Robert Thurman: Why the Dalai Lama Matters

Via Walk The Talk Show
on Aug 2, 2008
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Top 25 Influential Americans (TIME), Dalai Lama’s righthand man, Co-Founder with Richard Gere of The Tibet House (and Father of Uma) at’s elevision talk show at the historic Boulder Theater.


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25 Responses to “Robert Thurman: Why the Dalai Lama Matters”

  1. Todd says:

    This was such a great interview. I really like listening to Prof. Thurman (sorry, Way!)… he’s an amazing individual.

  2. […] as does Buddhist teacher Robert Thurman in his new book WHY THE DALAI LAMA MATTERS, but also feature our recent interview of Bob on our ‘elevision’ talk show at the Boulder Theater—and you’ve got a […]

  3. admin says:

    I woke up this morning, took my lil’pup for a walk, and some people came up to me in the park. “Robert Thurman’s amaaazing,” they said, having just seen him headline our recent talk show in Boulder. And they said, “what was it like sharing a stage with him? Humbling?” I said, “like getting in a race car with a pro, and just hanging on.”
    A great, funny, charming man, doing good work for a people in need—and a cause more important than any other if our fragile civilization’s gonna make it: non-violence must win out!

  4. Losang Yeshe says:

    Is the Dalai Lama really a man of peace and nonviolence?

    This documentary seems to confirm otherwise:

  5. admin says:

    Dear Losang Yeshe, I’m sure your concerns are valid, I checked out your video, but I think it’s clear the Dalai Lama has worked long and hard for peace. No one can please everyone–but anyone trying to paint him as a Devil, as the Chinese do, just ends up looking mean and silly. It’s like seeing “red” and calling it “blue.”

  6. […] video of Robert Thurman talking with Waylon Lewis of Elephant Journal at the historic Boulder Theater on July 23, 2008. addthis_pub = ‘behomeny’; […]

  7. Losang Yeshe says:

    Have you seen this Open Letter to Robert Thurman?

    Did you know that the same year Bob Thurman was said to be among the top 25 most influential Americans (1997) he said the Shugden practitioners are the Taliban of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Do you think he’ll look silly for calling red blue when he can’t provide any evidence of Shugden practitioner engaging in acts of terrorism?

  8. […] site [please subscribe to our weekly enewsletter if you want to support!], and will continue our talk show/ecofashion parties), I look with wistful gaze at the few independent magazines in the US not funded […]

  9. Lyara Atkins says:

    I think Robert Thurman’s unwavering devotion to the Dalai Lama is on the one hand commendable, but it does make him blind to the Dalai Lama’s faults. And more and more evidence is coming to light that the Dalai Lama is not practicing what he preaches at home in his exile community.

    Check out

    for one recent news article about him.

  10. admin says:

    It's not you, it's the impersonal nature of the web. We want to fight that, here, make this a community. It's like people in cars…studies have shown that they do things they wouldn't if folks could see them, like honking etc…the web encourages all of us to be speedy and harsh, I'm much more guilty of that than you.

  11. admin says:

    Not yet. Want to write something? Write it up, email me at, we'll post it in your name if you like? Can be brief.

  12. Dharmakara says:

    Unfortunately, Thurman has become nothing more than an academic hack, as well as a mouth piece for the Dalai Lama. In education one must separate academic excellence from indoctrination, a fact which seems lost to him and quite a few others.

    Not too long ago he gave an interview where he made no distinction between Inner and Outer Mongolia, but made the following statement:

    “…since the Soviet Union deconstructed, the Chinese have become more frightened, more determined to hold on to real estate that is not theirs. Not just Tibet, but also Mongolia, Xinjiang, even Manchuria.”

    The last time I checked, Mongolia had a peaceful Democratic revolution and was still a parliamentary republic with free elections held every four years, but I’m sure Thurman’s statement was well received by those who now wish to make Buddhism the state religion of Mongolia, the Tibetan variety.

    Then we also have the Dalai Lama himself and his recognition of a supposed incarnation of Bogdo Khan, even though the eighth and last Bogdo Khan died in 1924, but not before making it clear that he would be the last of his incarnation line and intended to pass the leadership of Mongolia to his son.

    Apparently Thurman sees no problem with this either, but on the other hand he doesn’t believe that historical fact takes precedence over the revision of sectarian tradition, even if it destroys the Buddhist heritage of another country.

  13. admin says:

    Academic hack? Let’s keep it thoughtful, Dharmakara. Less name-calling, more information would be lovely. Thank you for your comment, and for the passion behind it.

  14. Dharmakara says:

    Sorry, I could have stated in more mindfully.

  15. Dharmakara says:

    As for the passion… again, sorry. I got my robes in an uproar (LOL) because of a quote from Robert Thurman published today on Belief Net:

    “Certainly exclusiveness, violence against others, callous disregard of the poor and downtrodden, intolerance of those of other faiths and ideologies, and so forth should find no place in the hearts and behaviors of followers of Jesus or Buddha or any of the other great spiritual teachers of humanity.”

    This from the man who referred to the Shugden community as Tibetan Taliban.

    I’m not a Shugden practitioner myself, just a bit tired of the behavior within institutionalized Buddhism in general, not particularily that of the Tibetan community. if history has taught us anything, there is always two sides to any given story.

  16. Dharmakara says:

    I know what you mean… my use of “hack” was more out of sarcasm than harshness.

    Although it’s off topic, has there been any comments on the Elephant Journal about monks in Myanmar stockpiling firearms?

    I haven’t noticed anything yet.

  17. Dharmakara says:

    Sure. No problem.

  18. Losang Yeshe says:

    There is a new blog about the Western Shugden Society’s challenge for Robert Thurman online:

  19. […] I’m vainly hoping, in vain, to learn a little from The Master about how to be a talk show host. A few months back, having never watched her in my life, I rented her Best Of on Netflix, and […]

  20. […] that might be changing. The 17th Karmapa, trained by the Dalai Lama and one of the principal heirs and leaders of Tibetan Buddhism, is young, charismatic, and both […]

  21. […] Ryan Nadlonek on Jan 21, 2009 inin blog, yoga | I happened to stumble upon this news fragment on Robert Thurman’s daughter. The article is from . It’s funny how the yoga world is full of […]

  22. […] Treehugger’s Graham Hill, Chris Sharma, Sharon Salzberg, Natalie Goldberg, Robert Thurman (see video here from last show) and Amy Goodman and featured music with Flogging Molly, The Motet and Nawang […]

  23. […] Columbia professor, Free Tibet activist and co-founder of The Tibet House, righthand man to the Dalai Lama, one of TIME’s most Influential People and father of Uma, Robert Thurman is charismatic, wild […]

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