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Geshe Michael Roach on New Ways of Working

Princeton graduate and Buddhist Geshe, Michael Roach, entered the closed world of diamond trading, where he helped establish Andin International - one of the world’s most prestigious diamond trading houses. Far from regarding business as a deadly game, Michael sees enormous potential in the workplace. ‘I truly believe those working in corporations are some of the most talented people in the world’, he admits.

In a few short years Andin was turning over well over US $100 million. Michael went from helping with basic tasks to running his own division and gaining admittance into the exclusive New York Dealer’s Diamond Club. Michael talks openly about wealth and how to create it, emphasising it is our attitude to money - not how much we have - that is important. ‘The whole point is to make money in a clean and honest way, to understand clearly where it comes from so it doesn’t stop, and to maintain a healthy view towards it … As long as we do these things, making money is completely consistent with a spiritual way of life.’

For Michael simplicity is central, if we want to be successful. ‘If we hope to reach a deeper level of life and stay there, we can do this only by collecting less possessions and cut out meaningless activities.’ While Michael’s working hours were often gruelling at Andin International, they were balanced by a ‘circle day’ each week, which was devoted to quiet and contemplation. This time out gave Michael the clarity needed to operate effectively at such a high level. While working at Andin Michael continued to live as monk, keeping only enough money to live on - the rest supported monks, established schools, water systems and temples, and helped fund the digitising of the Buddha’s teachings - so they can be accessible and free of charge to everyone.

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