Michael has been a student of Robert Thurman and HH the XIV Dalai Lama for 25 years, since his undergraduate years studying Eastern religions and cultures at Columbia University in the 90s. In early 2002 he was invited to help the Thurmans start up the newly acquired Menla retreat for Tibet House US. 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.Michael received the Kalachakra Tantra initiation from His Holiness the Dalai Lama twice–in 2003 and 2017–both in Bodh Gaya, India. An avid student and practitioner of Buddhism, Michael sometimes teaches Intro to Indo-Tibetan Buddhism classes and occasionally co-leads retreats at Menla. In his spare time, he works on renovating his family home in Woodstock and writing spiritually-oriented screenplays and 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.