Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman (born August 4, 1941 in New York City) is the Je Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University. He also is the co-founder and president of Tibet House New York and currently holds the first endowed chair in this field of study in the United States. He is the father of five children including the actress Uma Thurman.
Professor Thurman is highly-regarded for his lucid, dynamic translations and explanations of Buddhist religious and philosophical material, particularly that pertaining to the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism and its founder, Je Tsongkhapa including Tsongkhapa's Speech of Gold: Reason and Enlightenment in the Central Philosophy of Tibet, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Essential Tibetan Buddhism, and Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Real Happiness.
At the age of 24, he became the first Western monk of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. A close friend of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, he has served as his occasional translator and has lectured all over the world.
The Translations and Writings of Robert Thurman
- The Central Philosophy of Tibet: A Study and Translation of Jey Tsong Khapa’s Essence of True Eloquence, Princeton University Press, 1984
- The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1994
- Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, H. Abrams, 1996
- Tibetan Buddhism, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996
- Mandala: The Architecture of Enlightenment, Shambhala Publications, 1997
- Worlds of Transformation: Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion, Harry N. Abrams, 1999
- Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Real Happiness, Penguin, 1999
- Circling the Sacred Mountain: A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas, co-authored with Tad Wise, Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1999
- Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well, Riverhead Books, 2004
- The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism, Free Press, Simon Schuster, 2005
- Anger, Oxford University Press, 2005
- The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: A Mahayana Scripture, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000