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Is Diamond Way Buddhism a CULT??
typing_sound wrote in buddhistgroup
I think this is quite an important topic, since one of our members is thinking of going to a Diamond Way Buddhism centre. I did a little searching, and there are some testimonies of women being sexually harassed, and a lot of claims that the tradition is inauthentic and a cult. If you guys could help me, by either doing some research or sharing what you know about the tradition, that would really help me out! We don't want one of our members taking the poison cool-aid mixture, am I right?! It's time for Community Action! Dun-duh-duuhhh! Lol

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(Deleted comment)
That is not a good sign at all, that he disregarded them. A good teacher appreciates the wisdom in all traditions. That would be an alarm-bell for me.

Nah, it's totally okay since Ole Nydahl must surely be enlightened and chock full of crazy wisdom, so how do us unenlightened folks dare to judge his actions?
Clearly his actions help spread the Dharma in the West, so everything he does is automatically a-ok.

Eeek. Good resources. I did spot one thing in a video that sort of worried me, and that's that he says that he doesn't sit to meditate. Didn't really feel like that was a good sign given that the Dalai Lama sits for four hours a day still. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.

My personal guideline when trying to determine whether a denomination is a cult or not is that if the group itself has to spend a significant portion of its time explaining to prospective and increasingly disgruntled members why it is NOT a cult, it is.

I actually just got done watching a documentary on the People's Temple (you know, Jim Jones and the kool-aid and all that) that, unlike some of the other documentaries or articles that I've seen in the past, is composed entirely of accounts from people that were there, some of which were even there while people were drinking the koolaid and dying all around them. So cults are on my mind right now :( I just hope that everyone that is in an abusive group will eventually have the strength, courage, awakening, or ability to leave.

Here is the Wiki page of Lama Ole Nydahl.

It seems that the accusations brought against him might at least partially be explained by the split that occured in the Karma Kagyu lineage.

Ole Nydhal sided with the Karmapa candidate that was not recognised by the Dalai Lama and questioned the choice of the Karmapa candidate which received the blessings of HH the Dalai Lama.

Besides, he worked very actively to westernize Vajrayana Buddhism, which might be not so welcome with some ethnic Tibetan members of the Lamaist hierarchy.

About having sex with female members of the Diamond Way, Ole Nydhal recognized that he had affairs with some of the members of this organisation.

But he denied that there has been any misuse of his personal authority and claims that the women he slept with were his "equals". His wife seem to have been knowing about these relationships.

One must keep in mind that Lama Nydhal and his wife were hippies who smuggled hashish from Nepal at the end of the 60ies and Lama Nydhal got to jail for this. So his behaviour might be some knind of "babyboomer flower-power woodstock"-type.

Ole Nydhal seems also to have made some "white-pride" style comments made, specifically about Islam.

But he has himself confessed that his personal style was quite non-conformist and politically incorrect and has told that his comments were not directed against mystical Islam (Sufism) or syncretic teachings born out of Islam (such as Bahai faith) but against Islamist militants (from personal experience I would comment that he was right about the Wahabite Djihadists: they suck).

I am not sure if Diamond Way qualifies as a cult (at least not more a cult as some other groups inside Vajrayana).

Maybe he might be compared to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, but white and sober. :-)

But his organisation sure gets on the nerves of some people (maybe the fact that Lama Nydhal is white and somehow eurocentrist could explain some of the controversy).

Man Tibetan Buddhism needs quality control mechanisms in place.

Too many unqualified crazies claiming to be gurus and hurting people.

I know institutionalized religion isn't so popular nowadays, but we really need it. Organizations that certify teachers as legit and healthy.

In modern Taiwanese traditions they issue academic degrees and they're in robes with several years under your belt of upholding the vinaya.

Who would certify them in Tibetan Buddhism? The Dalai Lama?

There's my problem.

Each lineage should be free to authorise their own Teachers without political interference. Such authorisation needs to come from the head of the tradition who is a pure Spiritual Guide, democratically chosen by the senior practitioners of that tradition because of their good qualities.

I never said there needed to be political interference from any political entity.

Only that there needs to be quality control mechanisms in place.

Ole Nydahl/Diamond Way Buddhism

Recent Entries Friends Archive User Info RSS zyxkym

I saw a discussion on Diamond Way Buddhism and will speak since I've met Ole Nydahl.

He was a close disciple of the 16th Karmapa who sent him to the West and who died in 1981. Picking the next Karmapa fell to three high lamas.

Two of them decided he was a boy living inside Tibet (China).

Ole Nydahl and the third high lama (the Shamarpa) believed the boy in China would become a Chinese puppet. Not unlikely, since that happened to the "Panchen Lama" (like the Dalai Lama,a famous reincarnate).

So, Ole and shamarpa located a candidate living in India and announced him as Karmapa.

All was fine, until the Chinese Karmapa escaped China into India, making two Karmapas.

Why dredge this up? It's why a lot of people dislike Ole Nydahl. Most Karma Kagyus landed on the side of the other karmapa, not Ole and Sharmapa's.

Another point, Ole Nydahl is from Denmark. In the sixties he and other Euro-Buddhists often drove in cars from Europe to India. So they passed many, many times through Muslim countries. They got a dose of Muslim societies up close and personal.

Hence, when I met him (1990) he said "Radical Islam is the greatest danger to our western democracies." That was eleven years before 9/11. I thought, "That's really over the top, too extreme." Then on 9/11 within half an hour I thought, "My God, that crazy Dane was right."

He's indicated Islam's treatment of women bothers him. He's not racist. His views on Islam have nothing to do with race.

So, he's from Denmark, one of the most sexually wide open places on earth--sexuality so blatant that as an American your eyes leap from their sockets. My point is he's very "European" about sexuality. He's had many girlfriends. That said, the idea that he would "sexually assault" anyone is total crap. It's a rumor, a distorted take on his non-monogamous lifestyle. Trust me, not with a gun to his head would he do anything to hurt anyone. He's the opposite of that.

All his relationships are totally consensual with adult female partners.

It's interesting Muslim societies are oppressive to women and nobody gets excited, but the fact that this guy is flamingly non-monogamy, (though he clearly likes women, puts them in positions of power etc), drives everybody nuts. This is more about our north american puritanical heritage than anything.

His specialty is leading large groups in a practice called "Powha", a preparation for death--one of Naropa's six yogas. That's where i met him in 1990.

Doing powha you send so much prana/chi through the top of your head an energy channel opens. Everyone gets a "sign" when the process is complete. Mine was a tiny cut, likeunto a paper cut, on top of my head.

My teacher, Tenzin Wangyal, said in India after powha they took a little stalk of grass and inserted it into the cut then when the wind blew over it, the nerve tingled all the way down to his navel.

The teaching says when you die your mind will use that channel to exit your body insuring an easier time in "the bardo."

Everyone at Ole's powha got some sign.

So, that's what Ole Nydahl did for me.

At the end of the powha I went up and touched foreheads with him and he gave me the strongest "spiritual zap" I've ever had. It was STRONG jack.

He said getting zapped by Sixteenth karmapa was like "Sticking two fingers in a light socket and feeling all the electricity in the bay area go through your bones."

That's my story. I know he's a real sweet guy. If someone wants to go to a Diamond Way event, they should go see for themselves. It's one hundred per cent safe. I'd send my daughter or sister with no worries. Ole Nydahl is controversial but he's an extremely nice person.

Best of luck, Buddhist friends.


Re: Ole Nydahl/Diamond Way Buddhism

Thanks a lot for taking the time to write this. It's really appreciated.

Re: Ole Nydahl/Diamond Way Buddhism

zyxkym: All true, except Karmapa Thaye Dorje lived in Lhasa. He was smuggled out of Tibet by people who shall remain nameless at great personal risk.

My beef with Diamond Way

Is the PRICE!
Holy cow!
I left after they tried to shake me down for a weekend teaching.

Edited at 2010-02-24 07:19 am (UTC)

Re: My beef with Diamond Way

I don't know about the prices, but every organization needs money to function. I don't think it's unreasonable to charge when you've got bills to pay, the question is whether it's a reasonable charge or not.

I don't think anyone is in a position to judge another tradition unless you are involved and have personal experience. It's best to leave well alone. I'm particular sensitive to this issue since my own tradition, the New Kadampa Tradition has received a lot of criticism by Tibetan Buddhists and also by disgruntled ex-practitioners, some of which may be justified because of the actions of certain individuals, but most of it is not. In general, the internet is full of rumour, speculation, misinformation and conspiracy theories and postings on the internet are not a good way to come to a correct conclusion about anything.

If anyone is interested in following Diamond Way Buddhism, let them attend some meetings, read some books and make their own conclusions. My understanding is that Ole Nydhal is a student of the 16th Karmapa who was a pure Spiritual Guide and he received his authorization to teach - as for the rest, I know nothing.

I agree. Some of the accusations against the Kadampa tradition are ridiculous. Someone once told me that he thought Geshe Kelsang was up to black magic, lol.

I'm a student of Lama Ole Nydahl, so that's my declaration of bias upfront.
I have to say it's fascinating reading this discussion, and it's also wonderful that this group protects its members in this way. I totally agree that we should be more critical of our teachers and groups, and try to find one that is in a genuine lineage, and genuinely beneficial.
To address a couple of specific points raised here:

typingsound: "A good teacher appreciates the wisdom in all traditions."
Yes, in principle. In practice, libraries in the Dalai Lama's places are unlikely to contain Nyingma books, and definitely not Shugden, Christian, or Sufi texts. It is a modern Western tendency to mix everything up. In the Diamond Way you can read whatever you like, but it's best, assuming you want to practice Karma Kagyu Buddhism with us, that you start by understanding the basics of Karma Kagyu Buddhism as we practice it.

plexq: "I did spot one thing in a video that sort of worried me, and that's that he says that he doesn't sit to meditate."
That's not quite a full description. Lama Ole did some years of sitting meditation (up to 18hrs/day) under the 16th Karmapa, has done some retreats, and sits in quite extraordinary states of meditation for 9 hours a day for 5 days every month for the Phowa courses. You can research independently what phowa is, and how few teachers are authorised to give it. He also sits to meditate whenever he has time (e.g. at the end of lectures), which is probably max once a day. I think maybe what was meant is that he tries always to be in meditation, even while walking and talking.

ocha_no_hanashi: "[We need]...Organizations that certify teachers as legit and healthy."
Yes. See

Apologies for the long post. I'll be quiet now, unless there are any questions specifically for me. Best of luck in your practice and your search.

(Deleted comment)

Re: For what it's worth

heyheylovely: Thanks for your questions.

For me, the positive aspects of Diamond Way are its effects. Meditation works. My teachers (Karmapa, Shamar Rinpoche, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Lama Ole) became liberated/enlightened through meditation, and I can actually meet them, talk to them, even share some food or other experience with them, and meditate with them! How awesome is that.

I feel that it's the right path for me because it has a genuine lineage, so I can trust it; it has powerful methods, so I can use it; and the people are really joyful, so I can enjoy it! I also have other more personal reasons that I might or might not choose to share.

The negative aspects of Diamond Way... well, in terms of the wider cultural scene, it can be lonely to be a pioneer. Buddhism is really new for us. It took 200 years just for translators to decide how to render Indian Buddhism into the Tibetan language, never mind for it to transform the culture. First to the West was Theravada, then Mahayana, Zen, and finally Tibetan being what, not much more than 30 years ago. Buddhism is still routinely misunderstood at even the most basic level. Did you read what the last pope wrote about Buddhism? Oi veh.
Mahamudra/Dzogchen/Maha Ati) is (according to Tibetan Buddhism) the highest view, and it seems to me very rare. Even most Tibetan teachings that you are likely to actually get are largely pitched on the Mahayana level, or at best one of the lower tantric levels rather than Maha-anuttara level. In these politically correct times, if you are a celibate teetotal monk talking about peace, everybody loves you. If you are a yogi deeply, intensely into life in all its guts and glory, trying to keep the highest view, calling it as you see it, on the side of a political divide where the money and power is on the other side, you are in a very small minority. The joy is that you inspire some and the bummer is that you annoy or confuse others. So I would say criticism or non-comprehension are the most difficult things for me in this regard.

How do I feel about the allegations of abuse? Well, I know the people that are making them, I know how they behaved that meant we had to kick them out of our centres, I know the people whose characters they attempt to assassinate, and I know that there were no protests, and there are no investigations, and there is no actual evidence presented anywhere because there is no truth in what they say. How do I feel? Honestly, I hope these people find happiness in some more constructive pastime. But it does make me angry. I'm not liberated, and when I read that stuff I get p*ssed.

Re: For what it's worth

No need to be quiet! Feel free to share more; this is exactly what I wanted when I started this post. If you could tell us more about what the tradition is like for you personally, that'd be great.

Re: For what it's worth

Ok, then great; thanks. Actually there was one more question I should have answered:
I've been a member for no more years than you can count on one hand. I can say that to really know what Diamond Way people are like, it's good to go not just to your small local centre, as one does in the beginning, but to a big international course. Try and figure out what all these people from different cultures have in common, and these will be the qualities that Diamond Way meditations develop. If those qualities are ones that you want to develop, then you know you're in the right place - huzzah! If you think the folks are wierd, or you freak out for whatever reason, you've made a valuable discovery: it's not for you. Also rejoice ;-)

I think every time you join a group of people involved into spiritual practice you better be careful.

Spiritual manipulation is probably as harmful (if not more) than physical assault.

Does it mean that we better not join others for spiritual practice?

I think that the answer is obviously no.

But we really better keep our eyes open...

Good advice, I totally agree. The psychological effect of being in a tradition like that can be very harmful, and it's very difficult to get out again, since you've adopted their belief-system on a deep level, you might believe harm will come to you if you leave, like a million life-times in the hot hell.

Speaking of cults in western Buddhism, the exemple of the Friends of Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) is a classical case.

Very sobering...

Read here:

So, going back to my earlier point, you must have personal experience of the FWBO to be criticising it?

I know people in the FWBO, they are not cult members. They're good people.

Please don't criticise what you don't know and haven't experienced.

FWBO aknowledged that they had big problems with one of their centers and they closed it.

But their former leader has never aknowledged that his teachings about women, heterosexuality and family life might be interpreted in a way that lead to these abuses.

He has never aknowledged that he himself might have had an unethical behaviour.

Although the most blattant problems exposed in the Guardian were corrected, their leader still holds that his actions were totally ethical.

When a leader think that he is blameless, then a spiritual movement is on a dangerous path.

It's not all black and white

For me the first question is what is the teacher's lineage? Who gave him/her the transmission of the realised state of mind passed on from the Buddha to our time, who certified his realisation and who instructed him to teach?
I mean, it's not the only question, but it should be question #1 if you want to have a cat in hell's chance of finding something reliable.

Re: It's not all black and white

I agree.

In the particular case of FWBO, their former leader Sanghrakshita doesn't seem to have belonged to any authentic lineage long enough to be considered a spiritual heir to any one.

Even if he was very knowledgeable about Buddhism in general he had not refined his ethics under a teacher/master/guru guidance.

As Ocha would say he needed to practice his precepts and care more about Vinaya.

And without ethics refinement harm is bound to follow.

In short, Sangharakshita was not enlightened, but acted as if he was and this did cause harm to some people around him.

Re: It's not all black and white

I agree too. The question of lineage and authorisation to teach is actually the most important question.

That is shocking. In the Guardian as well. Of course, there's always the chance they're lieing, but since there are a few saying the same story, I'm inclined to believe them.

I saw Ole in Lima. He has a stong motivation to stop Alah in Europe. It is like a slogan, but in South America doesnt stick. Cristianity has changed since times of inquisition, Why not muslims ?.
He is not a humble person. Someone asked him to lower the price of powha retirement to get more people. He answered if you have money are more educated and could understand his message. (He doesnt think in drug dealers money )
He is sure ,that the fact to has been born in Europe make a person more spiritual than africans.
He is a vain person, but product of meditation alongs his live ,he had some qualities proper from meditation or maybe some good tricks.
Im Buddhist, and the diamond group make a good effort to translate and spread good buddha knowdlege ( a good point), but my friend Ole is not a wise people, and could lead people away the path.
Well there is another things to make you think ...........
I saw two argentinian girls in his twenties had a tongue kiss with him in front of everyone in the phowa
One of the is his translator was touching his leg while we meditated.
Well ,is you are young and want to have sex with every girl in diamond way go ahead , if they let you. There are no guarantee that its happens....
But if you are a family guy, think in your daugther. Cause i wish you ,you can see her grow in freedom enviromment without a personality cult to Lama Ole or another . Then when she grow up is her problem.
In other words " I dont want to raise a daughter to be fresh meat for the guru"

Like in other cults i saw some goods persons looking the right way, but ..............

Another Perspective on the Diamond Way: Part 1 of 3

Hey zyxkym, thank you for your comments. Like diamond_dorje it's really valuable to get the opinions and experiences of people who follow the Diamond Way.

Lama Ole Nydahl appears to be an exceptionally charismatic person and an accomplished facilitator, especially when leading a large group Powha. That sounds like an extremely powerful process. 'As everyone at Ole's Powha got some sign', I can imagine that many, if not all, participants were in an altered space, taken there by Ole.
This is very powerful stuff. Few people have the ability to transcend others into an altered space, where the mind is blown wide open and ready to receive.
By leading this process so effectively, Ole acquires great power; power over the open minds of the participants.
In this open state, the mind is vulnerable. Information that goes in, goes in deep, creating the basis of a belief system. The facilitator assumes a profound responsibility, one that must be exercised with integrity.

It is a human tendency to worship the powerful. Not everyone does, some hold a healthy scepticism for the powerful. Many of us are not so questioning. We trust and we place our trust in the powerful persona. This further enhances their power.

In a organisation such as the Diamond Way, as more processes are facilitated, the power of the facilitator continues to grow. When that power is directly focused on the deep inner psyche, the energy transference to the recipient, is likely to be greater than anything they have ever experienced. The facilitator/teacher is held in high esteem, and for some, that will not be enough, particularly if the facilitator has given them the greatest energy rush of their lives. It is almost unavoidable that some participants will actively worship their teacher/facilitator.

This should not happen. A good teacher/leader/faciliator knows this. At the end of any process where the facilitator or any other participant assumes a role, there must be a clear and effective de-role. Ole is assuming the role of the Giver of Enlightenment. If he does not de-role, the participants are liable to project onto him after the process. This feeds the ego of the teacher/leader whose power and control grows and whose ego inflates.
Respect for a good facilitator is appropriate, nothing more. A good facilitator never assumes a role, they simply facilitate. Ole confuses facilitation with teaching and then with giving. He allows participants to believe that it is he, who is giving them energy. "...he gave me the strongest "spiritual zap" I've ever had".

Ole may appear to have little ego, you say he's, "a real sweet guy'. This is a matter for concern. A charismatic persona has to have an ego. Ole would not lead a large group process, without an effective de-role, if he had no ego to feed.

Ego, so what's the problem? Well, not much.... if it is held out in the light for all to see. But Ole keep's his hidden, in shadow. That is a dangerous facilitator, one either in denial or intending to deceive. Ole's ego feeds off the power invested in him by the group of people called Diamond Way.

zyxkym, in Part 2, you are now going to read how badly you have been taken in and learn about your participating role in the abuse dynamic. You may not like this, but its time to wake up.......

Another Perspective on the Diamond Way: Part 2 of 3

"All his relationships are totally consensual with adult female partners." A statement zyxkym have made about Lama Ole Nydahl.

When someone, who holds power over another, allows a sexual relationship to develop, they perpetrate abuse. This applies to the boss/worker dynamic, the teacher/pupil dynamic, the carer/service user dynamic, the doctor/patient dynamic or the priest/congregation dynamic. Had enough? Beginning to get it?

Where the sexual relationship has one participant who holds minimal influence over another, it is unlikely that the effects of the abusing relationship will cause much harm. Where great power is held over the deep psyche of the other, grave and serious abuse may be perpetrated. The victim of abuse may be superficially effected, but is more likely to be profoundly effected. The extent of the harm will depend on the psyche of the victim. However, a well developed psyche would not get into this (potential) victim space.

'Give me a break', you may reply. 'I said, "totally consensual". These women wanted it!' you may believe.

I'll concede one dynamic, if a woman enters into Diamond Way with the intention of having a sexual relationship with Lama Ole Nydahl (or others), no abuse is perpetrated if and when a sexual relationship develops. Whether or not that is healthy for the Diamond Way, is outside the remit of this post.

Will you concede that most females entering into Diamond Way are looking for Spiritual Enlightenment, something to give a meaning to their lives? Not a sexual relationship with a charismatic teacher.

Now lets consider the, 'Danish, sexually wide open' perspective. You may have a point, if all the females that Ole has sex with are, 'Danish and sexually wide open'. But they are not.

'But not all the females have sex with Lama Ole Nydahl', you may claim in desperation. If you even thought of going down that route, you have accepted that Ole does perpetrate abuse sexual relationships within the Diamond Way.

Fact is zyxkym, you now exhibit the behaviour of a tacit abuser. I know this because, you would, 'send my daughter or sister with no worries' to the Diamond Way.

Ole has got to you. His power and his charisma have so influenced you, that you believe it is OK for a teacher, priest, carer, facilitator (take your pick) to have sex with the people they serve.

Ask yourself this, "If you were Ole, would you have sex with those women?" If the answer is ,'yes', you are not tacit. You are complicit.

Ole is an experienced and sophisticated operator. He deflects from his own behaviour by drawing attention to dysfunctional sexual behaviour performed in other societies. Then he selects his victim. He will not select a woman who is likely to respond negatively. He needs good sex and he does not need bad press. So he will select willing, attractive victims who appear to have a reasonably robust psyche. Does this make it OK in your eyes?

The dynamics and management of the sexual relationship are outside this post. But if Ole is smart, he will take great care to protect his reputation.

Unwittingly, you have become a supporter of the sexually abusive organisation that Ole has created to feed his ego. An organisation in which it is considered good for sexual relationships to flourish? This is in an environment where people go to seek Spiritual Enlightenment. You have said that you think this is OK. You have even promoted it. You actively recommended it to others. You were taken in, hook, line and sinker!

To have integrity with Diamond Way, the only people Lama Ole Nydahl should have sexual relationships with, must be outside the Diamond Way, or a clearly recognised partner(s) within DW. The same applies to you.

In Part 3, you will find out what has to happen next.

Another Perspective on the Diamond Way: Part 3 of 3

Integrity and Accountability

For you to get back into integrity with the members, and particularly the female members, of Diamond Way, you should look at your own sexual shadows, make amends if and where appropriate, and then help Lama Ole Nydahl to see his own shadows. I doubt the latter will happen. So the sooner the Diamond Way is fully understood by all participants for what it is, the better.

Ask yourself this... after 10 years of Diamond Way, are you living a Spiritually Enlightened life?

It is extremely difficult for people to develop Enlightenment where abuse, covert or overt, is being perpetrated. The human deep psyche cannot be directly Enlightened by abuse. It is taken towards the dark side. But where the abuse is understood, and the victim is not willing, Enlightenment can be attained. You can ask Nelson Mandella about that.

The Dark Side, this is where Lama Ole Nydahl is leading the members of the Diamond Way. Whether or not he is aware of this, is outside this post.

The Diamond Way is a Cult. It has a prominent, charismatic leader onto whom the members project their faith.

zyxkym, I am sure this new perspective on your involvement with the Diamond Way is a shock to you. You may reject it, to protect yourself, or accept it, in part or in its entirety (that may take time). If you choose acceptance, do not beat yourself up. Also, be careful of hostile action towards Ole. He is a weak individual, hiding behind a deceptive persona. Should he choose to seek Enlightenment and make amends, he will need love and care. A lot of healing will be required, and Diamond Way will not persist in its current manifestation. It will require MULTIPLE leaders, with soulful integrity. They must have accountability to each other and all members. Only then, can Diamond Way transform into a healthy organisation that does deliver Enlightenment to its members.

I wish you well zyxkym, shine a light towards the diamond and find a way to disperse the darkness. There is a part of Ole that wants this to happen.

The Soulful Phoenix

Thanks a lot to Phoenix for the elaborate posts!!

What was the role of his late wife in all of this? Has she been a victim?

Former Diamond way Member's perspective

I find these postings interesting and helpful. I thought I should share my experiences as well since I was with the group for almost 4 years, living in one of the Diamond way "centers" and helped organize group events and worked with Lama Ole on several occasions. Diamond way members were always up front to me about these controversies. Ole's sex with women, the Karmapa Controversy, if Ole was considered a real Lama......but that might have been my experience as all the centers around the world are very different.

looking back (left 3 years ago) I would say now that it was a cult (although it makes me cringe as this is a very strong word)
The word cult refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. Yes I would consider the actions of this group to fall under this category but I was open to this "different" way of life.

There were so many things I loved about the group but ultimately I left because there were too many red flags (like when you realize you have a bad boyfriend and need to leave)
but when I left completely, I never thought I would have so much rejection from it's members. I thought many would still at least stay my friend even though I decided not "to practice" I can tell you I have one friend still from the hundreds of people I met and shared "amazing" experiences with. Sad.

If anyone is interested in knowing more about my experiences please feel free to reach out. I think it might be worth sharing.

To many read internet opinions, rather then true experience

There are various schools of Buddhism who have the base foundation, but a different approach.

Those of us who have been to Tibet, India, China, and Japan, know the political side, and the issues hitting Buddhism for a long time. I studied in china, and watched the concerns from heads, as communist control hindered progress, controlled interests, and threatened Buddhism in China. Some before the 50's left to TIbet. Then the hand once again fell apon them. Control and manipulation was the fear, and became a reality. Placed deceptions and lies, in order to gain control.

THose that say cult, lack experience in the School, understanding, and often misinterpret. Those who have spent 20+ years with the llama, start to wonder, where exactly are they seeign certain things, when they make claims.

What some also forget, is when his wife was fighting cancer, she wanted him to find love. IF you are truely Buddhist, Judgement wouldn't have been made, wiether it fits yoru current view or not. However the LLama continued by her side till her passing.

Diamondway still has to follow the Kagyu lineage. Changes have to be accepted. Growth is together. Live by example and actions, and you still must read base teachings of buddha on your own, and discuss it. Many come to centers, and sit, but never read, discuss and further themselves.

Ole' has said it, centers say it, Buddha has said it. You need to put on many shoes.

Wiki is only as reliable as the contributor, and in many cases and from what I have read, it isn't very reliable with the constant counter production of those bent with ego to manipulate.Often it seems people don't listen when things are discussed. Doing little more then coming a handful of times, closing their eyes, replicating sounds without feeling meaning, understanding, and getting to that next level.

Ole spent a lot of time with the 16th Karmapa. He made a commitment, and promises, to maintain the lineage in the west. As Buddha adapted teachings to others, so it continues. The support controversy, it isn't had to see the test at hand. Also how we should deal with it and conflict to turn away from conflict. He would recognize key elements. When there is outside influence, that is not within the standard, look beyond it, and continue.

On comments in ISlam. Sure he made some, and other qoutes were twisted. THen they often for some reason, neglect to add in the 5 other comments that clarify. Seems to be a pattern in modern minipulation.

I studied Christianity for a long time, formally. Studied Islam. Individuals actions matter. THere are in fact many things written in Islam, that are counterproductive for a better state of mind. YEt today Orthodox changes are becoming more apparent, and you see actions, before words.

Centers are not free. IT is out of pocket. We opened a new Center in Clear Lake Texas (southern Hosuton) where the group of 20 years has moved to. THe lease is paid out of pocket. We came together to do the work. Nothing sold, donated, or given pays 100% of it. IT is still financially hard on the senior members. SO others do what ever they can to help. THE center is there for people to come, experience, talk, learn, and hopefully, help society. We all donated items, time, and heart. There is no profit in it, there is finacial loss, but we gladly do it.

People with personal agenda tend to judge it.

Let's clear up a few things, since some do not seem very Buddhist in view when they write "Cult" articles about diamond way, and eve admittedly haven't had much exposure.

Centers are non-profit. They are not paid for. Those who open them often start in homes, and after many years, will try to open a center for ease to people. Any donations, and store purchases go to ease expenses, but never pay for all the expenses. Senior members still pay the brunt of it to maintain them.

New people are told to experience various schools, and keep with core teachings of Buddha. To live by example. Learn together how to deal with situations, and ride the bull by the horn.

Many outsiders publish false information. For true members who have been for decades, they start to wonder where these fabrications come from. Yes we know other religious groups come to the centers and attempt conversions, write false info, and rather then listen to discussions, fabricate lies. The ego still consumes them, which we can not judge even if they do. They have walked a different life, have their own sufferings, and we still must be compassionate, regardless. Yet we are not mats to step on.

We have to deal with people who say their ideas are better and all should do it their way. Diamondway is a lineage, and goes by the base lineage of the school. Even Ole's publications have to be approved, and if required edited to follow the original lineage guidelines in Buddhism. HE does not have free reign like some may think, so keep that in mind when writing articles.

Accusations remain unproven, not understood, and falseified. here is a reason for that. A majority of articles are written by Christian writers, who when you cross reference, say this about many belief systems, lineages, that are not their own. THey have to find themselves first. We do not like it, but even with the attacks, we remain Buddhist, try to understand, offer them info, and leave it at that.

If individual centers are not following rules, then they can be investigated. Some have. They are still in the lineage, therefore they still must follow guidelines. One has been closed as a result of actions, so feel free to write the heads in India as well as the region.

After I left a Chinese center, and a idian center, I went to diamond way with a guard up.

So I can see the concern. The group was starting a new center. I could see it was financially coming out of the pockets of the senior, and mid level people, who had this dream, wanted to shift the 20+ year group to a location that could help others and be easier to get to.

Those who have compassion, came to help. Work, help get it ready. Small support is not a major thing, you can if you want, or don't. Just picking up a paint brush is appreciated, or sitting in for a discussion.

Donations won't pay for all the costs to keep the center open. It will help alleviate the costs from those putting so much of their personal finance into it. Even if just enough to help with the light bills and lease.

You are told (by those qualified) that you should try on different shoes and schools, to find what fits your path. That is all they can do. Read on teachings. Base scripts of Buddha, School writings from the lineage. How to properly deal with situations, even monks get off track and make mistakes.

Until at the proper level, you won't understand the Mahakala puje, or the other forms. Taking literal out, and imagery as a realization of letting go of negative aspects. When a protector image is there to show what is not good for others.

Live by example. Don't battle others who don't understand, or judge others based on other systems. Help maintain the teachings for all to stay on track.

"Don't pick up a hot coal in your hand with an intent to throw it, because you are the one who gets burned."

If a person calls anything a cult (or group) it is because it doesn't fit their beliefs, and they have the ego and desire to be right.

A majority of negative posts about Diamondway, and some clearly by the same handful of people, is due two many factors. THey are not experienced in it, and have issues they have yet to work out, but isn't that why we meditate?

I have read comments and wonder where information comes from. Certainly not from Buddhist teachings. If you are bent to slander, then once again the issue inside yourself remains.

Listen but question. You are told that. Learn, but find within yourself. You are taught that. A path is not clear until you break away the issues, and deal with them.

At first I had my doubts. I may not agree with 100% of Lama Ole's teachings. Then again It dawned on me that this man pushes buttons on purpose, then later, you get it. the "But you said...." then the "Oh wait I get it, ok I will let go of those things".

Live by example. Many will practice but forget this. The mask just isn't sticking. Till they chip away at issues once again.

The 16th Karmapa cleared up questions before his death. Some said "But ole never became a lama". Did many mis the ceremony? The letter? Him giving his blessing? IT is backed by Ripoche and the 17th Karamapa.

The issue we face now is honesty and preserving the teachings. Yet that will sort itself out.

Newer people who sit idol, won't progress. Those who take part, do their 15 minute talks and learn, as well as take refuge and prostrations, learn to let go of a lot of negative stuff. When you start to see yourself, and watch yourself grow.

To understand however, western ideals have to be removed.

my own experience of sexual abuse through Ole Nydahl

As a way of trying to heal myself and restore what I believe is right and what is not and also to find a way back info a life without pain, I would like to share my experience instead of continue hiding it (and myself).

I have been sexually abused by Ole Nydahl myself. There was a age difference of about 40 years between us when he had sex with me and I was in very difficult circumstances, feeling unsure about myself, my future and my life in general. I feel that he totally misused my faith and longing for a more meaningful life and my openness as a student. It seemed to me that letting him have sex with me was what I had to do in order to please my teacher and in order to learn and to improve myself. I did several therapies to try to get over these experiences but the wounds are still deep and I would warn strongly everybody to get near this man who cannot control his sexual desire and misuses his own students for his pleasure. He did not care if I wanted to sleep with him or not, sometimes woke me up in the middle of the night, just to have sex and misused my sense of feeling tired, overpowered and general sense of not feeling strong about myself and my live. How this person can be considered a spiritual teacher is what I cannot understand any more. I find his behaviour extremely irresponsible, careless and dangerous. I am thankful that this blog exists and whish I would have been informed before so I would not have made these very difficult experiences.

"To understand however, western ideals have to be removed." according to Scott Anthony's above post.

Mr Nydahl is often championing western ideals in his "dharma" talks, and when we look closely at what he really means by "western ideals", he is basically promoting the sort of neo-conservative politics found in the more right-wing sections of the U.S. Republican party.

So, if you favour that kind of political viewpoint mixed with your "dharma" then why not?

Well, the most obvious reason why not is that it just isn’t dharma, it is dualistic thinking which promotes Nydahl's personal viewpoint.

So, even if you have no personal objection to a guy who's talks are borderline racist, sexist, and homophobic in a kind of 1950's redneck style, you still aren’t learning Buddhism.

I wanted to add my personal experience to the thread for the benefit of others. I recently left a Diamond Way retreat after hearing Lama Ole speak on the first night. He voiced some views that I found extremely unpleasant, and I decided that the event was not for me.

I'll try to give just facts and refrain from interpretation. I have no opinions on the Lama's qualifications as a teacher. I have no grudge against Diamond Way. All the practitioners I met seemed to be perfectly nice people.

Here's a couple of things the Lama said (very roughly paraphrased):

* Europe is politically on a bad trajectory. Opening of borders leads to an influx of foreigners which makes European countries unsafe. European lawmakers aim at dissolving national identities. Countries will have to decide whether they want to continue admitting foreigners or whether they want safe streets at night.
* Non-European foreigners make the streets unsafe. They commit rapes and other crimes.
* Arabs are very angry, which is evidenced by the fact that they are frequently seen angrily jumping.
* Turks, Arabs and Pakistanis (?) are genetically inferior on account of high amount of cousin marriages. Students from those countries are less intelligent and cause a lot of trouble at meditation retreats.
* Being from Western Europe or North America is evidence of good karma, whereas being African or Middle Eastern is evidence of bad karma .
* After being very critical of Nelson Mandela for a long time, the lama has come around and has seen what he has had a positive effect on the country: Now the violence is mainly black-on-black, instead of black-on-white.

I didn't feel like entering a teacher-student relationship with someone who holds such views. I was also made uncomfortable by the fact that the large audience seemed to take these comments in stride.

Re: sharing my experience

Thanks for sharing your experience, mate! I would've left as well, as I wouldn't have felt comfortable either.

It is strange in itself to be speaking of political matters on the first day of a meditation retreat. That sounds very bizarre to me.

The nonsense and narrow-minded intolerance of those comments he made are disgusting, but that goes without saying. I am surprised that his students are eating that stuff up, they must be heavily brainwashed in my opinion.

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