This week we talk to Robert Thurman
Robert Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of Tibet House US, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies. The New York Times recently hailed him as “the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.”
The first American to have been ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk and a personal friend of the Dalai Lama for over 40 years, Professor Thurman is a passionate advocate and spokesperson for the truth regarding the current Tibet-China situation and the human rights violations suffered by the Tibetan people under Chinese rule. 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 Essential Tibetan Buddhism, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well, Inner Revolution, The Jewel Tree of Tibet, and Why the Dalai Lama Matters.
His latest book is a graphic biography of the Dalai Lama called Man of Peace: the illustrated life story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet
In This Interview, Robert Thurman and I Discuss…
- The Wolf Parable
- His book Man of Peace: the illustrated life story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet
- Buddha Nature and Buddhahood
- Enlightenment: When you get it, you realize that you’ve always had it
- Whether or not we can actually reach enlightenment in this lifetime
- His experience of tasting enlightenment
- Clear light of bliss
- The Buddha’s mind in us
- We are the Buddha’s reality body
- That the Buddha is pure love
- That the future Buddha is currently manifesting as dogs
- That we can find a way to talk with our enemies and find peace
- The common theme of “Love Thine Enemy” across religions and traditions
- How the current Dali Lama is working to lay the path for all beings to reach enlightenment
Robert Thurman Links
A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other.
One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.
The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed
The Tale of Two Wolves is often attributed to the Cherokee indians but there seems to be no real proof of this. It has also been attributed to evangelical preacher Billy Graham and Irish Playwright George Bernard Shaw. It appears no one knows for sure but this does not diminish the power of the parable.
This parable goes by many names including:
The Tale of Two Wolves
The Parable of the Two Wolves
Which Wolf Do You Feed
Which Wolf are You Feeding
Which Wolf Will You Feed
It also often features different animals, mainly two dogs.