Hello, Dalai

by Michael O. Allen on May 16, 2008

Oh, enough already!

So, I am this really horny 44-year-old guy (I have not had sex since I was 22 years old) and standing before me is a blond bombshell the same age I was when I foolishly became a monk. I mean, gorgeous. And she digs me; I just know it. I can really tell. As a monk, I know I can’t touch her. (David Sanders for The New York Times) Michael Roach and Christie McNally vowed to be both celibate and never apart by more than 15 feet or so.

What if . . . alright . . . I don’t know. This is really driving me crazy. Could I even get her to agree to such a thing? She’ll think I’m a creep. But, then, maybe not. She’s standing here before me with that dreamy look in her eyes, isn’t she?

I mean, I am this creepy looking guy , right? wearing these funny clothes and she, looking like she just walked out of a dream, an angel, is standing there with that moon-y look on her face. And she’s looking at me! That look is for me. Me!

Yeah, she’ll go for it!

We’ll just tell people there’s no sex going on. Intense, spiritual, petting, er, touching, yes, but definitely, no sex. No sex. Yeah, no sex. I mean, no sex. If you know what I mean. No sex. Whatsoever.

But, what will people think? Will they buy it? What about the other monks? The Dalai?

Oh, the hell with them. I mean, why didn’t I think of this earlier?

Living Together: Making Their Own Limits in a Spiritual Partnership by LESLIE KAUFMAN, May 15, 2008

Bowie, Ariz.–TEN years ago, Michael Roach and Christie McNally, Buddhist teachers with a growing following in the United States and abroad, took vows never to separate, night or day.

By “never part,” they did not mean only their hearts or spirits. They meant their bodies as well. And they gave themselves a range of about 15 feet.

If they cannot be seated near each other on a plane, they do not get on. When she uses an airport restroom, he stands outside the door. And when they are here at home in their yurt in the Arizona desert, which has neither running water nor electricity, and he is inspired by an idea in the middle of the night, she rises from their bed and follows him to their office 100 yards down the road, so he can work.

Their partnership, they say, is celibate. It is, as they describe it, a high level of Buddhist practice that involves confronting their own imperfections and thereby learning to better serve the world.

“It forces you to deal with your own emotions so you can’t say, ‘I’ll take a break,’ ” said Mr. Roach, 55, who trained in the same Tibetan Buddhist tradition as the Dalai Lama. After becoming a monk in 1983, he trained on-and-off in a Buddhist monastery for 20 years, and is one of a handful of Westerners who has earned the title of geshe, the rough equivalent of a religious doctorate. “You are in each other’s faces 24 hours a day,” he said. “You must deal with your anger or your jealousy.”

Ms. McNally said, “From a Buddhist perspective, it purifies your own mind.” Ms. McNally is 35 and uses the title of Lama, or teacher, an honor not traditionally bestowed on women by the Tibetan orders.

Their exacting commitment to this ideal of spiritual partnership has been an inspiration to many. In China and Israel, and in the United States, where they are often surrounded by devotees, their lectures on how lay people can build spiritual partnerships are often packed with people seeking mates or ways to deepen their marriages. They hope their recently published book, “The Eastern Path to Heaven,” will appeal to Christians and broaden their American audience.

But their practice — which even they admit is radical by the standards of the religious community whose ideas they aim to further — has sent shock waves through the Tibetan Buddhist community as far as the Dalai Lama himself, whose office indicated its disapproval of the living arrangement by rebuffing Mr. Roach’s attempt to teach at Dharamsala, India, in 2006. (In a letter, the office said his “unconventional behavior does not accord with His Holiness’s teachings and practices.”)

“There is a tremendous amount of opprobrium by the Tibetan monks; they think they have gone wacky,” said Robert Thurman, a professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism at Columbia University.

There’s more to Roach’s bullshit (sorry for the language) story . . .

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