Diamond Way Buddhism

Thaye Dorje, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa with Lama Ole Nydahl and many Diamond Way Buddhist students at the Europe Center
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 centers in the West.

More than 40 years later, there are now 640 Diamond Way Buddhist centers around the world. The meditation methods that you can learn in these centers 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.

About Diamond Way Buddhism


Lama Ole Nydahl is the main teacher of Diamond Way Buddhist centers, 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 centers.

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 centers and large meditation courses.


The Diamond Way Buddhist centers 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, socialize and take part in the center’s activities. In each center, you can find guided meditations once or more times a week, and in some even every day.

Non-profit foundations and associations

Each center runs itself independently, while usually belonging to an umbrella charity or non-profit organization 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 centers and projects.

The Europe Center

Diamond Way Buddhists often travel to different countries and centers, 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 centers and organizations are run on a voluntary basis and supported by personal donations, center memberships and profit from Buddhist courses, lectures and books.

40 years of Buddhism in the West

After several years in the Himalayas learning and traveling 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.

“We would all like to thank you and show our gratitude for the last 40 years of spreading the Buddha-dharma across the world, giving refuge, giving Phowa, and teaching Ngöndro, and bringing all of you together as a big family. I would like to wish a very very long life, a strong life, so that you may continue to make Buddhism accessible throughout the world.”
– Karmapa to Lama Ole Nydahl at the 40th anniversary of Diamond Way Buddhism in 2012