Saturday, 8 November 2008

Why Diamond Way is a Cult! (updated)

1. The charismatic leader (Ole Nydahl) surrounded by groupies and Ole Clones. This is known as a cult of personality. The idolisation of Ole Nydahl is extreme. He also has no authentic credentials, and is not qualified to hold the title of Lama. Ole only started using the title of Lama a few years after the 16th Karmapa's death, while claiming that the 16th Karmapa granted him such a title.

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 hierarchy by those higher up. This emotional (and sometimes physical) abuse is explained away as 'purification' and members are told it is simply their karma.

4. Questions or criticisms from members are dismissed and suppressed. The member is then made to feel guilty and told it is their fault. They are called 'spiritually weak' or have 'ego problems'.

5. Diamond Way has it's own words and language, to separate members from the public. Words are also given new meanings. 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 hierarchy, and another for those at the top. For instance, Diamond Way 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 are kept secret from members until they are sufficiently brainwashed, and before that are lied to, just as Diamond Way lies to the public about it's true beliefs. Members only get to the really weird stuff once they get higher up in the hierarchy. Those higher up in this heirachy lie to both those lower down and to the public at large about their true beliefs. Their excuse for this is to simply say people are "not ready". (sounds like not sufficiently brainwashed to me!)

8. Everything in Diamond Way has a price, and the money flows to the top of the hierarchy. There is also huge pressure to donate money, whether you can afford it or not. Members are also pressured to buy photos of Ole Nydahl, tickets to his lectures, and books. 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. Diamond Way uses brainwashing techniques. Their 'meditation' rituals are in fact more like self-hypnotism, and are intended to increase suggestibility and slowly remove the members from reality and critical thinking.

10. Former members are harassed, slandered and told to shut up about their experiences. I have had death threats, abusive e-mails and phone calls etc calling me "spiritually weak", "mentally ill", and "a criminal" among other things. Calling me a criminal is particularly ironic considering Ole Nydahl himself spent time in prison for drug smuggling and dealing. I am just glad I never signed up to the cult's magazine despite pressure to do so, or they would have had my home address too!


Anonymous said...

his holiness lama ole nydahl and diamond way buddhism transmit the flawless teachings. u must have serious problems. r u on drugs maybe?

Anonymous said...

It is so many cults in europe, i just interesting why you choose to waste your time on this?

Anonymous said...

So Diamond Way is less deserving of criticism than other cults? Why?

Eugene said...

If you ARE Buddhist you have to know: it's very negative action to blame lamas and teachings. This kind of action stops your own development. If you don't like teacher you have to find the better and learn from him. Buddhism requires diminishing the hatred not increasing.

Anonymous said...

I am sure you do not know about the "HOLY" high lamas who were sleeping with guys and spreading AIDS all over - just because they were trying to seem to be holy and worshiped and clean and holy again :)
Honesty is the best policy - isn't it?
There is always a church to go in and complain about life (where pederasty is a much more common thing than anywhere else I must say).

Anonymous said...

Yes I am aware of the Lama who spread AIDS and various other scandals, but this means Ole Nydahl should be let off the hook? Why?

Sounds just like schoolyard logic to me - "...but he did worse/did it first/etc"

yeshedorje said...

I'm from Venezuela a former practicant. I started to realize all this almost from the beginning so I committed myself to go deeper and deeper to get them exposed. I intentionally made a remark about the group non-being enough compassionate so this remark could reach to the manager ears and effectively I was threaten the way I was suspecting it would be. This girl, the manager of the Caracas center, Dilia Navarro, realized from the beginning that I knew something was wrong with this organization. BTW, My name is Fernando Piquero and Don't even try to threaten me again or it would be legal consecuences, I mean it. Los voy a denunciar ante las autoridades venezolanas

oli said...

Here is a good book on cults:

The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad (

It explains how this kind of group works, why the head of the organisation (sometimes also called "teacher" or "lama") is given absolute power, why member give themselves up completely to the guru, why people "clone" the guru, how meditation and spiritual teachings are used and misused to transport the local world-view, how members are made insecure and doubtful of their own common sense, about exploitation, on the "purity of the gurus" and the paradoxes resulting from that, on power and its misuse, hierarchy and how it serves the people with the high ranks, on why this kind of organisation does NOT lead to any enlightenment or spiritual progress or how ever you wish to name it.

The authors do not call any organisation by name, they just explain how it works. This book has really helped me understand the very weird things that I have seen happening in the organisation of Ole Nydahl.

Anonymous said...

Saw this wanker in Liverpool a few years ago. A total egotist with reprehensible views. Those that follow him probably deserve him.Makes you despair of the human race.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day the authority of a Lama has to be without question. I think Ole Nydahl is self appointed so can't be regarded as authentic. However Diamond Way members receive teachings from HH Karmapa along with other genuinely qualified teachers so it is a mixed bag.

The fact Ole Nydahl lives a comfortable life off the offerings of his followers is not a problem. This is traditional. Tibetan Lamas live of the offerings their student make. These Lamas in turn make considerable offerings to their own teachers. The worrying thing is that Ole may not be completely honest about his authority to teach.

Many things are dubious in the organisation. The practice in the centres of 16th Karmapa meditation for example. Practices such as this require empowerment first else no results can be acquired. It would also make sense to preced such practices with teachings on the 4 thoughts that turn the mind and other such preliminaries.

The fact that the centres are, as the website puts it, "stripped of confusing cultural baggage" all points to DW being watered-down Buddhism. These compromises must be driven by ego since they are not found in the Buddha's teaching.

Cultural baggage needs to be discerned from those things that have a purpose. For example. The colour of a shrine room doesn't matter but the act of prostrating in front of the shrine has a specific purpose.

It is not that one is being negative, rather that one needs to be discerning. If one finds that one is not allowed to ask such questions or that such questions are disapproved of, this can only further ones suspicion. If on the other hand doubts are treated openly and answered unequivocally, then one can be reassured.

It is not negative to look critically at your teacher's qualities and faults. Even a genuine Lama may have some faults, but if he has not been authentically authorised to teach he is no teacher, and cannot give empowerments and is therefore not a Lama.

Anonymous said...

I am so relieved to read this article about this so-called Lama. This matches perfectly the impression I got when I saw him.

I once attended to one of "Lama" Ole's meeting. This guy is scary : racist comments, harsh judgments about Islam, encouraging to have sexual relationships. What kind of lama is he? He was surrounded by his chearleaders! Felt to me like he was an impostor.

I had a very bad impression of all these practices so I preferred not to tread my path with the Diamond Way. I'd rather read books about buddhism alone in my flat... Matthieu Ricard's books are so great. You learn more by reading him than by going to "Lama" Ole's meeting.

Moreover, I could not feel compassion in the audience. Something was wrong. Thanks to my precious God, I was not fragile enough to be enrolled. Hallelluia!

Anonymous said...

I would like to congratulate the owner of this blog! You have all my support.

You're doing such a great job! It's very brave.

THE DIAMOND WAY (as the Ole Nydahl teaches it) IS A SECT! BEWARE!

May this blog help the lost sheep.

Thank you so much for spreading the truth.