Author Topic: Robert Thurman - the inside stories  (Read 27522 times)

Ensapa

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2012, 12:02:15 PM »
I think most people would have expected a more accurate explanation regarding his statements on Shugden from a such a high profile scholar. If he cannot present the statement he's made with proofs, what made us think it will not not destroy his credibility on his other work?

Wouldn't it be better to not include this material at all rather than to present it without clear evidence with the possibility of causing more confusion from his readers? As a Buddhist scholar, why create more problems rather than to lessen them? For some personal reasons maybe?

I think robert thurman just wants to buy favor from the Dalai Lama when he wrote against Dorje Shugden without proof. There is also another writer who writes really bad things against Dorje Shugden that are also untrue: richard dreyfus. Both of them together bring down journalism to a new low: writing fiction and then passing them off as facts in order to mislead people to the direction of their choice. It would be so much better for them to not have written those lies that mislead people, because what they did is confuse and mislead many people.

DS Star

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2012, 06:27:18 PM »
I have 2 comments on the initial post:

1. High Lamas really have clairvoyance - they can see it even years before it happens. Like HH Dromo Geshe Rinpoche, who is someone close to Robert Thurman but had refused his request as well;

2. Robert Thurman's later days' objection and hostile actions towards Dorje Shugden practitioners could be motivated by his personal vendetta - his anger for being refused and for jealousy? Only he himself know what is his real motive to behave in that manner...

Big Uncle

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2012, 03:07:53 AM »
I have 2 comments on the initial post:

1. High Lamas really have clairvoyance - they can see it even years before it happens. Like HH Dromo Geshe Rinpoche, who is someone close to Robert Thurman but had refused his request as well;

2. Robert Thurman's later days' objection and hostile actions towards Dorje Shugden practitioners could be motivated by his personal vendetta - his anger for being refused and for jealousy? Only he himself know what is his real motive to behave in that manner...

Hey DS Star, I really agree with you man. I feel that his semi-truthful statements regarding Dorje Shugden is fueled by his anger at being rejected and his generally unstable character. Did you guys know that he was once a monk? I can't remember for how long but he gave that up and started a family. To me, people who gives up the monastic life without much reason is pretty much unstable.

It is really sad and what would he say when the Dalai Lama decides to lift the ban? What Aurore said is also true, if people only knew the truth behind his words right now, how would they view him as a scholar and would they still buy his books and go to his lectures and listen to his speeches. If I was him, I would be careful with what I say about Dorje Shugden because as a scholar, I would know who Dorje Shugden is considering the High Lamas and great practitioners that practice Dorje Shugden.

Ensapa

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2012, 10:57:56 AM »
I have 2 comments on the initial post:

1. High Lamas really have clairvoyance - they can see it even years before it happens. Like HH Dromo Geshe Rinpoche, who is someone close to Robert Thurman but had refused his request as well;

2. Robert Thurman's later days' objection and hostile actions towards Dorje Shugden practitioners could be motivated by his personal vendetta - his anger for being refused and for jealousy? Only he himself know what is his real motive to behave in that manner...

Hey DS Star, I really agree with you man. I feel that his semi-truthful statements regarding Dorje Shugden is fueled by his anger at being rejected and his generally unstable character. Did you guys know that he was once a monk? I can't remember for how long but he gave that up and started a family. To me, people who gives up the monastic life without much reason is pretty much unstable.

It is really sad and what would he say when the Dalai Lama decides to lift the ban? What Aurore said is also true, if people only knew the truth behind his words right now, how would they view him as a scholar and would they still buy his books and go to his lectures and listen to his speeches. If I was him, I would be careful with what I say about Dorje Shugden because as a scholar, I would know who Dorje Shugden is considering the High Lamas and great practitioners that practice Dorje Shugden.

All I can say is, I feel really sad for bob when the ban is taken down because once it is, he will lose all his credibility and dignity. I dont think that he will have any footing once the ban is lifted, mainly because people will start to doubt whether or not he what he teaches or writes is reliable or not. You're right, Big Uncle, he should be more careful with what he wrote about Dorje Shugden because when people realize it wont be a good thing when they discover that what he writes are very far removed from the truth. that will be a painful zing for bob.

vajratruth

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2012, 01:48:35 PM »
I completely agree that Robert Thurman’s anti-Shugden stance is political. He is blatantly a Dalai Lama sycophant and clearly has no basis to support the ban. There can be no other reason because the ban has no basis. No intellectual or academician of note would be able to substantiate the reasons for the ban because there are no concrete reasons. As a result, those critical of Dorje Shugden, like Thurman, have to resort to childish behaviour such as name-calling. The Chinese spy allegations are really ridiculous and it is about time the anti-Shugden gang come up with new and original ideas.

Perhaps we are naïve to think that everyone who studies Buddhism, has immersed himself in some form of the practice, and is able to converse knowledgeably in more complex doctrines, is a true practicing Buddhist.  Reading about Robert Thurman made me realize that for some, Buddhism is a not a faith nor a practice, but more a well paying career.  For Thurman, for certain the knowledge is be there, but it would appear that Thurman’s interest lies more in being the American mouthpiece for the Dalai Lama, than a true advocate of the Buddha’s teachings.

Robert Thurman’s first encounter with serious Buddhism was through Geshe Nyawang Wangyal, and only after a brief time Thurman professed that he frantically wanted to be a monk and could think of nothing better than to spend his life in monastic seclusion. It was said that Geshe Nyawang strongly advised Thurman not to take that path. Perhaps Geshe Nyawang could already see what Dromo Rinpoche and Gelek Rinpoche saw in Thurman later – a lack of conviction, a lack of sincerity even, or an impetuous nature? We don’t know but even then, Thurman was not thought of as being a monk material.

Nevertheless, upon Thurman incessant pleas (don’t know if Thurman begged and crawled then) Geshe Nyawang took him to meet the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama was young (29 years old) and fresh from having lost Tibet to the Chinese and would have seen in Thurman a gateway to the West, since Thurman spoke fluent Tibetan. I think it was then that a convenient religious-political alliance was struck. The Dalai Lama was to be Thurman’s ticket to being the most authoritative Tibetanologist in the West and Thurman was to be the Dalai Lama’s way in, to win Western hearts.

For all Thurman’s zeal to live a monastic life, he left his first wife and child. But merely two years after being ordained, he was home sick and decided that he would better serve Buddhism by returning to secular life to teach.  He married again and had more children. So much for his frantic desire for monastic seclusion. It should also be noted that prior to being obsessed with Lamaism, Thurman by his own account wanted to run away and join Fidel Castro but was turned away. So we get a picture of Robert Thurman. But it was fine with the Dalai Lama so long as Thurman was romanticizing Tibet to the West and glorifying the Dalai Lama.

We see in Thurman the present Dalai Lama’s definitive cheerleader often claiming the same belief as His Holiness. For example, Thurman hailed the ascendancy of the 5th Dalai Lama as the ultimate triumph of Buddhist monasticism, topped only by the “achievement” of the 14th Dalai Lama, of course the Great 5th being the role model for the 14th.

It was Robert Thurman who sensationalized the murder of the three monks in Dharamsala, the same unfortunate incident whose blame was pinned on Shugden supporters. Thurman said thus in his interview in Newsweek: “The three were stabbed repeatedly and cut up in a way that was like exorcism”. In that way Thurman heightened the image the Dalai Lama wanted to portray of Shugden followers as demon worshippers.

I cannot say for sure if Robert Thurman’s stance on Dorje Shugden is based on his being denied the initiation. It would appear to me that even if he had received the Dorje Shugden initiation he so desperately coveted, he would still have changed his tune. This is after all, what a mouthpiece is supposed to do. Echo the will of the master regardless of cost or conscience.

Ensapa

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #35 on: December 27, 2012, 04:08:24 AM »
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It was Robert Thurman who sensationalized the murder of the three monks in Dharamsala, the same unfortunate incident whose blame was pinned on Shugden supporters. Thurman said thus in his interview in Newsweek: “The three were stabbed repeatedly and cut up in a way that was like exorcism”. In that way Thurman heightened the image the Dalai Lama wanted to portray of Shugden followers as demon worshippers.

I cannot say for sure if Robert Thurman’s stance on Dorje Shugden is based on his being denied the initiation. It would appear to me that even if he had received the Dorje Shugden initiation he so desperately coveted, he would still have changed his tune. This is after all, what a mouthpiece is supposed to do. Echo the will of the master regardless of cost or conscience.

Yes it was him that spread lies and misled the world's media that the 3 monks were killed by Dorje Shugden practitioners. It was really sensationalized by the media in a negative way as the media totally bought what did bob wrote about the whole thing although in reality, it was nothing like  that and the actual murderers were never found. For all we know, it could be the Cholsum who did it to frame the Dorje Shugden practitioners and bob here is making false accusations against innocent people. how does he even sleep at night?

shugdenpromoter

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #36 on: December 28, 2012, 09:48:04 AM »
Very interesting. I must say this forum does gives a lot of insides to the Tibetan Buddhism world.

I do not think much of Robert Thurman himself.  For me, he took the monk vows and then he disrobed already said a lot about him.

I am sure there are many of Robert Thurman in the world who has disrobed. But they should at least keep a low profile and not criticize other people practice like Shugden. If you have a skeleton in the closet, keep quiet. Now the skeleton is out and I supposed more will be out eventually to question his credibility.

Ensapa

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2012, 10:48:24 AM »
Very interesting. I must say this forum does gives a lot of insides to the Tibetan Buddhism world.

I do not think much of Robert Thurman himself.  For me, he took the monk vows and then he disrobed already said a lot about him.

I am sure there are many of Robert Thurman in the world who has disrobed. But they should at least keep a low profile and not criticize other people practice like Shugden. If you have a skeleton in the closet, keep quiet. Now the skeleton is out and I supposed more will be out eventually to question his credibility.

You might not think much of  him, but many others who are not familiar with Tibetan Buddhism sees him as an authority figure in Buddhism and respects his work highly. His works are considered authoritative by many a Buddhists out there who do not know better. Therein lies the danger of relying on 'modern' scholars who sound like they know what they are saying, but actually it is said out of personal bias. In the past, commentators or translators or scholars on the teachings also need to have a certain level of Dharma practice before they can do so, but in our age, anyone who talks about Tibetan Buddhism on topics that most people dont know about is considered a scholar, and unfortunately, Thurman is one of them.

DSFriend

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #38 on: December 30, 2012, 11:15:11 AM »
Well, Thurman sure looks like a 2-faced peson, doing his best to be in the good books with HHDL by bashing Shugden practitioners and at the same time, behind closed doors going on all four begging for shugden practice. We can turn around and bash him for being a 2-faced hypocrite but what I'd also like to look at is he wanted the practice. I do hope that he will create the right condition to one day receive this practice just like all of us who are undeserving.

Ensapa

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #39 on: December 31, 2012, 03:06:02 AM »
Well, Thurman sure looks like a 2-faced peson, doing his best to be in the good books with HHDL by bashing Shugden practitioners and at the same time, behind closed doors going on all four begging for shugden practice. We can turn around and bash him for being a 2-faced hypocrite but what I'd also like to look at is he wanted the practice. I do hope that he will create the right condition to one day receive this practice just like all of us who are undeserving.

As much as I would like to hope for that to happen for him, it seems that he has completely switched camps since the incident and has gone to the Dalai Lama's side. Sometimes you gotta give it to the Dalai Lama for attracting people like this to be on his side so that they wont harm many others (which they might if they are allowed to carry on.) so in hindsight, perhaps if thurman was on the side of the Dorje Shugden practitioners, he would be a horrible example to many, perhaps, which is why it would be better for him to be at the Dalai Lama's side for the moment as one rotten apple in the Dalai Lama's camp would be a drop of water in the ocean because there is just so many followers of the Dalai Lama and his fame is so steady and established that little can affect it.

Big Uncle

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #40 on: December 31, 2012, 09:42:54 AM »
Actually, despite all that we know of Robert Thurman, what if someone can convince him of firstly, the validity of the Dorje Shugden practice. As a scholar, he most likely knows this already and he is just using it as a scapegoat to vent his frustrations of being rejected his plea for a life-entrustment ritual by Domo Geshe Rinpoche.

If someone could so kindly as to allay his frustrations and anger and get him to see that from his position, he can do a lot to talk about lifting the ban. He is a person of significant authority and prestige from an academic perspective and that adds to the credibility of his claims and statements should he take up this stance. I know this sounds far-fetched but you never know who this forum is being read by. Sometimes a wild shot or a radical article can work out if it reaches its intended destination. This would be great if that ever happened. Anyway, its just one of the wild thoughts that goes through my head.                                                                                                                                                                       

Ensapa

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2012, 11:08:00 AM »
Actually, despite all that we know of Robert Thurman, what if someone can convince him of firstly, the validity of the Dorje Shugden practice. As a scholar, he most likely knows this already and he is just using it as a scapegoat to vent his frustrations of being rejected his plea for a life-entrustment ritual by Domo Geshe Rinpoche.

If someone could so kindly as to allay his frustrations and anger and get him to see that from his position, he can do a lot to talk about lifting the ban. He is a person of significant authority and prestige from an academic perspective and that adds to the credibility of his claims and statements should he take up this stance. I know this sounds far-fetched but you never know who this forum is being read by. Sometimes a wild shot or a radical article can work out if it reaches its intended destination. This would be great if that ever happened. Anyway, its just one of the wild thoughts that goes through my head.                                                                                                                                                                       

If you havent read the account by Helmut Gassner, the Dalai Lama has a way of persuading people to not take up Dorje Shugden practice or to abandon it: his hug. It would be a very overwhelming hug that many people can barely overcome and they will just promise anything the Dalai Lama request of them afterwards. So bob would probably have turned on 'that side' by that way but there would be things that could make him rethink the whole thing...is that what you mean there Big Uncle? Because its been many years now and bob still has not changed his mind about Dorje Shugden although he has quieted down from writing any new material for quite sometime now.

beggar

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2012, 05:33:51 PM »
Actually, despite all that we know of Robert Thurman, what if someone can convince him of firstly, the validity of the Dorje Shugden practice. As a scholar, he most likely knows this already and he is just using it as a scapegoat to vent his frustrations of being rejected his plea for a life-entrustment ritual by Domo Geshe Rinpoche.

If someone could so kindly as to allay his frustrations and anger and get him to see that from his position, he can do a lot to talk about lifting the ban. He is a person of significant authority and prestige from an academic perspective and that adds to the credibility of his claims and statements should he take up this stance. I know this sounds far-fetched but you never know who this forum is being read by. Sometimes a wild shot or a radical article can work out if it reaches its intended destination. This would be great if that ever happened. Anyway, its just one of the wild thoughts that goes through my head.                                                                                                                                                                       


One of the aspects i have found most disappointing about Robert Thurman is his refusal to engage in any mature and substantial dialogue regarding the dorje Shugden issue. An open letter to him went completely ignored (article here: http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/an-open-letter-to-robert-thurman/) and he has been known to answer Dorje Shugden practitioners (even ordained ones) very rudely) Surely, of all people, an academic and credible author of Buddhist subjects like him should be all the open to intellectual and logical discussion about an issue like this. This isn't just hocus pocus - it's also not just a religious issue but one of basic human rights, individual freedoms and the right to expression. As an author in the west, surely he should understand - above all - the the importance of freedom of expression and choice! And yet, he sides with the very people who are denying this, especially in a spiritual sphere, which is SUPPOSED to be about finding liberation, freedom and choice.

Would you be more inclined to take his writings less seriously then? It seems to be at odds with the very subjects he is writing about, which is about kindness, being accountable for one's actions (karma), responsibility, openness and a freedom to choose one's path. So it seems that his stance on the subject is more one of petulance, a reactionary one, rather than one of logical and reasonable thinking or objectivity (which is of utmost importance as a scholar, surely!)

Further, not only has he refused to engage in any dialogue but has also reacted in rude ways towards Shugden practitioners (article on this here: http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/robert-thurman-meets-kelsang-pema/). Is this becoming behavior of someone who is not only an established, respected author in the field of Buddhism, but, supposedly a Buddhist practitioner himself? Is this the behavior of someone in support of the Dalai Lama and other great Buddhist masters? If so, then it's certainly a poor reflection of the very people he is trying to promote, write about and follow.

Ensapa

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Re: Robert Thurman - the inside stories
« Reply #43 on: January 01, 2013, 06:05:39 AM »
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Further, not only has he refused to engage in any dialogue but has also reacted in rude ways towards Shugden practitioners (article on this here: http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/robert-thurman-meets-kelsang-pema/). Is this becoming behavior of someone who is not only an established, respected author in the field of Buddhism, but, supposedly a Buddhist practitioner himself? Is this the behavior of someone in support of the Dalai Lama and other great Buddhist masters? If so, then it's certainly a poor reflection of the very people he is trying to promote, write about and follow.


Oh my, such rude behaviour is very unbecoming of someone who is supposedly the author of many Dharma books. How can someone of his calibre, who has written so many books on the Buddha's teachings act in ways that totally contradict the Buddha's teachings? Why does he not practice what he preaches and will it be that one day people will lose respect for him because he does not practice what he has wrote so extensively in his books? It is always easy to understand Buddhism from a theoretical point of view but what about practice? His total avoidance of Dorje Shugden topics shows that he knows nothing about Dorje Shugden and that he is well aware that what he wrong about Dorje Shugden is wrong. Silence is in this case, an admission of guilt.