Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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.

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 heirachy by those higher up.

4. Questions or criticisms from members are dismissed and supressed. The member is then made to feel guilty and told it is their fault.

5. Diamond Way has it's own words and language, to separate members from the public. 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 heirachy, 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 (only some of which are contained here) are kept secret from members until they are sufficiently brainwashed, and before that are lied to, just as DW lies to the public about it's true beliefs.

8. Everything in DW has a price, and the money flows to the top of the heriachy. 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.

10. Former members are harassed, slandered and told to shut up about their experiences.

These are all hallmarks of cults.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

The Diamond Way Cult

#1 [by'Emma C']

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.

All this before even getting onto the reasons why what they teach is not authentic Buddhism!!

#2 [by Roahn Wynar]

Diamond Way Buddhism is the western version of the Black Hat Tibetan Buddhist tradition and yet another meditation cult. Tibetan Buddhism in general has many serious pseudoscientific gimmicks that make the religion very exciting to Americans. If you talk with this group they will steadfastly claim that they are not a cult, they are a part of a “major world religion.” They will also tell you that during meditation that they can see themselves from above, predict incoming telephone calls and in one wonderful case, become invisible. As always, we are willing to test any one of these claims under circumstances where lying and cheating are not possible.
The premiere Western promoter of Diamond Way is Lama Ole Nydahl. Lama Nydahl is from Denmark and tours Europe and America giving interesting lectures on the nature of Tibetan Buddhism and the difference between dogmatic and experiential religion. He also claims that he was, in a past life, a soldier. Nydahl is the point man for making Tibetan Buddhism palatable to western minds.
Diamond Way is run by the 17th Karmpa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, who is a “lineage holder.” This means he is the reincarnation of a specific known individual, usually a great spiritual teacher. In Rangjung’s case he is the reincarnation of another man who’s title begins with the number “16.” When number 16 was on his deathbed, he used his “yogic power” to absorb diseases from those within his “powerfield.” This powerfield made various electronic devices used for life support turn on and off. Yes, number 17 has a powerfield that can suck up a nearby disease and manipulate the functionality of electrical equipment, too. It took centuries of Tibetan Buddhism Number 17’s specific claim of being the reincarnated soul of number 16 is highly questionable and qualifies as pseudoscientific. In fact, many Buddhist lineage holders have two people claiming to be the reincarnated soul of somebody. The general excuse is that there are the “exiled” Buddhists and the “collaborators” who are cronies of the communists. While this may be true, Diamond Way gives us no way of distinguishing the legitimacy of their particular claimant. How do we know that the great teacher did not decide to return back in his homeland and help the people suffering under communism? Sounds like a good idea to us. We met Nydahl and were impressed by his charm and presence. This is the most important element of creating a cult - deep personal charisma.
It is interesting how inconsistent Americans can be. While searching for philosophies that are not as dogmatic and ritualistic as Western religion, they look East. But then, of all the eastern religions they choose the one that has no fewer than 362 scriptural books containing well over 84,000 separate teachings. Buried somewhere deep in these texts are the notions of the siddis. Siddis are superpowers that will come to you during your relentless practice of meditation. These powers include levitation and astral projection. Not one person alive in the world today can demonstrate the siddis. We suggest that not one person in the history of the world has ever demonstrated the siddis under conditions where lying and cheating are not possible.
Incidentally, Diamond Way Buddhism promotes the most annoying of all meditative practices, chanting mantras. Many meditation cults have mantras and they all claim that meditation delivers great benefit to the body and mind. Some, like Sri Chinmoy, claim that practising mediation will be the key to world peace. There is no meaningful scientific evidence to support this.