Geshe Michael Roach is an honors graduate of Princeton University and has received the Presidential Scholar Medallion from the President of the United States at the White House. He is the first westerner in the 600-year history of Sera Mey Tibetan Monastic University to be awarded the degree of Geshe, or “Master of Philosophy.” He has also received an honorary doctorate for lifetime achievement in the Congress of Mexico, in 2015. He is the founder of the Asian Classics Input Project (ACIP), which has digitally preserved thousands of ancient Asian books by training and equipping poor people in many countries to do input work during the past 33 years. More than 10,000 searchable manuscripts representing 25 centuries of ancient Asian philosophy are now available free, online, at ACIP’s website. ACIP was founded during Michael’s time at Princeton, with the help of the Hewlett Packard Foundation.
Michael is active in other causes. In 1993 he founded the Asian Classics Institute (ACI), which offers a 36-course program of study totaling 6,800 pages of translations for the traditional course material of a master of Tibetan Buddhism (Geshe). In 2003, after completing a 3-year silent retreat, he helped found Diamond Mountain Retreat Center, one of the largest centers of this kind in the world. In recent years he has helped found the Seeds for Peace program, which provides vocational training for refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East.
Michael helped found Andin International Diamond Corporation of New York, which reached US$250 million in sales and was sold to super-investor Warren Buffett in 2009.
In 2000, Michael wrote The Diamond Cutter, The Buddha on Managing Your Business & Your Life, which has become an international business bestseller, and tells the story of how he used ancient Asian principles for success. He is the author of over 30 other volumes, including the best-selling How Yoga Works.
In 2010, he founded the Diamond Cutter Management Training Institute (DCI), which provides management and personal success training to about 35,000 people each year, in more than 20 countries of the world. This was followed in 2016 by the founding of the Sedona College of International Management (SCIM), which trains DCI teachers for about 25 different countries. The college also houses the Mixed Nuts Translation Group, which annually produces about 1,000 pages of original translations of the ancient classics of Asian literature.
Dr. Word Smith was born right outside of New York City in Mt. Vernon. He was raised in the Bronx by two Jamaican immigrants until the tender age of four, later moving to Bensalem, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Bensalem High School at age 17. He went on to Temple University in Philadelphia where he completed a Bachelor’s of Arts in Philosophy, and received his black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Near the end of school, Word had an existential crisis where he deeply questioned his mainstream education and the use of life at all. After this crisis and months’ long reflection, Word decided to discover deeper truths about life beyond what school had to offer. He traveled for three years, reading on his own and learning in whatever ways he was drawn. During this time, Word studied permaculture, Chinese medicine, tai chi, capoeira, and whole foods nutrition amongst other things.
After three years of self-study, Word decided to get more formal training in the things he had been learning. He found a school in California called the Heartwood Institute that specialized in holistic healing. Word resided at Heartwood on and off for four years as student, employee, teacher’s assistant, and teacher.
After Heartwood, Word went on to become a Doctor of Medical Qi Gong. This course of study took three years to complete. Afterwards, Word opened a clinic with one of his teachers in Santa Cruz, California.
After a year of having a clinic, Word moved on from the brick-and-mortar location to instead focus on distance healing. At the same time, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to be closer to his Buddhist teacher Geshe Michael Roach in an effort to become a translator. After some months, he was offered a job to create an electronic dictionary out of an existing work. He is still working on that project to date, as well as translating Buddhist texts and related materials.
Bets Greer has over twenty years professional experience writing and editing public policy and technical documents, legislation, and fiction and non-fiction books—including philosophical works. She has worked in government, business, and volunteer-based organizations.
She received a Master in Public Administration from and was named a Lucius Littauer Fellow by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She also studied policy development at Duke University, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Evergreen State College, where she also took graduate-level courses.
Bets has studied and practiced Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan language, and meditation since 1995. She has also taught Buddhist philosophy and meditation, led group retreats, and done many personal retreats, including a three-year solitary meditation retreat. She joined the Diamond Cutter Classics translation program at its inception in 2017. She helps support other translators, including the Pure Gold translation team in Shenzhen, China, and serves as the editor for the program's publications.
Adam Derick Andrade spent his childhood in Mississippi and Alabama, excelling in his schooling and enjoying sports and playing music. Adam found a love for computers at a young age and was introduced to the concept of computer hacking. He quickly developed a keen interest in artificial intelligence, robotics, computer systems & networking, and electronics.
He graduated high school early and began attending Auburn University shortly thereafter, where he majored in Computer Engineering. After University he pursued a life as an alpinist & mountain guide, studying at the American Alpine Institute. Adam moved to Colorado, where he started serving on the San Juan County Search & Rescue team and working for the Silverton Avalanche School as a program director and field coordinator.
Adam experienced a near fatal encounter with an avalanche while attempting a ski mountaineering objective in a remote area of the San Juan mountains. This event had an enormous impact on his commitment to dangerous mountaineering endeavors. A week after this incident, he met Geshe Michael Roach and began studying Pabongka Rinpoche’s great exposition on the steps of the path to enlightenment: A Gift of Liberation, Thrust into Our Hands. Adam has also studied at Sera Mey Monastery in India, where he focused on Buddhist philosophy and the Tibetan language.
Adam moved to Arizona, to be closer to his teacher, and began working with the Asian Classics Input Project (now the Asian Legacy Library), overseeing operations at the Varanasi input center and helping to restart the cataloging and scanning efforts at the National Library of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. In 2017, he began working with the Mixed Nuts translation group of the Diamond Cutter Classics organization. Adam married the love of his life, Katheryn Fetchenhier, and soon welcomed the birth of their daughter, Ava Grace Andrade, who inspires him daily. In his free time, Adam enjoys climbing mountains with Ava and his border collie, Gracie; as well as listening to music, reading, skiing, and mountaineering. He has climbed some of the highest mountains in North America, and is currently working on a project to climb the 100 highest peaks in Colorado with his daughter.