Why We Suffer And How Not To

Episode 119 1h 19m
Topics Overview


Before I became a doctor, I actually studied Buddhism. I wanted to understand the root of human suffering, and through that understand the way to creating happiness. I realized that by becoming a doctor, I could help people alleviate suffering in multiple ways. Better yet, through Functional Medicine, I could get to the root cause of why the body is struggling and correct it from the ground up. My interest in Buddhism was sparked when my sister took me, at just 15 years old, to a lecture by Professor Robert Thurman, the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.

My life has never been the same, and I was thrilled to sit down and tell him that on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy. Our spirited conversation kicks off with an explanation from Robert of the 4 Noble Truths of Buddhism. In understanding these we can be liberated from suffering and follow the path of happiness. There are actually many similarities in this methodology with that of Functional Medicine, which Robert and I dig into throughout our talk.

I was curious and inspired to hear Robert’s take on COVID-19. He shares how we can use Buddhism as a lens for navigating this difficult time, whether we are directly or indirectly impacted. He shares his personal experience in learning to manage difficult emotions so they couldn’t manage him, something I think we can all learn a lot from during this time. For those of you completely new to Buddhism we also get into some great resources and so much more.

I hope you’ll tune in.

Listen to Robert’s podcast at https://bobthurman.com/bob-thurman-podcast/

Topics Covered

  • Robert’s description of “Buddhism in a nutshell”

    (11:02 - 11:04)

  • The first Noble Truth (or fact) of Buddhism: Recognizing that we suffer

    (15:28 - 15:30)

  • The second Noble Truth (or fact) of Buddhism: Misunderstanding that our reality causes suffering

    ((20:11 - 20:13)

  • The third Noble Truth (or fact) of Buddhism: Freedom from suffering

    (22:42 - 22:44)

  • The fourth Noble Truth (or fact) of Buddhism: The 8-fold path of education, or training

    (26:22 - 26:24)

  • Using Buddhism as a lens for dealing with COVID-19 and all the resulting suffering

    (31:00 - 31:02)

  • Changing our relationship to fear through empathy

    (37:35 - 37:37)

  • Robert’s experience as a young man, traveling to India, and meeting the Dalai Lama

    (42:14 - 42:16)

  • Robert’s psychedelic experience and how psychedelics can be used to treat and educate

    (45:19 - 45:21)

  • Book recommendations to go inward, and learn more about Buddhist thought and the environmental movement

    (59:00 - 59:02)

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Ep. 119 - Why We Suffer And How Not To