Robert Thurman was a 20 year-old student at Harvard when he lost his left eye and, soon after, found his faith. His accident (he was using a jack to lift a car when a piece slipped away, hitting his eye) caused him to change his life. He divorced his wife, dropped out of school, and headed East. What began as a trip across Europe, the Middle East and Asia became a journey about seeking enlightenment. Thurman found Buddhism and became Tibet?s first American monk of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He?s now one of this country?s best known, and most engaged, Buddhists.
It isn?t unusual in the Pacific Northwest to spot a ?Free Tibet? bumper sticker or find prayer flags hanging across porches. In fact, in Oregon, more people identify as Buddhist than Jewish. Here it is a growing religion that focuses on peace, human rights, and justice. But like most other faiths, Buddhists have different denominations, practices and leaders. Some follow the Dalai Lama, others do not. Some are active in improving conditions in Tibet, while others focus more specifically on meditation and energy.
Buddhism changed ? and ending up shaping — Robert Thurman?s life. Have you found a religion that is different than the one you grew up knowing? How did discovering that new spirituality impact you? Are you someone who has recently discovered Buddhism? Why was that the faith for you?
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OPB | April 16, 2015