The first American to be ordained a Tibetan Monk by the Dalai Lama, Robert A.F. Thurman is a scholar, author and tireless proponent of peace.

Why you should listen

Tenzin Robert 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.

What others say

“Thurman considers Buddhism to be primarily a system of education, a science that guides individuals to live life to its fullest.” — Kansas City Star

Robert Thurman’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Robert Thurman


Bob Thurman on happiness and becoming Buddha — on

June 7, 2007

Amid TEDGlobal’s talk of our global connection and interconnection, it’s a fine time to present Bob Thurman, Buddhist monk and scholar, on the Buddhist view of the universe. In our hyperlinked world, we can know anything, anytime. And this mass enlightenment, says Thurman, is our first step toward becoming Buddha. When we can know everything, […]

Continue reading