Robert A. F. “Tenzin” Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President and co-founder of Tibet House US, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, the President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, and Editor-in-Chief of the Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences, a long-term translation and publication project of the Tibetan Tengyur canon.
Professional Experience Director, Center for Buddhist Studies, Columbia University, NY, NY — 1989
– Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, Columbia University, NY, NY — 1988
– President, American Institute of Buddhist Studies, NY, NY 1972–President, Tibet House US, 1992-
—Chair, Dept. of Religion, Columbia University, NY, NY 1991–95; 2004–2007
— Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Religion, Columbia University, NY, NY 1998–2004
—Senior Lecturer, Écoles des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris 1994
—Chairman, Institute for Asian Democracy 1992–1994
—Professor of Religion, Amherst College 1985–1988
—Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan Fall, 1985
—Visiting Associate Professor of Religion, Williams College Spring, 1984
—Visiting Associate Professor of Religion, Wesleyan University Spring, 1983
—Visiting Associate Professor of Religion, Smith College Spring, 1982
—Visiting Professor of Tibetan and World Religions, Harvard University 1979, 1986
—Lecturer, Boston University, Institute for Philosophy and Religion 1978–1979, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1993
—Associate Professor, Amherst College 1978–1985
—Assistant Professor of Religion, Amherst College 1973–1978
—Director of Research and Translation, Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religions, Stony Brook, NY 1972–1976.
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA — Ph.D., 1972
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA — A.M., 1969
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA — B.A., 1968
American Institute of Indian Studies: Junior Research Fellow in India, 1970–1971; Senior Research Fellow in India, 1980–1981; Senior Research Fellow in India, 1986–1986; Trustee, 1982–1985; 1992. Institute of Advanced Studies of World Religions, New York: Principal Investigator, American Institute of Buddhist Studies/Lamaist Buddhist Monastery Research Project for Translation of Tibetan Tengyur, 1973–1976. Rockefeller Brothers Fund: Principal Investigator, American Institute of Buddhist Studies Project to Expand Buddhist Studies Contribution to Liberal Arts Education, 1977–1981. National Endowment for the Humanities: Principal Investigator, American Institute of Buddhist Studies Research and Translation Project, 1978–1979; Reviewer, Asian Religions Film Project, 1979–1980; Senior Review Panelist, NEH Research Division, 1982–1984. Ada Howe Kent Foundation: Principal Investigator, American Institute of Buddhist Studies Project to Expand Buddhist Studies and Asian Humanities Offerings in Five Colleges, 1981–1984. George L. Hamilton Fund, Amherst College: Chairperson, convening major conferences on Comparative Philosophy, 1976–1979; Comparative Monasticism, 1981–1984; Buddhist Psychology with Dalai Lama, 1984. Henry Luce Foundation: Principal Investigator, Tibet House US Old Tibet Archive Project, 1993– . Laurance Rockefeller Fund: Chairperson, World Sciences in Dialogue Project, 1992–1994. Fetzer Institute: Chairperson, World Sciences in Dialogue Project, 1992–1994. California Wellness Foundation: Principal Investigator, Peacemaking: Politics of Nonviolence, 1995–1997. Infinity Foundation, ConAnima Foundation, Sacharuna Foundation, Robert Ho Foundation: Principal Investigator, Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences, Tengyur Translation Series (multi-year translation and publication series), 1999– ; Benioff Family Foundation, Change the World Fellowship, 2008-2012.
American Oriental Society • Association for Asian Studies • American Academy of Religion (incl. Service on Committee for Public Understanding of Religion, 2000–2003) • American Philosophical Association • International Association of Buddhist Studies (incl. Board of Directors and co-editor of Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 1982–1996)
PUBLISHED WORKS (partial list)
The Brilliant Illumination of the Lamp of the Five Stages. NY: AIBS/CBS/THUS with Columbia University Press, 2010.
Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the World. NY and Portland: Simon & Schuster Atria /Beyond Words Books, 2008.
with Lozang Jamspal, et al.
The Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature. NY: AIBS/CBS/THUS with Columbia University Press, 2004. (*Funded, in part, by a grant from the NEH.)
Anger: of the Seven Deadly Sins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. (in translation in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Korean).
The Jewel Tree of Tibet. NY, Macmillan Free Press, 2004.
Infinite Life: Awakening to the Bliss Within. NY: Riverhead Books (Putnam), 2003.
With Tad Wise, Circling the Sacred Mountain. NY: Doubleday, Bantam, 1999.
Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Real Happiness. NY: Riverhead Books (Putnam), 1998. (also in translation, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian)
With Denise Leidy, Mandala: The Architecture of Enlightenment. NY & Boston: Shambhala Publications, Asia Society, & Tibet House US, 1996.
Essential Tibetan Buddhism. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1995. (also, in translation in Spanish, French, Italian, and German)
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Natural Liberation Through Understanding in the Between. NY: Bantam Publications, 1994. (also, in translation in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Russian)
With Marilyn Rhie, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet. NY, Harry Abrams, 1992 & 1997. (also, in translation in German, Spanish, Catalan, Japanese, Chinese)
Speech of Gold: Reason and Enlightenment in the Central Philosophy of Tibet. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984; reprinted as The Central Philosophy of Tibet, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.
The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti. Penn State University Press, 1977. (also, in translation in Polish and Spanish)