Opening a can of worms here I feel
Thanks everyone for your feedback. This does lead me back to step one in my thinking. If you would please indulge me further guys n gals?
So we are saying that
1 even though some of the practices, nGondro and Guru Yoga on the karmapa is legit,
-some of the explanations given by Ole on these is not quite so legit.
i.e. that nGondro is all one needs as that will actually activate channels, for example.
2 There is controversy in his legitimacy.
-to me this is one of the dodgy parts. I am a qualified lifecoach and I know --exactly-- how easy it is to have an audience and make people feel a specific way and make them feel like they are part of something great. A charismatic leader who is used to have 100 people in an audience can make anyone feel like they have been empowered. I for one believe that something genuine is happening when an empowerment happens. if the person doing the empowerment doesn't have the full blessing of the lineage to be able to do the empowerment, hasn't actually mastered the practice into which empowerment happens... thats like a random person doing a claying on of hands and claiming you are now a sufi, versus a sheik who has memorised the entire quoran and has done millions of prostrations and has visions of an angels doing it. OK wrong system, but you get me?
- I have also come across footage of people standing in line infront of him for blessings. Not during an initiation, just generally. I have never seen anything like this in a tibetan context. Whats up with that?
3 Diamond way only contains part of the karma kagyu stuff and a lot of westernised/streamlined things
-same thing here. After the meditation we did a sanskrit mahakala song. There were no visualisations just pure singing. I asked about it and was told that "because the energy has been built up over thousands of years we can connect to the dhammapala without needing to visualise we can just connect to it by song" this didn't sit right with me.
4 For me Bodhicitta is 80% of the reason I want to do this at all.
-The meditation we did had one line which was kind of an implied bodhicitta and there was no dedication of merit at the end. Again, this was implied. I am not a "legit" practictioner, but I have done a few years worth of Tara, Menla and Vajrasattva Sadhanas and the Guruyoga done on the Dzogchen online community and the one in the diamond way center was extremely streamlined and felt a bit out. Kinda like walking into a whitepainted protestant church after being used to orthodox incenceladen Greece....
4 I should look for a lama, not a sangha. true that.
-But guys, how do I do that without being the outsider who has x years of other experience running around? The only Lama I have any experience of is HH Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche over the webcasts and he seems very legit. However there is no way he will be my Lama
My serious plan was to do that retreat in Switzerland. Chod sits right with me (it was one of the things mentioned in Neels magic and mysticism in tibet I read when I was a wee boy) So maybe I start there, take refuge with the Lama doing the course and see where that goes?
-Would you suggest I go around to a few centers and .... hang around? i am out of my depth here.
Magnus if you have any advice for scandinavia, I'm all ears. pm me ?
Geographically I am ok to travel to UK/Scandinavia/Netherlands/Belgium/Germany but the centers where I am are low on resident Lamas....
5 If I'm into the yoga and tantric layperson trip then kagyu or Nyigma Lama is what I need to go for
-so which european groups are legit?
-I wonder if it would be useful to create a thread similar to the one on the kagyu forum for each school, outlining the "modus operandi" of each school as it were?
-My gut feeling is not to "collect" empowerments, yet it seems that it is very difficult to know which school/guru/lama works for one without occasions to meet them/try them?
Thanks so much for the responses this far. I hope I am not too vexing. This is really helping to get my bearings!