Friday, 1 February 2013

Lama Ole: Buddhist teacher or charlatan? (Ole Nydahl admits having sex with female students!)

Columnist Joe Orso

Last week, a man some call a major driving force in Western Buddhism spoke at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
His lecture to more than 400 people at Graff Main Hall Auditorium raised a number of issues, which I’ll get to shortly, but which really crystallize around a very basic question: What makes you a Buddhist teacher? Or better put, which teachers are being true to the teachings of the Buddha and which are deforming them?
You can ask the question about any religious person. For instance, despite his popularity, his ability to quote Scripture and his claiming of Jesus as his savior, did what the Rev. Jerry Falwell preached really have anything to do with Jesus?
I’d say not, others would say it did, and we’d find religious authority (different than divine authority) to be a very subjective thing.
So back to Lama Ole Nydahl, the curious figure who lectured for two hours Wednesday evening.
The 68-year-old man comes from Denmark, said his Diamond Way Buddhism has 600 centers around the world, and is better known in Europe than the United States. About 80 of his followers, many from Europe, were in La Crosse and are following him on his lecture tour in this country.
So is what he taught Buddhism?
In the past several years, I have found it a common experience that whenever Nydahl’s Diamond Way Buddhism, which has a La Crosse center, comes up in conversation with other Buddhist practitioners, people question its validity. And some of these people have described Nydahl as a charlatan.
Unfortunately, his visit here supported this view — at least for me.
While some of what came out of his mouth fell within the framework of Buddhism — like words about suffering and emptiness — his ideas were more confusing than enlightening, and by the end of his lecture he was losing something like an audience member a minute.
To be fair, Nydahl was aware of his poor performance, which included pounding coffee, taking pills and leaving the stage for a bathroom break. He blamed it on jet lag, although he still found enough energy to join his students at a downtown bar afterwards.
But even if he was just having a bad night, there is a more deeply disturbing aspect to the Nydahl phenomenon.
When I asked him the next day about claims that he has sexual encounters with his students, he didn’t deny this.
“There’s no teacher-student relationship involved in that,” he said by phone. “They’re Diamond Way Buddhists, but they’re not my students in that moment. They’re equal partners.”
While I know I might be accused of puritan values, I firmly believe that such student-teacher relationships are predatory, and no clever logic can change that.
And to add to his recklessness, Nydahl ended our conversation describing Islam as “criminal.“
In our region there are some very kind people who are Diamond Way Buddhists, which made me hesitate writing this column.
And it should be said that Nydahl is connected to a lineage in Tibetan Buddhism.
As Matthew T. Kapstein, Numata visiting professor of Buddhist studies at The University of Chicago Divinity School, e-mailed me: “Ole has a genuine relation with the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, so he’s not quite a charlatan. However, he has his own interpretation and style, which do not accord closely with traditional practice among the Kagyu.“
But while I hesitated writing, since Buddhism is a minority religion here, I decided it would be valuable to clarify that at least some people question the authenticity of Nydahl’s Diamond Way.
And for those seekers curious about Buddhism, many other avenues can lead you to a tradition much richer and more grounded than what you’ll find in Nydahl.
At least, that’s my opinion.

Diamond Way purchases Beaufoy Institute

Original article:

Diamond Way purchases Beaufoy Institute

The controversial Diamond Way group, led by Ole Nydahl, has purchased the Beaufoy institute building in London, UK for £9 million (€11 million / $14 million). The building was built in 1907 as a school, but was more recently used as a community centre before being derelict and empty for almost a decade. The local council for the area (Lambeth) decided to put it up for sale due to government funding cuts in April of 2011. It had previously refused an application from the Prince of Wales for an arts centre at the site. The site was under the control of the Beaufoy Trust, which was set up to promote
Ole Nydahl with a female follower.
education of poorer students. The Trust itself is still listed on with the Charity Commission, but does not appear to have actually spent any money at all for many years, so may be de facto defunct. Since 2011, the council has refused applications from two local arts colleges and instead sold the building to the Diamond Way group. Part of the building will now be made into their new ‘London meditation centre’, with the rest being turned into living quarters for members of the controversial group.
There has been local protests and criticism of the council’s processes, largely due to concerns about racist and anti-Islam comments made by the group’s leader, Ole Nydahl, and his links to right-wing groups. There have also been reports of him sexually abusing female followers.

Hate mail from Diamond Way

Here is a selection of the hate mail sent by Diamond Way members to a former member.

Are you seeing a doctor about your condition ??? I suggest you find a hobby or try to get out more !!! Get a life…. get a girlfriend or a boyfriend… dont bother replying,,, I am bored wiv your drivel….

I'm not interested in dealing with your problems. You're not much serious nor convincing. knowing them, they're completely transparent and people I met there look happy.
Still I hope you find peace and happiness

Don’t you have anything else to do than creating multiple alias on the internet in order to spread false information? I am pretty sure this kind of false accusations is illegal, so drop this before you force anyone to turn you in. Stop with your silly accusations. Hope you get well…

Lama Ole Nydahl transmits the highest flawless teachings. He can switch rainbows on in the sky at will. I informed Dafyyd of these filthy lies as soon as I got it to warn other diamond way practitioners about this mindless slander.

are u allright? drugs maybe? So u might suffer from a distorted view of reality, inability to think and act coherently or both. Either way, you will not get anywhere, I will be here long after you are taken off to a mental institution. But thanks for the entertainment you provide with your "insightful" comments, I hope you appreciate my comments as well:0) 

How dare you continue this stupid slander against his most holiness Lama Ole Nydahl?! This mindless slander must be the work of some loser who is probably mentally ill, stupid or a criminal. Losers only slander Diamond Way Buddhism when they have something to hide themselves! Why else would you try to project your hopelessness onto the most ethical group on the planet? 


'Secret' Diamond Way books leaked onto the internet

Books which are claimed to be secret have been leaked onto the internet via Wikileaks:

"Beware of Ole Nydahl and his Diamond Way sect" article

Beware of Ole Nydahl and his Diamond Way sect

by Tom Moore, The Minnesota Daily, April 28, 2006

Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA) -- In the spirit of truth seeking as supposedly prescribed by the historical Buddha, Eugene Trak’s promotional Daily column for the upcoming visit of Lama Ole Nydahl, Thursday’s “Traditional teachings, modern style,” demands criticism.

<< Ole Nydahl
Yes, meditation can be beneficial for your mind, your body and the relationship between the two. Yes, studying the nature of mind can have positive results for one’s self and the people one directly influences.
But these facts and practices, when coming from the likes of Ole Nydahl and his Diamond Way sect, are impossible to unwrap from institutional religion and the dangers of committing one’s self within its framework.
Ole Nydahl skydives and goes clubbing. He’s Western educated. And he’s been dubbed as worthy by a supposedly holy and learned Tibetan man called the 16th Karmapa.
To a young Westerner in search of meaning, Ole Nydahl combines the mystique of Shangri-La with the “fun” and “accessibility” sought by young, privileged Americans. Sadly, this cult of personality draws people into an institution rooted not in the quest for enlightenment (if Buddha’s teachings are a path to enlightenment, will someone show me one present-day enlightened Buddhist teacher or practitioner?) but one rooted, like the Roman Catholic Church, in the struggle for its own role in the hierarchies of the world.
Diamond Way is a branch of Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism is a far, far relative to the Buddhism supposedly passed along from the historical Buddha, one full of rituals, devices (prayer wheels and prayer flags) and hierarchies and one where devotion to teacher (“guru,” “lama”) often supersedes personal responsibility (while Buddha’s final words, conversely, were supposedly “be a light unto yourself”).
Diamond Way practitioners and their institutional leader may say that their organization and practices are stripped of such devices. But Diamond Way includes visualizing one’s self merging with another entity (The Karmapa, Buddha, etc.), with the goal being to transcend the supposed illusion of one’s ego-identity while, in the process, merging one’s self with that of another, supposedly “higher” being. This, to me, is a dangerous practice.
The Buddha also supposedly taught people to test everything for themselves. I encourage people to be highly skeptical of Ole Nydahl and of Diamond Way Buddhism. The cult of personality, combined with the allure of another culture and some feel-good practices, is a dangerous prescription for those on a genuine search for meaning.