop, never letting on that he was a Buddhist monk. All the while, he began analyzing how Tibetan Buddhist principles could be applied in the business world. This eventually became the subject of his 2000 book, Meanwhile, in the 15 years he was there, the firm grew from a backroom company to a giant global operation that generated annual revenue in excess of $100 million.

According to Scott Carney, writing for ,

Following the success of the book, Geshe Michael returned to his birth state of Arizona. After giving some lectures and attracting a small following of devotees, he decided to undertake a 3 year, 3 month, 3 day silent retreat.

And thus was born Diamond Mountain. With money from his books and lectures, and generous donations from businessmen who swore brought them unparalleled success, Geshe Michael purchased more than 1000 acres of private land at the entrance to Apache Pass, just outside the Fort Bowie National Monument.

Subhüti, if there were as many Ganges rivers as the sand grains of the Ganges, would the sand grains of them all be many?

Subhüti said: Many indeed, World-Honored One! Even the Ganges rivers would be innumerable; how much more so would be their sand grains!

Subhüti, I will declare a truth to you. If a good man or good woman filled three thousand galaxies of worlds with the seven treasures for each sand grain in all those Ganges rivers, and gave all away in gifts or alms, would he gain great merit?

Subhüti answered: Great indeed, World-Honored One!

Then Buddha declared: Nevertheless, Subhüti, if a good man or good woman studies this discourse only so far as to receive and retain four lines, and teaches and explains them to others, the consequent merit would be far greater.

Emergency Planetary Technician and Climate Science Wonk — using naturopathic remedies to recover the Holocene without geoengineering or ponzinomics.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store