Yoga and meditation
mix to improve
Visiting Tibetan Buddhist
monk offers lessons
By MATT FURBER
Express Staff Writer
Ordained monk Geshe Michael Roach
in the lineage of Tibetan Buddhist Dalai Lamas made a stop in the Wood
River Valley this week.
Currently on a four-month tour
promoting the book, "The Tibetan Book of Yoga" with 12 fellow authors,
Roach and his spiritual partner Christie McNally are also on tour
teaching Tibetan Buddhist meditation and yoga after completing a
three-year silent retreat in June 2003.
Yoga practitioners gather with
monk Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally for a Tibetan Buddhist
meditation and yoga session at the Sacred Cow Yoga Studio in Ketchum
Wednesday. Express photo by David N.Seelig
On Wednesday afternoon Roach gave
a lecture titled "Enlightened Business," sponsored by the Sun
Valley/Ketchum Chamber, which was followed by a "Tibetan Heart Yoga"
lecture and practice session at the Sacred Cow Yoga Studio in Ketchum
led by McNally.
Attendance at the events increased
throughout the day as Buddhism and yoga practitioners joined curious
visitors who finally filled St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Ketchum for
an evening of teaching and Tibetan Buddhist meditation focused on
healing that began with a sitar raga.
Originally from Arizona, Roach, a
Princeton University graduate, was the first American to receive the
Geshe degree in 1995. The degree is akin to a Doctorate of Divinity.
Geshe Michael Roach, a monk
practicing Tibetan Buddhism is on a book tour after spending three years
on silent meditation retreat.Express photo by David N.Seelig
During his 25 years of Tibetan
Buddhism study, Roach also became a successful international businessman
buying and selling diamonds. He helped grow a $50,000 loan into a $150
million company. He has divested himself of all his earnings and the
proceeds of the company now worth $250 million go into several of
Roach’s cultural preservation endeavors. His spiritual educational
teachings will culminate in the opening of Diamond Mountain University
in Arizona next fall. The curriculum is geared toward traditional
Tibetan religious training.
At the "Enlightened Business"
lecture Roach told the story of how his Buddhism study led him into the
diamond business and provided lessons in how the principles of Tibetan
Buddhism that can be used to heal mind and body can also be applied in
the quest for financial security.
The basic principle is that people
can change their perception of reality.
Roach used a clip from the movie
"The Matrix" and a pen to help illustrate how perceptions rule our view
of the world.
The movie clip begins with Steve
McQueen in a shoot-out in the West, attempting to vanquish his adversary
the old-fashioned way, ducking and shooting. It then jumps to a snip
from "The Matrix," where Mr. Anderson and his many doubles are blasting
The sequence ends as bullets fired
stop just in front of Neo, who without ducking selects one from the air.
The audience watches as the rest of the lethal discharge falls to the
Roach’s point in using the clip is
to show that if we can gain control over our perception of reality, then
we can reach inside and change it in creative ways.
He said in the West there is
typically a tension between business practices and having a spiritual
life. Businesspeople compete and fight to get ahead like Steve McQueen,
but Roach said there need not be a tension between being profitable in
business and having an ethical and spiritual life.
He uses a pen to illustrate
perception. A human may see it as something to write with. A dog may see
it as a stick or a chew toy. The goal of the enlightened vision is to
see the pen as nothing in particular and use creativity to turn it into
what is needed.
The path to having this power is
caring for those who are adversaries. It is a natural compulsion to want
to be heroes and save the world like Neo, the main character in "The
Matrix," Roach said.
"We don’t have to do the Steve
McQueen thing," he said.
The question is what would happen
if everyone did the Neo thing, Roach said. He said there are three
principles that help increase the amount of wealth for all people.
One is to seek harmony with
colleagues, a second is to be happy about the good activities of a
perceived adversary and the third is to save some money to give away
every six months.
"If you are in this country at
this time you still have more than you need," he said. "Take 10 percent
and every six months give it away."
Roach said the key is not simply
to write a check to a random charity. The value comes from the time
spent thinking about to whom to give the money.
"How much heart is in the giving
plants seeds in your mind (about how) to have money forever," he said.
"Being happy about someone who threatens you is the most powerful seed
you can plant. Try it for two months. Reality will start to change and
you’ll be ahead of everybody else."