Michael has been a student of Robert Thurman and HH the XIV Dalai Lama for 20 years, since his undergraduate years at Columbia University. In February of 2002 he was invited to help the Thurmans and Tibet House start the newly acquired Menla retreat. Over the years, he worked variously as Menla’s dishwasher, housekeeper, Front of House Manager, and Assistant Director, and since 2013 he has served as Menla’s Director of Administration. Michael received the Kalachakra Tantra initiation from His Holiness the Dalai Lama twice–in 2003 and 2017–in Bodh Gaya, India. An avid life-long student and practitioner of Buddhism, Michael teaches weekly classes at Menla and occasionally co-leads Menla retreats. He is also working in conjunction with a team of entrepreneurs and mindfulness teachers to launch the Mindforce Institute, a for-profit mindfulness training company intended to further the efforts of Tibet House US/Menla nationwide. In his spare time, he works on spiritually-based graphic novels, including most recently as letterer and co-author of Man of Peace: the Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama with William Meyers and Robert Thurman.
“Usually you expect basic accommodations for a Retreat Center, but the deluxe room I stayed in was amazing. All the nature around is very special, and don´t forget to book a massage at the wonderful Spa!”
“The food was divine! I’m not a vegetarian and will say the meat was not missed while here. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay…. The staff was warm and courteous. Space very conducive for retreat. Great common spaces for community and plenty of space for solitude. Will return again.”
“Really enjoyed my time at Menla. It’s amazingly peaceful and quiet, the people are incredibly nice and approachable, the humility of the Dalai Lama permeates throughout the place. The accommodations are nice and the food is great.”