Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Emma C ()
Date: August 03, 2008 11:40PM

Has anyone else had any experience with this cult that claims to be Buddhist?

I am a former member, and during my time inside the group (about 2 years), i experienced sexual abuse, extreme pressure to donate money people didn't have, and guilt if it was not donated, or if the sexual abuse was reported. If it was reported to anyone else in the group, it was dismissed, and said to be the abused's fault for not accepting it.

Their leader, Ole Nydahl, calls himself 'Lama Ole', despite having never completed the 3-year retreat needed to qualify for the title of Lama. He has sexually abused his followers, and an affair with one of the group's members, despite being married to his (now dead) wife, Hannah. I don't doubt he had other affairs that were better covered-up. All members are encouraged to be either celibate or monogamous. Typical cult 'do as I say, not as I do' and 'one rule for the leader, another for everyone else'. Ole Nydahl is now well-known in Buddhist circles for being a fraud and regarded as dangerous. Members are not allowed to read books by anyone other than their leader, Ole Nydahl, and any books found being read by anyone else will be banned from the centres. There is a huge uclt of personality around Ole Nydahl, and he is surrounded by a large number of groupies who prevent any embarrassing questions being asked.

Ex-members who admit to the group about leaving are harassed and pressured to re-join the group. Members of the organisation are urged to edit Wikipedia and similar websites in order to provide a one-sided favourable view on the internet of their organisation and leader. Members are also encouraged to get media attention to spread similar messages.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: dr. thomas ()
Date: August 09, 2008 12:40AM

Hello Emma,

Could you say in what part of the world you were experiencing this side of the Lama Ole group, as this is the first I have heard of this.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 09, 2008 07:39AM

It is best not to give personal information about oneself or even where one lives.

You do not know who is reading this, or what their intentions are.

For assistance in understanding how a relationship works between a genuine Tibetan teacher and qualified student, Alexander Berzin is a valuable resource.


Berzin's book on this subject is highly valuable. I advise reading it and then using it as a guide to assess your situation. Real teachers stress the Bodhisattva precepts and never, ever claim to be exempted from the commitment to practice Buddhist ethics, no matter how high their attainments.

Relating to a Spiritual Teacher: Building a Healthy Relationship. Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2000

This is a very small exerpt from the book


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2008 07:45AM by corboy.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: dr. thomas ()
Date: August 09, 2008 11:55AM

Well, I was curious to know because I once new quite a few Nydahl followers that talked and walked like him but also others that weren't culties at all. So I was wondering where that was at. I rather liked his wife and was sad to hear that she died. Their story of going to Tibet and meeting the 16th karmapa and practicing ngondro is a real story.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: pema ()
Date: August 09, 2008 04:23PM

Hi Emma,
Sorry to hear that Hannah Nydahl is dead. She was a lovely woman. How she managed to put up with Ole all those years is beyond my comprehension. The story you tell about your experiences in Diamondway is oh so familiar. The same cultish pressures are applied with an even bigger range of overt and subtle inducements in Rigpa, the appalling Sogyal Lakar's (aka Rinpoche) huge global cash machine. For sure Ole is a sexual predator -- but even his excesses are overshadowed by Sogyal. At one stage during Sogyal's trajectory into the millionnaire super-guru class there was an sub cult within Rigpa known as Lama Care, which consisted of a group of older women, whose job was to make sure that young girls were available for Sogyal's sexual activity wherever he travelled. I gather that has now been abandoned, but recent information is starting to seep out, indicating that Sogyal's predations continue unabated.
Ole is best known for his support for an alternative 17th Karmapa -- an inoffensive lad known as Thaye Dorje who was thrust into the role as a pawn in a power struggle centred around the fabulous welath accumulated by the Kagyu tradition.
All this sounds like I am a disaffected Tibetan Buddhist. This is not true. There are several Tibetan and western lamas whose organisations are beyond reproach. If you are looking for a new teacher, I recommend Tsultrim Allione. www.taramandala.org She is impeccable, a former nun who has done many years of solitary retreat.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: dr. thomas ()
Date: August 10, 2008 01:59AM


I'm not necessarily diagreeing with you, but saying someone is a sexual predator is a pretty strong statement. Ole always seemed loose with his zipper but that seemed like part of his laissez-faire northern european lifestyle more than anything else. Also, in a recent video shown on youtube he states clearly that he is very happy when 'students leave together.' That is why I question emma's statement. Also, the rumour that kagyu possesses fabulous wealth is to my understanding an urban myth. The karmapa controversy is more about political power and influence.

There is lots to criticize about Ole and the people who have over the years seemed likes clones of him, and his style is easy to dislike. But he does come right out and say what he believes including about sex, politics, and the fact that in his view the traditional Tibetan retreats are a waist of time, so people do know in advance what they are getting with him.

If there is something going on in the community that he has created peeople should come right out and say what it is, where it is and who it is. A recent lawsuit against ole for his comments against religion has brought a lot of peole out of the woodwork and it needs to be made clear if peole are talking about his personality and style, or specific behaviours that have been harmful.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: dr. thomas ()
Date: August 10, 2008 02:21AM

I would also like to say that in the diamond way centre in my town they have a library of bhuddist teachings generally and when I was going to lectures nobody asked me for money. But in view of the fact that there are hundreds of diamond way centres I have no doubt that some of them are filled with abusive and probably even mentally ill people, since that is the landscape in which we live. That is why I think it is important to be specific and not make generalizations about groups of this size.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: pema ()
Date: August 10, 2008 11:39PM

Hi Dr T,
Your perspective on Ole's sex life is probably more accurate than mine -- but it seems a tad juvenile don't you think to be still loose with the zipper past age 50? Somewhat addicted to conquest? And does anyone know how Hannah felt about his serial adultery? I suspect she suffered a lot. I disagree profoundly with his view that trad Tib Budh retreats are a waste of time. I speak from personal experience and from observation of many Vajra bros and sisses during 30+ years. IMHO extended solitary retreat is the only way one can deepen Vajrayana/Dzogchen practice. I regard my daily practice as maintenance -- retreat is where the shifts occurr and the insight arises.

Kagyu wealth
Posted by: pema ()
Date: August 10, 2008 11:46PM

Hi again Dr T,
Its not an urban, rural or any other kind of myth. Both HH K16 and HH Dudjom Rinpoche knew the Chinese were going to take over Tibet some time before it actually happened. They planned ahead and systematically sent their treasure out of Tibet into India over a period of years. They set up alternative living arrangements -- Dudjom in Darjeeling, Big K in Sikkim. Head honcho lineage holders had the resources and the connections to do this, but there were only a very few of them.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: dr. thomas ()
Date: August 11, 2008 01:35AM

By what I heard the treasure didn't sound like it was really a major factor in the dispute but then again the fact that everyone is downplaying that may point to the idea that it was. So that is your view, that a large part of the reason for there being two karmapas is competition over wealth? Perhaps the Chinese supported the other karmapa in order to control the wealth and thus take some power away from the more independently minded Tibetans.

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