Tibet House US Menla Conversations: Mark Epstein M.D. – Ep. 241
In this extended conversation Robert A.F. Thurman and Dr. Mark Epstein M.D. discuss the history of scientific studies on the effects of meditation training since Buddhism’s migration to the West and encounter with materialists, psychotherapists and poets.
Settling down after their annual Buddhism and Psychotherapy gathering, Bob Thurman and Mark Epstein reflect upon their twenty plus years teaching together, the on-going dialog between mental health care-givers and Buddhist Psychonauts, highlighting the teachers and teachings which impacted their work, writing and personal journeys.
Candidly sharing details about his next book, Mark describes his academic career, the untold stories behind his groundbreaking writings, and shows how his lifelong combination of concentrated meditation practice with clinical psychological practice and study have earned him his eminent place on the front lines of the mindfulness revolution.
This episode includes: an exploration of the influence of the historical Buddha, Freud, Ginsberg, John Cage, D.W. Winnicott, D.T. Suzuki, Tsongkhapa, 14th Dalai Lama, Yeshi Dhonden, Gelek Rimpoche, wives and close family have had upon Professor Thurman and Dr. Epstein, an introduction to Abhidharma, and the relationship between Buddhist Inner Sciences, Vajrayana, yoga and modern psycho-therapeutic practice.
Recorded August 2020 this podcast includes a possible solution to the Zen koan of “one hand clapping”, also known as the un-stuck sound.
Tibet House US Menla Conversations with Mark Epstein M.D. – Ep. 241 of the Bob Thurman Podcast photo by David Gabriel Fischer via Zen Diary.
The Bob Thurman podcast is produced under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives License through the generous support of its listening audience and the Tibet House US Menla membership community. To learn about the benefits of membership please visit: www.tibethouse.us.
The songs “Trance Tibet” & ‘Dancing Ling’ by Tenzin Choegyal from the album ‘Heart Sutra‘ (2004) by Ethno Super Lounge are used on the Bob Thurman Podcast with artist’s permission, all rights reserved.
Bob Thurman 00:01:14 Okay! Hi Mark. Hey, how are you? So nice to see now I'm very happy to have you visit in the podcast today, and I'm very excited. We just did some workshop together, but you started to talk about what you're writing now and what you're thinking and doing and so that's really what I want to get after. But of course, I'm amenable to whatever you want also. So, so, that's what I'm really excited about - Like what you, you, cause you were always the last one was the advice not given, How to get over yourself. So we're all over ourselves now because we read that book.So what are we going to get over now? What are we going to do?
Mark Epstein 00:02:04 Okay. I'll tell you about the book I'm writing, but it's in process. So you have to realize it’s in process, I want to, I want to. I haven't yet and you would be the only person besides my editor that I would have talked to about this so far, but my editor and my wife, um, and my patients. So, uh, you're part of an exclusive club.
Bob Thurman 00:02:22 I don’t want to be blamed if telling me creates writer's block or something.
Mark Epstein 00:02:27 I will, I'm always looking for someone to blame for writer's block. I won't put you at the top. I only write one day a week. So, uh, so I actually have to let the tension build up and then the one day I have it, it gets discharged. So I actually rarely have writer's block, but, um, I did have it when I finished that last book, uh, “Advice Not Given a Guide to Getting Over Yourself”. I didn't know what I was gonna do in my writing day. So I set myself the task of trying to discover how I was really using my Buddhist background in the therapy office. And, I decided every week or two, I would try to capture what happened in a given session where I felt like some opening occurred or I was channeling some Buddhist, something, some, some understanding that maybe I had maybe I didn't have, but I was using it in the therapy office.
Mark Epstein 00:03:32 I decided over the course of a year task, I set myself was to try to figure out how the Buddhist understanding such that I have or don't have, was actually being used in the therapy office with my patients, not in terms of teaching meditation to them, but in terms of what was I doing, what was I doing?
Mark Epstein 00:03:55 What was I, uh, what was motivating me to say or do whatever I was doing that had some kind of, uh, uh, something in it that maybe was coming from the Buddhist side of my background. So, so for a year, every week or two, I would try to record in writing what happened in the session. And then I would type it up on my writing day. Uh, so over a year I accumulated like a diary or a chronicle of a therapy and it, it ended by chance just before the COVID virus hit and I stopped being able to do face to face psychotherapy.
So it was, it was all through 2019, uh, that, that I did this. So, and, but I could hardly, I couldn't bear to even read it over, uh, until I was done. I didn't really know what I had, but after the year I started to go through it and I thought, Oh, this is actually sort of interesting and really interesting.
Mark Epstein 00:04:53 And, and so that's, that's the kernel of this book that I'm working on. Then, then I've been going through each session and writing a kind of reflection after the description of the session. And, uh, and then there's a couple of chapters that introduces it. And one chapter that's going to close it and, uh, and that'll be a book. And I think it might be called, I think it might be called “The Zen of Therapy: Uncovering a hidden kindness in life, uncovering a hidden kindness.
Bob Thurman 00:05:25 Oh, that's very good. You know, the thing is if I can just interject, um, what I would have occurred to me in talking to you yesterday, and it occurs to me just saying today is that since people are always worried when something is labeled Buddhists, because they think it means it's religious. If you, if you make it a point somehow, or maybe an introduction or preface that Buddhist means to you, this sort of higher level of observation of what's happening rather than some sort of brief or putting some preconceived idea on top of it connected to that, or like complex of things we got about from Cage, you know, no preconceived idea and the whole idea of transcending conceptuality and it fits with that thing that Dan Brown, I think mentioned, or angler Jack angler, one of the other ones in the, in a world where the tic Hisco.
Bob Thurman 00:06:22 So studies of people with thousands of hours of meditating, they can, they can identify a flashed image like 50 times or a hundred times faster than the ordinary person who hasn't meditated because their observation is much finer. So, you know, if you preface this whole thing, I don't know how you will explain it in your own preface if you prefaced it, that what you remembered your use as mentioning as Buddhist, because you came to it sort of an atmosphere that comes to you from your many meditation is actually just more fine observation of teams. That's interesting religious about it.
Mark Epstein 00:07:01 You're referencing Dan Brown and the tachistoscope. I was there with him in the basement. Yeah. I was there with him in the basement of the insight meditation society when it was, yeah, it was when I was doing my internship. Um, uh, and he and I had a month off from my internship and I got it approved to do research. Uh, I know when I went to IMS and was sitting, uh, but also going down to the basement with Dan Brown, as he was doing this to kiss to Coke, uh, experiment with the experienced meditators
Bob Thurman 00:07:36 And it was real data. Right.
Mark Epstein 00:07:38 It was real data. That was his thing. Yeah. Yeah. I know. Well, so far I'm mostly, I'm reading all these Zen poems, uh, cause there's, there's something in the Zen poems that speaks to the, uh, you know, the underlying reality beyond the conceptual, uh, adaptation that, that we all have to make that, um, no I'm trying to get at in these sessions where there's some kind of movement
Bob Thurman 00:08:03 The appropriate, because the Zen thing, for example, it was taught in this country of tourists has not Buddhists, just Dan, you know, just meditation, right. And which was not quite accurate, but in a way within Chinese Buddhism where Chinese starts, although I think it comes from Tundra in India, but in Sri Lanka where they had tantra in the day of when Bodhidharma lived there. But, but, um, um, they stayed there, the school because the Chinese Buddhist schools, religious schools are identified by sutras complexes that they attached to like Lotus Sutra or all the times it goes through trial, pure land Sutra, the three other big ones in Japan and China, but a Zen one, they always said the great leaders of designer. We said, we are the news to trust school. Do you remember where the announced suture school, but in a way they were inspired by the Sutra about no suture, which is the transcendent wisdom, you know, the emptiness, but in a way that it's, there's the non Sutra Sutra. So it's, it's not really, the key is I think is very important in your professional context and your writerly context that this is, this is reality observation rather than something religious superimpose.
Mark Epstein 00:09:16 Yeah. Yeah. Well, I was, I was reading about the koans and that the original translation for Cohen was public case. They were public cases. So then I thought, Oh my, my psychotherapy sessions that are so private are becoming public cases in the writing.
Bob Thurman 00:09:33 Well, and not only that, but also the idea of the people being to you. Are you using Tom Cleary at all?
Mark Epstein 00:09:39 I'm using it a lot. I love Tom. You turned me on to Tom Cleary!
Bob Thurman 00:09:43 Blue Record is the best, you know, well, I only mentioned that because sometimes people in the Zen world who have their Roshi sheets, you know, he's like an independent, like Jacob Buddha type, Oh, his translations are the most amazing. And he intuits, you know, because the, the, the cases in the blue cliff record, which is Chinese right there, the, and Lou are our colloquial tongue dynasty at late time dynasty language. And those scholars know what tape colloquial people talk like, and today is ungrammatical and it's weird. And he kind of, he intuits it in this sort of modern, almost hits your thing kind of, and he gets it and he really gets it. And he does it. He's not afraid of teams that are in it, you know, uh, you know, like he says, like when, when, um, when by jam asks, why or why he came to see him wrong, boy says, well, I didn't come for anything else, but the Ellis has no reference in the writing.
Bob Thurman 00:10:48 So you have to think what else is me? But when I'm looking at you, you know, he's looking at the teacher. So he says, there's nothing else it's like right here, looking at scatter, you know, but somebody else would want to make it grammatical. So they would write well for anything. And I will send you, come and see you or something. You know what I mean? They, they did that, but he just did not. So he conveys this thing. So you, in the therapeutic situation that will have to be edited out and you will hold on. I have to get that thing out of the room. That's my fault.
Mark Epstein 00:11:38 No, come on. It's fine. My, my email was turned on and it rang too. I just shut it off.
Bob Thurman 00:11:49 Sure. They are public pieces. You were there per face to face with people. Oh yeah. You're there, you're there face to face with people. Yeah. That's what I was thinking. And it's, it is mine to mine transmission. So it's something which is often verbal.
Mark Epstein 00:12:06 Yeah. When, when, um, uh, you taught me from one of our times teaching together many, many years ago, I was already thinking about the, you know, the original, the original for me, Zen koan, what is the sound of one hand clapping? Uh, but I had just been to the Japan society where they had a big exhibit of Hakuin and his paintings, uh, where they made a big point of saying, yeah, it was so beautiful. They made a big point of saying the original koan. Wasn't really, what is the sound of one hand clapping? It's just, what is the sound of one hand? And, and, um, Hakuin had a painting of, uh, a crouching monkey with his hands over his ears. And, uh, I cuckoo flying with open beak in the background. And then under that he had done in calligraphy. What is the sound of one hand as if, uh, the, the monkey just had to lift one hand in order to hear the sound of the cuckoo and the, and the sound of the cuckoo is prized in Japanese poetry because I'm a young lovers in the spring time go and sit outside together, you know, waiting to hear the sound of the crew Cove.
Mark Epstein 00:13:19 It's the only bird, the only bird that flies with that sings with an open beak when it's flying or something like that. Yeah. So, so we, I was saying some version of this while we were teaching, and then you said, you said, well, why does someone raise one hand, you know, um, B because they're drowning and they're wanting to be saved. And that, so that the, it was said that sound of one hand is also the, you know, the reaching for the, for Quantopian and, you know, she who hears our cries for Avalokiteshvara, you know, the, the, uh, benevolent, bodies' not for reaching down to help us, uh, emerge from the mire of our own, uh, our own ego centric, uh, hands clutched over our years, you know, not hearing the sound of the cocoa. So I tried to include all that right at the beginning.
Bob Thurman 00:14:17 That's, that's really, that's what this, you have this all written actually really has a diary, and it's a matter of like editing, pulling together. Yeah. And it sits, I think it's sounds like gyms it's Chen, because it's your caring intention. And I liked the revealing, hidden kindness thing
Mark Epstein 00:14:35 You liked that, that was, that came to me late in the writing. But, but it seemed like maybe that was one of the points.
Bob Thurman 00:14:42 I think that's really awesome because, you know, you have to, you do hide it, you know, cause you have to present it, you have to present a thing to it for people to echo off, you know, to echo off, they can't, uh, they can't, uh, feel that you're imposing something. Right. Or they wouldn't bring out their own thing, you know? I guess that's really great. So, so, uh, when you said you were you're, you're writing, do you only write one day a week? One day, a week. So busy.
Mark Epstein 00:15:20 Yeah. The other days. Clients and family. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. So I always, I always wrote, I started writing because when I was first with Arlene, with my wife, who's a, an, a sculptor, uh, when we were first together, I just assumed we would just be together all the time. You know, we were like in love and I'm, and I moved to New York to be with her. And then, uh, shortly thereafter I got there. She's like, okay, I'm going to my studio now to work. And what you're, you're leaving me to go to your studio. What am I supposed to do? Um, so that's when I actually started writing many years ago and I sat at the dining room table and spread out my books and papers and started to write, uh, you know,
Bob Thurman 00:16:03 You went to the studio and wrote in his studio. Yeah.
Mark Epstein 00:16:06 She went to the studio to make a sculpture. I able to go, I sat at the dining room table, uh, you know, abandoned and now in the apartment, in the apartment,
Bob Thurman 00:16:18 I was just like that. And then I actually, we were still a bit like that. We are, I'm worse than her, you know, she's able to be cool, but I still am a little bit like that. Yeah.
Mark Epstein 00:16:32 It was good for me. Yeah. I had to find my own, my own voice. You know, I had to figure out what to do with myself when I was alone instead of suffering.
Bob Thurman 00:16:43 Yes. Right. That has never been my problem. I was talk too much, you know, but, uh, but uh, I have to find a, I w I want her to find her a boy. So of course, I've always tried to do that. You know, she has dreams, you know, and which that tells her you have to teach and then they will get you wrong. You also used to come to her and dreams. You would tell me at the morning, Oh, they telling me I should go teach. Never. I'm not going to do that. Then you grow, you know? And then she would see that, you know,
Mark Epstein 00:17:14 She was, she was, she taught me, Nana taught me at one point, I, I went to her when she was working at the open center and we had had one child and we're, we're, um, getting ready to have a second child. And I was a little bit scared to have a second child. And I went to her and she was very encouraging.
Bob Thurman 00:17:34 Yeah. When she's on her own, I guess she does that. Yeah.
Mark Epstein 00:17:38 She was like, she like it there
Bob Thurman 00:17:39 It's just me. She teaches me actually on my website. I've just hope they won't be that nobody will be offended, but I have, you know, issue go and linger in her chair and the Dalai Lama. But I'm going to put Nana on my website as a teacher. Oh, that's good. Because she is, you know, I did learn a lot from her and I am still, I could say I haven't learned enough, obviously. I haven't learned any more luckily. Okay. So, so that, so that's it. So that you're doing that. Yeah. So, so then after you finished that, what's the next book, do you want to say about that? I'm nervous to make you say too much because
Mark Epstein 00:18:22 Oh, don't play. No, you nervous. That's ridiculous. Um, I'm trying, w when you, when, um, when we do those meditations, you know, of opening the Buddha field, and, and we imagine we, we visualize the, um, the mentor figures, the, the Dalai Lama or the bodhisattva, or the, the people who have been kind to us in our lives, who have taught us are our therapists. Our mothers are our lovers, uh, um, our teachers, uh, I always visualize, uh, these two grandfather figures of, uh, uh, DW Winnicott, the child psychiatrist who originated the phrase of the good enough mother and John cage, they, the, the musician and composer, Shanel Buddhism into music. And, and so in the book, I'm trying to, whenever possible, when I write the reflections on the public cases, I try to use the, um, the, the wisdom that came through Winnicott and cage. So I, so I have little bit, it's, it's a composition, you know, of it's a collage. And I would say, I'm trying to make a collage of all these people.
Bob Thurman 00:19:39 No, I haven't, I didn't really get enough into cage except for you, you know? So then, uh, you know, would you say sort of that book, you showed him, what, what was the name of the book that I did? And she was actually study itself. Silence. It's just silence. It's a book on silence.
Mark Epstein 00:19:55 Yeah. Where he, where he says, there's no such thing as silence. You know, he was, he was always, always finding the music, always finding the sounds, even in silence, like he, he, he went to that, whatever it's called the, uh, anechoic chamber at Harvard, where it's like an isolation tank, but a, but a scientific isolation tank where you're totally alone with no sound, but he heard, he heard two sounds even there then, uh, like a hum and a, in a, in a high pitch, something. And then the scientists said, Oh, that's your one was your blood. It was hearing his own body was like his blood and his nervous system or something.
Bob Thurman 00:20:35 Well, I, that scientists would want to do that as a material. But actually that is a very profound tantric concept. What is real is that I now have to shut down and also Buddhist. So tantra, it's not, I thought they unstruck sound and it's, it's preceded by, or it may be the same as what they called the roar of emptiness. So there's like a roar and instruct sound. He goes, when you're in the formula's realm, if you, if you look at the 10 trick, Abby Dharma, I tell you, they don't call it in Maya. I be Durham except for a couple of books. So I'm doing, I sunga wrote the great vessel. Bundas brother, older brother. No, the greatest sound guy he wrote Mahayana, I'll be down on my, I'll be talking about so much. I look like that. And, uh, but otherwise they don't use the word that'd be done by because all of the literature of the oldest, the pundit does sit downs, who are scholars and who are same people, the same people.
Bob Thurman 00:21:40 And throughout all that huge 1000 year long university, uh, they, they were doing happy Dharma in the 10 tricks titled body, uh, level. And I call it tantric neuroscience also. And it really is it's really, really is. And they just, uh, uh, they preach it. You know, the Western Cinco, they didn't have the machines, you know, they, and it's not true. They have the machine of the brain is like a super computer. And when you really can get where you can be with the brain, you can, we have like a micro awareness. Then you can know what it's doing. I, you can, your mind connects to the brain, cause your mind is everywhere, you know? And, um, and, uh, so the unstruck sound. Yeah, that's really cage would have loved that. Bob, he would have loved him to like hear T he knew we we'll find each other. You ever take a small world. We've been going many lives. We going more, we have to, we can't help it. You know? Right.
Mark Epstein 00:22:45 I wrote my, I wrote my undergraduate, uh, psycho thesis in the department of psychology and social relations at Harvard. I wrote it on the Abbey Dharma that I did. I wrote it on the side, the inner science of the ABI Dharma where
Bob Thurman 00:22:59 That's so cool. Did you read Linda's book on that? Of course I read his really was excellent.
Mark Epstein 00:23:06 Excellent scholar. I went, I read, I read sherbet ski and Lama Govinda and the vociti Maga. I went to the basement stacks of Weidner library and checked out all those books. No one had checked them out in like 30 years or something. Um, and, uh, uh, uh, Daniel Goldman was my thesis advisor and David McClellan was on my thesis committee. And, uh, um, and I
Bob Thurman 00:23:35 In by writing that you're teaching them actually talk,
Mark Epstein 00:23:39 No, Danny knew Danny,
Bob Thurman 00:23:42 You were studying, but the point is teachers are, was studied and what they re people really learn from them when they are learning more, because they're modeling that they're creating a field of that kind of learning and a teacher who thinks they already know it all. And just repeat, it's like a parrot. <inaudible> useless. No,
Mark Epstein 00:24:00 It was a really nice thing between us that we Danny Goldman and I bonded that way. And the first article I ever wrote, I co wrote with him for a journal that Ken Wilbur was a, was editing called revision. Yeah. Kendra was living in Cambridge and, uh, I went, I went over and visited and, uh, and he published this paper about, about, about an Alberta. Yeah, it was good. I was like, you know, 20, 21.
Bob Thurman 00:24:27 It's a small world. Yeah. It's credible. Yeah.
Mark Epstein 00:24:33 So cage has been really important to me because he was, he was into, um, uh, uh, erasing the differences between meditation and music and between sounds that are musical and sounds that are not musical. And, and I took that as inspiration for erasing the differences between meditation and therapy.
Bob Thurman 00:24:57 No, I'm just saying that's in your own life to erase the distinction between meditating and being around the house. Yeah. Yeah. That's that's that happens. That's the that's its own. God has that in his, uh, that's my driver. That's fun. What, what does it look like when you do the church steeple, your yoga, your yoga teacher does that right behind your back and stuff. Yeah. So you can do that, you know, and, and then, and then you sort of cause you, you want to pull them apart, but the more you pull it apart, the tighter it becomes. Yeah. Do you know, to have one hand is meditated, one hand is just being around. Yeah. But, but you're, you're doing that. That's what, that's what you're doing.
Mark Epstein 00:25:42 That's why you can ever find the sound of one hand because they're intertwined.
Bob Thurman 00:25:49 No, by the maybe no, he says unstruck sound is the sound. Yeah, it is. It's a sound of one hand. It is because that's, that's a jungle that says some people, they can't bear the roar of emptiness and they've run away from the day, frightens them. But, and I'm sure that you hear that when you go into formula's realm past the four immeasurables, you know, you go into the infinite space consciousness, nothing is beyond awareness. I know that we're in this type of day. And, uh, that's, that's, that's the sound, that's the only sense you have left. The only way you can reach people in the form of his realm. I only recently realized that from the tantric, from this text, I'm working on editing for you translating too much, but it, it, you know, it's probably it's written that ordinary I'd be Dharma I'm sure. But, but, um, you know, you five senses in our realm and then the gods of the desire realm have only four. And then the form realm gods have only three and then a highest one, two, and then only one in the foremost realm. And so then, then the bodies' head buds, the space womb birdie across your garden by his book is that, that is the one who has to go in there. And I guess he can only get them by making them
Mark Epstein 00:27:12 That must be cage.
Bob Thurman 00:27:13 Hey, trust me, incarnation of a crusher guard above, but it's that fast? Oh, that's good.
Mark Epstein 00:27:18 He must be because he can, he can only reach by
Bob Thurman 00:27:23 People who have tried to find total silence and remove themselves from all contact. That's the formless realm. It's really, it's really meditative meditational psychosis of the extreme kind, actually. Although, although it's good to be able to do it because that's the one way, you know, there is no escape from relativity, from the embrace of the, of the loving world, which level is that you see
Mark Epstein 00:27:53 What's that which level
Bob Thurman 00:27:56 Is that you see to around. So she does the desire realm
Mark Epstein 00:28:00 Haven't so
Bob Thurman 00:28:02 Therefore actually, when they do the 12 deeds of Buddha, you know, you love the life of Buddha. They always leave this one out. But the real technical 12 dates of the Buddha is his descent from our Cornish Thai, which is the, which is an area of the Brahma's highest heaven, the Bremmer she kid, but they called the crest, the Brahma. And there's an area there that even he doesn't really have access to because it's kind of open to the formless infinite space. So it's the event horizon of infidelity, or it might be perceived by a frightened person as a black hole, or it might be received as, as losing yourself completely like entropy entropy.
Mark Epstein 00:28:46 But at that realm, yeah.
Bob Thurman 00:28:48 That's where Buddhas create their Buddha versus, you know, because they can shape anything out of anything. They have infant they're on the edge of the infinite energy. And so the first gene of the Buddha is not being conceived. Did the womb of Maia Davey that's the second deed. The first date is coming.
Mark Epstein 00:29:06 And from that place to the desire realm to Xi, to heaven, whence he could observe the planet rolling under him.
Bob Thurman 00:29:15 Is this a different time sense there? And he could perceive the genetics of the lineages, where he desires to be reborn, to make the maximum impact on as an example of other people. Do you know? So he picks a Maya and should hold that out. You know, in India there, et cetera, he didn't pick somebody in China or Germany or Egypt or Israel or Greece. You know, he picked, he picked out foothills him all is there because that from theory could have maximum impact, you know, because <inaudible>, you have a body that is sort of humanoid, but it's divine, but it's not born in the womb. There is born out of a Lotus, just pop like that, but fully formed. But, but it is humanoid like two arms too, you know, like the truth. And there were other gods in that plane who are, you know, running around, you know, like, like being, being dilettantes, you know, and not studying or nothing.
Bob Thurman 00:30:15 But he has, he has a Dharma center there called melanoma, fascinating to the mind. And Nagarjuna is supposedly it's there today and tender her tea, et cetera. And when <inaudible> attained, enlightenment that morning, he attended his full enlightenment. He dreamed he was there and he was trying to go talk to them, but he couldn't, but they had, one of them came out and touched him with a, my Demica book. A Buddha Polytech came out, actually <inaudible> who wrote the first commentary on it and touched him on the head. Then he woke up all happy and then he made it. Then he, and he realized something. So in London,
Mark Epstein 00:30:54 In those pictures, in the, in the sculptures of the life of the Buddha where there's one where the Buddha's coming down a ladder with Indra on one side, right? W where's he what's that from
Bob Thurman 00:31:05 That's later because he promised his mother who was living, not in shit to having a lower heaven then to cheetah, but she, she lives usually in between giving birth to zillions of books as intelligence, the world system say serious, serious gestation, my identity, but she lives in is heaven. They call called the heaven of 33. And, uh, she likes the infrastructure there or something. I, yes. And, you know, that's where they have the net of Indra, you know, over it. That's their Facebook of that heaven, you know, it's the jewels, reflecting all the jewels. And, um, and so she lives there. And so he promised her when he was doing his severe asceticism and she thought he would die and was worried or she purported to probably, she barely knew, but she reported to. And he said, he said, don't worry. I'm gonna, I'm gonna get enlightened. I'm not gonna die. And then I'm going to come and give you a teaching. This will blow your mind. And then when he went up there and so one summer retreat, he went there instead of a range retreat in some place with a roof, you know, monsoon, you know, he went up there and then everybody was really all the Kings. And all the students in India were really upset. They thought he would stay there, you know? Cause he wouldn't come back. So, but what he told her there was happy. Nevermind. Yeah.
Mark Epstein 00:32:30 Yeah. That's why I know. Yeah. That's why
Bob Thurman 00:32:32 Pause it. I mean, she's already booked out guests, but anyway, they say in the more human arts story that he, her, the Abby Dharma and a, and then there's another funny story. And that's even in poly, which is supposed to all of a sudden human I very naturalistic and not none of this magic like magic, but in that Polly's texts, there a situation where Buddha is teaching they're in the habit of 33 and it's like the Olympics, you know, cause it's on the cosmic mountain, you know, it's not floating in like Tushi Taya in the sky Cosmo. And so Buddha's teaching there. So Indra is telling the other gods of that city. You guys better come and listen, don't just party and mess around, you know, you come and listen, Buddha's teaching, you don't get that chance. You go listen to it. And they're like, well, it's boring.
Bob Thurman 00:33:29 Every dorm had, they don't want to do it. And then he threatens them because he says, if you don't come Brahma, she can, you know that the higher Brahma he's going to come down here in the form of the youth with the five crest on his head, which I think is a kind of Manjushri simulation that very connects to ministry. So he's going to come there, he's going to whip you into shape because you're just a desire realm guys, citizen of my city. But that was higher form realm. Ones are very different. So he actually threatens them to come to the class.
Bob Thurman 00:34:13 They don't associate it necessarily with the presence of the tissue for the mother that I've yet seen. But I bet that that's the same time as teaching. So then, so then when he, at the end of the rings retreat, he comes down and Shanka, you know, and uh, ended up place called Shankar for temporary. They see a letter like an escalator. And in all those Asian empires, they have the triple staircase going into the palaces and nobody's supposed to walk on the middle one. Nice because Buddha is on the middle one and Brahma and Indra on the right and left one, like, you know, the other two who are there when he's born, remember they received him from my age, even in poly, he they're receiving him in my, you God, you know, but they come down into human form. They receive him when he leaves her left side of my eye is your left side or right
Mark Epstein 00:35:11 Born of the left side. Yeah. I've made a lot out of that. The fact that his mother died when, uh, when he's a week old, you know, I always, I, I have written about that a lot and you've heard me talk about it. See, seeing that as a kind of, well, it's like for me from the psychological side, it's like a placeholder for the kind of, of, um, primitive agonies that I'm in this life. Uh, sometimes, uh, we experience the developmental traumas of growing up, you know, where from, uh, from the, from the Winnicott perspective, the parental environment is imperfect. Not, not good enough, uh, either too intrusive, too intrusive or too abandoning so that the child is the child is forced out of that kind of primitive agony to construct a premature ourself, a caretaker herself, a false self, a, um, a mental construct of a self, uh, in order to manage the, uh, the neglect, you know, um, and that, that, that sort of, um, uh, inculcates a feeling of emptiness, not, not a good emptiness or a beneficence emptiness, but, uh, but, uh, and, and absent a kind of internalization of the absence, you know, a presence that, uh, that, that, that was absent.
Mark Epstein 00:36:39 And so I always, I always see that, uh, uh, the Buddha's mother dying when he's a week old as kind of setting up. And I know we've, we've talked about this in ways that you don't necessarily, you, you think that might be overdrawn, but, um, setting goals.
Bob Thurman 00:36:54 No, I don't think it's overgrown. I think because you remember his whole, even in the more magical way of looking at it, the way I like the way my hand does it, I like to look at it. It's meant to be completely human. So he's showing an example of someone who has a problem. Yeah. In November 10, who becomes a Buddha, there's a huge fuss about this, that he, they don't, they, Oh, it was, Hey by Buddha being completely human with problems and becoming a perfect Buddha, which is magical. That means we are, our human problems can become this official sort of super human thing, which goes, that is super human. Ultimately, definitely. And, and I just had another dimension of that by the way, which relates to the, some of the mean people in our society and that the father would the super ego, you know, if you're speaking for it in your terms, covering over the emptiness with this pleasure garden routine and the male nacho, and then he learns how to be a King and boss people around and everybody flatters him and he has all this heroin, you know? So he, so he kind of, he kind of gets into that. And, and then that's why maybe when he realizes the emptiness of the, of the ordinary life and leaves the palace, he then over does the other side punishing himself for having been her kind of machismo, Loverboy, whatever, you know, and then big daddy, you know, self has a husband, you know? And, um, uh, so, so, you know, the, like the complex of the machismo person covering over that emptiness.
Mark Epstein 00:38:31 Yes, exactly. Exactly. They're building
Bob Thurman 00:38:36 A big palace, you know, huge palace that he builds. Yup. Yep. And you're right. That, and he's, you know, he's showing maybe you could also see she's teaching by leaving instead of the joking thing of like he does, she doesn't like the infrastructure on you anymore, but, but also she's teaching that you have to, the mother is going to be elusive. If you just be ordinary and you have to work to find it. Yeah. And by leaving and creating that problem, maybe if she's so magical that you can give birth out of her left side without an incision, then, then she's also showing that, uh, it's hard to be such a good mother and this guy's going to have to cope with it. Yeah. The only thing you have the extended family, it makes it a little less traumatic in a nuclear family. That's the only point I made. Yeah. His sister's right there. You know?
Mark Epstein 00:39:30 Well, the thing, the thing that happened with me as I was writing this book and, you know, I think a lot about the primitive agony and the grievances that we have to our families of origin. And then, and then the cultivation of, uh, uh, you know, uh, recognition of the, of the mother and everyone. And that sense of gratitude that is, uh, uh, uh, inculcated in, in many of the practices that we do. But I started to hear from a lot of my patients, uh, who are in their forties or fifties or sixties with aging parents, many of whom had been big disappointments, you know, uh, GAM gamblers or alcoholics or, or, or narcissists, or, uh, uh, you know, all kinds of just all kinds of neglect. But all of these people that the children who have been in therapy, trying to work out the, uh, the problems in their own personal histories on their own, they're reaching out to the, to their aging parents.
Mark Epstein 00:40:30 You, you know, to, uh, take care of them in one way or another, you know, and it's not because I'm encouraging it and not because of anything directly in the therapy, but, but the, and I think it's almost a, it's a very common thing, you know, that the, the underlying kindness, uh, is, uh, you know, it, it, it rises up to, uh, uh, assert itself and that movement from grievance to gratitude, I I've been thinking is one that, you know, with, with Buddhism and therapy, uh, trying to work together now, like it's, it's encouraging that.
Bob Thurman 00:41:12 Yes, well, you were doing it so valuable. What, I'm so overwhelmed by it. Seriously. If I had the ear of George Horace or Leon, but, you know, that's right. I w I hate, you know, he likes to conduct music, which is really nice, you know, he's a big, he's a conductor. And I met him once at a party, but we didn't have, you know, cause he's, he's in a strong fundraiser, that's their main thing. That's his job. Yeah. But he, I think the billion dollars that, that, that Soros wants to make a new kind of university. He has channeling it, I think through Bard or it's associated with Bard. I don't know. I w I had lunch, I have a rain check on a lunch invitation from George Soros. I don't know how to claim it. I lost coordinates because I really liked to tell him, you know, it's like building the new Nalanda in India, you know, and then I'm not just saying foolishly, uh, the Indian parliament also thought they should avoid that Alana, because although they all respect him.
Bob Thurman 00:42:22 But because then China won't pay money, which is really doubt that's China. What, they're going to have a comment at school, their thing. Whereas now Linda has to have a core curriculum of people developing, loving kindness characters. Yeah. Along with all their knowledge, you know, cause he has the dialogue that said, when he received an honorary degree from Columbia, he said to all the trustees and it was in a special complication. It wasn't in the big graduation because he didn't, it didn't fit with his schedule. But he said, I love it. Education is the most important thing in the world, but I'm worried about your Western education because you produced is very clever brain, but you don't make any attention to the good heart and clever brain without the good heart is dangerous and they'll go, Oh yeah.
Mark Epstein 00:43:16 But you know, the, the interesting thing, Bob, when, um, uh, you know, when I was in medical school and I was talking about this with you yesterday, um, I was working with, uh, uh, Herbert Benson at the, at, at Harvard. And we, uh, I set up a meeting between the Dalai Lama and Benson during the Dalai Lama's first visit to the United States. So because, um, uh, Benson had been reading Alexandra, David Neil, and wanted to know if the heat yoga really existed, where the, where the TUMO yogis, where the advanced practitioners, you know, learned how to generate the inner heat, uh, to dry wet sheets in the freezing cold, et cetera. And we had this meeting and the Dalai Lama at first said, well, I can't talk about it. It's a secret. But then he relented and said, well, I guess for skeptics, we need to show something. You know? And, and so we went and we dr. Benson and myself, and, uh, and Jeffrey Hopkins and a bunch of other researchers went and we hiked up into the Hills and we measured the monks and yes, they did generate heat. Um, and then after everybody else left, I stayed in Dharmsala and, and, um, uh, I went down every morning with, yes, she'd done Dan. And, and with him while he analyzed the urine of the early morning patients. And yeah.
Bob Thurman 00:44:38 When did you read up a little on how you're looking at the urine?
Mark Epstein 00:44:40 Yeah. I've read up a lot on how you like, feel the pulses and look at the urine and what it all means. And I had one, um, one private meeting with the Dalai Lama, uh, after everybody left and, uh, where I thought I would be asking him about, you know, Buddhist, whatever. And instead he started asking me about, um, what my background and what I have learned in medical school and, and so on. And then he asked if I would go to the Buddhist school of dialectics. And while I was there and talked to the young monks about the scientific curriculum that I, that I had coming out of. Yeah. Which, which I, which I did. And then, and then after that, uh, shortly thereafter that he changed, I think the curriculum of the monks to include a little bit of Western science, uh, in there, but that was the beginning, you know, like I was an unwitting, uh, uh, instrument of that. Yeah. And, and there was that beautiful guy, the guy who,
Bob Thurman 00:45:48 What did he get? What questions did he ask you? You went to
Mark Epstein 00:45:52 Remember, you know, like, like, you know, about my, my father, the kidney doctor, and I'm sure I did. And, uh, how I wanted to study Buddhism, but had decided to go to medical schools so that I went, so I would have a trade, you know, cause I wanted to be a therapist. I was still, I was in my last year of medical school. So I was planning to be a therapist with the hope of bringing Buddhist understanding to a,
Bob Thurman 00:46:20 Did he extend your interview past? Did he extend it? They were nervous secretary circling. And he said they extended it. Um, as you question
Mark Epstein 00:46:31 W uh, this, the nervous secretaries weren't there when it was like March. Yeah. It was like, you know,
Bob Thurman 00:46:39 Yeah. It was easier to see him.
Mark Epstein 00:46:41 Yeah. It was 1981 or something. Um, it went on for a while and, and I was going to go, I was going to travel, you know, I asked him for a letter of, uh, of introduction to, cause I was going to see caldo rim for Shea and, uh, and the Karmapa of the, he tried to nudge me to go to, to do Jim <inaudible>, but I was still in this cave. You, uh, you know, I had met Collin already in Cambridge.
Bob Thurman 00:47:09 God, he wanted you to see dude jumped. He wanted me to jump was normal,
Mark Epstein 00:47:13 Or I can say maybe it was Ken say room per se. I think he was pushing me in that he looked a little disappointed when I said, I want him to go, he looks all that off. He was like, okay, if that's what you want,
Bob Thurman 00:47:30 Maybe he would not have been disappointed by that. He would want you to see all of them. Maybe he was disappointed that you weren't staying in Dharamsala does it matter? You saw him only that one 10 does when he was introduced to you and that was toward the end. And I'm telling you what you don't know didn't know at the time is circling in an ante room. If they didn't come in or people who want you the hell out of there, because they have a lot of, they, they even, they have Tibetans, they have other things they want them to do, and they're not supposed to let people stay too long. And he, when he gets someone, he really fascinated with my kids. He was with you karmically. He keeps wanting to question that. And so then you were, you know, they put you on a popularity list if you had stayed because when he goes down and I'm just going to stay, keep it. I got on that list early on. I'm telling you because he would always, he come in and say, no, no, no. We T you know, and stuff, he would, you know, we were talking, he would cancel three or four appointments. You, the secretary is being really pissed off. So, so that is really amazing. You never told me that. Do you remember
Mark Epstein 00:48:36 Number how you got him to write the forward to my thoughts without a thinker?
Bob Thurman 00:48:42 I forgot. What did I do? I had to,
Mark Epstein 00:48:45 I wrote thoughts without a thinker. And my publisher was basic books. My publisher, my editor was like, can you get the Dalai Lama to write the forward? And I was like, Oh yeah, sure. It's just like, why, why would you, you know, no way. But I said, I'll ask everybody who knows him. I'll do whatever I can do. Cause it was after I had come back, you know, it was so I asked you, we had started teaching together already. It was 19. When did that book come out in 95 or something like that. So, um, so I asked you, I asked you, and you said, everybody's asking him, he's way too busy. The attendance aren't gonna let them, it's never going to happen, but I'm going to Dharamsala let me take the manuscript. And I'll, I'll lay it at his feet, you know, I'll, I'll leave it there with him. And so, so you did with, and I was like, okay. And the book went to press and nothing had happened and it wasn't going to have a preface. And then at the last minute we got a fax from the author, from the Dalai Lama came by fax. I still have the fax. It came by fax and he wrote it or someone in his office wrote it?
Bob Thurman 00:49:50 No, no. He tells him what to write, but you know something, if you had told me this story, then I couldn't remind him that he'd seen you this time and you gave a talk at their directional school. It would have happened quicker. Well, it wouldn't have been on a pile on ran a list.
Mark Epstein 00:50:06 I was, I was too. Okay.
Bob Thurman 00:50:09 Well, I am always shooting. I am very shy.
Mark Epstein 00:50:14 It's such a difference. It made such a different, you know, like to have that. It was before he had written like a million introductions.
Bob Thurman 00:50:21 That sounds great. I'm so happy. I was able to help that person. I was, I that you totally deserve it. And I, if I don't invest this story, which is the first time I think you've told me this story, that's really something, man.
Mark Epstein 00:50:36 So what happened? The guy who was running the school of dialectics got murdered though, right? A couple of years. Yeah. He was,
Bob Thurman 00:50:45 He had his two young acolytes, you know, disciples were murdered, viciously and violently. Had you seen that book that I, that I published by the it's called the, the, the dollar Lama and the King demon. And it's a whole detective story about how the inspector and arms have. I became a well known Indian government and his picture by tracking that those killers down to Delhi and then to China actually, of course. And then this is a real disgrace, you know, it's the same people, the same people. And one of the people is the same person who are imprisoning the, the leaguers and our camps today and who have not allowed any of the later leaders is young Zimmerman. Who's in town. And we we'd never thought they would still control TGP, but they did. And they, to, to behave nicely with the men, but the so called minority nations, meaning that actual colonies, you know, they are not men now hitting hate. You don't have a minority nation in a nation. No minority nation means a neighbor colony heavy, and they're so harsh with them. And they were trying to exterminate them. It's just terrible. And that, that, that, that poor guy was killed, but he must have had a chat with him. He was a nice guy, a nice guy. No, he was a very good guy.
Mark Epstein 00:52:14 Yeah. White scarf and, uh, you know, honorary certificate. Yeah.
Bob Thurman 00:52:18 Yeah, of course. Yeah. That's great. He was a beautiful guy was, and it was a real tragedy and a really terrible tragedy. Well,
Mark Epstein 00:52:28 And there was a new doctor who attends, Tenzin Cho Cho drug. Jessica had just come out of 20 years in jail.
Bob Thurman 00:52:38 You met him June. Wonderful. We're so happy to have him. Yeah. He was. He had been, you know, he, and you she'd done then, but the two of them were the two foremost disciples of someone called, uh, Norbert. You cannot Norbu who was the one who tried to start modernizing by communicating with the British embassy, the, uh, you know, we need to integrate modern or industrial medicine with their own medicine and especially helpful in some things like inoculation, you know, plagues, you know, things like that. And that prosy, they, they would read it to incorporate Western modalities to deal with that. Cause that's the bad medicine, very open to other trust systems if they work. But they're, they don't like the dogma of materialism. Of course they were a mind body medicine, but they were open to that. So as long as it was very happy to have him there. Yeah. And so was he, she done it, they were fellow students. And you should done the more retired you for you, who was one who really founded the medical Institute. You must have visited that as well. Oh yeah, definitely. I was an apprentice there for a year.
Mark Epstein 00:53:44 Dr. Benson even got, he got, yes. She dumped in to come to the Beth Israel hospital in Boston and to go to go on rounds with him. And there was a bear and, and, um, uh, dr. Dundon, uh, there was one patient where he took her pulse and, and examined her and then, uh, asked her, uh, when, when she had lost her uterus. Um, and no one in the, um, that, that was a big source of, uh, of what her problem was that the doctors couldn't figure out and no one in the, uh, in the hospital, none of them had ever taken her history that deeply. So they had missed the, you know, this whole aspect of, uh, anyway. So he,
Bob Thurman 00:54:27 He was the most amazing diagnostician. He was, he was the most amazing, he was a, he was a little bit attacked by some people he had, he has a mixed reputation. I know, but, but that's false. I lived there for a long time. He never touched me, never made any problem with me is he was just a weird person. And he would, you know, people would think he was going onto them, but he wasn't at all. And he was amazing. I have a funny story about, but I'm like, I don't want to, I'll tell you another time when you do a podcast on your problem, tell you a very funny story about him with some, some Indian, he was very famous among the military. You know, the Sikh military who were in Pedang cordon in Dharamsala area and their camps there. Cause it's so near the Pakistani border, you know, and, um, he was very famous.
Bob Thurman 00:55:15 You always had the new Institute that he was trying to date Jeeps were pulling up and they were showing up there a lot. Cause Tibetan medicine has something very powerful. I for DGX and I had can't resist a story. There is one first guy who made him more famous. He was a kind of quieter Colonel, you know? And he came in all very, you know, his turban had his English writing, crepitus boots and out of his Jeep. And there all flunkies around, you know, and his, like his, he spoke Indian, he should've spoke Hindi. So he was starting to talk and then he kept not really getting to point grabbed him at him, him, him. And then you said, okay, okay. I know, I think I know, come with me. Then he went behind a curtain and then he brought me and because I was his shadow in those days, and then behind the curtain, he, he looked at the guy and he didn't say anything. He took his hand like this and he put one finger through this and he went and made a big smile. And then he, then he like this.
Bob Thurman 00:56:24 Yes, yes, yes.
Bob Thurman 00:56:27 Okay. They said that I got through just with Jeanette and he came up something there
Speaker 2 00:56:32 And then two, four days later, zoom, you know, it's like more
Bob Thurman 00:56:38 In general and I don't know why dr. Dundon received the pet machine.
Speaker 2 00:56:46 Oh, did he really, just two years. A year before he died, you have a three years ago.
Bob Thurman 00:56:51 Yeah, actually it's so sad. I was in India, but I had booked my flight at the time. He was at the pallets getting it and he could have taken me and he wanted to, but it cost would have cost me $3,000 to not take that. And I couldn't do it. It's so sad. So he's the, one of the very few events you've got that Padma Shri award. He did, which I got, I got it since then. Yeah, I got it. But I didn't get to a ceremony cause there, cause it really, I wonder if it was last April and it was, it was postponing, but that I can see an actually in India, I put, if I make a greeting card, I put Padma, Shri, Robert Terminus, that's much more important than PhD or whatever.
Speaker 2 00:57:33 The people who are listening, what it is, the pod in the show
Bob Thurman 00:57:37 From the president of India, not the prime minister, lots of it. And he, it was given to a lot of Muslims also, which I, I made sure of before I accepted it. Yeah. And, um, you know, people who've distinguished Indian people, mostly who have done something to benefit the Republic of India, you know, and I got it as a benefit, but the few Westerners are outsiders, Campania Westerners who have done something beneficial on dating. And they know I'm working on translating all these books that used to be Indian books in Sanskrit to restore the Indian Buddhist culture because they don't even think they know my Buddhism is the poly culture, which purports to connect to Indian Coco language. I put as time, but it's not like any Indian language now. It's not, it's a little bit like Hindi, but, uh, so the, the huge translations into Tibet, 65, 6,000 of the key books that the great Buddhist university libraries are only existing in Tibetan translation.
Bob Thurman 00:58:39 And I'm working to bring them back trading at what happened to them in India. They were burned by the Muslim invaders who burned the monasteries. They were just so burned to the ground. Nine story, giant libraries, the thousands, they say the books, the pile of books. I know they threw the monks on the pile, but a, the pile of the books burned for months. It was so many books. Yeah. They're, you know, they're like Palm leaf, you know, they're like kindling almost. And it was such a huge pile. You know, nine story. The big one of Nalanda. I was nine was known as the ocean of Juul was, it was called and it was nine stories high. And they were all of these, these analysts of the mind in their writing, they're writing their books, you know, like Mark Epstein is six, six, seven, eight, 10 books, thoughts without a thinker, you know, writing their books.
Bob Thurman 00:59:28 And they were collected in that library. So then it was lost maybe 5%. So in sounds Sanskrit and the Chinese only translated Sioux tribes. They never translated. And they didn't translate many of them that all of them, but they transmit a lot of them. But then they, and they didn't translate tantras much because a lonely, very little bit toward the end. And they were charged Jewish literature, actually, not just the yogis, but a lot of literature as well. And then all the commentaries and the Dharma of that Sanskrit that'd be Dharma. They didn't translate into Chinese. Not at all.
Speaker 3 01:00:03 None of them survived the fires. None of them survived
Bob Thurman 01:00:07 Three, four or 5% really. And or they turn up in Jane library or something, you know, like, because the Jane's survived a little bit, some of their institutions, because the Janes were the money people because they couldn't plow. They weren't really, they weren't nastily forbidden from having land and farming like the Europeans did to the Jews, but they, they were, they themselves, they didn't want to plow and farm because they didn't want to kill insects by plowing. So, so they, they became jewelers and money people. And therefore, even the new concrete India had to borrow money from somebody to have more Wars. So did you, so did James where the Ross chills of India after the second millennium and they still are, they still are the big jewelers, you know,
Speaker 3 01:00:58 There, their temples survived and so on, but no, they're all near timbales. Didn't survive
Bob Thurman 01:01:03 Though. They were very rare patients and they, you know, they're and they use their anti idolatry, uh, precept too, as an issue is to melt down the golden images, even Hindu ones, Hey Nelson. And then Hindu has there had to come back from the villages. They couldn't exterminate all the villages cause they just grew the food. And they're Bryman priests there for survived in the villages, but they had destroyed, uh, the, also there are a lot of Hindu culture. They destroyed it and they actually Buddhism, what is this huge? What is literature? And these huge universities were the Indian Hindu culture. At that time, they were all into woven. There were no huge universities. I mean, Hindu university. They didn't have even monks really around that time Hindus cause they have the four year they were set up at students, but then you had to have a family in the Hindu four stages of life, you know?
Bob Thurman 01:01:55 So they didn't like lifelong monks. But then after the Buddhist monks were all exterminated, then they started having swamis who were celibate, lifelong. And they started to have mutts what they call mats and they build them all on the ruins of the Buddhist spot, you know, once they were coming back a little bit recovery and that, and that's why I got to Padma Shri because I give speeches there when I go to Delhi and I explained to them, it's not like some alien religion coming from Tibet or from Sri Lanka or from Japan or China. This is your own religion. Did you explore the tone than most places?
Speaker 2 01:02:28 And you now don't remember that
Bob Thurman 01:02:30 And it's very embedded in your Hinduism. Yeah. You know, and uh, I did James and it's and it reinforces the James like 10,000 folds. If you really recover this literature in your own notion of your history, uh, you know, and it was, it was the matrix of your melting pot where you didn't have religious battles so much PUD because the Buddhist thing is like, you don't adopt your conviction in this fanatic way. You have open minded.
Speaker 2 01:02:58 Yeah, yeah. Right. Yeah.
Bob Thurman 01:03:00 And, uh, and so I that's my next two decades, if I can a Bay that all of us preset, we live to 104, I have to build on building something in Nagarjuna, condor, you must've visit and Andhra Pradesh. And there was his own town named after him is under water because of a dam. But the mountain he lived on, which was called glory mountain Sri part of a time where all the sedans, because he was a city that himself don't tell me to sit on this cane. Thousands of years later, now hundred of us that stayed up for sure is one of the greatest of the set up and where he lived is where we have this land with the kindness of my beloved Priyadarshi friend. Yeah. That tends in Priyadarshi the guy, who's the, head's the dial element institution at MIT. He's going to be at the summit where you are in the first day, you know, about transformative values.
Bob Thurman 01:03:59 So what are you building in a condom? Well, we're going to bill. He wants to build a meditation center and he's tolerating me as a partner to build a translation center. I called the Dharma chakra Dharma wheel center. And I have this great vision of round tables with big screens in the middle of them. And then in, and then with a, you know, all electronic versions of all, any translation, Chinese Sanskrit, Tibetan, whatever different versions. And then people sitting around this table and then at least one great Sanskrit pundit, but who knows the Buddhist literature and some geishas, you know, who know even modern science as well. And people like you, who knows science themselves. And then linguistic translators, not only in English, although that's the first trip we started
Speaker 2 01:04:52 And to Chinese to expand their cannon into Russian English,
Bob Thurman 01:04:59 German, into Swahili, into Arabic, into Turkey,
Speaker 2 01:05:02 Kitchen, Japanese. And then because,
Bob Thurman 01:05:06 Cause you can do one act of translating and then these guys, everybody writes the meaning down in their own language, you know, and it begins develop cook ordinances and you know, lists of words, you know, and did write terminologies, you know, so that it becomes a consistent, Oh no. Instead of everybody having their own words and uh, and uh, then, and I will, you know, then I'll die and I'll be reborn, I'll be reborn and all who study there you'll you'll be in and I wanted to do it. Did you visit, did you visit the central university in Sarnat? <inaudible>
Bob Thurman 01:05:43 just remember the stupid and the museum. I see. So are the central, well, he already had built what was at that time called the higher Institute for higher, but he studied Tibetan studies <inaudible> but then it eventually has become now an Indian government supported university or central you ever see of Tibetan studies, which I think is also why I got there Padma Shri, because I got on her degree from them, you know, <inaudible> and with the Indian minister of education, we will spoke about it. We had to put on this weird Tibetan, like hat and, and uh, you know, graduation robes, you know, and she was hindered and it was sorry. And she had her hair doing what she had to put it on. It's very complicated. We both were having laughing dreads trying to dress up. So, so anyway, uh, I'm sorry, I shouldn't be talking about, but that's that's that will interface with the new Nalanda university where you will be the patron Saint of the psych department.
Bob Thurman 01:06:50 I clinical psych department and that's, there should be a base at Bard, maybe on the Hudson here with maybe a branch had what's the heart of, of, uh, of this kind of new curriculum, new core curriculum, which is, uh, which is a Dharma core curriculum, which is not a religious Buddhist curriculum, but it's a reality curriculum. And, and then there will be that that will have a religion department. Like we, like, we have a little tiny one at Columbia and, and then that's where religion will be taught and studied in a pluralistic manner, comparatively as religion. But in their core curriculum, they will not have, they don't have to go there, although they could. So they become unfinancial about their own religion, whoever their students, but then they then did the Dharma thing in the core curriculum is get validated the good heart. I said, yeah. And, and, uh, the Christianity and Islam and two days, um, and that's all that the great masters of those traditions are. And founders of them are all trying to do within different social settings where they get at it more or less systematically and effectively, but that's every single one of them is trying to do that. Well, don't write, don't forget to use all the incredible art that, that was in Nagarjuna
Speaker 2 01:08:16 Conda with Mo a lot of it is in the British museum. I'm sure you've seen it, but yeah, I mean, it's so incredible, but it brings, it brings it all. It is. It is. Well, the, of course the art is, you know, art, arts and sciences, art medicine, psychoanalysis is art. Not only science. The art is really good. Art is science based, but engineering medicine, even mediating conflict, which is what lawyers should be doing instead of generating conflict, they should be mediating and diffusing conflict. That's there. That's the real job of lawyers. In fact. Yeah. Yeah. It's a Gundy notice. For example, when he finished the walks, when he noticed that there are no two people, we're not saying that if you know his experiments, which true, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. You, I got going too much. Not at all, but we probably have, I'm enlisting you in the faculty of, because you know what, you know, it's like Alan Ginsburg, he, I love Alan Ginsburg.
Speaker 2 01:09:26 And one way he, he said, poets are powerful. We don't respect them in order to study buddy. But he did say at 1.1 of his poems, the war is over. I declare the war over. It was a year, few years before it actually did end, but he said it was over. And actually it was already over. So whether George does it dear beloved George or where, whether anybody else does or the Indian government does it, or the Chinese government does it. When they finally realized they can't live it not sick way. And they consume the communist. You can have a commerce party in a multiparty system. There'll be a strong party because the act eczema, communist countries tend to get, you know, they are not really communists, but they don't even have a welfare system. They don't even have a new deal. They're capitalist, you know?
Speaker 2 01:10:24 Yeah. So, anyway, I'm sorry. So, so the point is this, the doors are open of this new university had you are most honored and me too. And we were, but we were both on salary. Sounds great, Bob, but where we are members of now, you know, from that sex, we have our other life. I'm saying, I'm saying that's faculty. We are on salary, but we envision why you're seeing where your deeper observations come from. Your request of your mother, through your many or mother emptiness through your Montage's mother. Let's not make it Friday, your mother openness, and your openness to your patient, to be able to feel their problems and help become a second, a second, a second brain, you know, second mind helping them see the way, but, but they have to only as moderately do it because they have to see it themselves. That whole thing. That's the foundation of the new psychology.
Mark Epstein 01:11:31 I'm there, I'm there with nothing. This is a prelude for it.
Bob Thurman 01:11:35 This is at the beginning. So any final words I see Justin is there. So, and he took off his cap. So, so that means, so you have, do you have final thoughts?
Mark Epstein 01:11:48 Um, but you would like to say, well only you're only, um,
Bob Thurman 01:11:55 It's hard
Mark Epstein 01:11:55 For me too. It's hard for me to, uh, come to terms with being 67 years old. And, uh, how many, how many years and decades, this has been inspiring me. And I'm grateful. I am to you for all these, all the ways that we've interacted.
Speaker 2 01:12:17 <inaudible> you know what that means? I have no idea. <inaudible> no idea with you are a manager Shri among the psychoanalyst, and he's called kumara. Boucher. Kumara means your useful Prince of wisdom. That's nice and ever useful. And that you're as young as you know, in this case, but no non conceptually. Yeah. But I know going through the science, writing, the unstruck sound, you are that, and you you're this, and even you are 600. I made him 67 and 80 into veterinary. We counting to give mom the credit of one year in the womb. No Bullock. I loaned her a year practically in the room. And, and, and uh, so physically that there are these aches and pains, but, but your mind is completely useful. Totally there. And actually it will, there will be an advance. There'll be deeper understandings of some things will also come to you.
Bob Thurman 01:13:27 Yeah, that'd be nice. Yeah. They are definitely no question. And you also can't, you must, now you remember this core curriculum, you can't die and tell your salary until, until it's caught up with it. It's caught up with the visionary Mandela that we built. That'll be a long time. So no, I won't. No, no, no, no, no, no. It will not. No, listen, we need a new normal. Now this thing will not let up with people, run back and pollute the air and, and downwind. They put the filthy tar sands. If it flew via down the throat of the people of color, and then they don't sell them vegetables in their neighborhoods and they leave these disgusting junk food, people poisoning them. And that cannot go on. And in order for it to change quickly, there has to be a quick recognition of there's need for new curriculum while I'm there with it. It's great to talk to you. Thank you for being on my podcast. Let a pleasure.
The Jewel Tree of Tibet
Few teachers in the West possess both the spiritual training and the scholarship to lead us along the path to enlightenment. Robert Thurman is one such teacher. Now, in his first experiential course on the essentials of Tibetan Buddhism, adapted and expanded from a popular retreat he led, Thurman — the first Westerner ordained by […]
What is the Un-Struck Sound? A Conversation with Mark Epstein M.D. & Bob Thurman | Saturday Night Live
Bob Thurman and Mark Epstein reflect upon their twenty plus years teaching together, highlighting the teachers and teachings which impacted their work, writing and personal journeys.[more]