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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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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 http://www.lama-ole-nydahl.us/olesite/pages/person/certificate1.html
and http://www.lama-ole-nydahl.org/olesite/pages/person/ole_shamar_letter.pdf

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 ;-)

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