Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Buddhist author Prof. Robert Thurman while visiting New York City on 21 July. Prof. Thurman is well-known as the first endowed chair of Buddhist Studies in the West and a co-founder of Tibet House US, a non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of Tibetan culture and traditions.
The two men discussed the strong connection between Buddhism and India, along with ways that Buddhist principles can provide guidance to help solve international problems. After their talk, Prof. Thurman stated that India was promoting peace through Buddhism. Modi described his meeting with Prof. Thurman is a social media post:
The interaction with @BobThurman was outstanding. I admire his passion towards research and scholarship on aspects relating to Buddhism. I highlighted India’s Buddhist heritage and how Buddhism can help overcome many challenges our world faces.(The Print)
Prof. Thurman began his academic study of Buddhism at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and Harvard University, where he studied a variety of topics related to the Dharma, among them Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism, and Asian languages. He has also practiced and studied with several Buddhist teachers, the most famous of whom being His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Modi also met with other thought leaders, such as the writer and college professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who marked the occasion by giving the prime minister his book Skin in the Game as a gift.
Modi described his conversation with Taleb in a social media post:
Professor Taleb has interesting perspectives on many issues and I had the opportunity to hear them on some of those subjects. He was greatly interested in India’s development strides. I emphasized on how we are nurturing a spirit of enterprise and risk taking among our youth.(PMINDIA)
Modi also met with US politicians during his visit. He received a ceremonial welcome at the White House, where President Joe Biden held a dinner in his honor. During his visit to Washington, Modi spoke with several members of congress.
Modi has served as the prime minister of India since 2014. At the age of 72, he is the first prime minister of India to be born after India’s independence from British rule. Before he was prime minister Modi served as the chief minister of Gujarat from 2014–19.
His time in office has been marked by a number of political wins. His party, the Bharatiya Janata, secured an absolute majority in both the 2014 and the 2019 elections. Modi’s primary focus has been to create a corruption-free government that is development-oriented.
Under his leadership, India has implemented Ayushman Bharat, a national healthcare program, which covers the poor and neo-middle class. Modi is also deeply focused on the threat of climate change, and spearheaded the formation of a climate change department when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. The department was solely focused on finding ways to end climate change.
Modi has also led initiatives to address climate justice. To this end, he invited government leaders from all over the world to India in 2018 to celebrate the birth of the International Solar Alliance, an initiative to utilize solar energy in the creation of a better world. The United Nations recognized Modi’s effort to heal the environment by granting him the United Nation’s “Champions of the Earth” award.
PM Modi holds discussions with professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Author Robert Thurman (Economic Times)
PM Modi meets American scholar Thurman, lauds his passion for research in Buddhism (The Print)
PM’s meeting with Prof. Nicholas Taleb, academic and public intellectual (PMINDIA)
Know the PM (PMINDIA)
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