Review: Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the World

Via Todd Mayville
on Jul 21, 2008
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Review: Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the World

Professor Robert Thurman

The day I got this book, I headed over to one of my favorite coffee cafés for some lunch and to start reading. A patron walked by, noticed what I was reading, and said, “It’s a sad comment on the world we live in when we need a book to tell us that.” I agreed with him and we chatted briefly, then I returned to my book. Later, I reflected on it, and really began to delve into the meaning behind the title. Why does the Dalai Lama matter? For the past 40+ years, Professor Robert Thurman has enjoyed a personal friendship with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the warmth that he feels for his friend shows in this book, and throughout the book, Prof. Thurman proceeds to answer that very question. Throughout the book, Thurman discusses His Holiness from a variety of perspectives: religious leader, politician, philosopher, and scientist to name but a few. He then goes on to illustrate how his commitment to nonviolence is the best, if not the only, real way to achieving the world we all claim to want. What I found particularly interesting is that Thurman acknowledges the abuses and atrocities committed on the Tibetan people but doesn’t delve into any attempt to alienate the Chinese people or his reader. Instead he calls to China to lead the world towards that bright future by setting an example for the rest of us to follow by liberating Tibet and putting into place a five point plan for Tibet. I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested not just in Buddhism or the Dalai Lama, but in how we as a species can best achieve world peace.

Professor Thurman will be in Boulder to talk and sign his book this Wednesday at the Boulder Theater. For information and tickets, click here.


About Todd Mayville

Todd is a single dad of four diverse and lively kids, and is an English teacher and climbing team coach at a local public high school. A rock climber, cyclist and avid reader, Todd also practices yoga and meditation as often as he possibly can, which helps him stay at least a little centered and sane.


5 Responses to “Review: Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the World”

  1. Losang Yeshe says:

    The Dalai Lama is currently outcasting Buddhist from the Tibetan in Exile communities who rely upon the Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden. Over 900 monks have been expelled from there monasteries and are now denied material and spiritual support. Why? Because they’ve chosen to rely upon their lineage Gurus (the Dalai Lama’s teacher Trijang Dorjechang for one) who promoted the practice of reliance upon the Dharma protector Dorje Shugden.

    The Dalai Lama teaches love and compassion, but he’s engaged in a Religious Persecution of his own people right now. Is he practicing what he’s preaching?

    Spread the truth about the Dalai Lama.

  2. 10th September 2008

    To Robert Thurman,

    We the Western Shugden Society are writing this letter regarding your previous public statement that Shugden people are sectarian, naming them “the Buddhist Taliban”; and your recent public statement that the Western Shugden Society protestors are “working for the Chinese”.

    As you know, Shugden people want to practice the Gelug tradition purely, without mixing with the Nyingma tradition. Because of this the Dalai Lama has said to Shugden people that they are sectarian. In truth, the Nyingmapa also want to practice their Nyingma tradition purely without mixing with the Gelug tradition; and it is the same for the Sakyapa and Kagyupa. So according to the Dalai Lama’s view, the Nyingmapa, Sakyapa and Kagyupa are also sectarian, but he only says that Shugden people are sectarian. In reality he is lying.

    If you, Robert Thurman, are not yourself lying, then you must show your evidence to prove your public statements: that Shugden people are sectarian, “the Buddhist Taliban” as you named them; and that the Western Shugden Society is working for the Chinese. You should show your evidence publicly through the internet before 25th October 2008. If your evidence does not appear by this date then we will conclude that you have lied publicly and are misleading people.


    Western Shugden Society

  3. Khedrup says:

    For an alternative view check out these websites:,com_docman/task,doc_view/gid,159/Itemid,48/

    Please investigate the background. Several (not all) of the important Shugden teachers have demonstrable ties with China, some have even said the Chinese occupation of Tibet is a good thing on camera.

  4. […] man to the Dalai Lama, one of TIME’s most Influential People and father of Uma, Robert Thurman is charismatic, wild and wise–perfect for those who want to connect with the Dalai […]

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