A Warning Letter from Lama Ole Nydahl: Don’t Mix Tantric Methods and Teachers

Dearest Diamond Way students and friends,

A few words of timely advice:

I understand that many of you, who haven’t had the Phowa practice yet, are now looking to receive this timeless experience.

Recently, at the great initiation of Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s monastery in Nepal, I spoke to Dupsing Rinpoche whom I didn’t know but who had apparently been contacting our Diamond Way centres and offering his teachings, among them Phowa. I told him that our strength lies in the fact that we only take teachers who have been sent directly by Karmapa. Furthermore, he agreed that there are many Phowa-lineages and promised that to avoid confusion he will never mix into our Diamond Way practices and centres but instead do his own work.

Our Diamond Way centres should stay with our transmission as blessed by the 16th Karmapa, who always stopped any mistakes on the tantra-level. Concerning Phowa, our method is the Drikung-Kagyu practice given by Ayang Tulku to Hannah and me in the presence of the 16th Karmapa in Rumtek, Sikkim in 1972 with the wish that I should teach it to our many friends. This was also requested and blessed later by Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche and many of our highest lamas. Handled like this, it has brought perfect results to at least a hundred-and-twenty-thousand students so far.

Even If Dupsing Rinpoche or anybody else may have a similar text to the one we are using, it is not the same living transmission. Our observation and experience and – more importantly – that of our great Karma Kagyu lamas Hannah and I learnt from over the last 45 years, warn all students against mixing deep and tantric methods and teachers.

Tibetans never mix practices from different lamas and Vajrayana transmissions, even if they have the same lineage-lama and use the same texts; this is because it is known to lead to unending and fruitless discussions rather than a deep inner growth and lasting experience.

I therefore advice strongly against bringing confusion into our practices by taking tantric methods from teachers not sent to our DW centres by Karmapa. There will certainly be enough people for good and hard working lamas to create their own centres and organisations upholding their own methods.

Most Venerable Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and myself advise our Diamond Way students eager to learn Phowa to begin with the preparation which has been so effective in the past: please do at least half a million OM AMI DEWA HRIHmantras. Meditating on the Red Buddha over your heads, you will receive the blessing of the pure land and our noble lineage. Furthermore, as the great 16th Karmapa often stated, our main practices remain the Ngöndro and the exciting Karmapa meditations leading to the Great Seal teachings of full enlightenment. Over the centuries this created timeless human growth.

For the basic and fundamental teachings leading to Phowa we have several hundred qualified Diamond Way teachers and I aim to give Phowa courses as soon as possible again. Therefore, if you start the OM AMI DEWA HRIH mantras and continue polishing the floor with your prostrations I shall give the practice when conditions come together. Joining in the stream of awareness already created, your results will be powerful and connected to modern life.

Countless best wishes and may we meet soon again.

Long Live our noble Karma Kagyu lineage!

Yours, Lama Ole

P.S. The focus on and deep practice of one method at a time is what brings lasting results.


A brief commentary by the person who leaked the letter

Dupsing Rinpoche is a Karma Kagyu lama following – just like Ole – Thrinle Thaye Dorje as Karmapa. Dupsing Rinpoche is one of my teachers, so I know him quite well.

He did not contact Ole’s centers, in fact – to my best knowledge – Ole’s German students contacted Dupsing Rinpoche and requested him to give teachings (though not within Ole’s facilities). Ole wants to keep total control of his group but does not have enough courage to make this clear, so instead of telling things like they are, he spins stories such as those in this letter. Of course anyone who has studied with Tibetans will know that what Ole says there is non-sense, but his students never had a chance to personally study with Tibetan teachers, they only attend public lectures and empowerments given by the teacher whom Ole personally invited and whom he kind of oversees.

This being so his students have no knowledge on how Tibetans conduct themselves when it comes to Dharma and think of sectarianism as being not only norm, but also a requirement.



Sectarianism & Non-Sectarianism

See also

Header image: © Shenpen | Lama Ole and Hannah Nydahl (1946-2007) | (CC BY-SA 4.0)