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. His commitment to finding a peaceful, win-win solution for Tibet and China inspired him to write his latest book, Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet and the World, published in June of 2008.
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.
Question: If you had $100 billion to give away, how would you spend it?
Robert Thurman: Well I would, if I had a hundred billion or what – whatever billion, I – and that’s what I do now anyway, but, in effectually, but, if I had big resources I would, not just jump up and down during the time of a presidential election, I would really start going after the media. Probably I guess I would get my own station, and network of stations, maybe buy one of the big networks, try to buy it off somebody, and drive them out of business by really starting some real information, people will be glued to that, so it’ll become immensely valuable. And, not be dictated to by advertisers at all, you know, keep them out of the market of that huge bunch of people unless they – they – they were subservient to the ideal of really informing people. I think that’s what I would do, yeah, I would take, take a network over and really broadcast the truth, and re – reestablish the Fairness Doctrine. And, I would also engage like, a huge bunch of lawyers, and people like Limbaugh and others should not be allowed to just lie, publicly and brazenly, and they repeat these lies again and again about whatever like “Oh, Hilary Clinton killed Vince Nielson Foster” or Vince Foster, whatever his name was, you know, they killed him, and you know he – and people believed him, “Saddam Hussein has attacked us in New York”, they all believed that. Millions of people believe these total lies. You know that’s – there – then they say their excuses, it’s entertainment, that what, you know we get onto them with lawyers, and you get – where they get a little bit constraint and they have to be a little more truthful, and they can’t just say a bunch of unsubstantiated things, they’ll go to jail for it. Because it’s some kind of liable, some kind of abuse of the public lie – lie like that, it’s – it’s not proper, and then I think – so that – that’s what I would do with that I would really go after the media to change the system. (Peter interrupts) And that might involve you know running, to helping people with part of the political campaigns, making a guy pledge to put certain people in the new FCC who would be running, you know, to really change the FCC.
Recorded on: 6/1/07
Robert Thurman: Everybody has a Buddha in there and Buddhas have more fun.