Today I will reprint NPR's story Understanding The Dark Side Of Enlightenment On 'Diamond Mountain'.
Here's the audio.
Although the story speaks for itself, I have added some helpful emphasis in the text.
Transcript (as it appears on the NPR website, with a few clarifying edits)
In 2012, Ian Thorson was found dead in a cave in Arizona. He and his wife had been kicked out of a silent Buddhist retreat that was supposed to last three years, but they decided to finish out the time alone in the desert — and that extreme quest for spiritual enlightenment eventually killed him.
Scott Carney tells that story in his new book, A Death on Diamond Mountain. Carney tells NPR's Rachel Martin that he was drawn to Ian Thorson's story because it felt eerily familiar. Back in 2006, he was leading a program for American students in India. They learned about Buddhism, practiced meditation, and one day, they undertook a particularly dark exercise: It involved imagining themselves as decaying corpses.