Wisdom and Compassion in Health Care: Buddhist Perspectives with Robert Thurman, Ph.D.

Join us for renowned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and Columbia University Professor Dr. Robert A.F. Thurman in conversation with Dr. David Bullard, exploring the path of service for health providers, informed by Buddhist understandings of consciousness and death.

Within  many spiritual traditions, there is an emphasis on service to others. In Buddhism, it is understood that the effort to be of service in the most beneficial and effective way is a path toward one's own spiritual awakening. It is therefore important to consider that we in the healing profession have chosen not only to help others, but to further our own development. This is an important understanding to have as we face the challenges of learning how to help others more effectively and what is appropriate to ask of ourselves. Buddhist science of consciousness offers important insights and practices such as mindfulness, patience and tolerance  to help us understand the deeper meanings in our choices - and point us toward understandings that can support us both in the clinical setting and in our lives. In this talk,  Professor Thurman will be speaking about these teachings..

Inspired by his good friend His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. Thurman 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 shares the sense of refuge in the Dharma, which helps 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.
A majority of funds raised will be donated to TibetHouse.US
Website:  https://www.tibethouse.us
Robert A.F. Thurman, Ph.D. is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of the Tibet House U.S., a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, a non-profit 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.
TIME Magazine chose Professor Thurman as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997, describing him as a larger than life scholar-activist destined to convey the Dharma, the precious teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, from Asia to America. The New York Times recently said Thurman is considered the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.
Dr. Thurman is known as a talented popularizer of the Buddhas teachings. He is a riveting speaker and an author of over 20 books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics and culture, including The Central Philosophy of Tibet, Circling the Sacred Mountain, Essential Tibetan Buddhism, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, Worlds of Transformation, Inner Revolution, Infinite Life, The Jewel Tree of Tibet, Why The Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the World, and, most recently, co-authored Love Your Enemies, and Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.
His own search for enlightenment began while he was a student at Harvard. After an accident in which he lost the use of an eye, Thurman left school on a spiritual quest throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He found his way to India, where he first saw H.H. the Dalai Lama in 1962. After learning Tibetan and studying Buddhism he decided to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk and was the first Westerner to be ordained by the Dalai Lama. However, some years later, he offered up his robes when he discovered he could be more effective in the American equivalent of the monastery: the university. He returned to Harvard to finish his PhD. A very popular professor, students call his classes life-changing.
As part of his long-term commitment to the Tibetan cause, at the request of H.H. the Dalai Lama, Dr. Thurman co-founded Tibet House US in 1987 with Tenzin Tethong, Richard Gere, and Philip Glass. Since then Uma Thurman, Melissa Mathison Ford, Natalie Merchant, Leila Hadley Luce and many others served on the board. Tibet House US is a nonprofit organization in New York City dedicated to the preservation and renaissance of Tibetan civilization. It maintains a lively museum and cultural center, and offers programs in all aspects of the Tibetan arts and sciences. In 2001, it founded the Menla Mountain Retreat Center in the Catskill Mountains to advance the healing arts and wisdom of Tibetan and Asian medicine traditions and offer their resources to the growing demand for alternative and complementary health practices.  
Website: https://bobthurman.com
David Bullard, Ph.D., has enjoyed a private practice of individual psychotherapy and couples therapy in San Francisco for 40 years. He is a Clinical Professor in Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry at UCSF, where he consults with Spiritual Care Services and the Symptom Management Service outpatient palliative care staff. A contributing writer for psychotherapy.net, he has interviewed leading trauma therapists such as Bessel van der Kolk M.D. and Allan Schore, Ph.D.; psychedelic medicine pioneer researcher and clinician William (Bill) Richards, Ph.D.; psychotherapy researcher and psychologist George Silberschatz, Ph.D.; and Buddhist thinkers Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D., Robert Thurman, Ph.D., and Mark Epstein, M.D. In addition to his teaching at UCSF and at psychological associations throughout the Bay Area, David has presented workshops at Tibet House US (New York City), San Francisco Zen Center, and in Israel and Brazil. His latest professional publication is the chapter Sexual Problems (co-authored with the late Harvey Caplan, M.D., and with Christine Derzko, M.D.) in Behavioral Medicine: A Guide for Clinical Practice, 5th edition (in press; McGraw-Hill). He first encountered Zen through the writings of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and Alan Watts, and enjoys the poetry and wisdom of David Whyte.
The Rev. Peter Yuichi Clark, Ph.D., BCC
          ACPE Certified Educator
          Director of Spiritual Care Services

The Rev. Susan P. Conrad, BCC
          Manager of Spiritual Care Services

Chaplain Pegi Walker
          Program Coordinator, Music is Good Medicine
          Spiritual Care Services
     UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital

Michael W. Rabow, MD
     Director, Symptom Management Service
          Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
     Director, Symptom Management & Palliative Care Consultation Service
          UCSF/Bakar Hospital
     Helen Diller Family Chair in Palliative Care
     Professor of Clinical Medicine and Urology

Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.                                                                                            Founding Director, Foundation of the Sacred Stream, Berkeley, CA

Spiritual Care Services, UCSF Medical Center 
         and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital
Symptom Management Service
         Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF
UCSF Palliative Care Program
California Institute of Integral Studies
San Francisco Zen Center
San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Project
Foundation for the Sacred Stream
KUNDE Institute: Center for Tibetan Wellness and Healing
Tibet House US
Bayview Zendo
Ketamine Research Foundation
Tuesday, March 12, 2019; 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Cole Hall Auditorium
513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, California 94143

2 Continuing Education Credits Available for $25 fee payable to
                Spiritual Competency Resource Center
       CE Credit Registration and Fee will be collected at the event.

Continuing Education Information:

2 CE credits are provided by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) which is co-sponsoring this program. SCRC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. SCRC maintains responsibility for the program and its content. SCRC is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association. For questions about CE, visit www.spiritualcompetency.com or contact David Lukoff, PhD at CE@spiritualcompetency.com.

Tuesday, March 12 at 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Cole Hall Auditorium
513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, California 94143

Event Type

Special Event


UCSF Medical Center


Students, Postdocs, Faculty, Staff, Local Community, Alumni, Patients




pulseofucsf, sfcommunity


$25 General Public. (Free for UCSF students. No one turned away for lack of funds; contact david@drbullard.com)

Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Contact Info

David Bullard, Ph.D. 415-205-4829; dgbullard@yahoo.com; david.bullard@ucsf.edu


Event Registration Required

This event requires registration.