In December 2006, Dr. Robert Thurman talked to an exclusive audience at the TED conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design) in New York City. Dr. Thurman discusses themes of interconnectedness, technology, and compassion. In this 12 minute talk he explains that in an interconnected world we can have instant access to the suffering in the world and that this can help to encourage our spiritual development.
He also discusses breaking through the misconception that we are separate from others and entering a state of compassion, and the paradox that in empathizing with the sufferings of others we actually become happier because we release ourselves from the iron bonds of self. Compassion, he says, is fun.
Bob Thurman became a Tibetan monk at age 24. He’s a professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University, and co-founder of Tibet House US, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization.
Thurman’s focus is on the balance between inner insight and cultural harmony. In interpreting the teachings of Buddha, he argues that happiness can be reliable and satisfying in an enduring way without depriving others.
He has translated many Buddhist Sutras, or teachings, and written many books, recently taking on the topic of Anger for the recent Oxford series on the seven deadly sins. He maintains a podcast on Buddhist topics. And yes, he is Uma’s dad.