Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 09, 2009 11:38PM

(All of what follows in this entry is based on an unproven hypothesis that some kind of guru yoga is being done in DW with Ole N as the focus)
Dave, from what you state, it sounds like youve encountered some bad treatment yourself:


I can imaging that some DW people to intimidate members and engage into harassments against a rebel.

They do this also with me from time to time, without visible effect.

As for Suenam-- its a necessary first step to 'vent frustrations' before one can find solutions.

At this point it may be worth asking whether higher ranking members of DW are being trained to internalize an image of Ole within themselves.

This kind of guru yoga is part of many Tibetan lineages.

However, there are hazards if this is improperly done, and especially if the lama who is teaching students to internalize his image into themselves for their guru yoga practice is himself still in the grip of greed, hate illusion and is thus implanting his image into students mediation practices as part of his own unhealed lust for power.

Lorin Roche comments:


I constantly meet people who are coming out of bad relationships to meditation teachers. They are just as wrecked as people getting a divorce, but on a subtler level. Meditation teachers can get inside your head like no one else – it's really the worst boundary violation possible. I have worked with many people who were taught by their guru to visualize the guru inside their head.

Most of us think in icons anyway – we make up little movies and montages of people's faces, then add sound effects and feelings. That is what thinking is.

In meditation, the thinking goes deep, so there is the possibility of deep manipulation. It's exactly like advertising, but on the level of the soul. All gurus and entitled spiritual teachers know how to broadcast commercials to your deepest television set, the one in the core of your being, and say, "I am the key to your salvation. Come to Me. You will be safe in me."

The guru tradition has over the past thousands of years perfected systems of inner enslavement. They teach techniques that get people to turn themselves into slaves, and believe that this is a spiritual thing to do. It's beautiful, in the way that vampires are beautiful in Anne Rice novels.

and in a chapter 'Invisible Friends' Roche described this situation:


"A woman, Katrina, came by for a session, after studying Tibetan Buddhism intensely for the previous decade.... She had been doing certain Buddhist visualizations for seven years, and one of the techniques she had been doing was to visualize her teacher as the incarnation of Buddha, then see him sitting in her crown chakra. And then merge with him.

Roche commented:

'...this is a traditional techniqe. And it was interesting for awhile. A living connection to Buddha, at the top of my head! But then it started feeling a little crowded there in her head – with her teacher and Buddha always there, watching her.

'But over time she found herself becoming inhibited as he got more and more inside her head, controlling her.

'When I met her, she had been divorced from her husband for several years, and living off the settlement money. She also distanced herself from her Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher.

(Roche then mentions something that resembles implantation of phobias)

"She was afraid to break up with him (the Tibetan teacher), afraid that some sort of horrible backlash would shatter her life, but she had worked out a gradual way of distancing herself from him.

"...We found out that years earlier, before the divorce, she had visualized her Tibetan teacher so totally that it was as if he was in bed with her when she was with her husband, he was there as a third person. And she liked it, once or twice.

" But then, she couldn't tell her husband about it. How do you explain something like that? The whole thing started to feel very creepy, and that started to drive a wedge of alienation between her and her husband.

"No one talks about this stuff.


It would be of the utmost value if anyone in DW could supply information on whether Ole has made himself the focus of this kind of visualization practice--which is termed guru yoga.

And whether he has trained higher ranking students of his to internalize his image and merge theirown self identity with idealizing him, Ole N, as Buddha (or some other honored figure in the Tibetan pantheon) and therefore teaching students to imagine him as unquestionably good---and then to take this unquestionably good image of him into themselves(?).

If (?)Ole and his senior students are indeed doing this (and I am asking whether this is so)--it might account for the ferocity with which many have reacted when Emma and Outsider and others have attempted to speak up.

**If these senior students have been trained in DW guru yoga to internalize into themselves an image of Ole as unquestionably good, they will never be able to question him themselves, and will feel anxious and even perhaps quite angry if anyone else should try to question Ole or discuss him objectivey, rather than devotedly--even if they try to discuss Ole outside of DW.

For if people are actually being trained to internalize Ole as unquestionably good and to be protective of this image of him, then no discussion of Ole that imagines him as other than perfect must be suppressed, even if such a discussion takes place outside of DW's turf.

Roche states this is a traditional practice in many Tibetan lineages.

The problem is it can be dangerously temptating for a teacher still in the grip of unexamined personal neurosis to make himself *the focus of guru yoga and train trusting students to internalize him into their inner landscape and equate their sense of selves with him. A teacher getting older, facing the limitations of middle age, old age, and impending death, might find it very tempting to exercise power and gain a sort of immortality by abusing guru yoga and implanting his or her image into as many students as possible--a kind of spiritual conquest mentality that is merely afflictive emotion dressed up in brocades with incense and chanting.

*(or herself--women teachers have exploited guru yoga for their own aggrandizement as well)

If(??) Ole is doing this kind of guru yoga with selected students and if Dave has not yet recieved guru yoga intiation, Dave may well have trouble imagining the kind of protective and fierce emotions triggered in someone who has done guru yoga internalized a guru's image and then sees someone daring to question a guru whose idealized image they have co mingled with their own selves.

If (??)this kind of guru yoga is done with DW's leader as its focus, even if the iniate later leaves, he or she may still without knowing it, retain the gurus image inside themselves and remain protective of that guru, like prisoners who have broken free but while running off still trail a heavy length of chain behind them.

They may wish to discuss troubles in their group, but only so long as the discussion never ever touches upon the leader, whose internalized image theyve been trained to protect--and who still controls their emotions and thoughts.

They will let discussions go only to a certain length*, but the instant the discussion dares to examine the guru as a fallible human being rather than the idealized icon theyve internalized, they suddenly react with panic if any attempt is made to discuss the guru.

*eg Dharma Debate that goes only so far but not far enough to examine the teacher. It may be that Tibetan Dharma debate could never really reform the teacher role, if all the participants qualified for the debate had already internalized idealized images of their own teachers into themselves and thus rendered themselves unable to examine the teacher role objectively even before they began the debate--imagine a boxing match where each contestant puts a patch over the right eye as a condition of participation!

In that instant they will strive to end or disrupt the discussion as soon as it threatens the idealized material from the guru implanted into them during their more trusting days in the group.

They may try to trivialize the discussion as childish or as mere complaining, precisely because its not trivial at all--it threatens the introjected guru image of their power hungry leader whose use of power they dare not question.

Unless this internalized guru-material is fearlessly recognized and then untangled as an ordinary chain of cause and effect, socially sanctioned trance induction, something that can be openly discussed and that is no different from any other chain of cause and effect, it will remain in a zone of unconsciousness, bracketed by privilige, keeping the teacher and even the teacher role, exempt from scrutiny, making it impossible ever to reform DW 'by its own standards' if those standards are defined by those who have already been trained to internalize the teachers introject via guru yoga that has the effect of maintaining an entire feudal power structure that is patriarchal and making it unconscious and exempt from adult rational political analysis.

Suenam mentioned attending many talks by Ole. Did any of these include exercises where Ole was visualized and taken into ones interior and imaged as a manifestation of Buddha or Manjusri or some other exalted being in the Tibetan pantheon?


I’ve seen Ole speak on many occasions and this seems to be a regular occurrence! It is as if he has his formula and he is very well rehearsed, so much so that if you go to see him on several occasions then his talk becomes quite predictable – these are not slip-ups, he seems to genuinely think that he is…? (words fail me, is it supposed to be entertaining, funny, a bit on the edge? To me it just looks like ego.)

Again, since Suenam reported having 'seen Ole speak on many occasions'

It might be worth while for Dave and Suenam to ask themselves if they still have a lingering emotional investment in idolizing Ole, despite their seeming to have doubts about DW.

And they may especialy need to examine this if theyve actually gone through DW guru yoga intiation--if that exists.

If it does, (and its certainly part of the Tibetan practices in other lineages), its high time to examine this as part of how DW functions.

For if the troubles with DW do indeed stem directly from how Ole runs DW, any discussion of DW that focuses on Ole as part of the problem would trigger intolerable anxiety in you, if you are still emotionally invested in protecting your idealized image of Ole.

The problem with this kind of devotion is that ones sense of self may be colonized and taken over by internalized introjected material from a leader who is himself still human and who may be suffering from narcissism and eager to fill his own void by implanting his image into the minds of follwers and getting a sense of control and spurious immortality in doing so.

If you and others in DW carry an image of Ole inside of you, installed as a result of Tibetan visualization practices and conveyed through empowerment ceremonies, this might turn you into the psychological property of Ole, and cause you to feel terrible and enslaving anxiety if even the slightest attempt is made to question Ole or discuss whether he plays any role in the troubles reported here about DW.

If members of DW are indeed being trained to internalize an image of Ole within themselves, this may make it impossible for anyone in DW to who has gone through this initiation to tolerate any discussion where Ole is questioned or is considered less than ideal.

would be tolerable to you, so long as you continue to idealize him, even if you've physically left DW.

Its all too common for people to think they have physically left a group or feel troubled about the group to still have a profound and unconscious idolization of its leader.

Any attempt to analyze the group from the inside or from those who have left the group will sidestep the teacher, in order to protect the ideolization of that teacher.

And if any discussion including this one on does cross into the forbidden zone by discussing the teacher, this will trigger a protective response from those who think they are troubled by the group but who are still emotionally invested in protecting the teacher, whom they still unconsciously equate with their own selves.

Any attempt to discuss the teacher will never satisfy them, no matter how carefully evidence is assembled--the discussion will be trivialized as complaining, as a mere venting of frustration or people who dare to discuss the teacher will be accused of being trapped in victim mentality, when fact they are daring to do what no one else is doing-- break the zone of unconscious censorship by discussing the role of the teacher/leader.

For if the problems do indeed stem from that teacher, only by discussing the teacher and staying focused on that discussion, can people finally decide if DW or any group like it can ever be 'reformed from within' or be examined 'by its own standards'.

If the teacher remains a taboo and priviliged subject, exempt from scrutiny and protected by idolization and anxiety patterns inculcated into followers, all discussion satisfactory to the group will avoid the teacher.

And any discussion that does focus on the teacher whose role is unquestioned will be intolerable, even when that discussion takes place outside of DW. it ever acceptable under any circumstances to have a discussion in which it is considered possible that Ole has something to do with the troubles people have reported about DW?

Or is your answer No?

If your answer is No, not only can you never have a discussion within DW about Ole, but anyone who tries to talk about this outside of DW will find themselves considered unacceptable as well--even after theyve left DW.

And thats like dictatorships pursuing refugees and trying to intimidate them after the refugees have found sanctuary and citizenship in other countries not under the control of the dictatorship.

So.. it would be of the utmost interest if someone could tell us if Ole has made himself the focus of guru yoga.

It might account for the singular attempts made to disrupt discussion here.

And in trying to reform Tibetan Buddhism from within, there may be special difficulties in doing so if the only persons considered qualified to participate in the reform are those who have all gone through some form of guru yoga focused on thier teachers.

Even if their teachers are lovely people who do only good, an unintended effect of traditional guru yoga may be to impose a blind spot upon not just a particular teacher, but the teacher role itself.

THis means the system will work well only if a teacher is good. But it will make it impossible to examine the teacher role itself in objective terms, and thus if an unqualified person ever occuppies a teacher's throne, those disabled by guru yoga will be unable to set any limits on the teacher when trouble is still in its early stages.

This is an area where the West (in this case object relations theory from psychanalysis) can make a valuable contribution to Tibetan Buddhadharma and --with no need for grovelling or for apology.

Part of Western adulthood at its finest is the capacity to be objective in relation to studying power and the roles of parents, teachers and other authority figures.

Only by understanding that power can be abused, can safeguards be designed and put in place before harm is done rather than after.

All this remains hypothesis unless we can get information from credible sources about whether guru yoga is indeed being doing in DW with Ole N as its focus.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/2009 11:54PM by corboy.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Dave ()
Date: February 10, 2009 12:03AM

Corboy, excuse me, no offend is meant but.....

please use a mirror!

thank you

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 10, 2009 12:06AM

Dave, have you done guru yoga in DW?

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Dave ()
Date: February 10, 2009 12:14AM


Don't involve me into your speculations please.
Talk about what you can understand.
Reflect yourself before you use the keyboard.


Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: suenam ()
Date: February 10, 2009 12:23AM

nice links btw, funny.

to answer your question, no Ole always defers to the 16th Karmapa in guru yoga meditation. The 16th Karmapa died (or was reincarnated) in 1981, and there is some controversy as to his current incarnation, so DWB does not yet refer to the 17th Karmapa in guru yoga.

and yet...

someone else has pointed out how there are always pictures of Ole in the gompa (where they meditate), and he is the leader of DWB, and there is some confusion as to who is the root-lama of this school among it's students.

and Lama Ole certainly does seem to fulfil the role of patriarch/father figure.

That is why i said previously that although i did not get the feeling that he was deliberately abusing this, there was nonetheless some confusion here, and that it was entirely possible that some of the DW students may in fact have internalised and idolised him.

i have seen people treat him as if he were a movie star (which i found really off-putting) and he hasn't discouraged them.

why this is may have something to do with what Dave wrote about the Tibetan Lamas attitude to him, maybe he doesn't want to disparage them, maybe he sees it as a stage that they will grow out of, maybe he isn't even aware of the full extent of this, or maybe its his ego enjoying it, maybe he believes that he is their saviour!

i got the impression that he bears with it, everyone wants a piece of him, and he doesn't rebuff them. its like a nice father might do with a child who is at a delicate stage of development, he doesn't want to destroy their image of him, but maybe he is waiting until they are ready to grow out of it in their own time.

that's why i suggested that perhaps Ole is aware of this and is gently trying to tell them something by showing himself to be a bit human, a bit at fault, or on the edge (whatever you want to call it)

unfortunately, this behaviour just gets internalised and copied too.


there is another aspect to this which i have considered.

There are many stories of Buddhist teachers turning away potential students because they saw that they were not ready to make such a committment, and/or were not ready for the difficulty that choosing to embark upon such a spiritual path entails, yet Lama Ole seems to want to bring maximum appeal and get as much support as possible.

why this is i can only speculate. money, ego, support for his choice of 17th Karmapa, or just because he thinks DWB is so great and will set everyone free.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: Dave ()
Date: February 10, 2009 12:48AM


why this is may have something to do with what Dave wrote about the Tibetan Lamas attitude to him, maybe he doesn't want to disparage them, maybe he sees it as a stage that they will grow out of, maybe he isn't even aware of the full extent of this, or maybe its his ego enjoying it, maybe he believes that he is their saviour!

This is the better try, still its within the fields of speculations.

We get lost in this thread if we can't hold on with our phantasy's.


Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: suenam ()
Date: February 10, 2009 01:28AM

of course, only Lama Ole can answer for himself.

what is clear is that there are protective and fierce emotions from DW members, not only towards him, but to the group as a whole.

there also seems to be some degree of superstition there,
whether this has anything to do with the shamanistic origins of Tibetan Buddhism, and the guru yoga practices that Corboy refers to, or whether it is just ignorance and confusion is another speculation.

as to what role Lama Ole should take in regard to this is something i cannot answer at this stage

but it is good that certain concerns are brought to light.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 10, 2009 03:03AM

suenam wrote:

"but i do think it is important to be accurate. in writing on this forum, i'm finding it quite difficult to put my finger on exactly what is wrong with DWB. "

The role of the teacher and lineage is so exalted by both etiquette and possibly by internalization of idealized images of the teacher if prescribed by meditation, that that would ensure that practitioners feel protective of the teacher and have the effect of *deactivating* adult insight in relation to the teacher.

This would make any conscious scrutiny of the teacher, and even the teacher role, anxiety arousing and a taboo subject.

If you have trouble 'putting a finger' on what is wrong with DW, if that wrong originates from the authoritarian role of the teacher, and one has been socialized both by Tibetan Buddhism itself as well as DW to make the teacher exempt from adult objective scrutiny, you'll be unable to put your finger on the source of the trouble--your adult insight will have been disabled in relation to the teacher--while it may remain quite powerful when applied to any other topic except the teacher and teacher role.

Its no different from tiny kids who cant wrap their minds around the possiblity that Mommy or Daddy could do wrong.

A lot of mommies and daddies have done wrong. And so have many lamas, gurus, rinpoches --even ones with impeccable lineage credentials.

If you cant imagine the possiblity that an authority figure can do wrong, you cant put safeguards against power abuse into place to prevent or reduce such damaging behavior.

It is my personal opinion, that many of the problems that arise in Tibetan Buddhism, not just DW arise not from lineage corruption, but because the entire tradition lacks any framework by which one can consciously examine the teacher role and imagine the possiblity that teachers can be mistaken and do harm.

If the custodians of the traditon have all done guru yoga, they may be have a collective blind spot that has left them unable to apply penetrating adult insight to power and the teacher role while being able to apply insight quite well to topics other than power and teachers.

The Founders of the United States of American were quite able to imagine power being abused by leaders because they looked to the lessons of history as well as their own situation.

They could imagine a leader becoming corrupt and so put limits to the Presidential power into the laws and constitution of the US.

If you cannot imagine a guru as anything other than perfect, you cant imagine what to do when he behaves problematically. You have no way to compute it, no way to put a finger on it.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: suenam ()
Date: February 10, 2009 03:35AM

the reason i can't quite put my finger on it is not because i am unable to be critical of Lama Ole,

it's precisely because i've seen a trend in at least some members of DWB who do show this type of child-parent dynamic.

as i asked before, who's responsibility is this?

In many real life parenting situations the child grows up while the parent stays at fault. Each new generation can progress and develop.

its only quite a recent development that we see the teacher as somehow the expert who imparts their superior knowledge to the ignorant child who is like an empty vessel into which the teacher pours knowledge.

the greek word "education" means to draw out - to nurture the inherent talents and qualities of the pupil so that both may learn from the experience.

the teacher is just the vessel, the means to draw out something in the pupil which is greater than either of them.

it would be a bit too easy to just blame Lama Ole, which would simply perpetuate the idea that he is the parent, responsible for these children.

Re: Ole Nydahl and Diamond Way Buddhism
Posted by: suenam ()
Date: February 10, 2009 03:50AM

on a different tack, when i first heard DW meditations something struck me in the wording

it says that the root Lama, the 16th Karmapa, "is needed for our fast development"

who is in a hurry, i thought. wasn't patience one of the six paramitas. isn't it just an appeal to grasping and self-centredness?

is it the same in other non DWB Kagyu texts?

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