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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 22, 2009 10:24PM

The most I have heard of in Tibetan Buddhist centers wishing to honor teachers is a ritual of doing a long life offering or puja.

This all day meditation thingie in honor of Ole N's birthday just doesnt seem in synchrony with the Kagyu tradition from which he claims legitimacy.

If Ole's legitimacy derives from Kagyu tradition, then to the extent he departs from it,
he's losing that source of legitimacy and just running a personality centered gig.

For perspective, there is no day on the Roman Catholic Church calender set aside to honor the Pope's birthday. Certainly no all day mediation gig set aside to groove on Pope Benedict.

And even the Pope has to go to confession and say, to his own confessor,

'Bless me father, for I have sinned'.

And unlike Ole N, the Pope also has a ubiquitious and articulate media presence that comments on his actions. And some parts of that media feedback are are highly critical.

And you dont hear about the Pope sending out internet trolls or legal intimidation to
scare media critics into silence, either. You dont hear about enthusiastic supporters of the Pope volunteering as a group to get on a plane and go 'sort out' whoever has given the Pope bad press.

You dont get a a chronic stink of thuggery from the Pope...or those surrounding the Pope.

And not from the DL, either.

I am not telling anyone to convert to Catholicism or return to Catholicism if that was their original belief system.

Am just mentioning this as very interesting contrast to what is being reported concerning DW.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Emma C ()
Date: April 02, 2009 12:54AM

Any news regarding Ole Nydahl's visit to London on the 25th and 26th of April? I heard the Home Office were considering banning him from entering the country based on his hate-speech.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Emma C ()
Date: April 10, 2009 07:58PM

Is anyone planning any protests or action around Ole while he's in London?

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Outsider ()
Date: April 18, 2009 05:03AM

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Emma C ()
Date: April 21, 2009 04:06AM

A flyer for those who want to help hand some out and spread the word!

The full size one is here:

(designed to be printed as an A6 flyer but A5 would work too.)

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 21, 2009 10:12PM

If anyone wants perspective on Vajrayana Buddhism, Stephen Butterfield, now deceased, gave a detailed account of his own training in Vajrayana via Chogyam Trungpa and Ozel Tendsin. The title of Butterfield's memoir is The Double Mirror .

I feel obligated to warn that though he appreciated the benefits he received from the Dharma practices he learned via Trungpa, Butterfield gave the impression that the problems did not stem from a dysfunctional teacher, but that much of the trouble originated in the organizational structure and doctrines of vajrayana itself, even when authentic, even when reliably transmitted. Those trying to cling to hopes that the tradition itself is trouble free and that only a bad apple teacher is the cause of the trouble are not going to enjoy this book.

But if you want to understand the context--namely causes and conditions--and are willing to tolerate the anxiety of asking some hard questions of a tradition you love--this book is well worth it.

Butterfield He makes a very convincing case that Trunpa especially, ran his organization in such a way that it massaged ego by inflaming ambition while constantly debunking ego.

Butterfield calls that 'the double message'--others would call it crazy making. He made it clear in this book that he loved Buddhist practice and that a severe lung problem he had actually improved when he dedicated himself to meditation practice. But the power abuses he observed within Vajradatu troubled him, and he bitterly regretted how he himself had failed to speak up on crucial issues.

Butterfield has a detailed descripton of the meditation practices used not only by beginning students but the more advanced practicds used to prepare oneself to receive and then practice the higher level tantric teachings (ngondro). He gives precise descriptions of how these affect the mind and how organizational features of Vajradhatu made it hard to take an adult autonomous stance. People who persisted in this tended to leave or were forced out.

Neverheless, the Vajradhatu version of Mahayana (Trungpa's version)may be at risk of converting the "great vehicle" into a self serving mechanism for supporting Vajradhatu,' Butterfield writes. Such risk is inherant in meditation itself, and in the anture of organizations, but it is aggravated by the guru principle.' (which was central to the tradition in which Chogyam Trunpa and his successors taught--and teach Corboy)
Buttefield again: "Political engagement, for the most part is left up to the individual (Buddhist practitioner). At times it has been overtly discouraged. Even on the pressing iBuddhist issue of opposing the Chinese destruction of Tibet, the Vajradhatu press was late to speak out or take a position, although its coverage of Budhists in Asian countries improved in the late 1980s. Ozel Tendzin (Chogyam Trungpas successor, chosen by Trunpa himself)was scornful of the "liberal conscience" of American Buddhists who opposed teh corrupt, shortsighted policies of the Reagan Administration in Central America. And Trungpa in his Seminary talks from the 1970s, often referred perjoratively to political demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience, using them as examples of a false, aggressive heroism whose purpose was more to affirm the ego of the demonstrator than to do anything constructive abou tthe problem.

Speaking of Trungpa, Butterfield continues: 'While he may have been right in some cases, his views always reflected his dislike of democracy' Butterfield noted. 'Proposals for membership control of his own organization were squashed; he once referred to them as "democratic farts" and walked out of a meeting in disgust when a student suggested that the audience vote on how late he could keep them up."

Butterfield, page 77.

And though Trunpa had the nerve and gall to express contempt for democracy, he was quite willing to exploit Americas generous immigration policies, of which his own sorry ass was a beneficiary. He also benefitted from US laws giving tax exemption to religious projects.

And though Trungpa criticised ego when it took the form of protesting unjust US policies in Central America, he set matters up at Vajradhatu so that ego was stimulated to climb the ladder and win his favor.

'The curriculum is presented through a hierarchy of forms that intensifies the mixed message behind seeking what you already have: enlighenment credentials are meaningless, said Trungpa, but you should definitely respect mine and here is a graded process for acquiring them. Although he deflated and his students scorned, the ego's desire for a higher, more spiritual more transcendental life, the whole Tibetan style lured me on with a promise of a higher more spiritual, more transcendental life.
'The system of the three yanas has an inherently elitist appeal. It triggers our desire to join the big shots, do the secret rituals, and find out what the masters really know. In my first contact with him, Trunpa undercut this elitism, he presented enlightenment as something anyone can have, right now. His message was too simple for intellectual analysis, you can do it, dont be a coward, cheer up.

Any sensible country school girl could have said the same thing.

'Yet he wore expensive suits and jewels, rode in a chauffered Mercedes, had servants, designed and awarded pins to symbolize levels of attainment in his programs, and was known to offer secret tantric instruction to selected disciples.

'Since he was telling me the truth about my own motives, I believed that if he did offer something transcendental, it would be real thing, not a plastic manipulation.

'But the ego, which supposedly did not exist, was both deflated and fully engaged. Teh impetus behind the journey came as much from the desire to earn one of his pins and hold a title in his organization as from a genuine longing to wake up, or an altruistic wish to benefit sentient beings.'

The Double Mirror, Stephen Butterfield, page 43

It turns out that Stephen Butterfield not only got involved with, and then wrote an expose on Trungpa's rendition of Buddhism, but he had earlier become involved with Amway, did well at it, and then had misgivings and wrote an exposure about it as well!

This was a man able to admit he had made mistakes and then was generous enough to put himself on the line and write material to keep other people from falling into the traps he'd walked so trustfully into.



(Review of The Double Mirror by Stephen Butterfield

In Memoriam, March 6, 2002

Raised in New England, Steve was well-indoctrined in our culture of plain speaking and no b.... For a time, opposition to the war and formation of a union occupied his best efforts, as well as an active teaching career.

Then he discovered Tibetan Buddhism. What appealed to him most, I think, was its attack on vanity. When you strip away all the high-flown, hypocritical ideals that lead us hither and yon, what is left?

Steve thus entered the cult already possessing what it had to offer, and not knowing it. One of the key tenets of Buddhism is no b.... (perfect honesty is the path of Nirvana). He practised that with might and with main.

His total honesty in this book led the cult to reject him, and they refused to officiate at his funeral. One of his last memories was of standing unadmitted outside the hall listening to the drunken party going on inside and feeling hurt and rejected. The thing that made him hurt, that was his soul. He had one. I should know, I was his brother.

and from his brother:


Amway: The Cult of Free Enterprise
by Stephen Butterfield Edition: Hardcover

In Memoriam, March 7, 2002

Steve was a very successful Amway person, making about 80K per year on it. Knowing what kind of person he was, I held aloof in disbelief as he tried to drag me into the cult.

That is part of the Amway method, to drag the friends and relatives in. He played the game up to the hilt, but stopped short of total success.

Later he redeemed himself by publishing this book.

You should know that the book was used in evidence in a case against Amway. Steve was a witness.

Steve's intent was to show clearly how "ye cannot serve both God and Mammon." He does state that he was never willing to give up his immortal soul. According to him, the cult takes over your entire life and you cannot hold any values that are not directed to making money for them (and yourself).

I know this because he was my brother. For you, Steve, now that you cannot speak for yourself.

These are organizations that do not give you full disclosure up front. Butterfield, from his brother's accounts, sought to remedy this by providing such information.

Providing information to assist people to make a fully informed decision about potential risk is service to all sentient beings.


Providing this kind of information--and going through the hell of enduring depositions and being cross examined on the witness stand in court is, really and truly, to put one's body on the line.

Stephen Butterfield suffered from sarcoidosis and it affected his lungs and led to his early death. It is difficult enough to endure the tension of giving testimony in an adversarial lawsuit, even when one is young and healthy. To do so when struggling with a serious chronic illness, especially one that affects the lungs, organs whose function is easily compromised by stress, would require the utmost courage.

Admitting one's mistakes and providing information about two high demand organizations to assist potential recruits or those with misgivings is refreshingly different from a pattern that shows up all too often in the so called Dharma world.

In the name of right speech and guru devotion, it is all too common for old timers, presons genuinely troubled about their guru or sangha, to talk about their concerns between themselves, but to keep such discussions secret and segrgated only between old timers.

These same old timers go silent about these troubles and conceal them from new arrivals on the principle of...dont tell-the-newbies-about-the-actual problems-we-are-havingwe-dont-want-to-make-the-Dharma-look-bad-or-discourage-the-newbies-they-are-not-ready-to-hear-this.

By the time the newbies are allowed to know about the troubling issues, the problems may well have grown more entrenched. And....the newbies are no longer newbies. They are old timers, cant stand to admit they made a mistake because they invested too much time or money--or cant stand to admit they colluded in harmdoing.

So they perpetuate the pattern of secrecy by with holding family secrets from the next generation of new arrivals, and claim this lying by omission is right speech.

What is especially annoying is that some of these secret keeping old timers the very ones who claim that newbies 'cant understand these matters' and infantalize them, go on to claim that the guru is corrupted because the newbies only want easy Dharma.

The secret keeping old timers refuse to see they too are participating in the causes and conditions of abuse by colluding and concealing a hurtful sangha's family secrets and a pattern of infantalizing new arrivals by with-holding information they need in order to make adult and informed decisions about the long term costs, social, emotional, financial, if they get involved with this particular sangha.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/21/2009 10:42PM by corboy.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Outsider ()
Date: April 25, 2009 03:16AM

Corboy, you touch on the material sacrifices required of individuals by cults, in this case we have been discussing the Diamond Way, as I have discussed earlier the DW requirement for material (commercial) committment is an issue which is close to my heart, I am seeing first hand the pressures applied to members to donate and below is one fine example:

What is the 108 CLUB?

It is a saving scheme that will enable Diamond Way Buddhism UK to raise a deposit and then pay the mortgage for a new centre in London. A big new centre will be good for London and good for the whole UK

You can help in many ways, by joining the 108 Club which will support the project in the long-run and also by making a one-off donation. There will also be many activities going on in our fund-raising period from April 5th to July 5th 2008.

By joining it you show your ongoing support for our growth in London as either your local centre or as a place for our national activities. This will provide a large meditation room where we can practice and hold courses as well as places to organise events, socialise and live together. And best of all, it will be a place to offer Diamond Way Buddhism to London and the UK for generations to come.

Club members donate a regular sum of money every month to the club. This can be £108, or a half, third, or quarter of £108: £54, £36, £27, or whatever you feel you can spare. You can sign up as an individual, a group, or as a centre. Registrations are welcome from anywhere in the world and we now have friends abroad who want to sign up.

To join the 108 CLUB you need to set up a monthly standing order and register your details. The next pages will guide you through this process and should answer any questions you might have. Please feel free to contact us by email at with any questions or suggestions.

We are planning to reward all our members with some special 108 CLUB gifts and dedicated events as a way to show our appreciation for your support.

Below are the bank details for the 108 Club.

UK Account

Account Name: Diamond Way Buddhism UK
Account No: 20079257
Sort Code: 16-58-10
Address: Triodos Bank
Brunel House
11 The Promenade
Bristol BS8 3NN
Reference: "108 Club" (this helps us to count the 108 Club membership donations)

International Account

Account Name:Triodos Bank
Account No:10000856
Sort Code: 16-00-34
IBAN GB11RBOS16003410000856
Reference: Diamond Way Buddhism UK

The first thank-you gift for 108 Club members is on order and you can always pick up a free 108 Club mug from the centre in London.

"I am very enthusiastic about this, that people want to show commitment to the new centre in this way. It's great that you are going to develop a relationship with this bank that will eventually give us a loan for our project. This is how we got Hamburg, by working with a bank like this. I give my full blessing to the 108 CLUB initiative."
Lama Ole Nydahl
About the 108 CLUB?
How does it work?
Join the 108 CLUB
How is the 108 CLUB doing?

"In five to ten years time I see you having a large place, a factory or a warehouse that is central, with good transport links. One large centre with smaller satelite centres." Lama Ole Nydahl


This is a pressure applied directly from the upper ranks of DW with letters of encouragement to donate by Ole posted in the centers and on the many DW private blog spots, remember DW can only raise funds from its members or Patrons. They ahve high sights also, properties being viewed by the DW Sangha local to me are in the € 400 - 500k bracket, well beyond the reach of the sangha members who are made up of at least 50% students.

DW seems to have one goal, Bigger Prpoerty, Bigger Property

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 25, 2009 06:48PM

Get and read a copy of Butterfield's book. I stayed far, far away from tibetan buddhism.

Given you have someone you love involved with Ole, you will find things in Butterfields account that I cannot see.

Note: it was Ozel Tenzin, Trungpa's appointed successor, who said something critical of Ole, and of whom some of Oles more brutish students offered to fly to the US, visit Tendzin and 'sort him out.'

I am well aware that in British English, 'sort out' means roughing someone up.

And if Ole were a peace loving man he would have generated a peaceful atmosphere, and never have produced that many students who would have approached him to make such an offer.

It does not matter that Ole said it would not be necessary. He had created a climate permissive to violence in which that many students felt they could make such an offer -- and not lose rank in Ole's organization for doing so.

Read that book. Butterfield was convinced that Trungpa was teaching an authentic version of Buddhism, and his credentials to do so were not disputed, and he was in the same lineage headed by the Karmapa.

And even there, trouble developed. Get and read that book while you can still find a copy.

Note: Trungpa discoraged his students from having associations with outsiders, whom Trungpa termed 'heretics.'

Those who quietly defied Trungpa by continuing to associate with their 'heretic' friends
had to do so on the sly.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/25/2009 06:50PM by corboy.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: ~*~ k a t e ~*~ ()
Date: April 28, 2009 04:13AM

You are absolutely correct. I’ve attended the DW centre in Holborn.

Yes Diamond way is a cult, I've had extremely painful experiences with them. It took me the larger part of a year to recover from them.

I confirm every point you made. (And well written too). I classify them as dangerous and even evil.

They sell alcohol, (without a drinks license) in the centre despite the Buddhist precept which negates the drinking of alcohol. Yet Ole recommends they go out drinking!!

I've known a few people part with their money and regret it.

Buddhism seems to be getting freely hijacked these days.

Nydahl is a right-extremist fraud. Please keep up the good work, such dangerous cults have to be debunked, even at the risk of their threats.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 28, 2009 10:33PM

And one big problem is that once a rinpoche or lama gives an endorsement, that endorsement remains.

No matter how badly the endorsed person later behaves, no rinpoche or lama will ever say, 'I made a mistake. Dont follow this guy any more.'

At least in France if a restaurant is awarded stars in the Guide Michelin, the GM will
REMOVE the stars if that restaurant fails to maintain its previous high standards.

But once any guru (Hindu, New Age, Tibetan Buddhist) gets endorsed by someone, that endorsement remains, even if the person later turns out to be a brute.

Worst of all, students are supposed to put up with this and not question it.

We are trained to think like feudals, whilst retaining the money earning capacity of
modern capitalists.

Sorry. If those teachers want our Euros and US dollars, they'd better start showing more respect for our Western democratic institutions and our Western understanding of the inherant dignity of the human person.

The dignity of the human person does not need to be based on an inherantly separetely existing essence or absolute.

We can consider human dignity and personhood to be indefinable and still honor this
precisely because it cannot be defined.

Again, if these so called rinpoches, lamas, swamis, etc want Euros, US and ANZAC dollars, and want to enjoy tax exemption given by Western democracies to religious institions, they'd better reciprocate by respecting the Western concept of individual human rights and democratic decision making as applied within their sanghas.

Honor us, if you want our money and the protection of our tax laws.

Those tax laws enable thugs like Ole to accumulate wealth at a faster rate than secular tax payers who indirectly subsidize him and his antics.

That goes for other types of Tibetan and Hindu teachers too.

It is a problem that includes Ole---and goes far beyond Ole, IMO.

The non democractic set up of Himalayan/Vajrayana buddhism is attractive to dictatorial
leader types, whether born in Asia or the West.

If there are good and kind ones, they are rare.

Even then, you have be careful they dont pick a successor who turns out to be a brute.

Living in a monarchy whose internal affairs are governed from abroad can turn adults into children--whilst preserving adult earning capabilities.

At the very least, look for a sangha where all monies raised stay in your country, you are not constantly being dunned for money, and where decision making is shared by the community.

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