Bob Thurman, known in the academic circles as Professor Robert A.F. Thurman, is a talented popularizer of the Buddha’s teachings, the first Western Tibetan Buddhist monk ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and was a longtime close friend of Gelek Rimpoche.
A charismatic speaker and author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics and culture, Bob was named by The New York Times as the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism. Time Magazine chose him as one of the 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.”
Bob served as the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University for 30 years, until 2020. A very popular professor, students always felt his classes were “life-changing”.
Bob is the founder and active president of Tibet House US, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan culture, and 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 Tibetan treatises.