geshe michael roach, buddhism, silence, three-year retreat, tricycleNot many could and it’s not clear how many of Geshe Michael Roach’s students will. Still, dozens of them are going to try in the southern California desert, the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month. Among them are anĀ  airline pilot, a dermatologist, a retired biochemist and a former television editor.

Not everyone’s impressed. One septuagenarian father is distraught (“I want to be a grandfather”) while the children of airline pilot Bill McMichael, 43, will not be seeing much of dear ol’ dad for a while. McMichael will see his children periodically but he will not be able to speak with them:

McMichael has tried to explain the retreat in terms the youngsters can understand, telling them that he is going to become an angel and reach heaven, and that he will show them how to become angels too. He sees a rare opportunity to bequeath them ancient wisdom.

“I can give them something that death can’t take away,” he said.

Practice and lay life aren’t always a seamless fit.

[Image: Geshe Michael Roach, 56, left, and Lama Christie McNally, 36 (Ricardo Dearatanha)]