Sunday, 27 September 2009

Ole Nydahl & Diamond Way accused of sexual abuse in Switzerland

Here is a newspaper article from Switzerland recently brought to my attention:

Lama Ole Nydahl missionaries are accused of abuse, sexual questionable and racism. The Diamond Way Buddhist church, which operates five centers in Switzerland, led by their leader, Lama Ole Nydahl, is a real cult. Now former members and leaders complain of the racism and abuse of power due to questionable relationships with students.
"I've seen the group as elitist, racist and sexist", says the 32-year-old communications consultant Marianne Huber (all names have been changed by the editor).
She was there two years. At first she was fascinated. "Lama Ole's charm is that he his followers full enjoyment of life, sex, success and enlightenment promises" says the cult expert and professor of theology at Zurich Georg Schmid. The ex-boxer Lama Ole likes driving fast motorbikes and sex. In the seventies, for drug deals he went to prison.

In Schawinski he boasted of having had sex with more than 500 women.

But the glory of Ole Nydahl quickly rubbed off for Marianne Huber. His handling of sex and women was intolerable to her: she has noticed in a summer training camp as Nydahl in addition to its two official women who take turns at the side of the Lama. In six months, he had sex with many of his female students. "These women should still be happy because they were in contact with him", Nydahl told her when she criticized him.

The same has also seen by ex-follower Anne Dietrich. "These young women were allowed to accompany him on his travels and sit at his feet when he lectured." Nydahl told her this would help their development. Dietrich accuses him of abuse of power, because such relations are problematic among equals, but inexcusable in a teacher-pupil ratio.

He is on the Internet photos showing him almost always surrounded by women - or in tight swimming trunks and brown burnt bodies. Nydahl escapades also criticized the German Buddhist Union (DBU). "Many dislike its dealings with women as simply scandalous."

Finally, Anne had enough after Nydahl claimed Africa's poverty was it's own fault and that sperm banks should be set up for white men to 'spread themselves'.
Baffled by those comments during Nydahl's tirade, she wrote to him about her discomfort. His answer: "We can now avoid that we have in a few years even larger ghettos of foreigners, which is undermining our society, which is a big win."

"He is almost following a Nazi ideology. Rhetorical racism, a coarse slogan, which also xenophobic statements in it are lying, "says Schmid.

The followers are repeatedly brainwashed. This was an important characteristic of a sect. The are told "Nydahl is also an elitist preacher of the best religion for the best people. It combines Buddhism with arrogance, judges Schmid. An example of an ego trip by Nydahl when asked about recent natural disasters: "It is their own fault" he said in an interview. And he added smugly: "As long as the women would be beautiful and no speed limits on the highways, nothing else matters".


Anonymous said...

I am a former Student of Lama Ole. I stopped 2 days ago after doing research on brain washing, mind control and propaganda techniques. I compared these techniques to Lama Ole's speech pattern and his books and in my opinion he fits the profile.

In my opinion Mediation can easily be used as a very effective form of mind control and brain washing.

The first part of any Diamond way meditation is "We focus on the formless stream of air at the tips of our nose and let thoughts and feelings pass without evaluation," I think this should be translated to, "I would like everyone to turn off the critical part of your brain."

Then you go over 4 basic thoughts which turn mind toward liberation and enlightenment. Well after 2 years of meditating in this group here is my new interpretation of these thoughts. (1)You should practice buddhism because we offer you a noble cause (2)You should now feel fear because you are going to die. The research I did showed me how fear is a very common propaganda technique (3)Basically reminds you of karma or as I now see it a sudo fate that allows the teacher to control his students because only he really knows the inner workings of karma. (4)The logical conclusion that these teachings are correct and that the students purpose is a great purpose far better than other peoples (non mediators as we called them) purposes. It is interesting to note that in this part he makes a conclusion for his students which is a propaganda technique. He also did this in lectures when I saw him. He would give a bit of data and say, "and so one could easily conclude..." As long as I am on the subject of his lectures I would also like to point out an observation I made. When I saw him he would always make eye contact and nod this is a sales technique I learned as a server.

After this you take refuge which in my experience was a powerful form of subcontinents submission.

Then you build up an image and hold on to it. Secular christian cults do this as well and according to my research this works the brain to the max and makes it more susceptible to information.

Then the second to final phase you dissolve this image into yourself and let everything dissolve. Which from the research of other cults I found all did this and it is a subtle way of saying everything you just heard was true.

Anonymous said...

Well, I grew up among some of his followers, and I think the truth should be sought somewhere in the middle.

As a non-buddhist, I still do believe that he did a great job in "translating" a quite cryptic asian tradition into our western everyday lives, and that he does NOT pursue some kind of master-plan of brainwashing people.

Also, not all of the sexist aspects are what they seem to be. The girls are free to do or don´t. He´s just a womanizer, but he sure doesn´t force anyone.

My own impression is this: Ole is a very charismatic person, and his insight in buddhism may be untraditional, but it is still really deep. What happens is that in a confusing world, he offers something like leadership - even though he does not expect people to follow for that reason, they still do. They love the leader in him.

The really problematic stuff then goes on in the communities all over the world. There is a lot of psycho-bitchin, freeze-outs and denial of problems in those circles. It´s not outright violent or criminal, it doesnt suck the last penny out of people, and everybody is free to come or leave - but you WILL find a rather harsh treatment at times, and a very simplified view on things.

It is especially attractive for the males in those groups, as it is accepted to be an alpha-male with many women at the same time. This has broken many a marriage and family, alot of people left hurting - and despite the theoretical part of it, it is typically NOT as okay the other way around (= women being promiscous). In that case, you might see some very unenlightened, jealous and possessive behaviour on the oh-so-free guys´ side.

Also, there is often a very harsh attitude towards people who are weak and less energetic, because life is pure joy so why don´t you just switch onto it? Even people who mourn loved ones or endured hardship, accidents and such may be fed off with a "well, he´s in the perfect land now, go on with your life", or "you sure got some karma to work on".

I know a woman who was left by her boyfriend because he preferred to screw around in the DW-buddhist circles. He even took the money she had invested in their small business. Then he spread rumours how she was so hard to live with - and being quite high-ranking in the local DW-spot, everybody was on his side. When she had a severe accident about a year later, people where going like "well, you now how she treated him back then, so now she gets a much-needed opportunity to see herself through and work on some stuff" - I mean, the woman was lying in the hospital with a broken back and that´s what she got. No friends left.

All of these things are not taught or intended, there is no rape or force or all that, but they seem to end up being really shitty to each other. It´s a bad dynamics some of these places, and my only complaint to Ole would be that he is not honest about the fact that with a world-wide following, you should be more careful with the example you give, because there is no way that he can control the whole bunch (as I know he did in some cases). Plus his too simplified and aggressive views on other religions - I don´t get him on that one.

It´s really about people finding weird excuses to bitch around.

szilvia arkosi said...

You guys are freak.just because you got kicked of your negative and funny behavior,you make this blog. Instead of blaming your own ego. Huh? OM MANI PEME HUNG.

Francis said...

Dear zsilvia. That is not a very good example of compassion and caring. Many people who have the courage to write about their experiences have really been emotionally hurt. Dont´t you think it´s a bit naive to think that all of these experiences are results of just taking ones ego too seriously. Sure people come to centres volountarily but you do realize that with that argument DW can clear its conscience of pretty much anything that happens. I´m mean this way of seeing the picture is so superficial that it really boggles the mind!

Francis said...

Dear zsilvia. That is not a very good example of compassion and caring. Many people who have the courage to write about their experiences have really been emotionally hurt. Dont´t you think it´s a bit naive to think that all of these experiences are results of just taking ones ego too seriously. Sure people come to centres volountarily but you do realize that with that argument DW can clear its conscience of pretty much anything that happens. I´m mean this way of seeing the picture is so superficial that it really boggles the mind!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. I was interested in one of the centers, but my previous experience with a would-be "boddhisattva" was that he was running a sex cult. This wound up to be true, and many of his followers attempted suicide, and one even succeeded. Having been stung once by a self-made "lama" I wanted to be sure about Diamond Way and am glad I stumbled onto this blog. You may have saved me from years of misleading teaching, and perhaps even saved lives. For now I will stick to the readings of Thich Nhat Hahn and hope something closer to traditional Buddhism opens in my area. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lads

I think that the comment left on 15th October is really a good one. Middle way approach always works. I feel too that truth is in the middle.

Ole is a good teacher and he connects people to the energy of the lineage. But that's the energy level.

He works extremely hard, fine ...

However it seems sth is missing on the level of human honesty and humility.

Lets keep this forum running but let's keep it on a good level too. Without fanatism, without aggresion. It's so important to have this space and thanks to everyone who has contributed. I mean contributed in an intelligent way.

Anonymous said...

So if your article should be trustworthy, you should better mention a clear source.

If there was an article published in a Swiss newspaper, the source should be named. So it could be verified.

Otherwise we intend to believe that what you are writing is not true and that you are just jealous.

Anonymous said...

Another thing about Tibettan Buddhism that people frequently overlook is that it has a heavy emphasis on universal love, as opposed to filial piety. The idea is that you should love everyone and everything in the world equally; of course, most rational people would love their children first, their friends second and so on, but absolute universal love doesn't allow for this.
So what does this lead us to? Well, it leads to Ole loving his hippy-girl entourage as much as he ever loved his wife. It leads to detachment from those who are closest to you and isolates you from the rationally sound, "outside influences." It also leads to sex with children in Tibet (this is no exagerrattion: pedophelia is actually an encouraged activity among Tibettan monks, because they claim that breaking taboos is a way to keep your "energy circuits" flowing properly).
Which leads us to why Zen is far superior. Zen is a personal journey, not a guided meditation session. Enlightenment, according to Zen thought, needn't even occur during meditation: it can occur at any given point in your day, like when you're washing dishes or playing sports. Hence, it emphasizes a true and genuine connection with the practical world, as opposed to reigning people into a circle with cult rhetoric.

Claudia said...

I saw Ole in Lima. He has a stong motivation to stop Alah in Europe. It is like a slogan, but in South America doesnt stick. Cristianity has changed since times of inquisition, Why not muslims ?.
He is not a humble person. Someone asked him to lower the price of powha retirement to get more people. He answered if you have money are more educated and could understand his message. (He doesnt think in drug dealers money )
He is sure ,that the fact to has been born in Europe make a person more spiritual than africans.
He is a vain person, but product of meditation alongs his live ,he had some qualities proper from meditation or maybe some good tricks.
Im Buddhist, and the diamond group make a good effort to translate and spread good buddha knowdlege ( a good point), but my friend Ole is not a wise people, and could lead people away the path.
Well there is another things to make you think ...........
I saw two argentinian girls in his twenties had a tongue kiss with him in front of everyone in the phowa
One of the is his translator was touching his leg while we meditated.
Well ,is you are young and want to have sex with every girl in diamond way go ahead , if they let you. There are no guarantee that its happens....
But if you are a family guy, think in your daugther. Cause i wish you ,you can see her grow in freedom enviromment without a personality cult to Lama Ole or another . Then when she grow up is her problem.
In other words " I dont want to raise a daughter to be fresh meat for the guru"

Like in other cults i saw some goods persons looking the right way, but ..............