Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 22 March 2013.Phone: 512-289-9081
Activities and Schedule
General meditation meetings are held twice a week on Sundays and Tuesdays. Members meet in the Austin Center on Sundays and Wednesdays at 7:00 P.M. and Tuesdays at 7:00 P.M. at the University of Texas at Austin. Unlike most of the Buddhist groups, Diamond Way Buddhist Center in Austin begins regular practices with reading a Dharma article or short talk by one of the members, followed by a 15 - 30 minute long meditation period. A group member leads the reading and discussion session each time.
Diamond Way Buddhism belongs to the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Diamond Way Buddhism in America was founded and is directed by Lama Ole Nydahl, under the spiritual guidance of the 17th Karmapa, Thaye Dorje. The Austin group is one of 27 Diamond Buddhist centers in the United States, and over 450 worldwide. Diamond Way Buddhist activity first started with a few students of the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. Practitioners of the group usually meet at the Student Union on campus. In 1998, some dedicated members converted a private house located near UT into a meditation center with resident practitioners. Today, the group hosts a resident teacher who shares responsibilities with group members and offers different levels of teachings. The main meditation practice is “Guru Yoga on the 16th Karmapa”, a means to identify with mind’s basic purity. The focus in daily life is integrating a pure outlook of all beings’ nature and benefiting them from a non-dogmatic, fearless and joyful view. Their main teacher Lama Ole Nydahl, teaches his students to behave like Buddhas until they become Buddhas, that mind is essentially indestructible clear light, timeless, limitless and joyful. Like most local American Buddhist groups, Diamond Way Buddhist Center in Austin insists that Buddhism has to accustom itself to the host cultures as society changes but they make it clear that culture and the Buddhist teachings should be separate. “Buddha’s teachings are beyond culture, class system or dogma. Any culture can apply the wisdom to their context.”
The Two Karmapas
Since the death of 16th Karmapa, the issue of new leadership has led to a religious schism and shadowed Karma Kagyu Buddhism in the West. While the Dalai Lama approved the Chinese selected 17th Karmapa, the western lamas, Ole and Hannah Nydahl, and Kunzig Sharmapa, the 2nd in spiritual authority behind the Karmapas, denied his legitimacy and pointed out that the Dalai Lama, the head of Gelugpa lineage begun by Tsongkhapa in the 1400’s, has no authority to recognize the Karmapa, the head of Karma Kagyu Lineage. It is the Karma Kagyu lineage’s centuries old tradition that the Sharmapa’s have the highest authority to select the next Karmapa. Lineages in Buddhism always work within their own style, transmission and affairs. The four main lineages of Tibet have always had their own transmissions and practices of selecting their teachers and as the Chinese selected their candidate, Sharmapa had been long involved in properly checking on a boy in Tibet, Thaye Dorje, the later confirmed Karmapa. As one of the Buddhist centers with Western practitioners and supported by Kunzig Sharmapa and the late Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, the Diamond Way Buddhist Center in Austin makes it clear that the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Thaye Dorje, is their spiritual leader and not the Chinese appointed Karmapa backed by Dalai Lama.
In the past nine years, the membership of Diamond Way Buddhist in Austin has increased from 2 founding members in 1996 to 20-25 regular members in 2005. Two thirds of members are Caucasians, while the rest are Asian American and Hispanic. Most of them are professionals, three quarters have college degrees and about two thirds come from a Christian background. They make their activities known through their website, advertising in local papers and flyer postings. The focus of the group is on making the teachings available to the modern, independent minds in the West. People find the group through on-campus programs, word of mouth, the center's website and public postings. “We do not go out to proselytize. People find what they need so they come to us.” When student members graduate and relocate themselves, most of the student practitioners still continue Buddhist practices. The local group leader indicated that Diamond Way Buddhist centers are unique as they function on idealism and friendship without hierarchy, everyone contributes what they can to help run the organization.