Lama Ole Nydahl (1942 – )
Organisation: Diamond Way Buddhism

Lineage: Karma Kagyu [HH 16th Karmapa] [H.E. 8 Sharmapa] › Ole Nydahl

Biography: Born Denmark (1942-). Worked as sailor and amateur boxer and did graduate thesis on Huxley’s ‘Doors of Perception’ at Copenhagen University. Ole and his wife Hannah met Ven 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kagyu tradition and one of the truly great yogis of this century, in Nepal in 1969. (Lama Ole says of this meeting that he was standing in line to be blessed, not expecting anything very much, when he looked up at the Karmapa. ‘Suddenly his face became as big as the moon..’ and Ole realised that he had been associated with Karmapa in many lives and had been reborn in the west to spread his teachings.


Karmapa asked him to start a centre in Copenhagen and, since that time, Ole and his wife have been traveling and starting centres. (The Diamondway web site credits him with having started over 270 centres, but they list over 315).

Hannah Nydahl is a greatly valued translator. She translates for the teaching lamas at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi, India, organises and translates tours for the lineage leaders, and tours with Lama Ole. Her personal style is calm, warm, courageous, and healing.

Comment: Ole Nydahl is a very charismatic teacher, very popular with young people. In many parts of Eastern Europe, Former Yugoslavia and Former Soviet Union, his centres are almost the only Buddhist activity. The website is first-class and allows for contact and support of students for all parts of the world.

Particular teachings: Ph’owa (transference of consciousness), Black Mahakala, other lineages of 16th Karmapa, Amitabha, Mahamudra.

Main Temple: It is not clear that there is a main temple, however, worldwide coordination seems to be handled by the Copenhagen temple.

Centres: Check Buddhanet listings for your area or visit the Diamondway site for details

Teachers: The following teachers visit and teach at Diamondway centres.
The 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje, The 14th Shamarpa Mipam Chokyi Lodro, Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, Lama Jigme Rinpoche, Khenpo Chodrak Tenphel Rinpoche, Topga Rinpoche, Lama Ole Nydahl, Hannah Nydahl

The teachers in italics seem to be permanently associated/based within the Diamondway network
The following teachers support and visit Diamondway centres: Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, Gendun Rinpoche, Gyaltrul Rinpoche, Lodro Rabphel Rinpoche, Lopon Tendzin Rinpoche, Shangpa Rinpoche.

Main Website: Ole Nydahl’s site:

Email: E-groups and listservers can be subscribed to via the main site.

Books/ Publications (Italics indicate that the book is out of print, bold indicates that it is a recommended text for students):

Basic Dharma : An Introduction to the Nature of Mind by Ole Nydahl*
Die Buddhas vom Dach der Welt : mein Weg zu den Lamas by Ole Nydahl*
Entering the Diamond Way : My Path Among the Lamas by Ole Nydahl (Paperback – December 1985)
Lµren om sindets natur Praktisk Buddhisme by Hanna Nydahl *
Mahamudra : Boundless Joy and Freedom : A Commentary on the Mahamudra-Text of the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339) by Ole Nydahl*
Ngondro : The Four Foundational Practices of Tibetan Buddhism by Ole Nydahl, Gyaltsab Rinpoche (Paperback – July 1990)
Practical Buddhism : The Kagyu Path by Ole Nydahl, Carol Aronoff
Riding the Tiger : Twenty Years on the Road : Risks and Joys of Bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West by Ole, Lama Nydahl, Carol A. Aronoff (Editor) (Paperback)
Teachings on the Nature of Mind by Lama Ole Nydahl (Paperback – September 1994)
The Way Things Are : A Living Approach to Buddhism for Today’s World (Buddhism Today) by Ole Nydahl, Lama Ole Nydahl (Paperback)