What is your outlook?
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: What is your outlook?
Robert Thurman: I used to have a recurring dream I must have been – I haven’t had them so much lately ‘cause I just don’t take time, but I always had this recurring dream of going back to Tibet with the Dali Lama in a big diregable, like one of those things in Captain Nemo or something, and floating down over Tibet in this big diregable, all over Tibet, and people dancing happily, feeling liberated. And, that can never happen until the world system has become more sane, that Tibet will regain its own autonomy or freedom, and that will never happen until the world has decided that Tibet is a pi – is a pioneer country and is a special treasure like is a Switzerland of Asia, that has shown the way to demilitarizing the world, because militarization is a complete disaster for the country that militarizes, for its neighbors, it’s a complete waste of resources, and it creates also bad characters and violent people like Rambos who then can’t, like, behave around the house and then they tear the house apart if you say something to them, they – they’re all like post-traumatic stress disorder and even continuing traumatic stress disorder, there’s no post about it.
So, I have this recurring dream and, and I believe this will happen, and I actually thought it was really on its way with the end of the Cold War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and, Tiananmen Square, and, and Il Tsou Jeng Tsu Tsing Verma and so fourth, we were really on the way there, and then there was this tremendous freak out of return back to the old way on the part of the elites mutually reinforcing elites on top of the different societies, and the Bushes are Major responsible, Bush senior, and Clinton wasn’t able to move it to any different theme then he sold out to it.
And, so I was disappointed there, but I still see it, in the Mayans say, 2012, the new shift, change, you know. I think that’s, so that’s only five years from now, so we’re going to see a big change very soon I do believe that.
Recorded on: June 1, 2007
Thurman talks about a recurring dream and why hes worried it will not become a reality.
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