When author, translator, and scholar Robert Thurman was first introduced to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1964, he was described as "a crazy American boy, very intelligent and with a good heart (though a little proud), who spoke Tibetan well and had learned something about Buddhism [and] wanted to become a monk."Thurman became the first Westerner to be ordained as a Buddhist monk, though he gave up his robes after several years for an American academic career.His many books, including Essential Tibetan Buddhism, Inner Revolution, The Jewel Tree of Tibet, and Why the Dalai Lama Matters, reflect a deep reverence for Tibet combined with a flair for making Buddhism accessible to the West.A champion of the preservation of Tibet's culture, Thurman co-founded New York City's Tibet House with actor Richard Gere and works closely with the Dalai Lama to educate the world about Tibet's political struggles against China.Well-known for his enthusiasm and depth on the page and in person, Thurman is currently Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, holding the first endowed chair in the field in the United States.moreless
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