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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: krampapa ()
Date: October 11, 2008 04:54AM

It is I, Krampapa. Bring forth the accusations of trolism!

JHolland, whilst I agree with you (to a certain degree...), please understand that it is imperative in any debate to be absolutely objective. To explain personal circumstances brings absolutely nothing to the table.

Cybertao, you seem to be reasonably informed however I think you lack an in-depth understanding of Tibetan Buddhism and guru yoga, which is completely understandable and not a point that merits too much examination on a forum such as this.

To clarify, any Lama or Buddhist teacher only aims to show what is already present. All that is happening is ‘labels’ being redefined and experience changing, as happens every day with everyone.

Moving on, yes there is some anecdotal evidence of Ole using his position to obtain sexual favours from followers, as there is anecdotal evidence for pretty much anything you care to imagine on or off the internet about anyone and anything, so let’s stick with the facts, no?

You picked up on the point that Ole is making sacrifices and I think in the context that you replied to your point is reasonably valid. However, this is only in reply to JHolland. A slightly deeper understanding of Buddhism will reveal that on the highest level of understanding there are no sacrifices to be made. When ‘someone’ understands that there is no separation between object, action or perceiver then logically no sacrifice can be made. I sympathise with JHollands perception that Ole works for others so can’t spend time on himself however this doesn’t stand up to scrutiny under either Cyberato’s (or anyone else reading this) or Buddhist understanding. These points can be expanded on, however I will do this on request to make my reply as succinct as possible.

Now for the ‘meat’ of my gripe, Cybertao. You highlight ‘faulty arguments’ then proceed with your own, militantly unaware of your hypocrisy. ‘The truth is..,’, ‘it is very difficult...’ etc and crescendo with baseless statements about the name of and activities in Diamond Way centres.

Make of this post what you will, however please take time to reflect and formulate your future posts with insight and referenced fact , considering the astute readership of this forum.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Outsider ()
Date: October 11, 2008 12:50PM

This forum should not be dictated by a requirement to have any in depth knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism, come on you use the term objective and then state that unless one has a thorough knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism they have no right to be contributing. The basic fact missed by many forums here is that Buddhism and more specific Tibetan Buddhism is not a western belief or religion and is adopted, this adoption is the perfect vehicle for individuals to create a following, a cult.

I have been drawn into this as my user name suggests against my will and would like to share my situation with this forum and beyond if possible. Through the freedom of the World Wide Web my partner became interested in Diamond Way and eventually became engrossed.

Relating to cybertao’s observations I have been marginalized by the closest person in my life because; by way of exercising my individual freedom of mind I do not wish to embrace the Diamond Way. Yes I have attended a ‘center’ and even a weekend retreat and these experiences led to my assimilation that the whole show revolved around a single key figure who; is very proud of himself and his achievements and lives off being ‘followed’.

My partner who a little while ago knew nothing about Buddhism let alone Tibetan Buddhism now vehemently supports the cause of Trinley Thaye Dorje over Ogyen Trinley Dorje without having met the latter or any of his supporters. In my opinion (forgive me for being blunt) both candidates and their mentors are striving to maintain their funding and again recognition in this world. Why struggle hanging out in Rumtek or Tibet when you can be feted by wealthy westerners eager for a few words or mantras. Ole Nydahl represents a great business man for selling his 17th Karmapa around the world and bringing in the funds, real estate and army of supporters.

Diamond Way is about harvesting the crop of easily led in this world for the benefits of the chosen (self styled western 'lama's). The constant boast about global centers and the fact that millions were raised or secured for the Europe Center speak volumes for the business model that is the Diamond Way.

Diamond Way as I have experienced it demonstrates a lack of respect for family values, its members are mostly young, single or the same generation as Ole and what’s been preached to me has never focused on family. How could Diamond Way have any family values when you look at the hierarchy??? Adopted by the misguided membership of The Diamond Way does lead to lying, financial loss and separation, this is a fact and I have no problems with proving it.

Again, I am sorry for not fitting into some perceived models and admit to my lack of extensive knowledge when it comes to buddhist teachings but my comments come from real experience and I believe are apt where debating this issue.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: October 11, 2008 08:35PM


A warning.

"Flaming" is against the rules you agreed to before posting here.

And your last post was very close to a flame (comments about Cybertao).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2008 08:47PM by rrmoderator.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: October 11, 2008 08:40PM


You are right, it is not necessary to have "any in depth knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism" to post here and comment about a group or leader that abuses and/or exploits people.

Various people and groups use guises (religion, politics, therapy, etc.) to con and take advantage of people.

It doesn't require special knowledge of the belief system that someone uses to recognize the misuse of influence.

See []

Here are some basic common sense "warning signs" to keep in mind.

Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

9. The group/leader is always right.

10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.

3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".

4. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.

5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

6. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.

7. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

8. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

9. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

10. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.

Ten signs of a safe group/leader.

1. A safe group/leader will answer your questions without becoming judgmental and punitive.

2. A safe group/leader will disclose information such as finances and often offer an independently audited financial statement regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and leaders will tell you more than you want to know.

3. A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision making and encouraging accountability and oversight.

4. A safe group/leader may have disgruntled former followers, but will not vilify, excommunicate and forbid others from associating with them.

5. A safe group/leader will not have a paper trail of overwhelmingly negative records, books, articles and statements about them.

6. A safe group/leader will encourage family communication, community interaction and existing friendships and not feel threatened.

7. A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations when dealing with others.

8. A safe group/leader will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of self-esteem.

9. A safe group/leader will admit failings and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and advice.

10. A safe group/leader will not be the only source of knowledge and learning excluding everyone else, but value dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.

Don't be naïve, develop a good BS Detector.

You can protect yourself from unsafe groups and leaders by developing a good BS detector. Check things out, know the facts and examine the evidence. A safe group will be patient with your decision making process. If a group or leader grows angry and anxious just because you want to make an informed and careful decision before joining; beware.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2008 08:42PM by rrmoderator.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 11, 2008 09:23PM

It is social dynamics, not content of belief system that determine whether a group is functional or dysfunctional.

*A healthy group and wise leader welcome both praise and statements of concern-- or of disagreement.

One can have a disagreement or a difference of opinion within a healthy group, without the outcome being intimidation or a traumatic and exhausting drain of energy.

*A dysfunctional group or leader welcome only praise. They will dislike anything that is not praise. The only acceptable alternative to praise is silence.

In a dysfunctional group there is a double standard for compassion. Only the group or leader's public reputation or well being are worthy of compassion.

If the group's reputation or the leader suffers misfortune, these are regarded as valid and worthy of compassion.

A suffering guru is never told, 'Oh, your pain is illusory' or, 'You are wallowing in victim mentality.'

But a suffering disciple's misfortunes are not worthy of concern, whatsover.

A healthy group, leader or family reciprocate your loyalty and support.

An unhealthy group or leader insatiably elicit and demand your loyaly and support, but in your own hour of need, cannot and will not reciprocate. Instead, you are discarded in your hour of need or you are told you are wallowing in victim mentality or need to deepen your practice.

One does not need to complete and defend a Ph.D dissertation on a groups belief system before one's misgivings are allowed to be valid.

It is important to recognize that it is not the contents of a belief system that make a group dysfunctional.

What determines dysfunction are the social dynamics of that group--

Dynamics within the group (shaming or marginalization of anyone who expresses doubt, power inbalances that exist to favor the powerholder at expense of underlings, while a healthy group's power imbalances exist to support the well being of everyone in the group, regardless of status

How the group interacts with those who do not share the beliefs and (very telling point)--those who express misgivings or choose to leave.

If someone is a potential recruit, a healthy group gives full disclosure of its history, including whether there is any controversy

Those who leave are never vilified or ridiculed and one can stay friends with them.

One can enjoy a close partnership with a group member and never be pressured to convert.

You are free at all times to enjoy events with other groups without accusations of dysloyalty

Everyone is treated with respect, regardless of youth, beauty, financial status--there is no preference given for those who are rich, famous, or cute.

People are not ditched and discarded when middle aged or ill

Persons who suffer misfortune are not accused of victim mentality

Everyone's hardships are worthy of respect, not just the leader's tribulations.

Confidentiality is honored. Your intimate disclosures during practice discussions are not tattled about. People who choose to leave are not gossipped about.

The leader never plays favorites.

No undue pressure for money and you are encouraged to keep your outside job and can consult the health care practitioner or therapist of your own choice.

Unhealthy Groups

Do not allow or respect any outside, objective view point. They may pretend to respect this, but in practice despise it and consider sources of information NOT vetted by their group an insult and a threat. This alone marks a group as dysfunctional.

Do not give full disclosure of their controversial histories to prospective recruits.

New members are given one set of instructions and only later, much later, are slowly introduced to aspects of the group that would have sent them running had they known this from the start. (also known as bait and switch, or absence of informed consent. This is justified by stating that some matters just cannot be understood by an outsider or a newbie--the esoteric lie alibi)

If you are partners with someone who is a member of the the group, you are pressured to share the beliefs or be discarded.

Gossip nastily about those out of favor or who have left.

Leaders play favorites based on wealth, fame, personal or erotic attractiveness.

There may be a double standard for leaders and another for followers--celibacy and abstention from drugs for underlings and a plush and sensual lifestyle for the leader. Followers may get a vicarious soap opera thrill
witnessing the secret shenanigans of the leader, but this distracts from practice. This also means one is colluding in secrecy, which also saps vitality and can be a source of crippling embarrassment, making it harder to leave, because that means facing one has been fooled.

Dysfunctional groups nearly always have secrets of one kind or another. Secrets cripple vitality and drain energy away from insight and the ability to practice dharma.

You are rushed into practicing guru yoga and the actual ethical underpinings of real Buddhism are not taught or are disregarded

You are told you need the equivalent of a Ph.D in the belief system of the group before you have any right to express concern or misgivings. (By the time you do become that knowledgeable, you may risk losing capacity for rational and objective thought or the doctrine has been changed at the guru's whim and you are back to being a confused beginner again.)

Or if you DO already have an advanced understanding of Tibetan Buddhism or whatever a groups doctrine is, you will be told that intellect
is the adversary of spiritual thought, and you have to put all that aside and have blind faith.

If you show the slightest bit of energy in expressing concern, you are told you need to 'deepen your practice' and eradicate all feelings of anger before you have any right to be heard with respect. Of course that means
hell will freeze over before you meet these conditions.

Older members or those who are poor or become poor are ignored, demoted or discarded.

Any attempt to discuss the group in cyberspace brings forth a suspiciously prompt 'rapid response team' response, that can be overwhelm and disrupt thread discussions and interfere with good-faith quests for information.

When moderation is made, the group wails about violations of first amendment rights, or that this is a hate response, ignoring of course that those seeking information from objective sources not tied in any way to the group also have first amendment rights--and that objective venues are few, far between, and potentially fragile, unless protected as sanctuaries for researchers by alert and intelligent moderators.

At last, let us once again look at 'Right Speech.'

Often we are told that it is a violation of right speech, even to discuss these matters.

This concern for Right Speech makes good faith Buddhists very vulnerable to exploitation. All too often the Dharma community stays silent and a pattern of harm is allowed to continue, long past the early stages when it could be remedied, much the way fire can easily spread out of control if a house is not equipped with a functioning smoke detector.

It is important to be able to make some noise when one first smells smoke, and that is the real function of right speech.

If a pattern of harm or of controversy already exists it is not a violation of right speech to mention this and to articulate it, using precise language, and in a way that assists concerned persons to do their research and form their own conclusions.

If one is allowed to speak only in praise and never with concern or to give warning, that is like having a house without a smoke detector to give warning at the first wisp of smoke.

A healthy group and wise leader welcome both praise and statements or concern or disagreement.

A dysfunctional group or leader welcome only praise and dislike anything that is not praise. The only acceptable alternative to praise is silence.

And precise and articulate rebuttals of a group will be sneered at and trivialized as neurotic, nit picking or 'you seem to be getting worked up by this.'

Edited 9 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2008 09:50PM by corboy.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Emma C ()
Date: October 11, 2008 11:45PM

Found this online and it sums it up quite well.
Reasons why Diamond Way is a cult...

1. The charismatic leader (Ole Nydahl) surrounded by groupies and Ole Clones. This is known as a cult of personality. He also has no authentic credentials, and is not qualified to hold the title of Lama. Ole only started using the title of Lama a few years after the 16th Karmapa's death, while claiming that the 16th Karmapa granted him such a title.

2. The manipulation of information. Books Ole Nydahl doesn't agree with or are critical of him are banned from the centres. Members are also discouraged from seeking teachings from any other source.

3. Abuse of members lower in the hierarchy by those higher up. This emotional (and sometimes physical) abuse is explained away as 'purification' and members are told it is simply their karma.

4. Questions or criticisms from members are dismissed and suppressed. The member is then made to feel guilty and told it is their fault. They are called 'spiritually weak'.

5. Diamond Way has it's own words and language, to separate members from the public. Words are also given new meanings. New members are also given fancy new Tibetan names to make them feel important and separate them from their old life.

6. There is one rule for those lower in the hierarchy, and another for those at the top. For instance, DW teaches that adultery is wrong (in common with authentic Buddhism), but at the same time, Ole Nydahl is known to have had affairs with several of his students, and had a mistress called Caty Hartung as well as his wife, Hannah.

7. The true beliefs of the group are kept secret from members until they are sufficiently brainwashed, and before that are lied to, just as Diamond Way lies to the public about it's true beliefs. Members only get to the really weird stuff once they get higher up in the hierarchy. Those higher up in this heirachy lie to both those lower down and to the public at large about their true beliefs. Their excuse for this is to simply say people are "not ready". (sounds like not sufficiently brainwashed to me!)

8. Everything in Diamond Way has a price, and the money flows to the top of the hierarchy. There is also huge pressure to donate money, whether you can afford it or not. Members are milked for everything they have, while Ole Nydahl lives a life of luxury, flying round the world and having everything paid for him.

9. DW uses brainwashing techniques. Their 'meditation' rituals are in fact more like self-hypnotism, and are intended to increase suggestibility and slowly remove the members from reality and critical thinking.

10. Former members are harassed, slandered and told to shut up about their experiences. I have had death threats, abusive e-mails and phone calls etc calling me "spiritually weak", "mentally ill", and "a criminal" among other things. Calling me a criminal is particularly ironic considering Ole Nydahl himself spent time in prison for drug smuggling and dealing. I am just glad I never signed up to the cult's magazine despite pressure to do so, or they would have had my home address too!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2008 11:48PM by Emma C.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 12, 2008 12:12AM

And if anyone shows up and disputes Emma's right to speak her peace on this non-Buddhist, non-DW venue, they should be asked, up front,

1) Are they currently or formerly members of DW?

2) Do they have anything to gain (eg promotion within DW?) by posting here in ways that violate the stated terms of use that apply to registered members of the message board.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: cybertao ()
Date: October 14, 2008 09:52AM


My experience is similar to yours. I have a very close childhood friend that joined Diamond Way.

While there are some claims I am not familiar with Tibetan buddhism, this is not entirely true. I studied for some time in Tibet, and I even had a signficant other who was born in Tibet. However, I do not follow Tibetan buddhism. This does not mean I can't have any perspective about these issues. One particular issue is that Tibetan Buddhism is no different than other established religions. There is a minority of monks who are corrupted and/or abuse people. The problem is that some western people have this perfect image of Tibetan Buddhism like some type of pure religion with no flaws. This illusion may allow some western people to be manipulated by some bad fellows.

When my childhood friend joined Diamond Way, this person had almost no knowledge of Buddhism. However, in only 2-3 months, this person already considered himself an expert in many aspects of Buddhisms, and after close inspection of that group, even founding members had almost no training on Buddhism (beyond the content being offered by Mr. Nydahl).

From my factual observation, this group would have some type of new-age meditation (at best), and then it would be like watching Oprah for a while. People talking about their problems and EXPOSING themselves a lot. This itself could be just a type of innocent group therapy, but judgments were inserted in the conversations that seemed to mold the person to Diamond Way values.... I can't generalize this to all groups, but I can clearly see some "groupthink" going on. My impression after some time is that I was in some type of well-behaved frat house, not a buddhist group. Alcohol comsumption, parties, "an open idea on what love is" were all in the "menu". I am not conservative, but I thought it was a bad combination of shallow understanding of buddhism, sources for "pleasure" and emotional exposure to the group.

I can barely recognize my childhood friend now. That person is allocating time, money and efforts to Diamond Way in what I believe to be unhealthy levels. I feel this person depends more and more on the group to make personal decisions. What kind of buddhist meeting that goes from 7PM to 2AM, and this person comes back smelling alcohol? I mean..... If Diamond Way is still not a cult, I would say it has all the red/yellow flags around that this group could be used easily turned into a cult! This would not be uncommon, in my opinion. I have the impression sometimes cult start from idealistic people, then controlled by some "I-know-better-than-thou" type of insider.

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Emma C ()
Date: October 15, 2008 07:14PM

Interesting video about cults that exposes many of Diamond Way's techniques for what they really are:

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Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: cybertao ()
Date: October 18, 2008 02:13AM

Hi Emma,

Could you be more specific on your real experiences with Diamond Way? This video seems to cover everything up to Jim Jones.....

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