The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Strategies for Managing Your Business and Your Life
Geshe Michael Roach
Doubleday, 2000
228 pp.; $21.95 (cloth) 

Michael Roach is the first American to complete the twenty years of rigorous study and examinations it takes to earn the ancient degree of Geshe, or Master of Buddhist Learning, in the Tibetan tradition. He founded and directs the Asian Classics Institute in New York, and under the aegis of his Asian Classics Input Project some 150,000 pages of wood-block manuscripts—carried out of Tibet by refugees in the wake of the destruction of Tibetan libraries—have been transliterated and transcribed into digital databases.

He also happens to know business down to its bones. While he was formally studying Tibetan Buddhist teachings, Geshe Michael was also helping to develop one of the world’s largest diamond and jewelry firms, Andin International Diamond Corporation.

Courtesy Doubleday
Courtesy Doubleday

It was Khen Rinpoche, Michael Roach’s teacher, who instructed the young man to explore the world of business as the perfect laboratory for testing Buddhist wisdom in real life. Rinpoche was met with resistance: “Why enter into a world of greedy, ruthless, and uncaring people?” But teachers are teachers and students are students, so Michael gave in and found work in the world of diamond traders.

Geshe Michael learned the trade and grew with the company, relying on three crucial principles: that businesses should make money; that we should not get so exhausted mentally and physically that we can’t enjoy the money made; and that at the end we should be able to look back at our business and say honestly that our years of work had some meaning.

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