A Death on Diamond Mountain
- A True Story of Obsession, Madness, and the Path to Enlightenment
- Narrated by: Fred Stella
- Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 03-17-15
- Language: English
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Regular price: $20.99
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $20.99
When thirty-eight-year-old Ian Thorson died from dehydration and dysentery on a remote Arizona mountaintop in 2012, the New York Times reported the story under the headline "Mysterious Buddhist Retreat in the Desert Ends in a Grisly Death." Scott Carney, a journalist and anthropologist who lived in India for six years, was struck by how Thorson's death echoed other incidents that reflected the little-talked-about connection between intensive meditation and mental instability.
Using these tragedies as a springboard, Carney explores how those who go to extremes to achieve divine revelations - and undertake it in illusory ways - can tangle with madness. He also delves into the unorthodox interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism that attracted Thorson and the bizarre teachings of its chief evangelists: Thorson's wife, Lama Christie McNally, and her previous husband, Geshe Michael Roach, the supreme spiritual leader of Diamond Mountain University, where Thorson died.
Carney unravels how the cultlike practices of McNally and Roach and the questionable circumstances surrounding Thorson's death illuminate a uniquely American tendency to mix and match Eastern religious traditions like LEGO pieces in a quest to reach an enlightened, perfected state, no matter the cost.
Aided by Thorson's private papers along with cutting-edge neurological research that reveals the profound impact of intensive meditation on the brain and stories of miracles and black magic, sexualized rituals, and tantric rites from former Diamond Mountain acolytes, A Death on Diamond Mountain is a gripping work of investigative journalism that reveals how the path to enlightenment can be riddled with danger.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jen Maresh on 03-26-17
great story. well written
It's a great story. Well researched and highlights the struggle of western people's desire for enlightenment amidst the temptations of modern culture. I appreciate that it's not a takedown piece, but rather a story of the politics surrounding spiritual communities. Very enjoyable
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Amazon Customer on 06-10-17
Worth listening to
It took me a while to get into this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it. Extremely thorough examinations of the historical significance of spiritual practices and sacred places. Reminiscent of Into the Wild. Biggest drawback is how painfully slow the narrator reads.