robert thurman

robert thurman.png

[nyc & woodstock ny]

intro’d to Robert via crazywise (doc)

31 min – robert thurman:one of the problems in this industrial society.. is that the so called normal people.. they don’t want to admit that they’re psychotic.. actually.. this is.. we live in a psychotic society..i’m sorry..we do ..and what is meant by psychotic.. out of touch with reality..

1:14 – robert: what helps all of us stay well.. well it’s shelter and exercise.. good food.. meaning in life.. socialization.. and that immediately brings a sense of optimism.. that you can recover from that.. with the right sort of environmental care..

*how do we as a society provide those things to people.. how do we build up that foundation and not just put a bandaid over it .. but to really build a healthier society for ourselves..

(mind: agency/mindfulness/purpose/meaning;  body: housing/exercise/nutrition/sleep/hope; spirit: community/connection-to-nature/spirituality;)

*like this.. let’s try it.. let’s just see..


adding page a few days after watching it.. because of this tweet about understanding interconnectedness:

“When you understand interconnectedness, it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying.”
– Robert A. F. Thurman

Original Tweet:

thurman interconnectedness law:

interconnect thurman


2006 tedsalon – we can be buddhas

3 min – what compassion is .. is where it will become intolerable for us.. totally intolerable.. that we sit here in comfort/pleasure.. enjoying the life of the mind or whatever it is..  and there are people who are just riddled with disease and they cannot have a bite of food and they have no place.. they’re being brutalized by some terrible person.. and so forth.. it just becomes intolerable.. with all of us knowing everything.. that we’re all.. we’re kind of forced by technology to become buddhas or something.. to become enlightened.. and of course.. we’d all be deeply diappointed..when we do.. because we think .. we sort of think that because we are kind of tired of what we do..a  little bit tired.. we do suffer.. we do enjoy our misery .. we distract running around somewhere.. but basically we all have this common misery that we’re stuck inside our skins.. and everyone else is out there.. and occasionally we get together with another person stuck in their skin and the two of us enjoy each other.. and each one tries to get out of their own.. and ultimately it fails of course.. and then we’re back into this thing.. because the ego’s perception.. and from buddha’s pov.. misperception.. is that what we are is what is inside our skin.. and it’s inside and outside.. self and other.. and other is very diff .. and everyone here is unfortunately carrying that habitual perception.. little bit.. right?

5 min – if it’s us all alone and everybody else is diff.. puts us in a difficult situation.. who is it who’s going to get enough attention from the world..

6 min – compassion comes.. where you suprisingly discover.. you lose yourself in some way..thru art/meditation/understanding..knowledge.. knowing that you have no such boundary.. knowing your interconnectedness with other beings..

you can experience yourself as the other beings.. when you see thru the delusion of being separated from them.. 

and when you do that your forced to feel what they feel… luckily..they say that when you reach that point.. imagining my suffering is bad enough can’t imagine taking ion even 100 peopls’ suffering.. strange paradox of life.. when you’re no longer locked in yourself.. and as the wisdom/intelligence/sci-knowledge of the  nature of the world that enables you to let your mind spread out and empathize.. and enhance the basic human ability of empathizing.. and realizing that you are the other being.. somehow that opening .. you can see the deeper nature of life.. you get away from this terrible iron circle of mine.. like the beatles.. we learned everything in the 60s and since been trying to suppress it.. it’s too bad.. it’s like the perfect teaching that song.. when we relief from that .. we somehow become interested in all the other beings.. and we feel ourselves differently.. it’s totally strange..

8 min – when you decide that the theatre of your mind is too boring.. and the more you focus on how you feel.. the worse it gets.. like when you’re having a good time.. and wonder when the good time is over.. it’s over when you think.. when is the good time over.. because then it’s never good enough..

9 min – the key to compassion is that it is more fun.. generosity is more fun.. that’s the key.. on dalilama being jolly.. *what good does it do being miserable with other people’s misery.. you have to **see some vision where you see how hopeful it is..

*sounds opp of his intro

**a nother way

11 min – compassion means.. to feel the feeling of others.. and the human being is compassion.. because what is our brain for..

the first person who gets happy.. when you stop focusing on the self-centered.. how happy am i .. because focusing on helping others be happy opens that up

hmm. interesting talk


find/follow Robert:

link twitter

cofounder of & healing spa w , father, grandfather, friend of & hh .

wikipedia small

Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman (born August 3, 1941) is an American Buddhist writer and academic who has written, edited or translated several books on Tibetan Buddhism. He is the Je Tsongkhapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, holding the first endowed chair in this field of study in the United States. He also is the co-founder and president of the Tibet House New York and is active against the People’s Republic of China’s control of Tibet.


In 1961 Thurman lost his left eye in an accident while he was using a jack to lift an automobile, and the eye was replaced with an ocular prosthetic.

After the accident he decided to refocus his life, divorcing his wife and traveling from 1961 to 1966 in Turkey, Iran and India. He became a Buddhist and was ordained in 1964, the first American Buddhist monk of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He studied with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, who became a close friend.

In 1967, back in the United States, Thurman resigned his monk’s vows of celibacy and married his second wife, German-Swedish model and psychologist Nena von Schlebrügge, who was previously married briefly to Timothy Leary. Thurman and Schlebrügge have four children, including actress Uma Thurman and Ganden Thurman, who as of 2012 is Executive Director of Tibet House.

Thurman obtained an M.A in 1969 and a Ph.D. in Sanskrit Indian Studies in 1972 from Harvard. He was professor of religion at Amherst College from 1973 to 1988, when he accepted a position at Columbia University as professor of religion and Sanskrit. At Amherst College Thurman met his lifelong friend Prof. Lal Mani Joshi, a distinguished Indian Buddhist scholar.

In 1987, Thurman created Tibet House U.S. with Richard Gere and Philip Glass at the request of the Dalai Lama


Time chose Robert Thurman as one of the 25 most influential Americans of 1997.

Thurman is considered a pioneering, creative and talented translator of Buddhist literature by many of his peers. Speaking of Thurman’s translation of Tsongkhapa’s Essence of Eloquence (Legs bshad snying po), Matthew Kapstein (professor at the University of Chicago and Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris) has written that, “The Essence of Eloquence is famed in learned Tibetan circles as a text of unparalleled difficulty. … To have translated it into English at all must be reckoned an intellectual accomplishment of a very high order. To have translated it to all intents and purposes correctly is a staggering achievement.” Similarly, prominent Buddhologist Jan Nattier has praised the style of Thurman’s translation of the Vimalakīrti Sūtra, praising it as among the very best of translations of that important Indian Buddhist scripture.

Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Professor at the University of Michigan, has claimed that Thurman’s work, “like so much of the work produced by American students of Tibetan Buddhism,” shows “a bias that is both scholastic and Geluk.”

In a 1996 interview for the Utne Reader, Thurman answers those critics who accuse him of idealizing pre-1959 Tibet:

But to answer my critics who accuse me of trying to pretend that every Tibetan was an enlightened yogi, and they never even wiped their butts, and they didn’t have robbers and bandits and ignorant people, and they weren’t cruel ever — like it’s all just some sort of fantasy of mine, well, that isn’t at all the case. My thesis is a sociological one that has to do with mainstream social trends. The fact that a great majority of a country’s single males are monks rather than soldiers is a major social difference. Now, many of those monks might be nasty, they might punch people, some of them might pick your pockets, some of them might be ignorant. They might eat yak meat; they’re not out there petting the yaks. So I am in no way Shangri-La-izing Tibet when I try to develop a non-Orientalist way of appraising and appreciating certain social achievements of Tibet, which really tried to create a fully Buddhist society.

But my opponents, who want to adopt the old British attitude that Tibet was dirty, grubby, and backward; or the modernist attitude that it’s a “premodern” undeveloped society; or the attitude of many other Buddhist countries that think Tibet was somehow degenerate because it was very Tantric, and Tantric Buddhism grows out of the degenerate period in India, well… I think these attitudes are mired in the idea that we modern Americans are the most advanced civilization the world has ever seen. I don’t think that’s the case. I consider us pretty barbaric.

from columbia uni site:

Robert Thurman held the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, before retiring in June of 2019.


mental health

crazywise (doc) – (Gabor Maté –maté basic needs lawWill Hall, Phil Borges, Robert Thurman, al)


hari rat park law via ..

a nother way


Compassionate Activism: Contemplative Roots of Non-Violence: Video from last week’s talk with @BobThurman

Original Tweet:

35 min – what prompts the sustained motivation.. behind building movements..


can’t listen to it today..