Danish Buddhist leader, Lama Ole, to visit in Snohomish

SNOHOMISH — An unconventional guest is coming to Snohomish County next week.

Ole Nydahl, a 70-year-old Danish leader of Diamond Way Buddhism, is visiting followers here in the Pacific Northwest.

Nydahl’s school of thought can be described as an adaptation of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism to the Western culture, said Daria Novoselova, who will be hosting Nydahl’s meeting with students in her Snohomish home.

Nydahl, who is known as Lama Ole, is expected to arrive Monday. He is scheduled to give a talk at the University of Washington later that day.

Novoselova, 29, felt drawn to Diamond Way Buddhism as soon as she met Nydahl. She remembers that very first lecture.

She was 16 and living in Yekaterinburg, Russia, when her older brother brought her along to the lama’s talk.

“I immediately felt at home,” she said. “I had all these ideas about the world, and, suddenly, everything came together.”

At the end of that lecture, she accepted a blessing and received refuge — a ritual that symbolizes becoming part of the Buddha family.

Novoselova moved to Canada not long after to start a Diamond Way Buddhist center in Toronto. She also traveled and gave lectures to different groups of Buddhist students.

She met her husband, Charles Martens, at one of those lectures in 2006.

One of the world’s major religions, Buddhism was founded about 2,500 years ago by Siddhartha Gautama, who became known as Buddha.

The philosophy of Buddhism deals, in part, with suffering and how to overcome it. Buddhists strive to do good deeds and practice self-awareness and understanding of the world. Different schools of thought concentrate on different aspects of the religion.

Nydahl discovered Buddhism in 1968 while honeymooning in Nepal with his late wife, Hannah. They translated many Buddhist texts into European languages and published books of their own.

Some people consider Nydahl and his teachings controversial because the lama’s opinions and lifestyle are different from those traditionally associated with Buddhist teachers.

Diamond Way Buddhist Center Seattle, which Novoselova started, is one of about 600 around the world. About two dozen people attend classes there.

She was busy this week preparing for the lama’s visit.

“I’m so excited, I can hardly sleep anymore,” she said.

Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452; kyefimova@heraldnet.com.

Monday talk

Lama Ole Nydahl is scheduled to speak at 8 p.m. Monday in Guggenheim Hall at the University of Washington. The campus is at 1410 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle. Admission is $10 for the general public and $3 for students. For more information about Diamond Way Buddhist Center Seattle, go to diamondway.org/seattle.

Correction: An earlier version of this story provided incorrect information about Ole Nydahl’s nationality. Nydahl was born near Copenhagen, Denmark.

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