Robert Thurman on Buddhism and women

Today was the second interview I’ve heard with Robert Thurman (Jon Carroll interviewed him at Herbst Feb 9, 2009 and though I could have planned to go I didn’t know until today that it happened, so I heard the podcast instead) and I was once again captivated by his voice, manner, and intelligence. First lecture was on Tibet and the geopolitical implications of Chinese rule there. Made me think of the globe, of capitalism masquerading as communism, and of debauched ethnic greed in whole new ways. This more recent City Arts and Lectures podcast¬† included bits I found fascinating, especially about Buddhism and messianic heroes.

One was that Buddhism qualifies as a messianic religion because it has room for the self-sacrifice of making others’ suffering less by taking on the suffering oneself. That, by definition, is messianic. So, he announced, is the work, worldwide, of women who suffer the slings and arrows of society and their own families to bring peace to their homes. He argued that the planet and the countries within it will only get healthy when women take over, since they know how to take everyone’s strengths and apply them for the greater good, and are, unfortunately, willing to suffer themselves to make others’ lives better. His argument was not essentialist, nor was it entirely womanist. But he made it very clear that we don’t appreciate what women do, everyday, in every country, to ensure a liveable life for their families.

check out some of his other podcasts here

and the lecture itself here