Rating is available when the video has been rented.
This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.
Published on Apr 28, 2008
Robert A.F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of the Tibet House U.S., a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, a non-profit affiliated with the Center for Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and dedicated to the publication of translations of important texts from the Tibetan Tanjur. Professor Thurman also translates important Tibetan and Sanskrit philosophical writings and lectures and writes on Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism; on Asian history, particularly the history of the monastic institution in the Asian civilization; and on critical philosophy, with a focus on the dialogue between the material and inner sciences of the world's religious traditions. Popularizing the Buddha's teachings is just one of Thurman's creative talents. He is a riveting speaker and an author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics and culture, including Circling the Sacred Mountain, Essential Tibetan Buddhism, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, Worlds of Transformation, and, most recently, Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well. He is credited with being at the forefront of making Tibetan art accessible and understandable in the West and, with distinguished art historians, he collaborated in curating several important traveling exhibitions, including "Wisdom and Compassion," "Mandala," and "Worlds of Transformation," which set a standard in the art world. Thurman's work and insights are grounded in more than 35 years of serious academic scholarship. He has a B.A., A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard and has studied in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in India and the United States. A long-time advocate of Buddhist monasticism, in 1962, Thurman became the first American ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He gave up his robes after several years, however, when he discovered he could be most effective in the American equivalent of the monastery, the university. He is a popular professor in the Religion Department of Columbia University where he holds the Jey Tsong Khapa chair in Indo-Tibetan Studies. Students have described his classes as "life changing", and a college president recently said, "If I could be a student again, I'd want to be in his classes at Columbia."