Unconventional lama sings praises of Buddhist meditation – Interview with Lama Ole Nydahl in the Calgary Herald

Lama Ole Nydahl Skydiving

Lama Ole Nydahl Skydiving

We just came across this recent interview from the Canadian newspaper, the Calgary Herald.

Unconventional lama sings praises of Buddhist meditation


Lama Ole Nydahl is a contemporary lama who enjoys skydiving, fast motorcycles and bungee jumping.

For almost 40 years he’s been busy setting up meditation centres around the world….

Question: Do you find more people today are turning to Buddhism and if so why?

Answer: It is a “both-and.” Some schools attract new people and some schools disappear. It means that in western cultures today, new Buddhists want practical – and if possible shared – experience of (the) mind’s potential, but show little patience with what they are advised to avoid. Over 2,000 of my students parachuted with me during 15 years of our Kassel summer course near a drop-zone and the tandem-teachers were delighted with their style. In 620 Diamond Way centres worldwide and due to our involvement in national Buddhist organizations in many countries, these are general observations. In Europe, where Buddhism started with the Theravada-tradition, the Tibetan school (is) now predominant. And the reasons? The Mahayana (Gelugkpa, “yellow hat”) school stresses philosophy while the three “old” schools, Nyingma, Sakya and Kagyu (all “red hat”) give an early and direct approach to mind through effective meditations.

Q: Can you explain your meditation centres and their purpose?

A: Our Diamond Way meditation centres worldwide are places for learning about (the) mind’s potential and opening up to its full realization. They work with identification, encourage behaving like a Buddha (until) one becomes one and attract some most delightful people nearly everywhere.

Q: From a spiritual perspective, what is meditation?

A: Buddhist meditations are the process of letting (the) mind know itself. They all consist of two steps, the phase of focusing mind on different desired qualities and that of accomplishing them. Sharing such growth with others creates meaningful bonds.

Q: How do you go about doing it?

A: A Diamond Way practice – to my best understanding – presses all buttons of body, speech and mind. A very powerful example is found in the 16th Karmapa meditation taught worldwide in our centres. Bringing a total experience, it would be a pity, to intellectually dissect it here and would also require a few pages of explanations.

Q: What are its benefits?

A: The benefits are decided by one’s goal. Whether a distance to the maddening world would fulfil one’s desire, a rich inner life is the goal or one is fascinated by the experience of space as bliss: the level of Theravada (Southern) Buddhism brings the first result, the Great Way the second and the Diamond Way the third and allpervading experience.

Q: In this busy world, where and how do people find the time to meditate?

A: As machines do the rough work today, producing more than we can consume, there is enough time for practice if one decides to not just get older but also wiser. Modern life offers countless pauses for letting a Buddha fall into one’s heart-centre (in the middle of one’s chest).


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