By Autumn Feldmeier
In 1962, Robert Thurman left Harvard for a spiritual quest and met the Dalai Lama in India. He was the first Westerner to be ordained by the Dalai Lama and he became a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Thurman has now been a friend of the Dalai Lamas for 53 years.
He eventually gave up the monk's robes to gain his PhD from Harvard. He is now a Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and was named one of the top 25 Most Influential Americans in 1997. Thurman also became a husband and a father of five children, one of which was Uma Thurman.
I could have listed Thurman for hours! Here are a nuggets of knowledge that stayed with me after the talk:
- The Tibetan people are not passive people. Tibetan monks debate loudly and with passion. They even clap loudly during discussion. There is a saying in their region, "20 Tibetans in a home equals 40 horns."
- The Dalai Lama doesn't want everyone to convert to Buddhism. He believes Buddhism can work into the framework of any religion.
- It's not all about you! That's the beauty and the tragedy of it. Suffering exists when we think it is all about us.
- Nirvana is identifying with the self in everyone.