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Robert Thurman

By Autumn Feldmeier

I had the incredible opportunity to hear the funny and down to earth Robert Thurman speak at the Commonwealth Club recently.

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 was a close friend to the Dalai Lama 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 5 nuggets of knowledge that stayed with me after the talk:

1. 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."
2. The Dalai Lama doesn't want everyone to convert to Buddhism. He believes Buddhism can work into the framework of any religion. 
3. 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.  
4. Nirvana is identifying with the self in everyone.

If you want to learn more about Robert Thurman visit And to learn more about the Dalai Lama visit




Later Event: September 15
Okanagan Yoga Festival