Buddhism has gained a lot of traction in recent decades in the West, particularly through mindfulness meditation. Everyone loves the Dalai Lama and even scientists have become more “hip” to Buddhism.
However, the deeper truths of Buddhism reach much deeper into the fabric of our being than just mindfulness. In fact, they literally rewire the way you see and think about the world. When you engage in the essence of Buddhist practice — beyond dogma, rituals, or ideas of rightness — you open to the naked experience of each moment in a way that is truly revolutionary.
And you also get fully engaged IN the world in a new way. You become compassion in action.
Enlightenment is not just something that happens on the cushion. It’s really something that permeates every moment, including the way you think, speak, work, and engage in relationships.
That’s why freeing yourself up from old boxes, ideas, and habits is so key for the process of becoming an “enlightenmentist,” Robert Thurman’s wonderful term for someone who is not just following Buddhist teachings but living into the radical fullness of each moment.
When we engage Buddhist lineages and teachings in this way, terms like bliss and freedom shift from being concepts into lived realities. It also makes Buddhist teachings relevant and important for ANYONE, including people who fully see themselves as Christian, Jews, Hindus, pagans, or spiritual but not religious.
That’s because “Buddhism beyond Buddhism” is ultimately about taking off the filters through which we see the world and seeing it nakedly, honestly, as it is. That’s also why true “enlightenmentists” are also very pro-science, as the scientific inquiry into reality is fully compatible with the open-minded quality of someone who is truly following in Buddha’s footsteps.
That’s where the teachings of Revolutionary Enlightenment come in. Revolutionary Enlightenment is all about overturning our cherished assumptions and challenging our long-held beliefs.
It’s about learning the fundamentals of the teachings and practices but then walking the actual path of the Buddha by recognizing that our modern lives have unique challenges he didn’t face, which steer us toward engaging these sacred teachings in very different ways.
Revolutionary Enlightenment is about becoming a realist who’s more in touch with everyday realities as opposed to someone who is seeking to escape them.
The reason that the saying, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him,” has gotten so much press is not because Buddhism advocates violence of any kind, but because its symbolic message is so important: Putting a teacher on a pedestal can actually be a barrier to your enlightenment.
As you can probably relate, our natural human inclination is to put people, beliefs, and practices on pedestals.
This is why Vimalakirti — Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightened disciple whose ancient text deconstructs everyone and everything in order to reveal the infinite blissful glow of the true Reality — stood in front of the Buddha and told him that he didn’t see a physical body. Vimalakirti was referring to the Buddha’s self-perception as everything, not only the continuum of the illusory single embodiment before him.
And even though the Buddha’s “real good news” is that the default “real” reality is nirvana, the transcendent state in which there is no desire, suffering, or identification as the self, we shouldn’t settle for some idea that nirvana (or "buddha") is elsewhere but should seek it within as already there.
The truth is we need to become aware of the many subtle ways that we get rigid, fixed, or attached in our quest for true freedom. That’s where a revolutionary spirit comes in handy. It calls for us to break out of the box we might be living in. It calls for us to question orthodoxy. It calls for us to not be contained by any system of beliefs.
In fact, a bit of deep inner revolution appears to be necessary for virtually any enlightenment, whether it’s of the scientific, spiritual, or moral kind. And that’s because what’s ultimately real cannot be contained by orthodoxy. Reality is more spacious, joyful, and even playful.
The Dalai Lama calls us again and again to inner revolution, spiritual revolution, and ethical revolution to achieve world peace through inner peace.
If you’ve found yourself engaged in grim, self-serious, and even stressful spiritual practice, you’ll find the Revolutionary Enlightenment program with Robert Thurman, one of the foremost teachers of Buddhist practices in the West, quite revelatory and deeply liberating. As well as delightful.
And that’s because he’ll take you on a journey to discover ancient Buddhist treasures and modern enlightenment teachings that ultimately lead you to lighten up and break free from rigid identifications, even with Buddhism itself.
It’s the “Buddhism beyond Buddhism,” the playful freedom from all dogma that leads to the direct recognition of reality as it truly is. The nondual truth is that we — in the full range of our humanness — are one with everything.
Time magazine chose Professor Robert Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997, and The New York Times recently said he “is considered the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.”
Robert is also known for his unpredictable wit and storytelling as much as for his knowledge of ancient canonical texts, which is perhaps why he and the Dalai Lama, who delights in mischief and laughter, have remained such close friends more than 50 years after Robert was ordained by the Dalai Lama as the first American Buddhist monk of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
Bringing the spirit of unpredictability, revolution, and zaniness into the realm of spiritual practice is essential so it doesn’t become stodgy, dessicated, and devoid of real liberating power.
Many of the ways in which we repress our authenticity are subtle, from what we feel is “spiritual” to say or how we’re supposed to revere teachers.
Robert will tip over a few sacred cows in this freewheeling course as well as transmit real liberating wisdom from the “House of Vimalakirti,” whose Vimalakirti Sutra text celebrates an unorthodox approach to life and revels in a revolutionary and inconceivably magical spirit.
You’ll discover a lot about Buddhism AND be freed from “Buddhism” at the same time.
That’s because your awakened mind cannot be defined by fixed ideas and your awakened heart cannot be held by simple notions of compassion.
The truth is the more awake we are, the more unpredictable we are. We connect with the very ground of being that contains all that is, which means we ourselves have access to all that is.
Compassion becomes something that we don’t “have” so much as the natural overflowing of our true nature, which is interpenetrating with all things.
Make no mistake: Robert is a respected teacher and seasoned scholar who knows his stuff. You’ll learn a lot from him about Buddhist tradition that brings the ancient teachings alive.
Robert has become perhaps the most respected Tibetan Buddhist in America precisely because he’s not a dogmatist, but a revolutionary, leading us to laugh our way to awakening rather than deaden ourselves to the joys of life.
If you’ve noticed over time that your practice has gotten a bit dry, Robert can help you inject a more expansive quality of delight into your practice and your days.
As you do this, meditation becomes more enjoyable. Compassion becomes more mischievous. Consciousness becomes more unpredictable.
And you’ll reconnect with the unique qualities of life that want to move through you and express through you in authentic, natural ways.
Vimalkirti knew this well, which is why his Sutras are a clarion call for rebels, misfits, and adventurous Buddhists around the world.
In this unprecedented 8-week program, you’ll see how to marry an expansive spirit with tangible, concrete actions that better the world. Indeed, the call of our time is to get off our cushions and help the world become a more compassionate and enlightened place. Addressing real human suffering is also a key aspect of our personal practice.
Robert will show you how to go beyond the feeling of being weighed down by the troubles of the world, and instead learn to dance with them in a way that celebrates the beauty of life.
If you’re hungry to open up into qualities of limitless freedom and joy and go beyond self-serious spiritual discipline, this is the program for you.
Course sessions are on Tuesdays at 10:00am Pacific.
In this 8-week transformational intensive, Robert will guide you through the fundamental shifts you’ll need to successfully liberate yourself from fixed ideas of what Buddhism is and experience a more spacious, open-ended way of being authentically awake and enlightened.
Each weekly contemplation and training session will build harmoniously upon the previous ones so you’ll develop a complete holistic understanding of the practices, tools, and principles you’ll need to break free from dead-end dogma to enjoy the nondual freedom of a more infinite life.
Robert will be available for LIVE Q&A following every class session to engage with your emerging inquiries about the course material.
The core of the Buddha’s teachings are known as the Four Noble Truths. The first is that life means suffering. It is true indeed — no one escapes this life without experiencing anguish and sorrow. The second is that attachment to desires is the origin of suffering. The third is that suffering can be overcome, a promise that offers hope and comfort to troubled souls everywhere. The last is that there is a path of practice that leads to enlightenment and an end to suffering.
The Buddha viewed these truths not as beliefs, but as facts — as a prescription to help followers cure their self-inflicted suffering and discover lasting peace and wellbeing. Those who reject the reality of these truths will suffer pain, change, and the cosmic stress of attachment to any version of existence that’s experienced as self vs. other.
In this session, you’ll discover:
Buddhism is more a science and philosophy than a religion. The Buddha used the scientific method of inquiry to explore the reality of the self and of the world. Although the Buddhist view of reality is fundamentally an openness of mind and heart, it is an openly held view that can be materialistic as well as religious and spiritualistic.
Exploring the usefulness of the Buddhist teaching of emptiness can help people free themselves from widespread blind faith in (pseudo-)”scientific” nihilism in regards to the ongoing life of the soul.
In this session, you’ll discover:
The second chapter of the Vimalakirti Sutra, a sacred text written nearly 2,000 years ago that explores the foundational principle of nonduality, also examines omniscient compassion; the transformation of the “ordinary mis-knowing body” into a “Buddha body”; and the purpose of life, which is to educate oneself in the delicious fun of freedom.
The wisdom of Vimalakirti, a layman, was matched only by the Buddha himself. In this chapter, monks and bodhisattvas who were intimidated by Vimalakirti’s wisdom — including Manjusri, bodhisattva of wisdom — pay him a consolation call when Vimalakirti falls ill, largely to witness a conversation between the two wisdom keepers.
In this session, you’ll discover:
Positive, evolutionary action is conscious, biologically skillful use of body, speech, and mind for evolutionary navigation for one and all. In contrast, enlightened self-interest and altruistic other-interest reinforce each other.
The Vimalakirti Sutra’s teaching of inconceivable liberation tells us that the bodhisattva aspiration and vow is logically imperative in a world of infinite inter-entanglement of beings in a cosmos of infinite, absolute relativity. We’ll explore the possibility of the inconceivably liberated bliss-bodied enlightenment life through the lens of the tenfold path of skillful and unskillful evolutionary action.
In this session, you’ll discover:
Realistic livelihood can be attained by sustaining an infinite lifestyle in every situation. This holds true for societies and nations as well as for individuals.
You can adapt your livelihood to harmonize as much as possible to the tenfold positive actions and avoid the negative ones, without necessarily dropping out from whatever profession you are in or inclined toward.
In this session, you’ll discover:
Creativity is grounded in the effort to align yourself with the true, the good, and the beautiful. It’s the natural gift of everyone.
The realization of nonduality of relative and relative (thing and thing), results in a “magnificent activities path” or “creativity path.” Based on the knowledge of the absolute being relative, relative and relative are mutually non-obstructive. Therefore, magic and miracles are possible.
In this session, you’ll discover:
Mindfulness cultivates internal critical awareness, a prerequisite for making the unconscious fully conscious. And you can deepen your mindfulness with the help of Buddhist inner science and sophisticated depth psychology.
In this session, you’ll discover that:
Samadhi — a state in which you achieve union with the Divine — is the diamond top of all eight components of the noble path of Buddha. Patience, persistence, and endurance will automatically develop when you discover that all the most extraordinary, “altered,” and exalted, transcendent states already lie without your range of experience.
In this session, you’ll discover:
In addition to Bob’s transformative 8-week virtual course, you’ll receive these powerful training sessions with leading visionaries and teachers. These bonus sessions complement the course and promise to take your understanding and practice to an even deeper level.
Join Bob Thurman in this collection of three audio talks on the topic of compassion which includes:
Transforming Anger Into Compassion
One of the Dalai Lama’s slogans is: “If you want to be happy, be compassionate.” In this lecture, Professor Thurman discusses how to do this by opening our hearts to others, especially our enemies. Our enemies aren’t just other people, but within ourselves. By transforming anger towards all our enemies we can find true happiness and also help others do the same.
A Loving Look of Compassion
According to a Buddhist belief, we all have lived not just one, but many lives, an infinite amount of them. This means that every being has had a chance to be our mother in one of those infinite lives. In this talk, Professor Thurman teaches that realizing the infinity of our past lives enables us to find a loving face of our mother in every being, Every being has this loving look of total nurturing, love, and concern.
Pilgrimage: Deepening Wisdom & Compassion
In this teaching from the pilgrimage sites in Bodh Gaya, Professor Thurman opens with a discussion of how the Buddha redefined the concept of truth and how modern language about Buddhism is influenced by its early translation by scholars attempting to frame its philosophy of mind training into Western religious equivalencies. He also discusses how an understanding of nondualism and emptiness can form the basis for deepening one’s wisdom and compassion. The song “Dancing Ling” by Tenzin Choegyal from the album Heart Sutra by EthnoSuperLounge is used with the artist’s permission, all rights reserved.
Robert Thurman shares with you his beloved translation of the Noble Mahayana Sutra, The Teaching of Vimalakirti. Among Buddhist sūtras, this teaching stands out to Bob like a masterfully faceted diamond, so located between the heaps of gold, silver, and pearls of the Transcendent Wisdom (Prajnaparamita) Sutras and the array of sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and other gems of the Buddha Garland (Buddhāvataṃsaka) or Inconceivable Liberation (Acintyavimokṣa) Sutras as to refract the radiances of all, beaming them forth to the beholder in a concentrated rainbow-beam of diamond light. This translation was published in association withTranslating the Words of the Buddha, a global nonprofit initiative that aims to translate all of the Buddha’s words into modern languages, and to make them available to everyone.
Robert Thurman is a leading experts in his field. However, more than that, he’s a deeply compassionate, committed human being who’s able to bridge his academic knowledge and experience with activism and the improvement of the quality of our daily lives.
— Renata Souza, Sao Paulo, Brazil
I greatly admire Robert’s contribution to bringing more insight, compassion, and peace into our world.
— Dr. Lisa Love, Beyond the Secret & Meditation the Path to Peace
Bob Thurman is the best of the best when it comes to Buddhism. His was a great course of significant depth and breadth for all on the authentic journey to truth.
The playful nature of Robert made this course come alive with very helpful insights into the teachings of the Buddha we can use to save all beings and our planet. Thank you for offering this course.
— Kathleen Emerson, LaFayette, New York
Bob’s extensive knowledge created a loving atmosphere as he shared his extensive wisdom and understand regarding the Buddha. All information was given in a thoughtful as well as thought provoking manner which resonated with my spiritual beliefs. Everything touched on I have incorporated into my daily practices. I now have a deeper understanding of the material and that is exactly why I wanted to take this course. Remarkable experience with Bob. Priceless! Thank you.
— Nancy, Los Angeles, California
I feel the course put me into fuller connection with other mantras to use which I look forward to doing. It gave me the nudge I feel I needed, I think spirit showed me this direction as an addition to what I already do. I’m not really a huge scholarly type, but I certainly enjoy and will continue to delve into what I have now. I have to thank Robert for all he shared with us.
— Jillian Ferri, Johannesburg, South Africa
I absolutely adored this course and would take it or its sequel again in a heartbeat... I can’t get enough of Bob Thurman. He’s so wise and insightful. I am blessed to have had this fantastic opportunity.
Revolutionary Enlightenment offers some of the most advanced online teachings currently available, in a thriving global community of learning and practice.
Join your fellow students and practitioners from across the world in the live interactive conference calls or in our online community to support and learn from each other while you discover how to open your mind and expand your paradigm of reality.
This international community is at the leading edge of a global movement of people who are committed to manifesting a better world for all beings. This emerging planetary movement is rooted in an open heart and stands for the principles of mutual support, cooperation, harmony, and reverence for all of life.
Eight 90-minute Class Sessions With Bob Thurman
Experience a rare opportunity to be mentored and learn with pioneering contemporary spiritual teacher Bob Thurman — from the comfort of your own home. Each class session guides you to discover the specific skills and abilities to awaken your spiritual potential. Course sessions are on Tuesdays 10am Pacific.
Eight Audio Recordings of Class Sessions
After each class, the audio will be available for you to download in high-quality MP3 format. You’ll never have to worry about missing a session, and you can listen anytime and anywhere — on any connected device and at your convenience.
Eight PDF Transcripts of Class Sessions
In addition to the high-quality MP3 audios, you’ll also receive the entire class transcription in PDF format after each session is completed. You can then review, print, and highlight the most important insights and practices you were given.
Interactive Exercises and Questions for Each Lesson
After each lesson, you’ll have the option of completing related exercises, practicing new tools, and answering questions to accelerate your learning and integrate each week’s lesson.
Our exclusive Facebook online community is the perfect place to continue your discovery process after each class. Here, you can continue the discussion about your course materials and interact with your fellow students to take your exploration to an even deeper level.
The Revolutionary Enlightenment Bonus Collection
We feel honored Bob Thurman has chosen to partner with The Shift Network to offer this exclusive online training. This is a rare opportunity to interact directly with a contemporary spiritual teacher and internationally renowned scholar whose powerful insights and pioneering work are helping us heal and awaken ourselves and our world.
Through this powerful online format, you’ll not only save time and money on workshop costs (plus travel, accommodations, and meals — which would cost thousands of dollars), you’ll be able to benefit from Bob’s incredible teachings and exercises from the comfort of your home — and at your own pace!
If you’re serious about transforming your idea of what Buddhism is and experience a more spacious, open-ended way of being, then you owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and our world to take this one-of-a-kind training.
If you’re ready to take the next step in evolving yourself, click the register button below to reserve your space now.
[Robert] is the Billy Graham of American Buddhism. Or perhaps the St. Paul, a latter-day, larger-than-life scholar-activist destined to convey the dharma, the precious teachings of Siddhartha, from Asia to America.
— Time magazine, naming Robert one of the 25 most influential Americans
[Robert] is bright, he’s iconoclastic, he’s verbal, he’s funny, he’s avuncular... he’s all of those things you want in a professor. He turns people on.
— Richard Gere, Actor
[Robert is] the most visible and charismatic exponent of Tibetan Buddhism.
— Rodger Kamenetz, The New York Times Magazine
Robert Thurman is a living treasure, one of today’s most provocative spiritual thinkers.
— Daniel Goleman, Author of Emotional Intelligence
Robert A.F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, a nonprofit 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. At the request of HH the Dalai Lama, Robert co-founded Tibet House US, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization.
Thurman is known as a talented elucidator 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 Noble Teaching of Vimalakirti; The Central Philosophy of Tibet; The Tibetan Book of the Dead; Infinite Life; Why The Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the World; Love Your Enemies (with Sharon Salzberg); and, most recently, Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibe t.
Time chose Professor Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997, and The New York Times recently said Thurman “is considered the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.”
Inspired by his good friend the Dalai Lama, Thurman stands on Buddhism’s open reality, and thence 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 always shares the sense of refuge in the Dharma, Reality, which unfailingly 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.
Q: What is a virtual course?
A: It’s a great way to engage live teachings and each other from the comfort of your home! All you need is a phone line (or an equivalent voice service). If there is more than one person in your household taking the course, you will each need your own line. We use Zoom to make it just like an in-person event, where you can ask questions, participate in groups, and deepen your exploration of the course themes.
Please note that dialing Zoom from your phone is a regular toll call; your telephone service provider will charge you according to your existing long-distance calling plan. International access numbers are available. We also offer a webcast which is free to use from anywhere in the world.
I have never participated before in an online course. The packaging, presentation, inclusion and Facebook postings created a wonderful, safe cocoon to participate. I haven’t seen a course so well put together ever — not in all the years of taking college classes — and I had my doubts about doing an online course. The wealth of organization and ease of learning materials and support made this fun as well.
– Claudia F., Medford, MA
Q: Can I get benefit from the course if I miss the live classes?
A: Absolutely! You can download the recordings and transcripts of all course sessions from our online media archive, so you never need to worry about missing live calls. You can also engage the full community and leaders on our private community website.
Q: Can you tell me about the Private Course Group?
A: We will have a private community group for all course participants on Facebook that will support you in making connections with others, sharing insights, engaging in discussions, completing homework assignments and exchanging information about events and other activities that can supplement your transformational journey. You’ll have the ability to share your experiences, projects and growth throughout the Course.
Q: Are there scholarships available for this Training?
A: Yes, we always make a certain percentage of spaces available for partial scholarships, giving preference to those in developing countries or doing important but underpaid work to which they can apply the training material immediately. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please review our guidelines, which include a link to our online application form.
Q: What is your refund policy?
A: Your satisfaction with The Shift Network and this course is our highest priority! We offer a satisfaction guarantee so that you can sample the course risk-free. The deadline to receive a full refund is June 5th, 2018. To request a refund, please click on this refund request form and submit your request. Your refund will be processed within five business days and we’ll send you an email confirming your refund. However, we’d love to have a chance to address and resolve your concerns first. If there is something we can assist you with, please email us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help! (No refund requests accepted after the above date or with scholarship awards.)
Q: How can I reach Customer Support?
A: Please visit our Customer Support Center, where you should be able to find the answer to your question or the solution to a problem. And if you can’t, you can submit an online request form and we’ll get right back to you.