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: Who are we?
Robert Thurman: In my “End of Revolution” book yeah I still think that, definitely, but we had just subverted, we were – we were under the control of war mongerers at the moment, of war criminals, actually. They are controlling us and taking all the money, and taking all the energy and have – they’ve controlled the media, propaganda vehicles and so on, they have turned it into basically. And, so what - what’s there kind of desperate though, because the thing had, but they are not getting anywhere, and the people are getting more and more sick of it and, and the people have been, were fooled into it and frightened into it in various ways, but I think that’s kind of, it’s like it’s the darkness before the dawn, they – I think the people will really refuse at some point, at this rate, you know, because they – the Cold War, they were kind of happy in the Cold War these criminal people, because they had a big enemy that they could promote, that they were afraid of. They were very unhappy at the end of World War II because we won, so therefore there was no need – always in American History before that, as Gore Vidal brilliantly says, we always demobilize, but in ’47, Truman and others decided that they would create this enemy in the Russians, our former great allies, who helped us beat the Germans actually in the – well it was really the Russians who were a major factor, and they were our major allies, and so we turned them into the Devil, and threatened them with our nuclear weapons, which them caused them to like build up nuclear, then we could have an arms race with them, then make them an enemy, then have all these proxy wars, and the happy days for the military of forty years of Cold War. Then finally it stopped and they didn’t know what to do, you know, Bush I, no more Cold War, no more things, even Bush I had the temerity, the old warrior CIA guy that he is, to say we might have a “peace dividend”, and he’s talking there to all the poor people in America, all the people with no decent roads and schools and train systems and all the horribly deteriorated info structure that the US now is a victim of like a fourth world country. And, but no, there’s no peace dividend because the old Secretary of Defense, you know, Darth Cheney, writes up a big program for world conquest, and so everybody’s our enemy suddenly then, so it’s even better, we’ve only had the Russians, or now suddenly everybody’s our enemy. And they’ve got to find some people to okay, we’ll attack Iraq, we’ll attack, so, here and there, we’ll conquer from Iraq to, central Russia, you know, get all the oil, you know. The ridiculous thing he wrote in 1991 which they’ve been doing now in 2000 with the poor – the poor son who’s just a party animal who just, who wants to sniff coke and have fun, and they just put him up there, and he’s like, going like this, and they don’t – he doesn’t know what he’s doing? And he’s leading the charge of these complete World War II lunatics, who are criminals really, basically, themselves they are war criminals.
Recorded on: 6/1/07
Thurman talks about how the United States was once the closest country in history to achieve certain Buddhist ideals, but that it has been subverted.
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