Learning from Dying: Buddhist Understandings of Consciousness and Death
Registration fee: $20; $10 students and seniors
No one turned away for lack of funds
Monday, September 11, 2017
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Join us for renowned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and Columbia University Professor Dr. Robert A.F. Thurman in conversations with his colleague Dr. Isa Gucciardi and UCSF’s Dr. Eve Ekman and Dr. David Bullard, exploring Buddhist understandings about consciousness and death. Dr. Thurman translated one of the most important texts on the subject, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, from Tibetan into English, as well as many other works.
Inspired by his good friend His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Thurman takes us along with him into an expanded vision of the world: whether the sweep of history, the subtleties of the inner science of the psyche, or the wonders of the life of the heart. He shares the sense of refuge in the Dharma, which helps us clear away the shrouds of fear and confusion, sustains us with the cheerfulness of an enriched present, and opens a door to a path of realistic hope for a peaceful future.
On this 16th anniversary of a day of immense suffering from human violence, Dr. Thurman will discuss His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s life and teachings as depicted in the graphic novel, Man of Peace (2017). A guided Buddhist meditation will also be included in the presentation.
A majority of funds raised will be donated to the International Rescue Committee. Website: rescue.org.
About Robert A.F. Thurman, Ph.D.
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 magazine 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.
His own search for enlightenment began while he was a student at Harvard. After an accident in which he lost the use of an eye, Thurman left school on a spiritual quest throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He found his way to India, where he first saw H.H. the Dalai Lama in 1962. After learning Tibetan and studying Buddhism he decided to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk and was the first Westerner to be ordained by the Dalai Lama. However, some years later, he offered up his robes when “he discovered he could be more effective in the American equivalent of the monastery: the university.” He returned to Harvard to finish his PhD. A very popular professor, students call his classes “life-changing.”
As part of his long-term commitment to the Tibetan cause, at the request of H.H. the Dalai Lama, Thurman co-founded Tibet House US in 1987 with Tenzin Tethong, Richard Gere, and Philip Glass. Since then Uma Thurman, Melissa Mathison Ford, Natalie Merchant, Leila Hadley Luce and many others served on the board. Tibet House US is a non profit organization in New York City dedicated to the preservation and renaissance of Tibetan civilization. It maintains a lively museum and cultural center, and offers programs in all aspects of the Tibetan arts and sciences. It recently founded the Menla Mountain Retreat Center in the Catskill Mountains to advance the healing arts and wisdom of Tibetan and Asian medicine traditions and offer their resources to the growing demand for alternative and complementary health practices. Website: bobthurman.com
About Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D
Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. is the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, a school for consciousness studies in Berkeley, CA. She is the creator of the contemplative counseling model, Depth Hypnosis, which incorporates key principles of Buddhist philosophy into the clinical setting. A hospice volunteer for many years, she teaches workshops on Grief and Loss and Worlds Beyond Death in addition to assisting individuals with end of life issues through her private practice. Author of Coming to Peace and Return to the Great Mother, she teaches nationally and internationally. Website: sacredstream.org.
About Eve Ekman, Ph.D., M.S.W.
UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), UCSF. Cultivating Emotional Balance Teacher. Director of Research and Development, Emotional Skills Instructor.
Eve has also collaborated with H.H. the Dalai Lama and with her father, Dr. Paul Ekman, in elucidating Tibetan ways of understanding and working with emotions, and has worked extensively in medical social work in emergency room situations. Eve’s research interest includes technology that fosters emotion regulation and mindfulness, developing a dynamic measurement for empathy, and assessing the impact of provider empathy on the quality of patient care. Website: eveekman.com
About David Bullard, Ph.D.
David Bullard, Ph.D., is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology (Psychiatry) at the University of California, San Francisco, where he currently consults with the Symptom Management Service (which provides outpatient palliative care) at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and is a member of the Professional Advisory Group, Spiritual Care Services, Clinical Pastoral Education Program at UCSF. A Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Marital and Family Therapist, David has been practicing individual psychotherapy and couples therapy in San Francisco for 40 years, and has been a guest teacher at San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center and Green Gulch.
David has traveled with Dr. Thurman to Bhutan and has had the opportunity to be with him at numerous workshops and talks over the past 12 years. David has also had the pleasure of interviewing (for psychotherapy.net) and presenting with both Dr. Thurman and Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D., H.H. the Dalai Lama’s primary English translator and editor. Website: drbullard.com
The Rev. Peter Yuichi Clark, Ph.D., BCC, ACPE Certified Educator
Director of Spiritual Care Services
Chaplain Pegi Walker
Program Coordinator, Music is Good Medicine
Grief Support Counselor
Spiritual Care Services
UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital
Michael W. Rabow, MD
Director, Symptom Management Service, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Director, Symptom Management & Palliative Care Consultation Service, UCSF/Bakar Hospital
Helen Diller Family Chair in Palliative Care
Professor of Clinical Medicine and Urology
University of California, San Francisco
Spiritual Care Services, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital
Symptom Management Service, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF
California Institute of Integral Studies
San Francisco Zen Center
Foundation for the Sacred Stream
KUNDE Institute: Center for Tibetan Wellness and Healing
Zen Hospice Project