Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: April 19, 2015 01:06PM

Most prospective students of Buddhism don't know that the teachings say to thoroughly check out the teacher. How would they know that, if they're completely new to Buddhism? Even if they've been attending teachings for awhile, they wouldn't find that out. They're very trusting, as anyone is who enters a new spiritual tradition, whether a Western church or an Eastern tradition.

This is why forums such as this are important. The word needs to get out that there are outright charlatans as well as unethical teachers, and that students may be at risk. Also bear in mind that some of the people coming to Buddhism (or any church) are wounded and have a childhood or adolescent history of abuse, so they're not able to stand up to a teacher. They're looking for a calm and nurturing nest in which to heal from a family or other environment that was anything but that. They're very vulnerable to manipulation and further abuse under the guise of spiritual sacrifice or "conquering the ego", having been raised to not be assertive or think of their own needs. Any unusual demands, such as removing clothing or having sex with the teacher are a red flag, and shouldn't be complied with. Frequent demands for money and a lack of transparency also are red flags.

Buddhism is about ending suffering for all sentient beings, it shouldn't be causing more human suffering. It is about cultivating compassion for others, so if the sangha turns against a member who doesn't cooperate with the teacher's demands, this is not authentic Buddhist practice. Everyone should exercise their faculty of discernment, as the Buddha himself advocated, to test the teachings and the teacher to evaluate whether they are sensible, helpful and reasonable. Tibetan Buddhism requires in the highest level (Vajrayana) to relinquish all authority to the teacher. This is not at all what the Buddha taught, and is dangerous. Unethical teachers will require that even at the beginning level.

One may change while investigating the teacher
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 19, 2015 10:25PM

"the teachings say to thoroughly check out the teacher"

There are a few problems with the classic advice Misstyk quotes
on character checking a teacher.

This is not a criticism of Misstyk, who has given solid information about
patterns of abuse in Vajrayana.

What follows is my misgivings about this classic advice given in
Vajrayana sources. And which has even been passed on, oh so
sweetly by the Dalai Lama.

I once thought this was reassuring and
reasonable. Now I have grave misgivings. Such advice to 'investigate
the teacher' may be used to coax new people into the Vajrayana

Here's why I think it can happen this way -- and perhaps why
the Vajrayana people are so confident when inviting us to
spend plenty of time investigating the teacher.:

Because to do so, one has to enter the Vajryana scene and, once there,
spend a long time in that scene in order to investigate the
teachers private life and actual character.

During that time, one may be influenced by the social context
of Vajrayana and take on the cognitive biases of the scene and lose one's ability to care whether a teacher turns out to be abusive.

And... you will spend that time giving plenty of money supporting
the set up while you 'investigate the teacher'. The more money
you spend, more incentive you have to justify the expense.

To have a chance of gaining close access to the teacher you are evaluating, you need to gain access to that teacher. In Vajryana, this doesn't happen
overnight. You earn and pay your way.

In the army it is very unlikely that a guy doing pushups in boot camp
is going to get an invitation to the general's house. One has to spend time
in the service, lots and lots of time and show the right skill sets to
get that sort of intimate access to the general.

Like the military, Vajrayana is all about rank and hierarchy.

So, the new student has to go on retreats, get empowerments and participate
in the bowing, and rituals. This costs money. The cost of obtaining
ritual equipment for your home altar is expensive. Vajrayana requires
purchasing lots of gadgets and swag.

During this time, you make friends and, gradually lose
what capacity you had for objectivity. Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann
has termed this 'interpretative drift'. One learns from group
participation how to interpret events the way one's companions do.

Students abused by the Vajrayana teacher are often shamed into
disappearing, persons who have doubts get discouraged and drop out.
If you remain, you socialize with the True Believers and that
can compromise your ability to imagine that the teacher could be
capable of abuses.

If you take time and money to travel to various US and European venues
where important Vajrayana rituals and retreats take place, this means
investing time and money. This is yet more so if you go to India, Sikkim or Tibet.

After putting in vast amounts of time and money, conditioning your body
by bowing and rituals, you will face a lot of pain through cognitive
dissonance if you look at this and face that the teacher is not worth
your loyalty.

Today there is an excessively rosy view of Vajrayana. Persons
who are curious trust this and will not think to fact check.

There is a commonplace cliché that critical thinking is negativity
and you'll be told if you have misgivings its from your own ego
and your fault, rather than being encouraged to trust your
misgivings and do research.

You're often told that any critical information about Vajaryana
originates from Chinese government sources.

There is so much material online that gives a positive spin on Vajryana
that one has play devils advocate by putting in search terms such
as money, cult, finances, abuses to get objective information
or access to testimonies from abused former students.

So, this hampers new students 'checking out a teacher".

Then there is deception, rationalized as 'skillful means'.

Too many teachers, both real and self proclaimed do not give
full disclosure about their backgrounds. Students already infatuated
with them may not tell new students or prospective recruits about
actual problems the teacher has with power, sex and money.

Access to the teacher. His or her private life may
be kept secret from all but an inner circle. Persons who
hear troubling hints and rumors or encounter sudden silences
may be kept in ignorance.

The old timers may complain among themselves, but clam up
around the new students. Their rationale is that they don't want to discourage someone from entering or remaining
on the dharma path. Old timers may whine that newbies want to
'infantalize' the dharma, but by concealing or downplaying
factual information about abuses in Vajrayana, these old timers
are the ones who infantilize new students.

Some have left Vajrayana after spending plenty of time in it.

They are viciously criticized by Vajrayanists when they publish their
minority opinions. Stephen Batchelor, Stephen Schettini, Jane Cambell,
persons who dared speak up about Jetsunma Akhon Lamo, persons who
have spoken up against Ole Nydahl, New Kadampa Tradition and Sogyal
have been savagely criticized online.

Which is why these few brave dissidents who have gone public deserve

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2015 10:33PM by corboy.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: April 20, 2015 01:10PM

budhistcke Wrote:
> If the Dharma requires us to check out our
> teachers before we take them seriously who can we
> blame if we don't check them out and they are not
> reliable?

Corboy, above is the post I was responding to, but failed to quote.

I disagree that one has to get involved in the sangha extensively (retreats, workshops, and other events for which one must pay) in order to check out the teacher. One can go to the weekly Sunday teachings at the local Dharma center, which are free. One can observe the teacher and the students' behavior over a few weeks. One can note whether the Dharma literature available is all by one author, and reading other authors is discouraged, or whether a variety of sources are represented in the books available. One can observe the general vibe of the group, and group dynamics.

And one can also do online research on the teacher and the sect the teacher represents. One can ask other Dharma friends, if one has any, about the teacher and sect.

However, I do think that the Dalai Lama's recommendation to check out the teacher thoroughly before surrendering one's trust to him/her, while necessary, is a bit of a cop-out. There needs to be accountability in the system somewhere, and there is none. Some retreat centers and sanghas now have the teachers sign a contract requiring ethical behavior, and in retreat, students also have to sign contracts. Strict guidelines are posted. But that's a small percentage of sanghas. I wish it were a growing movement, but I haven't heard that it is.

Also, the Dalai Lama comes from a very different culture. He says he denounced his own teacher, the corrupt Reting regent, when the DL was in his teens in Tibet. He says we should go public when there are egregious abuses. But the DL and other Tibetans didn't need to worry about libel laws.

Also, it's easy for Tibetans in Tibet or India to go to the local Teahouse and pick up all the local gossip about this or that yogi or monk. A board member of an Australian sangha whose teacher had several affairs with students, throwing the sangha into crisis, went to Dharamsala to find out what the opinions were there of their teacher, and was shocked to find out that he was not well-respected at all. People said he didn't really know the scriptures, and wasn't at all qualified to teach. So he had presented himself to the Australian community falsely. Of course, it didn't occur to anyone when he first arrived that such a step would be necessary, and how many people have the wherewithall to go to Dharamsala? Also, the community (in Canberra) put up a website about their experience, denouncing the teacher. But they received a message from someone in the same sect, threatening a lawsuit. (Even though the teacher had confessed and apologized, more or less, and higher-ups in that sect had gotten involved.) So they took down the website eventually.

So in view of all this, it's difficult to thoroughly check out the teacher, though not impossible in some instances, thanks to this site, and a few blogs around the internet discussing issues in Buddhism.

Also, it's pretty easy to notice flirtatiousness on the part of some teachers, or a tendency towards manipulation or emotional/verbal abuse, or teachings that seem suspicious or not in keeping with one's understanding of Buddhism. The teacher at one sangha in the US required everyone to disrobe and go nude for the whole weekend retreat. Everyone went along with it, because they'd been taught that Buddhism was about "doing what you were told", without question. Surrendering to the teacher's authority, and believing he has everyone's best interests at heart. NO, NO, NO! If a teacher says they're a representative of the Buddha and the "Holy Dharma", and therefore should be revered, trusted, and treated with utmost devotion, RUN! If the teacher justifies his mental abuse of sangha members by saying this is part of the process of "destroying the ego", find another group. Rudeness, belittling, verbal abuse and other psychological tactics of domination are not "teachings". This is not Dharma.

Re: One may change while investigating the teacher
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: April 20, 2015 01:25PM

corboy Wrote:
> During this time, you make friends and, gradually
> lose
> what capacity you had for objectivity.
> Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann
> has termed this 'interpretative drift'. One learns
> from group
> participation how to interpret events the way
> one's companions do.

> You're often told that any critical information
> about Vajaryana
> originates from Chinese government sources.

These are especially good points. If we're not allowed to criticize inappropriate behavior and corruption, how can we hope to make reforms? This only creates an environment in which the corrupt can run amok.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Tashi Namgyal ()
Date: May 04, 2015 07:28AM

budhistcke Wrote:
> This is an interesting point. I once attended a
> Diamond Way lecture about Mahamudra in London,
> several hundred people were present (this in
> itself was a surprise); after an hour or so
> someone obviously versed in Mahamudra asked a
> question to Lama Ole from the floor "do you hold
> any transmission in Mahamudra?". To his credit
> Lama Ole said he didn't. The person then asked
> "what are we doing here then?"
> Teaching without apparent transmission for a fee,
> can anyone explain how this might work?

This is odd, because in his book The Great Seal, Nydahl mentiones that he and his wife got the transmission of Mahamudra from the 16. Karmapa in Kopenhagen, France and Sikkim.

An academic article
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 21, 2015 05:16AM

Interpreting the Diamond Way: Contemporary Convert Buddhism in Transition


Mantra Brain?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 04, 2015 05:56AM

Repetitive speech elicits widespread deactivation in the human cortex: the "Mantra" effect?


This has made a multitude of lamas and rinpoches rich and influential - perhaps by making followers' minds docile.



We compared, using blood oxygenated level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a simple task of covertly repeating a single word to resting state activity, in 23 subjects, none of which practiced meditation before.

It would be interesting to repeat this study with persons who
have practiced high dose meditation for months, even years, as ngondro
and tantric practitioners do.

Corboy dares wonder whether a medication that produces such an effect would
be prescribed only with mandatory counseling from a pharmacist as a condition of having the prescription filled -- and with limits on how often that RX can be refilled.

Yet no one blinks when told to do thousands of mantra repetitions as part of ngondro and various tantric practices.


Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Mi ()
Date: September 11, 2015 04:59PM

Replying to puella

Actually the situation you discribed about sending a foto around of a person, in a tibeten buddhist center to do some bullying, indecensy, slander and/ ore exclusion for no apparent reason, has happened to a westerner, without anybody prostesting.

It happened to me, in New Delhi, the center of HH the 17 Karmapa. It was done by his secretary Rabjam.

I just came to ask a question in relation to a previous audience with HH and HH secretary thought me so unworthy and awfull that she just had do something about me.

Tibetan buddhism is a cult all round, and not just the few sections who the Dailai lama has claimed to be so.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Mi ()
Date: September 13, 2015 07:25PM

Yes, I have heard of Ole Nydahl. But I don´t think that Ole is unique in the ways of cultism, to the tibeten buddhist community. I have unfortunately in my search, been to other buddhist centers. ( Read other link ) And they are just as bad.

Scapegoating, contradictions, non-buddhist ways ect ect

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: September 15, 2015 08:48AM

Hi, Mi. Welcome to the forum.

The Dalai Lama's attendants have a reputation for being horribly arrogant, and for dismissing people rudely. Though I haven't heard of anything as extreme as what you experienced. They're so arrogant and dismissive, they cut HHDL off from people he, in fact, does want to see, and information he would like to have. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be aware of the problem.

A friend of mine who spent years working for the DL's gov't, and knows the DL, says that while the DL works to create much goodwill for Tibet, his ministers and assistants tend to undermine his efforts with their arrogance, the way they treat people.

Another friend of mine who spent years in Tibetan communities in India says that Tibetans get their jobs through connections, not through their qualifications. Many are not qualified to hold the jobs they have. I think this is one reason there's so much rudeness, and why there's so much bureaucratization. People who lack skills make up for it by creating obstacles through demands for paperwork. They can be very disorganized, while blaming everyone around them for their own mistakes. It's always been that way.

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