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Hannah, Buddhism's Untold Journey

Last week I showed a film about the Danish Lama Ole Nydahl, who is one of the founders of the Tibetan tradition Diamond Way Buddhism, which has been very successful in its introduction of Buddhism in Europe, and beyond.

This week’s film is about his wife Hannah, and their journey together, starting in the mid-60s when they went overland to Nepal, their work in Europe and the Americas, as well as their journey to Tibet, and up until her passing in 2006.

Hannah seems to have been very much Ole’s equal in all regards, having learned Tibetan fluently, she was also a highly regarded teacher, though most of her work was as a translator of Tibetan texts, and as a translator for high Lamas on their European tours.

The story is really a remarkable one, and quite moving too, as we see the couple travel to Nepal on their honeymoon, and meet with some of the great teachers in the Tibetan tradition, and their especially close relationship with the 16th Karmapa, who eventually instructed them to go back to Europe and start teaching.

The film also loks at the controversies that arose after the 16th Karmapa passed away, and the search for the new incarnation took place. As many know there are now two Karmapas, rivals for the same title, and the fight over who is the “real” lineage holder has sometimes been ugly.

What come across quite clearly is that the couple have been hugely influential in the successful founding of Tibetan Buddhism in Europe, and it is largely through their wisdom, energy and compassion that the tradition is flourishing there today.

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