Michael Roach is a naughty, naughty Buddhist monk. The former New Yorker sleeps with a woman, which is a big no-no among Tibetan Buddhists. But by "sleeps with," he says he literally just means "falls asleep next to" his, uh, partner, Christie McNally, a former NYU student and fellow teacher who lives with him in a yurt in Arizona. Roach claims the two are chaste, engaging only in an "intense hands-on physical relationship" not at all carnal. None of the other monks are buying this. The Dalai Lama's office actually denied Roach permission to teach in India. Of course, corrupt, selfish Gothamites will hardly judge the couple, who insist on always being within 15 feet of each other, any less harshly after they were profiled this morning in the Times Home & Garden section (WTF? For the yurt?). So let's take an Altarcations-style look at how disturbing this couple really is to those of us who believe in sex, material possessions and all those other wonderful things:

Michael Roach and Christie McNally

  • Buddhist teachers: +2
  • Live in Arizona: -3
  • Live in a yurt with no running water or electricity or DVR or even Bravo: -5
  • Remain within 15 feet of each other at all times because they vowed to "never part:" -15
  • (-3 of that is because he gets inspired in the middle of the night and she has to then wake up and follow him 100 yards down the road to his office so he can "work".)
  • (-4 of that is because they actually inhale and exhale in sync with one another.)
  • (-2 of that is for eating from the same plate and often reading the same book.)
  • (-6 of that is because "When she uses an airport restroom, he stands outside the door.")
  • The wife uses the honorific "Lama," usually only given to a male teachers under Tibetan Buddhist tradition: +3
  • Many other couples — like, from around the world — flock to them for relationship advice: +3
  • They managed to piss off the Dalai Lama: +1
  • His monk friends tried to get him to choose between her and them and he chose her. Then they asked him to give up his robes, citing "two milleniums of Tibetan Buddhist tradition" and he refused: +3
  • He kept her secret during a three-year silent retreat in the desert and started talking about her only after he figured out they could be caught on Google Earth: -3
  • He went to Princeton: +2
  • She went to NYU: +1
  • He once amassed a personal fortune by turning an upstart jewelry company into a $100 million per year business: +3
  • They met when she was a student in the seminar he was teaching in New York: -2
  • After they met, "they began to see each other as angels:" -3/barf
  • They go to movies, probably in their robes and everything. She is into the Matrix, he into the Truman Show: +2
  • No sex or carnal touching, ever: -69

Total points: -80

Consolation prize: Nirvana


(Photo: David Sanders, New York Times)