using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : September 2018
no-nonsense and welcoming, despite having a former model as a wife and an Oscar nominee as a daughter. Nena, in fact, appears to be a ground- ing force for Robert. He doesn’t regret giving up monasticism—and its celi- bacy—to marry her. “I learned so much from having a family and from my third main guru, my wife,” he says. Buddhism forged their relationship and has continued to be its driving force. “If you share spiritual aspiration, that is like a glue in a relationship,” Nena says, her Swedish accent evident. “When we first met, it was the thing that attracted me to Bob. He was so knowledgeable about Buddhist philosophy, and I had all these questions—perennial questions. I had been trying to have answers for years and years. With Bob I suddenly had someone who had answers, who had studied. We could have conversations. I found that the best answers could be found in Buddhist philosophy. It was a homecoming feeling.” Because of that shared spiritual commitment, she says, it seemed natural that they would share their lives and work, and that their work would grow out of Buddhism. That has materialized at story- book-perfect moments for the couple. They bought the property for their home in Woodstock with seven thousand dollars Nena had inherited in 1968, a year into their marriage—“from a fairy godmother in Europe,” Robert says. They were visiting Woodstock when Robert lost his car keys when he went for a swim. Stuck there for the weekend, they hap- pened upon 9.5 acres for sale that they could afford; aside from the inheritance, they were otherwise “penniless—an ex-monk and an ex-model.” The prop- erty became the site of their home for the next five decades and counting. In 2002, the Catskills region produced another land gift for the Thurmans. During a pilgrimage to sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet, Nena met a woman who was part of a committee that had just purchased a facility in Phoenicia, New York—just twenty minutes from their place in Woodstock. Over time, it had been a hotel, a healing center, and a spiritual retreat, and now the committee was looking to give it to a worthy new cause. The Thurmans and Tibet House became that cause, and Menla was born. “We always had this idea that it would be great to have a place in the country that would deal more with the medicinal aspects of Buddhism,” says Nena, who now serves as Menla’s managing director. “The facility was a gift from the deities. It was like winning the lottery without buying a ticket.” The Thurmans’ work with Menla dovetails with their dedication to the Dalai Lama and his homeland. Having spent decades working to free Tibet and preserve Tibetan culture, Robert is surprisingly optimistic about the region’s future. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping—whom Robert refers to as “emperor” because of his extreme power in the Communist country—he believes the country will “go back to classical Chi- nese culture.” That includes Buddhism. “Everybody’s sort-of Buddhist in China. So, you’ll have eight hundred mil- lion Buddhists there, and out of them, a hundred million will love Tibet and honor it and make a dharma center out of it,” Robert says. “And that will happen, I think, within this Dalai Lama’s lifetime. I think Xi Jinping will make the change in the next year or two. But I don’t know that. We’ve been disappointed before.” That said, Robert doesn’t believe the PHOTOSBYA.JESSEJIRYUDAVIS Images of buddhas, bodhisattvas, and gurus populate the Thurmans’ home. The large white marble buddha was cracked when it fell and, according to Nena, put out a fire that could have destroyed the house. LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2018 34