The Secret Is Silent Meditation in the Desert, Maybe

When Ms. McNally and Mr. Thorson left the retreat on Feb. 20, after having participated for one year and one month, she had been its leading teacher. 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.

—This really weird thing happened in which these people were in a retreat in the desert for three years, three months, and three days, and then two of them got kicked out, and then one of them died. The story is bonkerstown. But also: Buddhism as a get-rich-quick scheme is also bonkerstown (an actual Buddhist just said to me: “This does not immediatlely make any sense to me”).

Also not making sense: The Diamond Cutter Institute, whose motto is “ancient wisdom, modern success,” was founded by a person who is possibly a cult leader but also once sold a company to Warren Buffett.  Question: Would you spend three years, three months, and three days in a hut in the desert if it might lead to wealth? Or would you not do that, because what if it did not lead to wealth? (Or maybe the whole “secret” is that by not spending any money for three years, three months, and three days, you “save” the fortune you would have spent?)

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