We hear a lot about compassion nowadays, along with mindfulness, and there is no doubt it is the essence of all spirituality and also essential for any viable society or world. In the famous phrase of the title, the great Indian philosopher Nāgārjuna states emphatically that truly universal and unconditional compassion arises in a being who encounters the deepest nature of reality – or perhaps that compassion is the most realistic way of engaging with life realistically. This talk will elucidate the passage of Nāgārjuna’s Jewel Rosary in which this phrase occurs, connecting Buddha’s revolutionary physical theory with the supremely positive human emotions of selfless love and compassion.
Robert A.F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of the Tibet House U.S., a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, a non-profit affiliated with the Center for Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and dedicated to the publication of translations of important artistic and scientific treatises from the Tibetan Tengyur.
Time chose Professor Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997, describing him as a “larger than life scholar-activist destined to convey the Dharma, the precious teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, from Asia to America.” The New York Times recently said Thurman “is considered the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.”
Thurman is known as a talented popularizer of the Buddha’s teachings. He is a riveting speaker and an author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics and culture, including The Central Philosophy of Tibet, Circling the Sacred Mountain, Essential Tibetan Buddhism, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, Worlds of Transformation, Inner Revolution, Infinite Life, the Jewel Tree of Tibet, Why The Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the World, and, most recently, with Sharon Salzberg, Love Your Enemies.