Robert Thurman Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Robert Thurman        

International Authority on World Religions and Spirituality

Thurman lectures internationally at universities, companies, conferences and think tanks. Named one of TIME magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, he is a gifted communicator who makes novel and complex ideas understandable, presenting them with intelligence and humor in a down-to-earth way.

He is Chair of Religious Studies at Columbia University, where he is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies. Students have called his courses “life-changing.” He challenges them to broaden their thinking about the world to include the great civilizations of Asia and understand the philosophies of the East as interwoven with those of the West. “Eastern traditions can fortify your Christian or Jewish life and can be incorporated into your life at any age,” says Thurman. “It’s about enriching what you already are.”

Thurman’s search for Enlightenment began while he was a student at Harvard. The accidental loss of an eye caused him to value life more deeply and make a special effort to seek its true meaning. He left school and embarked on a spiritual quest throughout Europe and Asia. In India he met the young Dalai Lama, starting a lifelong friendship. He learned Tibetan, intensely studied Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and lived for four years as a Buddhist monk. He returned to the U.S. to complete his Ph.D. at Harvard and added to Tibetan the study of Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese.Educational, informative and passionate. University of Southern Mississippi

Thurman is the author of the bestseller, Inner Revolution, one of Publishers Weekly’s best books of 1998. He translated The Tibetan Book of the Dead and wrote many other books, including: The Central Philosophy of Tibet; Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet; and Circling the Sacred Mountain. His latest books include: Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well; Anger: The Deadly Sin; and The Jewel Tree of Tibet. He has been profiled by The New York Times and People.

In 1987, at the request of the Dalai Lama, Thurman co-founded Tibet House U.S. with Richard Gere and Philip Glass, later joined by daughter Uma Thurman and others. This unique museum and cultural center is dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan civ- ilization and offers programs in all of the Tibetan arts and sciences.

Inspired by the Dalai Lama, Thurman presents the inherent openness and vitality of the spiritual life. Whether examining the sweep of history, the subtleties of the inner psyche or the intimate workings of the heart, he reveals to audiences an expanded vision of the world. His lectures help people clear away fear and confusion, leaving them with a profound sense of an enriched present and a realistic hope for a peaceful future.

Related Speakers View all

More like Robert