The Science of Success

Finding Joy In A World Full of Suffering - Lessons From a Former Buddhist Monk with Robert Thurman

December 28, 2017
This episode is a bit off the beaten path for us here at the Science of Success. Given this time of year, when many are thinking, reflecting, and being a bit more spiritual - we wanted to offer a different perspective. This episode is not as science based, but still provides a fascinating dialogue with a Buddhist monk, who was the first westerner ordained by the Dalai Lama, on life, meditation, mindfulness, and much more with our guest Robert Thurman.
Robert Thurman is a Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies. Time magazine has called Robert “the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.” and named him one of Time Magazine most influential Americans in 1997. Robert was the first westerner ever to be ordained as a Tibetan Monk by the Dalai Lama and his work and books have been featured all over the globe.
  • How Robert’s journey took him to becoming a Tibetan Monk under the Dalai Llama
  • The human being is a learning machine
  • The dogma of materialism - mind is the power that directs matter 
  • Inner science / buddhist science
  • The basic misunderstandings of buddhism from a western perspective
    • Life is suffering
    • It’s just meditation
  • Meditation without context isn’t useful 
  • The two kinds of meditation
    • Clearing your mind of thinking / emptying the mind
    • Analytic / critical meditation or “insight meditation”
      • Thinking something directed towards the exploration of yourself, ideas, or things around you 
  • How an egotistical approach creates “guaranteed misery” - you could become the most powerful person on the planet and people still wont think you’re important 
  • Why enlightenment is not clearing your mind of thoughts
  • The importance of focusing on and being open to other people
  • You can learn if you examine yourself and your world
  • The unexamined life will be frustrating
  • “Dis-identifying from the thought flow” will not get you to enlightenment
  • Look more objectively at your thought flow - see where thought flows arise, penetrate the thought flow, see the negative thoughts and the positive thoughts
    • What thought is that?
    • How accurate is it?
    • Where does it come from?
    • Whose voice is it? my mother’s voice? my fathers? my uncles? my teacher?
    • Gain leverage on how the mind works, edit how the mind works reinforce the positive insights, de-enforce the negative insights 
  • Stripping away false identities and beliefs
  • It’s helpful to have help of others - mobilize minds that are further along the path than you are - your the only one who can learn your reality in a  viscerally transformative way - use their help and follow their methods
  • How Eckart Tolle battled back from the verge of suicide - looking critically at negative thoughts 
  • Experiential understanding of the nature of reality - reality is beyond anyone’s idea of reality
  • The experience of reality is beyond our ability to describe it
  • How does the Dalai Llama keep up his joy, good humor, and happiness in a world full of so much suffering?
  • The nature of life itself is blissful. Reality is good. The more you’re open to reality, the happier you are. 
  • Broaden your attitude and orientation, don’t deny the bad experiences
  • When you’re miserable, you can’t help people. When you’re happy, you can. 
  • You have to put your own happiness oxygen mask on before you can help anyone else
  • The habitual perception that we are our own isolated egos vs the universe 
  • Interconnectedness of all life
  • Suffering and frustration are rooted in the false belief that you and your ego are the most important thing
  • The universe is empty of any non-relational entity
  • Buddhism is the opposite of ignorance is bliss, reality is bliss. You already have bliss, you have blocks of knowing and feeling and understand it. It’s YOU. You’re made of it. 
  • Wave particle paradox, Heinsberg uncertainty and the science of interconnectedness
  • Quantum physics, buddhism and the observer paradox