Altruism and Compassion : Buddhism 101 – Ep. 206

In this episode Robert A.F. Thurman introduces the heart of the Buddha’s teaching through an exploration of the compassionate self-interest and social altruism found in the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path.

Opening with a re-telling of the story featured in the “Man of Peace” Graphic Novel about the Dalai Lama’s first encounter with his teacher Khuna Lama who transmitted the oral instructions of the  “Equal Exchange of Self for Other” teachings by Shantideva, Professor Thurman uses these classical texts to reveal the wisdom and compassion of Buddhism’s perspective.

Podcast includes a discussion of the Dalai Lama “wise selfish” teachings, a humorous comparison of the nature of blind faith and religion to the Buddha’s discovery and his teachings of engaged realism known as Buddhism and a brief discussion of “What is Buddhism” for those of all backgrounds and experience.

Second half of this week’s episode is an introduction to the medicine culture of Tibet and how the Buddhist understanding of healing and self transformation is embodied in the work of Tibet House US and the Dewa Spa at Menla Retreat.

Podcast concludes with a reading of Wallace Steven’s poem “Tea” by Gary Gach.

Altruism and Compassion : Buddhism 101 - Ep. 206 Photo Created with love by Ryan McGuire via and Compassion : Buddhism 101 – Ep. 206 Photo Created with love by Ryan McGuire via

“Altruism and Compassion : Buddhism 101 – Ep. 206 of the Bob Thurman Podcast” is apart of the Buddhism 101 series using classic teachings from the archives of Robert A.F. Thurman to elucidate basic concepts of the tradition.

To listen to more archive recordings from from past Robert A.F. Thurman teachings + public events please consider becoming a Tibet House US member. To Learn about the benefits of Tibet House US Membership please visit:

The song ‘Dancing Ling’ by Tenzin Choegyal from the album ‘Heart Sutra‘ (2004) by Ethno Super Lounge is used on the Bob Thurman Podcast with artist’s permission, all rights reserved.

Gary Gregory Gach is an author, translator, and editor living in San Francisco. A dynamic speaker and teacher in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism his works include the anthology “What Book!? Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop” and the forthcoming “Pause Breathe Smile – Awakening Mindfulness When Meditation is Not Enough”.


Podcast Extra

Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet

Why the “life story” of the Dalai Lama? It is a story of one man taking on an empire, calling for truth, peace, and justice for his Tibetan people. Here, in full color for the …