Diamond Way Buddhism is a worldwide network for lay people from all walks of life, who incorporate Buddhist practice in their daily lives.
Diamond Way Buddhism belongs to the thousand-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Lama Ole Nydahl, a Western Buddhist master born in Denmark, established Diamond Way Buddhism in the 1970’s, together with his wife Hannah Nydahl. Their main teacher the 16th Karmapa asked them to teach what they had learned and to start Buddhist centres in the West.
More than 40 years later, there are now 635 Diamond Way Buddhist centres around the world. The meditation methods that you can learn in these centres are all traditional Buddhist teachings, but presented in a modern, Western setting and language, accessible to all.
The name “Diamond Way” is a translation of the Sanskrit word Vajrayana. Vajrayana is considered to be the most direct of the three levels of Buddha’s teachings. It is part of all the “old schools” of Tibetan Buddhism, and can also be found in other parts of the world.
Lama Ole Nydahl is the main teacher of Diamond Way Buddhist centres, which he founded on behalf of Karmapa, the leader of the Karma Kagyu lineage. He travels around the world throughout the year to take care of his students; Lama Ole’s teaching schedule is packed with public lectures and meditation courses.
Lama Ole has also empowered a number of his experienced students as lay Diamond Way Buddhist teachers. They give practical explanations about Buddhism in Diamond Way centres.
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa and other high Buddhist teachers such as Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Lama Jigme Rinpoche visit Diamond Way Buddhist centres and large meditation courses.
The Diamond Way Buddhist centres are the first point of contact for people who want to know about Buddhism and get explanations about meditation from experienced Buddhist practitioners. That’s also where the local Buddhist practitioners meet to meditate, socialise and take part in the centre’s activities. In each centre, you can find guided meditations once or more times a week, and in some even every day.
Each centre runs itself independently, while usually belonging to an umbrella charity or non-profit organisation for that country.
The Diamond Way Buddhism Foundation coordinates international cultural and academic initiatives and is the holder of selected real estate and of Lama Ole and Hannah Nydahl’s intellectual property. It offers support and expertise to Buddhist centres and projects.
Diamond Way Buddhists often travel to different countries and centres, to see their teachers and meet with other practitioners. The central international place where this enriching human exchange happens is the Europe Center, which was bought by the Diamond Way Buddhism Foundation in 2007. The Europe Center consists of several buildings and 50 hectares of forest and meadows in the beautiful setting of the Bavarian Alps in Germany.
All Diamond Way Buddhist centres and organisations are run on a voluntary basis and supported by personal donations, centre memberships and profit from Buddhist courses, lectures and books.
After several years in the Himalayas learning and travelling with the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje and other Tibetan meditation masters, Lama Ole Nydahl and his wife Hannah set off back to Denmark. Karmapa empowered them to bring the Vajrayana transmission and Buddhist teachings they had received to the West and see if there was anyone interested. At first reluctant to leave their beloved teacher, they finally agreed. Thus in 1972 began their journey of bringing Buddhism to the West.
Teaching and working unceasingly in Europe, Russia and the Americas has resulted in the international movement of friendship, freedom and human development that is Diamond Way Buddhism today.