I'm Scott Carney, author of "A Death on Diamond Mountain: A True Story of Obsession, Madness and the Path to Enlightenment" Ask Me Anything! I dare you.
TLDR: I'd rather just watch a video about what this guy is up to.
A little more than two years ago Ian Thorson died on a mountaintop in Arizona when he was about half-way through three-year silent meditation retreat. For three days his wife Lama Christie McNally sat by his side with a SPOT locator beacon, but rather than calling in for a rescue chopper, she tried to heal him with her own spiritual powers. It didn't work. He died. Only then did she press the button and call for help.
My book "A Death on Diamond Mountain: A True Story of Obsession, Madness and the Path To Enlightenment" starts out with the question "why didn't she activate the beacon earlier" and ends with a series of unexpected revelations.
The search led me to investigate the circuitous route that Tibetan Buddhism came to America in the late 1800's as both a sincere quest for spiritual meaning and a spectacle put on by charlatans. Today the word "enlightenment" is often a hodgepodge of ancient wisdom, American exceptionalism, the law of attraction, and Christian views of heaven. It's almost impossible to extricate to original meanings of the ideas.
I would never have heard about the dark side of spiritual inquiry if I hadn't witnessed it myself. In 2006 a student of mine committed suicide on a silent retreat in India after she discovered that she was on the cusp of enlightenment during her meditations. The last words in her journal were "I am a Bodhisattva."
There's a lot more to say on the topic. A whole book's worth, actually. And that's why I'm here.
In other words: RAMPART! RAMPART! RAMPART!
Want to know more about me? I'm an investigative journalist with Wired, Playboy, Foreign Policy, Discover and a few other places. I blog and publish articles on my website scottcarney.com and wrote a book about organ trafficking a few years ago called "The Red Market" **: Proof?: gekogekogeko: https://twitter.com/sgcarney/status/481178805533290496:
EDIT: Almost to Washington DC (I've been doing this AMA from a train). But I'll keep checking in today if anyone has any more questions.