Friday, 4 June 2010

Personal Testimonies

Here are a couple of very revealing personal testimonies I have recently been sent:

When I went to a Diamond Way centre for the first time I was received very warmly and surrounded with hugs and kisses. Everyone was very interested in who I was, what I was doing and what were my opinions. Then the more I stayed in the center I started to notice that what I thought was in fact pretty irrelevant. Its what the Lama says that matters. I think its so evident that all the statements that they make (The west is full of good karma, you should always be critical in your thinking, women are well appreciated in Diamond way Buddhism, Buddha would be so proud to have you as a student etc..) are merely a way to get people interested of the practice. For an example I was said that it is so good that I had critical thinking. When you spend a little more time you notice that critical thinking is the last thing that is tolerated especially if it questions even a little their beliefs.
Also, they seem to elevate themselves completely above the rest of the religions. When this was questioned as arrogant behavior they just stated that that’s just the way it is. A fact or a reality of life. I think the practice can be dangerous for a number of reasons. The very first thing I noticed in the centre was that whenever someone showed critical thinking inside the group their “leader” immediately started to talk in a very provocative way, stating “how things are” and just a long monologue of why the critical thoughts have no basis in their world. I don’t think I ever witnessed a genuine dialogue when discussing about existential matters. There was simply no room for it. It seemed to me that everyone was trying to learn by heart Oles “The way things are” and discussions always ended in someone reciting its texts. They also seem to elevate themselves above pretty much the rest of the world also. Statements such as: “Psychology can only get a sick person normal, but Buddhism can make a normal person super-normal” just show the lack of common knowledge in basic human sciences and its just ridiculous. The fact that the teachers even use this to promote themselves should put the warning lights on in everyones heads.

I saw a lot of anger based behavior but it was always seen as active compassion. Critical thinking was seen as “ego-problems” or pride and practitioners were always feeling really guilty after having these very sane reactions in an unhealthy environment. Then they went reciting mantras hoping these feelings would go away. I think it is just not healthy. Not healthy at all. All normal reactions of the mind that we should listen to and learn to work with were seen as “obstacles in our way to enlightenment” and were suppressed.

I´m not even going to go to the anti-Islam statements of Ole or the “if you have bad karma you´ll be reborn to black Africa” opinions. It is a well known fact that a cult or a sect needs to have an opposite polarity or “enemy” in order to be successful. Its not hard to see where all the anger is channeled what the members are trying so hard to suppress. These are just racist statements and I urge people to use their common sense. You shouldn’t be fooled by Ole´s charismatic appearance and his tendency to give the most simple answers to questions to which even the wisest men in the world can give simple answers. Yes, you feel what he is saying is so true, but maybe its just what we westerners want to hear in this age and time. We have little patience in our active lifestyle and we want results fast. A shortcut to wisdom and enlightenment. Its just missing the 50 years of life-experience and work that is not always easy.

When I first joined Diamond Way, all the other members were very friendly towards me, however as time went on, they were more and more gossiping about each other and me behind my back. There also was a huge pressure to donate money to the group, which got more and more over time. For every meditation ritual, you had to buy a new book. You were not allowed to borrow anyone elses. You were also encouraged to buy photos of Ole Nydahl and various deities. Whenever Ole Nydahl or one of his 'travelling teachers' was in the country, there was a huge pressure to go to lectures, which always cost a lot of money. As time went on, the pressure grew, and other members became more and more manipulative. At this time, I realied something was very wrong with the group as a whole and the racism, homophobia and hatred Ole Nydahl was teaching (and how little it had to do with Buddhism). It was about this time that I also found out about Ole Nydahl's sexual abuse of female followers. Unfortunately, I was deep in, and brainwashed, so it took me another year and a half to finally leave. After I left, I was accused by members (who had insisted they were my friends while I was in the group) of being 'mentally ill' and that was what they gossiped inside the group as being my reason for leaving. I then recieved abusivg e-mails, letters and phone calls from these people, several of which accused me of somehow stealing books that I had paid for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found after about 4 months that the leaders of the center in my town refused to discuss questions after a point. They shut down conversations by stating that they did not want to misquote Lama Ole. They deferred questions to his visit. I found it to be a dumbing down process.

But then again, it seems very clear that the purpose of the DW centers is to preserve and repeat specific wisdom transmissions rather than to have discussions or debates about them. From the beginning it seemed clear that DW Buddhism is about memorizing and then repeating information rather than questioning or expanding on the information presented.

Of course, the promise/reason to do this is to achieve transcendence in this life - that was what I was told could happen. It sounded a little too much like the Christian promise of salvation requiring blind faith, so I left.