September 04, 2008

Expert on Tibetan Buddhism to present lecture

by Philip Ho

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Robert Thurman, professor, activist, and author of numerous academic and popular publications on Tibetan Buddhism, will deliver the Charles D. Tenney Distinguished Lecture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 in the Student Center Auditorium.

A reception and book signing immediately follow the lecture in the Student Center Old Main Lounge. The lecture, part of the University Honors Program, is free and open to the public.

Thurman’s lecture, “The Dalai Lama’s Ethical Revolution and the World Crisis,” focuses on issues raised in his most recent book, “Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet and the World.” Following the Dalai Lama’s extraordinary example of a life dedicated to peace, non-violence and unity, Thurman’s latest book explores why the Dalai Lama earned the world’s love and respect, and how his teaching might be used as a way to resolve conflicts, not only between Tibet and China, but throughout the world.

At present, Thurman is the Jey T’song Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, where he is also president of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies. Thurman also serves as president of Tibet House, a not-for-profit organization he founded with actor Richard Gere to preserve and promote Tibetan culture. Thurman is a former Tibetan Buddhist monk -- the first American to be ordained as such. His monastic vocation began in 1962. Though he no longer lives as a monk, Thurman remains a devoted student and close friend of the 14th Dalai Lama.

Thurman is also the father of actress and humanitarian Uma Thurman.

The Charles D. Tenney lectures honor the former University vice president and provost, who served from 1952 to 1971.

For more information, contact Lori Merrill-Fink, director of the University Honors Program, at 618/453-1688 or at